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February 2018 Limelight Review

Norma Niinemets. Editor
Art Kibby, Distribution


Mariemont Players Cast Announcement for
The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham
Mariemont Players and director Dan Maloney are pleased to announce the cast of our May production, The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham:

Gunner – Harold Murphy

Peg – Barbara Karol
Jack – Michael Ireland

Synopsis
In a summer cottage on Chesapeake Bay, Gunner has hatched an unorthodox plan to secure his family's future but meets with resistance from his wife and son. As winter approaches, the three must quickly find common ground and come to an understanding - before the tide goes out.

The Outgoing Tide runs May 11th-27th. To order tickets, call Betsy at 513-684-1236 OR order online at www.mariemontplayers.com. All seats are reserved and $20 each.

January Play Reading Report – Anna Nixon
Our choice this month was a 1983 comedy “Squabbles” by Marshall Karp. We found it hilarious and more than enjoyable. The interplay of the characters is very well written, especially between the rambunctious father-in-law who needs a good argument daily and the young pregnant wife’s mother who is equally difficult. The end is a pleasant surprise as all good comedies should be, of course! Thank you to readers who were few but good – Maris Ryan, Joyce and Art Kibby, John Nixon and yours truly. Keep warm and congratulations to the cast and crew of Becky’s New Car – what a performance!

Next reading – Tuesday, Feb. 20th. at 7.30 pm.

All Over Town by Norma Niinemets
A lot is going on at Beechmont Players with four familiar MPI names and faces. The following talented men were selected to direct for the 2018-2019 Beechmont Season; jef Brown, Jerry Wiesenhahn, Steve Phelan and Richard Zenk. Congratulations gentlemen!

Linda Roll has captured the female lead role in Milford Theatre Guild’s upcoming production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks. This delightful play runs Feb. 16, 17, and 18. 23, 24 Blame it on the cold weather, the flu, the meds or the bossa nova because once again I have messed up a casting announcement, Bett Kooris is playing opposite

Arny Stoller in Ox ACT production of Gin Game playing February 16,17,18,23,24. Tickets are available at www.oxact.org and by phone 513-523-6628. My sincere apologies to Bett and Chessie Vigran for my previous error.

Nisrene Langenbrunner will play the role of Morgan and also be part of the ensemble in Cincinnati Music Theatre’s production of Camelot. The musical will be presented at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in the Jarson-Kaplin Theatre form May 11 through May 19.Tickets are available by visiting the Aronoff Center Web Site or by calling 513-621-ARTS.

Beechmont Player’s May, 2018 production When We Are Married, directed by Cathy Roesener, will feature an all star cast including jef Brown, Eric Day, Steve Phelan, Richelle Rose and Amy Stier. The show plays May 11-19, 2018. Visit www.beechmontplayer’s.org for tickets or call 513-233-2468.

MPI’s The Wisdom of Eve Nominated for City Beat Best of Cincinnati Play Award by Norma Niinemets
Give a standing ovation to Director, Dee Anne Bryll and the cast and crew of The Wisdom of Eve for their nomination for City Beat’s Best of Cincinnati Award in the Play/Student/Community Theatre category. You can cast your vote by visiting CityBeat/Cincinnati Web Site. And while you are supporting the HOME TEAM you may want to give an X on the ballot to Ed Cohen and the law firm Clements, Taylor, Butkovitch and Cohen Firm under the Best Law Firm category.

Letters Via Web Site by Norma Niinemets
Just a quick note to say that a season ago, (or two) I had begun to usher, paint sets, and did a quick non-speaking walk on in Hay Fever, when my life became disrupted by mother's care giving needs. In short, I sort of disappeared which is something I don't like to do. Pass this along to Norma, Betsy, Dan, whoever, to say I still think its great theater and good people. Hope to try, try again. Best, and happy New Year, Nina Johns

The Silver Whistle Receives High Praise from ACT Judges

House Services: “As always, the front of house for MPI is a well-oiled machine. Betsy had our tickets at the ready and we exchanged a few pleasantries as I picked them up. Stephanie Stoller greeted us at the top of the stairs with her usual smile. The new seats are extremely comfortable – congratulations on making this major upgrade to your facility.”

Lobby Display: “The lobby display consisted of a simple display of headshots on a silver background, which was a nice touch to incorporate the name of the play.”

Program: “Love the gloss stock on the inside. Interesting to see the underlined show title on the cast/crew listing – this is a convention which has largely gone out of style in favor of italics. Fonts in the program were smaller than typical, but the crispness of the gloss interior stock made them easy to read. Graphics had good saturation. Did not notice any typos or grammatical errors. Nice job by Theresa Johns’

Original Art: “The original program art is a nice portrayal of an older gentleman holding a rooster which incorporates several elements of the show well. The wink, his posture and the rooster all do a good job of telegraphing the show’s overarching theme of the desire to live life to the fullest at any age.”

Pre Show: ‘The curtain was closed upon entry into the theater so we couldn’t view the set. There was flute music playing softly in the background to enhance the whistle theme. The preshow announcements were short and to the point.”

Set Design and Construction: “There are shows where when the curtain opens and you’re instantly transported into the world of the show, and this was one of those cases. Careful attention to sightlines, multiple levels through use of the porches, benches, and Emmett’s platform-behind-the-wall, multiple distinct playing areas which seamlessly flowed together all screamed professional-level work – and then I noticed Dan Dermody’s name, and said to myself, ‘of course.’ Outstanding job!”“The best design can be compromised by poor construction, but with Bill Pauly on the job that’s not a concern for MPI. Everything was solid – doors worked flawlessly, walls were plumb and well-braced, no construction issues whatsoever. Great job!”

Set Décor: “The furniture was all appropriate to the setting, and worked well. The décor included a great deal of greenery and flowers, both dead and alive, and these were very realistic and well done. I can’t say enough about how great the big upstage tree was. To me it looked completely like a large live tree. Whether it was created or you actually drug in a real tree, it was excellent.”

Set Painting: ” The interiors of the buildings were finished, with painted walls and decorations. The floor treatment completed the outdoor look with dying grass and dirt paths. Very nice work.”

Sound Design and Execution: “The actors could be heard well without mics. The music used during the preshow and intermission was appropriate for the show theme.” The music played preshow and during intermission and scene changes was at a good level.”

Lighting Design and Execution: “The lighting was simple, but effective. There were no dark or hot spots, and the change from day to evening was very well done. The interior rooms were also well lit, making them look lived in and realistic.”” It appeared to me that all light cues were on time. Lights up and down were done in a smooth fashion. Nicely done.”

Costumes: “The costumes were varied and seemed appropriate for each actor. They appeared to be accurate for age of each actor and time frame for the show. The religious garb for the clergymen was realistic. All the costumes seem to fit the actors well. Nice work.”

Hair and Makeup: “The makeup used was befitting the style and age of the actors. The ladies hair styles were different for each character. I particularly liked the use of the snood for Mrs. Hanmer and Miss Tripp’s hairstyle.”

Properties: “This seemed to be a fairly prop heavy show. Most of the props used were appropriate for the time frame of the show. The wheelchair and ear cone helped to set the time. All the props used were good for their application- from the games, to the plates, table cloths, etc., to the real stew.”

Stage Management: “The show seemed to progress as one would expect. All cues seemed to be executed on time; all entrances were made on time. A tight, well-run show.”

Ensemble: “The entire cast of this show worked extremely well as an ensemble. All were consistently in character at all times and worked as a cohesive unit. The result was the lovely telling of a story of a subtle but important transformation in the lives of a group of previously unhappy people.”

Acting

Dan Maloney as Rev. Watson: This was a very nice performance overall. You did a nice job of being appropriately imperious and holier than thou as required without appearing to be mean, so that we still understood that Miss Tripp had reason to love you. Your jealousy and ultimate capitulation to love felt very real.

Jan Costello as Mrs. Sampler: “What a fun role – playing the flirt always presents an opportunity to take a walk down a path few tread, but at the same time presents danger because it’s easy to take it too far and make it a caricature. Jan hit all the right notes, and was completely believable in her infatuation with Mr. Beebe. Great job!”

Dava Lynn as Mrs. Hanmer: “You gave a very nice performance as the acerbic hypochondriac in the group. You effectively portrayed Ms. Hanmer as a sarcastic woman with a tough outer shell, but full of heart on the inside.”

Nisrene Langenbrunner as Miss Tripp: “Nice job in a tough role, balancing an obvious caring for her charges with the relationship with Rev. Watson with trying to deal with the suggestive advances of Erwenter. Reactions to the situations you were placed in felt all very grounded, and I really loved the interactions with the residents. I’m looking forward to seeing Nisrene in future shows.”

Arny Stoller as Emmett: “So, it appears that even if all Arny does is pop up from behind a wall, he can still steal a scene. Great delivery, entirely in touch with the vagabond who ties Erwenter back to his former life as well as assisting in the reclamation of the residents. Nicely done!”

Chessie Vigran as Miss Hoadly: “Chessie Vigran was a hoot from the moment the curtain opened. She was a very believable as an elderly lady and a great drunk to boot. Her facial expressions and posture sold it. She displayed amazing comedic timing.”

Timothy M. Carney as Cherry: “Timothy M Carney was amusing to watch as Cherry. He had a twinkle in his eye at all times and a good stage presence. He has a great voice and used it well.”

Ann Barfels as Mrs. Gross: “Ann is one of the true gems of Cincinnati community theatre – she completely slips into a role. This is one of the tougher roles in the show because when you’re stuck in a wheelchair you will lose a lot of your normal body language. At least you have the *potential* to lose it, because I never felt that Ann did – the bit where she blocked Beebe and Sampler from each other by rolling back and forth was priceless, as was her reaction to being pressed into service to transport Miss Hoadly. Excellent!”

Art Kibby as Mr. Beebe: “Mr. Beebe (Art Kibby) – I thoroughly enjoyed Art’s take on Mr. Beebe. As the defacto ring-leader of the home, his pursuit of both Mrs. Sampler and Erwenter’s love potion were near-perfect takes on the theme of recapturing past youth and vitality. Interactions with all his cast mates were great, and I really liked the arc of his relationship with Erwenter. Excellent!”

Kenny Tessel as Oliver Ernwenter: “You provided an enjoyable performance as the vagrant turned catalyst for youth and happiness in the nursing home. Your ability to charm both the residents and Miss Tripp was very convincing, and toward the end I believed that you were honestly in love with Miss Tripp,”

Richard Zenk as Reddy: “Richard Zenk brought some comedic relief to the show as Reddy. He made the most of his part.”

Jeff Carteras the Bishop: “Jeff established the parameters of the bishop immediately upon entering the playing area - bombastic, in charge, and yet somehow easily duped by Oliver. Nice transition as he went from being completely against the idea of a fair to being supportive not only of the fair, but of Watson.”

Jim Waldfogel as Father Shay: “A great character role for an accomplished character actor. Jim certainly hit all the notes for the stereotypical Irish priest.”

Producing: “Production quality was generally high across the board, as expected for an MPI production. Lights, sound, props, etc all worked well together, with only a few exceptions as noted in the technical evaluation sections. It did seem like producer Dan Maloney might have been spread a little too thin, being in the show himself as well as also having to also pick up responsibility for lighting design, lobby display, as well as his usual gig working publicity for MPI – but sometimes you just do what you have do to make the show come off, and nobody can doubt Dan’s energy or commitment to excellence.”

Direction: “This show was very entertaining. The script was brought to life by a talented cast and good director. The casting was very appropriate. The actors seemed well rehearsed and comfortable with their character and lines. I feel the director had a good feel for the script and brought it to life with his overall vision. The cast seemed to work well together. Their characters were well developed. The blocking was thoughtful and natural. All areas of the stage were used to complement the story.”

March 2018 Limelight Review
January 2018 Limelight News