Box Office: 513-684-1236


April 2018 Limelight Review

Mariemont Players is looking for a volunteer to write and edit the monthly Limelight Review membership news letter. If you are interested in this position (starting June 1, 2018) contact Business VP, Art Kibby at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Mariemont Players Board has nominated the following members as candidates for the following ACT and OCTA Awards to be given at the annual ACT/OCTA Fest in June.

ART ROUSE - NancyAnn and Tom Storey

After struggling with our woefully outdated lighting patch bay and dimmer system for several seasons, the Board has decided to purchase and install a brand new system. The old patch bay that was purchased second-hand in 1990, will be replaced with a fan-cooled tower rack enclosure containing 9 “Smart Packs” with all the current 106 circuits connected. This is a DMX system, so the DMX to AMX converter will no longer be needed. The new system will be directly compatible with our recently installed dimmer control board, and any circuit can be “softpatched” by the lighting designer. The old telephone-style plugs will go the way of the dodo, since the lighting designer can call up any circuit just by programming it into the board. 2 Another improvement will be two separate control stations – one in the auditorium and the other in the loft, to turn on house lights or activate select rehearsal or photography lighting instruments without running the board. All of this is scheduled to begin on March 26, soon after Around the World closes. King’s Electric has been contracted to perform the required electrical drawings and installation, with Vincent Lighting providing overall supervision and equipment. This couldn’t happen at a better time, since “World” has been plagued with a series of lighting failures over the first weeks of the run.

Welcome in Spring with theatre friends at the annual Spring Party and Meeting on Saturday, April 16th at 6PM. Fried chicken, wine/beer, and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided. Please bring a side dish, appetizer or dessert to complement the meal. There will be a short meeting following dinner, a chance to win show tickets & door prizes and plenty of time to socialize.

First day of spring and winter is still with us! I do hope all our readers arrived home safe and sound – they were Laura Hovland (welcome back – we missed you), Joyce and Art Kibby, Maris Ryan, Fred Rothzeid, Dava Lynn (from Silver Whistle – welcome), John Nixon and yours truly.

Our play this month was “Superior Donuts” by Tracy Letts. It is actually being televised at the moment in ½ hour segments on Monday evenings at 9 pm on CBS with Judd Hirsch in the lead.

It is set in Chicago between 2009-2010 in Arthur’s bakery. Business is failing and crime is prevalent. The play opens with the glass smashed in the door and the windows. A young assistant and a neighboring shop owner befriend Arthur and help him see life more optimistically. A comedy-drama describes it, I think. Many thanks again to Joyce for play copy printing and lovely refreshments.

Also note that Fred Rothzeid’s musical play “A Soldier’s Story” will be staged at the Aronoff on May 1st. at 7.30pm.

NEXT READING: April 15th. at 7.30p

Jerry Wiesenhahn will be featured in Footlighters musical production of Unrinetown. The show performs May 3 through May 19. Tickets are available on Footlighters Web Site.

NKU’s Commonwealth Theatre Summer Dinner Theatre Season will present the musical “Life Could Be A Dream” directed by Dee Anne Bryll. The show runs June 6 through June 24th. Check the NKU web-site for ticket information.

House: ”The house facilities at Mariemont are at the top of the community theatre mountain, making it a featured destination for both patrons and actors alike. This production was no exception as the facilities and staff was warm and inviting on a cold winter’s night. Betsy Farro, as always, was there for anything needed preshow.”

Lobby Display: “The lobby display was cleverly done. A classroom style border of a street surrounded headshots clustered around the production poster. Information about each company member appeared below the name on a cutout encircled by a silhouette of a car. The display was creative without being overwhelming - the overall presentation was clean, crisp and informative.”

Program and Program Art: “Teresa John’s program art and “playbill” design are both to be highly commended. This is what I have come to expect at MPI and this production only reinforced that notion. The cover art was particularly well done with a colorful feel and simple graphics that mimicked the style of the production as a whole. The program itself had outstanding bio images and was exceptionally well organized. A modicum of advertisements interspersed with excellent and clear information about the play, the theatre and the history of the group was a delight to read before the show began. I am extremely impressed with the excellent presentation of nearly five pages of patrons! Impressive.”

Pre-Show: “The new auditorium seating is attractive and comfortable, providing clear views of the stage throughout the space. The auditorium itself was clean, orderly, and comfortable.”

Set Design and Construction: “Dan Dermody’s set was efficient and well done without many frills, but depicting the environment necessary for this particular story setting. The cast was able to move between the three areas easily. Becky (in many of her solo scenes) was able to “look up to the lighting girl” and talk through a desired lighting change with ease. Everything seemed sturdy and well built, the desk, deck and couch all worked well with the cast able to remove and replace the family photo from the wall. Very nice construction work by Mr. Pauly, Kibby and Carney.”

Décor and Set Painting: “The walls served as a backdrop for each location, framing the set and providing additional context – family photos on the living room wall, a small glass peep window in the office. The couch was the primary focus of the living room – overstuffed, worn, a little frayed around the edges – just like Becky’s life. The cluttered desk was the focus of the office, caging Becky into a thankless job.”

Light Design and Execution: “Zach Riggins is a professional through and through and his design plot did not disappoint. There was excellent area lighting that transitioned well (due to Mikaela Wormely’s execution) between areas and was never overdone. The lighting enhanced and never distracted from the experience.”

Sound Design and Execution: “I do not believe any microphones were used in the production but the design and execution of sound cues of phone calls in particular and between scene music were exceptional. This was also accomplished by the multi-talented Ms. Wormley, who I can only guess is a current or former student of Mr. Peters.”

Costumes: ”Costumes (which program notes were supplied by the ensemble) supported the theme and time period of the piece very well and also gave us clues to the financial status of the actors as well. (important in this story)”

Make-up and Wigs: “Stage make-up was natural and believable. There were distinct class differences here too. All was credible!“

Properties: “Director Peters handled his own props and did a fine job. All seemed appropriate for the play and period and added a level of believability and additional texture to the show.”

Stage Management: “Sara Krehbiel did an outstanding job with moving the show along; it never dragged and the minimal scene changes were accomplished quickly and we were back to the action in no time at all.”

Producing: “Producers Arnold and Riggins did an outstanding job of assembling a staff to meet the challenges of this excellent production. In all the aspects mentioned above as well as the technical and artistic merits below, this was an impressive team effort. It was obvious to me that the team was organized and efficient even down to the simple detail of having a cast substitution for some performances. This was handled with a lobby sign and program note, just like a traveling Broadway production.”

Traci Taylor (Becky) “I have seen Traci Taylor in a few other MPI shows and was eager to see her tackle the complexities of this title role. She did not disappoint. This was truly a tour de force for this actress. She made Becky believable to us all. Her pauses, where she let us see what she was thinking with only her face were very strong. This was in stark contrast to the frenetic pace at which she needed to give us loads of exposition at the start of the play, break the fourth wall with members of the front row and interact with other technical aspects of the production which thrust her about on a stage like a rag doll. Throughout the evening, Ms. Taylor proved she was up to the tall order of carrying the narrative of an entire show for an extremely large portion of the evening. The audience loved her and accepted the truth of any and all of her decisions. Kudos to her.” Scott Unes (Joe): “Scott Unes was particularly brilliant as the forgotten loyal husband. His Joe was so supportive of Becky throughout that the level of spite that came through in act two was both surprising and welcomed as a cathartic release. Simply brilliant.”

Jay Dallas Benson (Steve): “was delightfully over-dramatic – from his first appearance in the peep window in the office to his exuberant pursuit of Ginger. His clothing was bold, his manner animated, his behavior comical with a touch of pathos. Steve’s character at first seems somewhat stereotypical, but as the play unfolds, we see additional layers that help to make him more individual and more fun to watch.“

Linda Callahan (Ginger): “ Linda Callahan as Ginger played her role as an upper class has-been too. I see in the program that she plays the role of Becky at select performances. Although I enjoyed Traci Taylor’s portrayal of Becky, I am sure Linda would do a solid job too. Both actresses are strong.”

Chris Foster {Maverick Thurston): “ who played Chris Foster, Becky and Chris’s young adult son who is studying psychology, did a credible and fine job. He was particularly effective at establishing a relationship with Kenni Flood, Walter’s daughter, and at psychobabble.”

Lon Nease (Walter): “Simply brilliant. Lon Nease was supremely understated as Walter, delivering lines with a low tenor to his voice that made the audience lean forward to make sure they didn’t miss a word. The novelty of his dialogue and straight-forward delivery did not dispel the talent of this actor who seemed to be enjoying every absurd comment as he held his expressionless face during extremely long periods of audience laughter. Excellent.”

Jackie Miesle (Kenni): “Walter’s daughter, Kenni, played by Jackie Miesle, was strong in her role. Excellent vocal and physical delivery! Also developed a solid relationship with Chris and her father.“

Kate Arnold (Mrs. Tipton): “Did well in a series of silent walk-ons, I would be curious to see the dynamic when she stepped into the higher role. “ “It also was intriguing to see that Kate Arnold, who made a brief appearance as Mrs. Tipton, the one whose car is mistakenly taken by Becky, plays Ginger when Linda Callahan takes on Becky’s role.“

Ensemble: “The ensemble put together by Peters was diverse and effective. They functioned well in the few group scenes (like the funeral wake). There was a mix of experienced and younger actors, but all roles were age-appropriate which added to the overall effective presentation of the story.”

Direction: “The direction for this show was excellent! From the casting to the acting, ensemble work, and technical elements, the show was effective. The pacing or tempo was quite good too, especially the comic timing through the twists and turns of the show."

The stage business and blocking were very well done. In addition, the entire stage space was used well. And the varied entryways allowed for multiple entrances and exits.

The triangle of relationships—Becky and Joe, Becky and Walter, Chris and Kenni—was handled well. They developed, unraveled and developed anew in believable ways. Characters’ personal choices led them down paths that deepened the themes in the play. Deeper meanings included those of love and life and loss beyond the robust and laughable nature of the playwright’s witty dialogue. In addition, the use of cars was drawn out well as was the use of telephones in this play. Literally, Becky and Chris were driving up and down the highway between Walter’s and Kenni’s and their home. Staging this on benches or in chairs CS was creative. Further, there were numerous phone calls and conversations that moved the action forward in this play. Nice direction around these stage activities!

Everyone handled their roles well. Character development, attention and focus, emotional tone, and character relationships were handled effectively. Plus all props and properties, costumes and accessories, and overall scene work made for a believable and enjoyable evening for patrons.”

General Comments: We are so lucky to have Tom Peters back in community theatre. His true “pied-piper” mentality (in the tradition of mentor Elston Hurst) is providing a wonderful pipeline of new young talent to the Cincinnati theatre scene. His own accomplishments cannot be overstated as teacher and director and his output of consistent creative work speaks for itself. This was a truly wonderful experience for the audience and it is due to the attention to detail of this fine craftsman and his crew.

People that are fun to work with and treat everyone with respect and courtesy attract the best casts and crews to work with them. That is the beauty of “community” theatre that I fell in love with over 40 years ago. Tom Peters is the epitome of that statement and it was my pleasure to witness another notch in his belt with this outstanding production at MPI. Thank you.”

“The audiences at Mariemont shows seem to be a bit of a special breed – it was so interesting to hear them respond very vocally to the performance – laughing heartily, gasping with surprise and even talking back to the characters on-stage. (At one point during the Sprite segment, an audience member asked “where’s mine?” The nature of this piece encouraged audience participation, but Mariemont audiences seem to be very comfortable responding to the action taking place on the stage. Congratulations on an excellent and enjoyable production.”

“I am extremely impressed with the excellent presentation of nearly five pages of patrons! Impressive.”

Cast announcement of our July production, All the ...
March 2018 Limelight Review