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Published: 10/25/2007

Drama, comedy and children's show set for area stages

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

William Quinlan has developed a newfound appreciation for the adage "The show must go on."

Quinlan, producing director of Harvest Theatre of Toledo, was in the final days of rehearsals for Harvest's first show of its third season when he learned that he didn't have a theater. There was a miscommunication with the building inspectors, and the venue he was expecting to use wasn't approved for audiences.

"I was scrambling," he said. After checking several possibilities - and delaying the opening of William Patrick Shanley's Doubt, A Parable - Quinlan went to Kathleen Kovacs, who owns the former Frame Shop on Adams Street.

"I had seen Glacity's production of [Who's Afraid of] Virginia Woolf there last spring, and knew we could work in the space," Quinlan said.

Kovacs came to the rescue, and Harvest held two preview performances there last week. The show's official opening was last night and it will run through Nov. 2.

Doubt, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play, deals with the issue of child abuse in the Catholic Church.

Set in 1964, a nun, the principal of a parochial school, suspects a priest of inappropriate behavior. Armed with a few circumstantial details, she begins a campaign to get him removed from the parish.

For the Harvest production, Kim Yost plays Sister Aloysius and Kyle Kutchenriter is Father Flynn. Rounding out the cast are Jennifer Holman as Sister James and Felicia Hill as Mrs. Muller.

"Doubt is one of the most universally acclaimed plays of the last 10 years," Quinlan says. "And in Toledo, probably more so than in many places, people really seem to get it."

Harvest Theatre of Toledo presents "Doubt" at 8 p.m. today-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, and 8 p.m. Nov. 1 and 2 in the former Frame Shop, 1811 Adams St. Tickets are $17 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. Student rush seating (15 minutes prior to curtain) is $10. Information: 419-902-0608.

The Theater Vision series at Lourdes College continues with a Theatreworks USA production of Max & Ruby, based on the children's books by Rosemary Wells.

New this year to the Theatreworks family, Max & Ruby follows the adventures of a bunny sister and her little brother who want to put on a play for Grandma. Of course, all sorts of comedic complications arise.

The show, which is recommended for youngsters age 3 and older, features music and lyrics by Carol Hall (Sesame Street, Free to Be You and Me). It is scheduled to premiere Off-Broadway in the Lucille Lortel Theatre in December.

The Theater Vision program was designed for school field trips, but if the shows aren't sold out, the public is welcome to attend.

Theatreworks USA presents "Max & Ruby" at 10 a.m. Monday and 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium of the Franciscan Theater & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets are $7. Information: 419-824-3986.

Adrian College is adding an extra dollop of reality to its production of Jane Eyre: The Musical.

For the show, which opens tonight, the cast has been working with Susan Eversden, well-known in the area as the costume designer for the Croswell Opera House.

Eversden hails from Yorkshire, England, the home of Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte, and she brings a knowledge of that region and the peculiarities of its language.

"I help the cast with near correct pronunciation of the English dialect," said Eversden. "Because I am from northern England, which is the setting of the play, I can steer them in the right direction and act as a consultant," she said in a press release.

Eversden is also the sole costumer, sewing and customizing each outfit for the cast of 23.

Directed by Michael Allen, a professor of theater at the college, the musical retells the story of the orphan Jane, who grows up to become a governess at Thornfield Manor, where she falls in love with the enigmatic Edward Rochester, an earl with a dark secret.

With music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and additional lyrics from John Caird, the show opened on Broadway in December, 2000, earning five Tony nominations.

The cast includes Mackenzie Fader as Jane, Nicolas Fuqua as Rochester, Gerianne Ditto as Blanche Ingram, Jessica Kobel as Mrs. Fairfax, and Deveny Lopinski as Mrs. Reed.

"Jane Eyre" will be presented at 8 p.m. today-Saturday in Adrian College's Dawson Auditorium, with parking lots off Michigan Avenue and Charles Street in Adrian. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students, seniors, and Adrian College employees. Information: 517-264-3922.

For its first productions of the academic year, the University of Findlay will alternate works by well-known American playwrights.

Beginning Wednesday, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Scott Hayes, will run in repertory with Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, directed by Vicki McClurkin.

Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama explores what happens when a woman filled with romantic illusions is forced to face reality, and Simon's comedy is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young man coming of age in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn in the 1930s.

The University of Findlay has scheduled "Brighton Beach Memoirs" on Wednesday and Nov. 2, 4, 8, and 10, and "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Nov. 1, 3, 7, 9, and 11. Performances are at 8 p.m. in the Grimm Theatre in the Egner Center for the Performing Arts on the Findlay campus. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and free to UF students and employees. Information: 419-434-5335 or boxoffice@findlay.edu.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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