Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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Village Players, ACT take on 'Joneses'

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    Kate Abu-Absi, left, Derek Hansen, Marissa Rex, and John Jennens star in 'The Realistic Joneses.' The production is a collaboration of the Village Players and Actors Collaborative Toledo.


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    Paige Titsworth, front from left, Olivia Gierke, Casey Merren, and Hannah Buck lead the cast of 'HeatherS the Musical,' a Toledo Rep teen production.

    Elfhouse Photography


The Village Players and Actors Collaborative Toledo join forces to present The Realistic Joneses, a contemporary play by Will Eno, on Friday and Saturday at the Village theater.

This dramatic comedy centers on two suburban couples, Bob and Jennifer Jones and their new neighbors, the younger John and Pony, also with the last name of Jones. As they talk, they discover they have more in common than their surnames as they face a common reality.

The production, directed by Nancy Wright, features Kate Abu-Absi as Jennifer, John Jennens as Bob, Marissa Rex as Pony, and Derek Hansen as John.

The Realistic Joneses appealed to Actors Collaborative Toledo because they are committed to doing new plays that might not get a chance to be seen in Toledo, said Jeffrey Albright, a founder of ACT.

“We produced one other of Will Eno’s plays, Thom Pain (based on nothing) a few years back. When I read The Realistic Joneses I was immediately struck at how well it captures the current mood of anxiety and angst in out country. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Keeping up with the Joneses.’ Eno's play explores this notion taken to its comic extreme.”

Wright, who earlier directed a staged reading of the play with ACT, said “I love the dialogue in the play so much; it’s like a Seinfeld episode in style, with its quick scenes and laugh-out-loud moments.” 

The characters are all going through really hard times, Wright said, and are basically fighting the same battles. The play takes place over one summer in backyard conversations. As the couples get to know each other, after many social faux pas, they figure out they have the same big problem and acknowledge and share that.

This summer ACT has collaborated with the Valentine Theatre on Crumbs from the Table of Joy, and later this month will work with Cutting Edge Theatre Company on The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which Albright will direct.

Performances of The Realistic Joneses are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Village Players Theatre, 2740 Upton Ave. Tickets, $15, are available in advance from or at the door one hour before curtain.


The Toledo Repertoire Theatre presents a summer weekend with the cool kids in performances of  Heathers the Musical (High School Edition), a Young Rep (ages 14-19) teen musical with a cast of 37.

The darkly comic rock musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O'Keefe, is based on the film written by Daniel Waters. It follows three teenage girls named Heather who rule the school’s social scene as members of a popular but feared clique, and Veronica Sawyer, who is invited to join the cruel threesome but soon realizes that she will have to turn on the kids who are now her friends. She and her new boyfriend, Jason Dean, join forces in a plan for revenge that sometimes ends in murder.

Heathers deals with high school kids and the issues they confront, such as peer pressure, drugs, and alcohol, “the stuff that we as parents are telling the kids, ‘No, all that stuff is bad.’ “ director Victoria Monhollen said. “It’s all about popularity and how one girl, Veronica, wants to join [the clique] so bad.

“We hit the issues head on, but we try to do it tactfully and tastefully so people will have a good time here.” 

“The music is great and the songs are so much fun,” the director added. “One of our favorites, ‘Shine a Light,’ is sung by the guidance counselor, Miss Fleming, to tell people to be that light in someone’s life if they need help. It’s really an upbeat song and the kids love it.”

The Rep’s cast includes Olivia Gierke as Heather Chandler, Casey Merren as Heather Duke, Paige Titsworth as Heather McNamara, Hannah Buck as Veronica Sawyer, and Tristan Daniels as Jason Dean.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Main Street Stage, 16 10th St. Tickets are $15 general admission, $13 for seniors 60 and older, and $12 for children 13 and younger from 419-243-9277 and

Contact Sue Brickey at:

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