Toledo Rep enters parallel universes with 'Van Gogh'

Christina Billew and Zac Gilley in Toledo Repertoire Theater’s production of ‘Inventing Van Gogh,’ opening Friday.
Christina Billew and Zac Gilley in Toledo Repertoire Theater’s production of ‘Inventing Van Gogh,’ opening Friday.

Art, artifice, and the obsession to create are the themes of Inventing Van Gogh, opening Friday in the Toledo Repertoire Theatre.

The drama by Steven Dietz concerns Patrick Stone, a contemporary artist suffering a creative drought. Desperate to paint again, Stone accepts a commission: He is to forge Vincent Van Gogh's final self-portrait, a painting long rumored to exist but never actually seen, and pass it off as the original.

The story takes place in parallel universes. On one level, Stone is in his studio, struggling to create. On another, Van Gogh is in 19th-century France, painting the masterpieces that will never sell in his lifetime.

The two universes merge in Stone's mind, where Van Gogh assists Stone with his forgery.

For the Rep's production, directed by Barbara Barkan, James MacFarlane plays Stone and Zac Gilley is Van Gogh. Jeff Albright is Jonas Miller, Stone's mentor, and Marissa Rex is Hallie, Miller's daughter. Terry Biel plays artist Paul Gauguin; Fred Robinson plays Paul Gachet, Van Gogh's friend and physician, and Christina Billew is Gachet's daughter, Marguerite. Ed Burnham is Stone's "employer," Rene Bouchard.

"Inventing Van Gogh" is scheduled at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, with additional evening performances on April 22, 23, and 28-30. Matinees are 2:30 p.m. Sunday and May 1. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $10 for students 13 and older, and $5 for children 12 and younger. Information: 419-243-9277.

Larcenous hijinks

The Waterville Playshop has some fun with shoplifting as it presents 70, Girls, 70 this weekend in Grand Rapids, Ohio.

The musical by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Norman Martin, based on a work by Peter Coke, revolves around a group of senior citizens who live in a long-term hotel in New York City. When they learn that developers plan to buy the hotel and evict them, the seniors resort to larceny, stealing furs from various New York City stores and reselling them to finance the purchase of their dwelling.

The show had a brief run on Broadway in 1971, but it has fared better in regional and community theaters.

The Playshop production is directed by Matt Zwyer, with musical direction by Pam Martin. The cast comprises Kathy Bartlett, Sarah Boss, Karen Bower, Ken Bower, Jim Bucher, Denny Corathers, Thomas Davis, Craig Frederickson, Kris Frederickson, Kate Hoover, Joel Kirkwood, Trisha Kurtz, Linda Lee, Joel Logsdon, John Nicholson, Jennifer Oster, Bill Priest, and Ann Weis.

The Waterville Playshop's production of "70 Girls 70" is scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Grand Rapids' town hall, 5967 Finzel Rd., Whitehouse. Advance tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger. At the door, tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, and $5 for children. Information: 419-270-1204.

Also opening

●Bowling Green State University's Treehouse Troupe course, which teaches the performance of theater for young audiences, presents Bunnicula the Musical, based on a series of children's books by James and Deborah Howe.

The tale revolves around the Monroe family, which finds a bunny in a movie theater during a screening of Dracula. They take it home and name it Bunnicula, but it isn't long before Chester, the family cat, decides that Bunnicula is truly a vampire, out to suck the juices from the family's vegetable garden.

Along with the fun, the musical aims to teach valuable lessons about differences. Contrary to Chester's preconceived ideas, Bunnicula is no vampire, it's just a harmless rabbit hungry for nothing but a family and some lettuce.

"Bunnicula the Musical" is scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Joe E. Brown Theatre in University Hall. Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, and $6 for children ages 12 and younger. On the day of the show, a $3 surcharge will be added to each ticket. Information: 491-372-2719.

●The youth theater arm of Lima's Encore Theatre presents Anne of Green Gables, a musical based on the novel by Lucy Maude Montgomery. The tale of an orphan girl who finds a home with two elderly siblings on Canada's Prince Edward Island will be directed by Sheri Welker, with musical direction by Nancy Bronder.

The large cast features Meredith Tucker as Anne Shirley, Drew Kantonen as Matthew Cuthbert, and Alice Davis as Marilla Cuthbert. Jenna Brunk plays Anne's best friend, Diana Barry.

"Anne of Green Gables" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Encore Theatre, 991 North Shore Drive, Lima, as a production of the Macdonald's Youth Theatre. Tickets are $8. Information: 419-223-8866 or 800-944-1441.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: or 419-724-6130.