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Published: 2/14/2007

Community leaders preparing for new 'roles'

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The mayor of Perrysburg can't wait to see how he's going to pull this one out of his hat.

Not a piece of legislation or zoning agreement, mind you, but a rabbit.

In a theatrical play, no less.

Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans has a role in the Way Public Library's upcoming production of Vengeance in Vegas, an original, interactive murder mystery production to be held at the library on Feb. 24.

His character's name is Jay Presto, a self-centered, boisterous magician with a possible penchant for murder.

The mayor said he's done some previous acting, but nothing as encompassing as his upcoming role.

"This is way out of bounds for me," Mr. Evans said. "I think the hardest part has been learning the magic part. I hope I'm getting to the point where I can at least pull some of these tricks off."

Mr. Evans is one of a handful of recognizable Perrysburg citizens cast for the Way Library's fourth annual interactive play.

For instance, Mr. Evans' partner in magic (and crime?) is played by Terry Powell, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Perrysburg.

Walt Churchill, of Churchill's Super Market, has been cast as Seymore Crooks, and developer Larry Dillin agreed to play Sydney Oprahouse.

Mr. Dillin, who said he is well aware he wasn't picked for the part because of his thespian skills, would divulge only that his character is an Australian businessman.

"He will be a guy with the worst Australian accent ever," Mr. Dillin said.

Lisa Richard, a part-time administrator for the Way Public Library Foundation, which is partnering with Physical Therapy Consultants and Owens Corning to put on this year's performance, said that the goal each year is to not only select a cast of people who are well known in the community, but also one full of folks that no one would ever expect to see on a theatrical stage.

"You definitely do not have to have acting experience to be involved," Ms. Richard said.

Other cast members this year are Julie Olmstead, Holly Perry, Carolyn Walton, and Brenda Irwin.

The play was written specifically for the Way Library by a woman in England Ms. Richards found on the Internet.

The woman, Jo Magnus, received a fee in exchange for a script, which was then edited by Perrysburg resident Lea Skotynsky.

Ms. Richard said the library will be transformed into a casino, and each of the characters will be stationed in different rooms. The audience is free to roam the casino and visit the rooms to hear the actors' monologues and search for different clues.

Each audience member will have a program with an answer sheet on the back, and will have to name the murderer, motive, and means through which the crime was committed.

The answer sheets will be collected at the end of the evening, and those who correctly solve all three facets of the murder will receive door prizes.

Ms. Richard said last week that the event, which begins at 6 p.m. and costs $65 per person, was nearly sold out.

Tickets, if still available, can be purchased at the library's information desk. Interested parties can call 419-874-3135, ext. 139 for more information.



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