Theater: Valentine’s 'Studio A' hosts musical comedy

From left, Lindsey Denham, Derrick Jordan, Katie Zarecki, Ryan Christopher Zarecki, and Jason Leupold star in ‘The Thing About Men,’ starting Feb. 28 at the Valentine Theatre.
From left, Lindsey Denham, Derrick Jordan, Katie Zarecki, Ryan Christopher Zarecki, and Jason Leupold star in ‘The Thing About Men,’ starting Feb. 28 at the Valentine Theatre.

The Valentine Theatre will present the musical comedy The Thing About Men in its Studio A theater beginning Feb. 28. The show has music by Jimmy Roberts and lyrics and book by Joe DiPietro, the team that created the long-running Off-Broadway hit I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which was a success for Studio A last winter.

The storyline revolves around Tom, the creative director at a top New York City advertising firm, who is cheating on his wife, Lucy, with several different women. But Lucy is in the game, too — she is cheating on Tom with an artist named Sebastian. When Tom finds out, he retaliates by developing a disguise and moving in with Sebastian. This tangled plot is illuminated by a two-person Greek chorus performing multiple roles.

“I saw this show Off-Broadway when it first was produced [in 2003] and found it very charming,” director James Norman said in an email. “I love how the author makes the characters and situations believable without being preachy. I think audiences will fall in love with these characters. Everyone will find aspects of themselves in these characters and situations from their own relationships. In addition, the music is very catchy. Musically, it is a challenging show but has very hummable melodies with lyrics that drive the story line.”

The cast includes Derrick Jordan as Tom, Katie Zarecki as Lucy, and Ryan Christopher Zarecki as Sebastian; Jason Leupold and Lindsey Denham are the chorus.

The musical is a good fit for the Valentine’s Studio A, its intimate, 80-seat black box (unadorned) theater. “Some shows work very well when the audience is close and can relate with the characters,” director Norman said. “This is one of those shows. I’ve been involved with a couple shows that were produced in smaller theaters and then moved to larger spaces and just didn’t work as well. I think that’s why the production of The Full Monty I directed at the Rep enjoyed three great runs — small house. Because we are in a small space, we are using rear projections for our set as the locale changes very often; this is technology that I think our modern audiences like to see.”

“The Thing About Men” will be presented in the Studio A theater, around the corner from the main entrance of the Valentine Theatre, 400 N. Superior St., on Feb. 28 and March 1 at 8 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.; March 7-8 at 8 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m.; and March 14-15 at 8 p.m. and March 16 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 from 419-242-2787 or The show is suggested for mature audiences.


Second City

Can’t make it to Chicago? The Second City touring company is bringing its Happily Ever Laughter show, featuring classic comedy from the Second City archives plus routines inspired by current events, to the Valentine Theatre Saturday at 8 p.m. Up-and-coming comedy stars will perform scripted scenes and improvisation, according to press materials. Performers include Casey Whitaker, originally from Beavercreek, Ohio, who trained at Second City in Chicago, and Ariel Dumas, who has performed in several Second City productions, including 4 Girls (and a Guy): A One Night Stand with The Second City.

Tickets are $43, $34, and $27 from 419-242-2787 or


Women of ‘Steel’

Bellevue Society for the Arts will debut its production of the comedy/​drama Steel Magnolias tomorrow evening. Robert Harling’s play opened Off-Broadway in 1987 and was adapted for a 1998 Steel Magnolias film.The story of friendship, heartache, and trust among six women plays out in a Southern beauty salon. They share their secrets, fears, and affection with plenty of time out for neighborly gossip. In bad times, they seek comfort and support in Truvy’s salon.

Steel Magnolias is directed by Monica Siesel of Bellevue. The cast includes Jodie Fleming of Clyde as Truvy Jones, the owner of the beauty shop; Kayla Burns of Bellevue as Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, Truvy’s assistant; Heather Walters of Bellevue as Clairee Belcher, the wealthy widow of the former mayor; Jennifer Gilbert of Bellevue as the stubbornly independent Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie; Teri Sizemore of Norwalk as M’Lynn Eatenton, Shelby’s socially prominent mother, and Heidi Sarvis-Sapp, Berlin Heights, as Ouiser Boudreaux, a wealthy, loveable curmudgeon.

“Steel Magnolias” will be performed Friday and Saturday and Feb. 28 and March 1 at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. in the Hirt Theatre, 205 Maple St. in Bellevue. Tickets are $12 general admission, $8 for adults 60 and older and students through grade 12. Call 419-484-2787.

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