Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Diversity rules: Comedies and a folk tale featured on area stages

From Moliere to Neil Simon to a Hungarian folk tale, area stages offer a diverse set of productions this week.

In Montpelier, Ohio, the Williams County Community Theater opens the comedy Scapin tonight.

Written in 1671 by the French dramatist Moliere, the plot involves two young men who fall in love with women whom their fathers deem inappropriate. Desperate to wed their sweethearts, the men turn to a servant, Scapin, for help. An unrepentant con artist, Scapin comes up with a plan to get the miserly dads to fork over the funds the young men need to support their brides-to-be.

"It's totally, totally silly," says director Alona McAfee, pointing to the slapstick action, period costumes, and a cartoon set.

There's also a strong family element for McAfee. Her husband, son, and daughter-in-law are all part of the cast. "My husband, Bob, was supposed to direct, but when he lost two of the men in the cast, he had to put himself in."

McAfee says Scapin has been in her mind for 15 years or so. "My parents saw it in Los Angeles and just loved it." But the 17th-century comedy was tough to translate to a community theater stage, and it wasn't until comedian Bill Irwin and Mark O'Donnell came up with a workable adaptation in 1995 that it became accessible.

The show, which McAfee considers suitable for all ages, features Jay Perdue as the title character and Chris Moore as his sidekick. Bob McAfee and Chris Avell are the fathers, Theron Steinke and Wes Shoup the sons, and Becci McAfee and Crystal Bowers the sweethearts. Rachel Beevers plays a maid, and Jenny Overberg and her father, John, are gendarmes. Pianist Zach McAfee provides a vaudeville-type of musical accompaniment.

The Williams County Community Theater's "Scapin" opens tonight and runs through Oct. 9 in the Montpelier Playhouse, 501 South East Ave., Montpelier, Ohio. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12. Information: 419-485-3861.

In Tiffin, the Ritz Players have chosen Neil Simon's Plaza Suite to open their season.

"It's an excellent show for community theater," Michael Steyer, president of the Ritz Players, says. "It's like three one-act plays, so we can involve a lot of people."

Although set in the same suite in the Plaza Hotel in New York, each of the acts has a different tone. The bittersweet first act, Visitor from Mamaroneck, concerns a couple celebrating their 23rd or 24th (there's an argument about this) wedding anniversary. The second act, Visitor from Hollywood, is a sex farce about a movie producer out to seduce his former high school sweetheart. Visitor from Forest Hills, the third act, is a comedy about a reluctant bride-to-be who has locked herself in the bathroom. Her frantic parents are trying to soothe her nervesand get her to the church.

Steyer, who is directing the second act, believes the show is best suited to mature teens to adults, explaining that adult themes run throughout the show.

The casts include Jan Banks and Matthew Spahr as the anniversary couple in Mamaroneck, which is directed by Michael Strong; Terry Love as the producer and Nancy Betz as his quarry in Hollywood, and Janice Agerter, Spahr, and Elaine Whitman as the Hubley family in Forest Hills, directed by Terry Love. Bob Dougherty and Chris Nelson portray various minor characters.

The Ritz Players present Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, and Oct. 8 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Ritz Theater, 30 South Washington St., Tiffin. Tickets are $14 for adults and $9 for students. Information: 419-448-8644.

w●Tibor Vrszegi, an actor, producer, and director from Budapest, brings his one-man show, The Maiden Taken to Heaven, to the University of Toledo for three performances. In the production based on a folk tale about a maiden who dies before she can be wed, Varszegi explores what it means to die, to mourn a loved one, and the need to move beyond sadness. Performances, which are free and open to the public, are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday in the Center for Performing Arts' Center Theatre. Information: 419-530-2202.

w●If You Give a Mouse a Cookie & Other Story Books opens the Theater Vision season at Lourdes College's Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Theater Vision features daytime performances by professional touring companies for youngsters. The shows are promoted to schools for field trips, but if there is room, the public is welcome to attend. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which lasts about an hour, is suitable for pre-kindergarteners through second graders. Performances are 10 a.m. (tickets are $7) and 12:15 p.m. ($6.50) today and tomorrow. There is limited room available for both performances. Information: 419-824-3986.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at:

or 419-724-6130.

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