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Published: 3/9/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Drama, romantic comedy merge in 'The Rainmaker'

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Continuing what Paul Palmisano calls its mission of offering intriguing productions for a wide range of age groups, the Village Players presents N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker.

"I think the author always envisioned it as a romantic comedy, but there's a lot of drama in it as well," said Palmisano, who directs the show.

Set in the drought-ridden West of Depression-era America, The Rainmaker revolves around the Curry family, which is keeping a death-watch on its cattle, and thus its livelihood, as the family ranch dries up. But truth be told, the Curry patriarch, H.C., and his sons, Noah and Jimmy, are just as worried about their daughter and sister, Lizzie, a plain woman with no prospects for love or the future.

Into their lives enters Starbuck, who promises to bring rain in exchange for $100. The family smells a con, but it's a small price to pay for hope, and they fork over the cash. Surprisingly, Starbuck does have some magic, and the Currys get more than they bargained for.

For the Village Players' production, Norb Mills plays H.C., with Martin Boyer and Brad Ricker as Noah and Jimmy. Elizabeth Cottle plays Lizzie; John Henry's the sheriff and Mark Malley is his deputy. Jim Trumm plays Starbuck.

There is so much in the show that's worthy of an audience, Palmisano said. Each character brings something different to the stage.

"There's Lizzie, who knows just about everything except how to catch a man; Jimmy is so young and delighted with the vastness of life; Noah, who really runs the ranch but never feels he gets any credit.

"And then there's the con man, who teaches Lizzie that every woman is beautiful. She may not be pretty, but she is beautiful."

Some people may remember the 1956 Burt Lancaster-Katharine Hepburn movie based on the play, Palmisano said, but a lot of the audience may be new to the show. He expects both groups to be pleased with what they see.

"The Rainmaker" opens at 8 p.m. Friday in the Village Players Theatre, 2740 Upton Ave. Additional 8 p.m. performances are scheduled Saturday and March 17-19 and 24-26. A matinee is at 2 p.m. March 20. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Information: 419-472-6817.

Science and students

Star Trek Live comes to two area colleges next week. The interactive adventure by Mad Science Productions uses the popular science-fiction franchise to inspire an interest in science and technology in children in grades 4 through 6.

In the show, audience members become new cadets at Starfleet Academy who are called upon to help Capt. James T. Kirk and Vulcan science officer Spock when Earth comes under attack by Romulans from the future. Special effects, an action-based plot, and an exploration of real technology are designed to make science come alive.

"Star Trek Live" is part of the Theater Vision series at the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Shows are scheduled at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Shows are geared to school field trips, but the public is welcome if space is available. Tickets are $8. Information: 419-824-3986.

On March 18, the show moves to Ohio Northern University's Freed Center for the Performing Arts in Ada. The performance is at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for children and non-ONU students. Information: 419-772-1900.

Also scheduled

The Amorous Ambassador opens Friday in Fremont Community Theater. The farce by Michael Parker focuses on the family of Harry Douglas, the new American ambassador to Great Britain. When Harry announces that he's going to Scotland to play golf, his wife and daughter admit to having weekend plans of their own.

Their butler, Perkins, watches stoically as each leaves and stealthily returns for a romantic rendezvous in what he or she believes to be an empty house.

Directed by Pete Lowry, the cast comprises Tim Bolton as Perkins, Robert Ammanniti as Harry, Kendra Keegan as Debbie, Mindie Ottney as Lois, Donielle Yates as Marian, Brandon Wurgess as Joe, Bob Willer as Captain South, and Laura Buchanan as Faye.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through March 20 in the theater at 1551 Dickinson St., Fremont. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Information: 419-332-0695.

● Lima's Encore Theater presents Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, a comedy with dramatic elements, through March 20. The story takes place in the small town of McCarthy, Texas, in 1975 as the former members of a James Dean fan club hold a reunion to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the actor's death. As the odd assortment of women arrive, hidden secrets are revealed amid the memories of more innocent days.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays in the theater at 991 North Shore Drive, Lima. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $8 for youths. Information: 419-223-8866 or 800-944-1441.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.



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