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Friday, October 31, 2014
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Published: Friday, 5/7/2004

Lots of choices for theater fans

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Something for just about every theatergoer will be available this weekend when a comedy, a musical, and an intimate drama open on area stages.

First up, the comedy.

The Village Players is presenting Social Security, a six-person play directed by Julie Zatko, who directed Painting Churches and Over the River and Through the Woods for the Upton Avenue troupe.

"The play was written by Andrew Bergman, who went on to help write Blazing Saddles, the Fletch movies, and the Oh God movies with George Burns," Zatko said.

It's a comedy about husband and wife New York art dealers whose orderly way of life is disturbed when the wife's mother comes to live with them and starts showing interest in their best client.

"What's funny is that when the Village gave me the script, I read it and didn't care for it," Zatko said. "I'm 31; what do I know about feeling older?

"But the whole process has been so rewarding, and this cast is simply great."

Starring are local theater veterans Jean Mills (Driving Miss Daisy, A Little Night Music) and John Henry (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Of Mice and Men) as the mother and the client, Dana Pilrose (A Little Night Music, Blues in the Night) and Don Weber (The Sunshine Boys) as art dealers Barbara and David Kahn, and Lynnie Heinemann (Arsenic and Old Lace, Rebecca) and Marc Malley as Barbara's sister and brother-in-law.

"Social Security" runs through May 22 in the Village Players Theatre, 2740 Upton Ave. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. May 16. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students. Information: 419-472-6817.

In this age of cell phones and e-mail, a play about written correspondence might be anachronistic, but director Paul Causman calls Love Letters a very touching show.

The play by A.R. Gurney opens a four-week run at Ms. Rose's Dinner Theater in Perrysburg. It chronicles the lives of two people who meet in grade school, grow up together, and go their separate ways but keep in touch into their old age through letters.

The role of Melissa is played by Claudette Davis. Better known as the producer of the shows at Ms. Rose's, Davis had a tiny role in last autumn's Escanaba in da Moonlight. Causman, former artistic director of the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, plays Andrew for most of the shows, although he will be absent tomorrow. Peter Mackey, a veteran of many Rep, Croswell Opera House, and Ms. Rose's productions, will take over the role.

Love Letters is done in what Causman termed a readers' theater style. There are no costumes or sets, just two chairs, two people, and the lights coming on and going off at appropriate times as each reads the letters he or she wrote to the other.

The simplicity of the setting puts the emphasis in the right place, Causman believes. "It's all about the language, the words, the feelings that these two have."

Causman has portrayed Andrew in Love Letters many times, both in northwest Ohio and on stages in Florida. "It's a very intimate show with lots of emotion and humor," he says. "It's one of my favorites."

"Love Letters" opens this weekend at Ms. Rose's Dinner Theater in the DC Ranch complex, 27540 North State Rt. 25, Perrysburg. Doors open at 6 p.m. tomorrow and 3 p.m. Sunday for the buffet; shows start two hours later. Tickets are $39. Remaining performances are scheduled the evenings of May 14, 20, 21, and 28. Information: 419-874-8505.

The full title says it all: Suds - the Rocking '60s Musical Soap Opera.

Scott Stander Productions of Sherman Oaks, Calif., brings the two-hour tale filled with frothy fun to Monroe's River Raisin Centre for the Arts for a single performance at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Set to the sounds of Connie Frances, Nancy Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, the Beatles, and many others, Suds is the story of a teenage girl looking for love and finding it in a Laundromat with the help of some interfering guardian angels.

The engaging show is family-friendly, according to Calley Duffey of the RRCA, with more than 50 golden oldies and lots of energetic dancing to keep everyone involved and smiling.

"Suds" is scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday in the River Raisin Centre for the Arts, 114 South Monroe St., Monroe. Tickets are $26 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $13 for students. Information: 734-242-7722.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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