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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

'Over the River' to take the stage in Monroe

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Monroe Community Players opens its new season tomorrow with Over the River and Through the Woods.

Joe DiPietro's generational comedy concerns Nick, a young marketing executive who is the apple of his grandparents' collective eye. When Nick, at one of his weekly visits, announces that he's in line for a promotion, the four senior citizens are delighted. When he then says the promotion means a cross-country transfer, they are appalled and begin plotting to keep him from relocating. Their schemes say a lot about love, family, and the need to let go.

Directed by Val Wehner, the cast comprises Matthew Morris as Nick Cristano, Gary Jenkins and Lu White as Frank and Aida Gianelli, Norb Nowak and Laura Hehl as Nunzio and Ema Cristano, and Cassandra Perry as Caitlin O'Hare.

"Over the River and Through the Woods" is scheduled at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Meyer Theater of the La-Z-Boy Center at Monroe County Community College, 1555 Raisinville Rd., Monroe. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and children. Information: 734-241-7900.

In 1991, Marsha Norman turned The Secret Garden, the classic children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, into a musical play, and it ran on Broadway for more than 700 shows, winning several Tony Awards in the process.

The show is being produced this weekend at Heidelberg College in Tiffin.

The play takes place before World War I at Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England, where young Mary Lenox is sent to live with her reclusive uncle after her parents die in a cholera epidemic in colonial India. Not only is the change of scenery a shock to the child, so is the change of attitude. Where once she was the pampered daughter of a British officer, with servants to wait on her hand and foot, now she is virtually ignored by her uncle, who is embittered by the death of his beloved wife, and must see to her own needs and entertainment.

A servant girl, Martha, who is just a little older than Mary, befriends her and helps her through the early days, as does Martha's brother, Dickon.

Directed by Rick Groetzinger, chairman of communication and theater arts at Heidelberg, the cast comprises students and members of the community. Lucy Anders plays Mary. Other key characters are played by Emily Bastin, Seth Carey, Bradley Jayne, Nikki Locker, Brady Miller, Kim States, and David Turner.

"The Secret Garden" is scheduled at 8 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Gundlach Theatre, adjacent to Founders Hall, at Heidelberg College, 310 East Market St., Tiffin. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. Heidelberg students are admitted free with college ID. Information: 419-448-2304.

Last year, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre began presenting EdgyRepReadings, a program to promote cutting-edge and less-mainstream plays.

Done without props and costumes - and generally in a nontheater setting - the readings nevertheless offer theater lovers a chance to hear shows that may never make Toledo stages. A case in point is Frozen, which opens the EdgyRepReadings season Saturday.

The Tony Award-winning play by Bryony Lavery brings together Ralph, a pedophile serial killer; Nancy, the mother of one of his victims; and Agnetha, a research psychologist.

The Toledo Repertoire Theatre presents a reading of Bryony Lavery's "Frozen" Saturday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 316 Adams St. A reception begins at 7:30 p.m., the reading takes place at 8. Tickets are $15. Information: 419- 243-9277.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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