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Mariemont Players Limelight Review - May, 2018

Norma Niinemets, Editor
Art Kibby, Distribution

Board News
Following a successful Membership Meeting the following news was received, President. Steve Winslow announced that Dee Anne Bryll will be chairing the Artistic Committee for the MPI 2019-2020 season.

Jackie Miesle has graciously accepted the position of Publicity Chair for MPI. I will be leaving several of my volunteer positions for MPI and I am happy to announce that the following members have stepped forward to take the jobs. The Limelight Review will now be handled by Jackie Miesle . Dan Maloney will take over Opening Night Gift for cast and crew and Chris Cullen will be in charge of purchasing concessions for each production. Thanks to everyone for stepping up.

Director's Notes for Around the World in 80 Days by Jerry Wiesenhahn
A huge thank you and shout out to everyone who helped make Around the World in 80 Days a success! A special thanks to those who are not recognized in the program - the ushers and those who helped with strike. Special recognition to Kristen Vincenty, my producer who ended up doing WAY MORE than a producer generally has to do personally, including dramaturgy, lobby display, helping with painting and costumes, stage managing one night and being an incredibly valuable sounding board for me as well. Other special thanks to our costume "posse" who helped pull the 36-ish costumes together in less than 3 weeks when our costumer quit - In addition to Kristen they were Sharon Shelton, Mary Kay Wiesenhahn, Pam Kaesemeyer, Cindy Rumpke, Katherine Wiesenhahn, Gina Stack, and the cast as well - with a special thanks to Fr. Dan Anderson for the Franciscan friar robes. Thanks to Becky Mullins for her lighting design, Ryan Oelker for his painting designs and execution, Jeff Surber for his projections, and Mike Surber for set construction and the wonderful trunk he designed and built - all of these fulfilled (and usually exceeded) my original hopes for what was possible for the visual aspects of the show and I am so grateful for what they contributed. Thanks to our awesome Stage Manager Jay Gossett for keeping things running so smoothly in what can be described as organized chaos backstage, to Cindy Rumpke for designing our hair and makeup, and her efforts as dresser every night in the midst of that chaos, and to Laura Berkemeier and Dan Maloney for doing double duty running lights and projections so seamlessly the nights each of them were there. A special shout out to Art Kibby and Tom Peters for administering CPR to the lighting system to keep us visible during performances. Thanks to Eric Bardes for being our foley sound consultant, and to Pam Kaesemeyer for creating and/or tracking down our props, including the foley props, no matter how crazy they were. Thanks to Katelyn Reid for all her work with our cast on the many, many dialects they had to adopt in this show. And speaking of our cast - I could not have asked for a more creative, collaborative and funnier group of performers to go with on this journey - Eric Day, Ryan Naish, Jay Dallas Benson, Patricia Mullins, Eric Thomas and Pat Kramer - I'm so thankful we got to go Around the World together, I can't think of a better group of people with whom to do it! - Jerry Wiesenhahn

Around the World Strike Crew Submitted by Kristen Vincenty
Patricia Mullins, Eric Day, Jay Gossett, Eric Thomas, Ryan Naish, Ryan Oelker, Pat Kramer, Jerry Wiesenhahn, Mary Kay Wiesenhahn, Dan Maloney, Art Kibby, Sharon Shelton, Don Phillips, Cindy Rumpke, Pam Kaesemeyer, Steve Winslow, and myself.

Around the World in 80 Days Usher Thank You by Dan Maloney
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to usher for Around the World in 80 Days! Chris Cullen (X2), Amy Stier, Tom Peters, Vicki Rafferty, Traci Taylor, Nancy Taylor, Linda Winslow, Nisrene Langenbrunner, Karen Zaugg, Merritt Beischel, Linda Callahan, Jan Costello, Linda Roll, Art Kibby, Joyce Kibby, Amy Sullivan, Dava Lynn, Burt McCollom, Michael Sauer, John Gilligan, Lon Nease, Steve Winslow, Cathy Roesner, Steve Phelan, Rob Krehbiel, Jan Krehbiel, Sara Krehbiel, Jan Costello, Tim Carney (X2), Susie Hurst, John Nixon, Anna Nixon, Arny Stoller, Steph Stoller, and Karen Rokich.

Mariemont Players and director Jerry Wiesenhahn announce auditions for The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchall

Audition Dates/Times:
8 PM – 10 PM Sunday, May 13th (by appointment only)
7 PM – 10 PM Monday, May 14th (appointments encouraged, walk-ins welcome)
Location: 4101 Walton Creek Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45227
Performance Dates: September 7th – 23rd, 2018

3 Jewish widows in New York City have been friends forever and get together once a month to visit their husbands’ graves. One of them will never get over her husband’s death, the visit to his gravesite is the highlight of her month; another is just beginning to think about putting herself back out there socially and try dating; the third may have actually scheduled a date at her husband’s funeral for later that evening. How they support each other (and occasionally don’t) is a very funny (and sometimes touching) play about life, loss, friendship, and having the courage to turn a page and begin a new chapter for yourself.

Characters: 4 F, 1 M – all late 50s to early 70s stage age, Auditions will consist of cold readings of the script. To make an appointment, review the script, or for more information, please contact the director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

March Play Reading Report by Anna Nixon
Last evening we read the play “The Gin Game”; we separated the eight actors into pairs and then broke the scenes and acts into appropriate sections for them. It worked well and the readers enjoyed the way we did it. Written in the 1970’s, this play comes over as fresh as ever. Set in an old people’s home, an intelligent man and woman relate over the card table. Unfortunately their relationship does not end happily! Our readers were: Laura Hovland, Chessie Vigran, Linda Callahan, Maris Ryan, Dava Lynn, Fred Rothzeid, Joyce and Art Kibby and yours truly. Next reading: Tuesday, May 15th. at 7.30 p.m. See you then!

A. J. Ford (Lyndon Baines Johnson)
Aaron Bates (Walter Jenkins)
Tom Peters (Hubert Humphrey)
Arny Stoller (Richard Russell)
Burt McCollom (J. Edgar Hoover)
Derek Snow (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
James Christian, Jr. (Ralph Abernathy)
Dan Maloney (Stanley Levison; John McCormack; Seymore Trammell;
Edwin King)
Joel Lind (Cartha ‘Deke’ Deloach; Howard ‘Judge’ Smith; Everett Dirksen)
Fred Murrell (Strom Thurmond)
John Langley (George Wallace)
Dava Lynn (Lady Bird Johnson; Katherine Graham; Katherine St. George)
Sally Fint (Lurleen Wallace; Muriel Humphrey; Secretary)
Gary Glass (Robert McNamara; James Eastland; William McCulloch; Paul
Johnson, Jr.)
David Hatfield (William Colmer; Robert Byrd)
Kenny Tessel (Emmanuel Celler; Walter Reuther; Mike Mansfield)
jef Brown (James Corman; Carl Sanders; Tailor; Barber)
Elizabeth Leigh Taylor (Coretta Scott King/Fannie Lou Hamer
William Gibson (Stokley Carmichael)
Charles McClinon: Roy Wilkins/Aaron Henry/Bob Moses/David Dennis

1963… An assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon B. Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, this charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into the Civil Rights Act, a tinderbox issue emblematic of a divided America.

ACT Judges Loved Their Trip around the World
House: “Always comfortable and friendly. Really good to see so many theater folks. Nice ticket counter with coffee and snacks. Inside theater, seating was comfortable and well lighted (for old folks like my husband)! Stage was in full view at all times. “

Lobby Display: “Lobby display was easy to locate in and in a nice location away from the hubbub of the lobby. It was fitting for the show and tied into the over travel concept. I liked the muted color choices to give it an older feel (1872 era). I also liked the 3D letters that popped out at you and the fact that you used color photos from the production to gauge interest. Everything was easy to read and pleasing to the eye. I appreciated the inclusion of some of the artistic staff as well.”

Program And Original Art Work: “ Professionally done. Printed on beautiful stock. Nice colored outside back and front. Great computerized picture of world with directions followed by story on front cover. I really liked the “Audience Services” inside front cover, giving information for patrons as to whereabouts of restrooms, elevator, emergency exits and accommodations for people needing extra help. Nice title sheet with easy access to all information for production. “A Note from the Director…” was short and sweet with humor and thanks to the crew and actors. “ “Original Art Work was really nicely done on the front cover; fit show well.”

Pre Show: “Pre-Show announcement welcoming audience with information, and admonishments about cell phones, etc. was well done - off stage British accent. “

Set Design: “Gina Stack - I loved this design. It took about two scene changes before I could see just how ingenious the design actually was (especially for a small stage area). The Larger than life steamer trunk became so many things and each time, everything fit in so well. The video work here was wonderful. Just four chairs and four bodies that moved up and down when the trained moved! Really great work. And when they all got on the elephant, along, of course with the Foley Operator’s sounds, got a huge laugh, but once this setup was in our minds, we could actually see the elephant and hear him walking, too!! (If I knew his name, I’d have given him an orchid!) Then the video for the boat scenes got us quickly to another country and another time! Really clever work on this design. The exits and entrances around CS let other characters come into the scene in a timely, surprising, and very funny way. Wonderful!!”

Set Construction: “Mike Surber - a really fine job for the Master Carpenter and the builder (one in the same)! Very stable and strongly presented. The moving videos were framed and centered appropriately. The side pieces on SL and SR were very firm and strongly built. Really a wonderful job on an unusual set.”

Décor: “The large compass in the middle of the floor was a great touch! The walls appeared to be wallpapered (or quite possibly a wonderful paint job by Mr. Oelker). If any of the furniture pieces were not exactly period, you slipped them past me. All pieces seemed to naturally fit with the time period. Wonderful job!

Set Painting: ” Set Painting - Ryan Oelker - did a wonderful job of painting the set. All colors and textures on the walls and side pieces fit in very well.”

Light Design and Execution: “The lighting design was appropriate. Lights adjusted to create differing moods and settings (the Pagoda, sleeping in the jungle, etc.) When a full wash was intended, the entire stage was lit with no shadows” “Dan Maloney and Laura Berkemeier operated the lights very smoothly and effectively for each scene. All light cues worked excellently and advanced the mood and the action.”

Sound Design: “·The Foley artist approach was perfect for this production. All of those sounds were spot on (except, of course, the “panther” – which was deliberately played for laughs – another kudo). Unlike others, I was able to take advantage of the T-Loop which gives me a bit more insight into the balance of the microphones. Without the T-Loop, no other microphones were necessary for the intimate playing space. The shaker for the train and the wind machine were particularly effective sounds as was the stirring in the bucket of water during shipboard scenes. Wonderful job!” “

SOUND EXECUTION: “ In this section, I feel it would be best to comment on Mr. Kramer’s OUTSTANDING sound execution throughout the entire production. As a matter of fact, there may have been a few instances where he stole the show! The sounds were perfectly synchronized with the actions on stage. I could hear all of them, including the subtle water splashing sound when they were on the boat! They were executed in a timely manner and went exactly along with the cues that the actors needed to perform their portion. Not only was sound an important part in telling this story, but was necessary to moving the story along in an entertaining way. I always found myself gazing back to the Foley Operator to see what he was going to do next. It never failed, when I glanced upstage, I would also always see epic facial reactions to what the other actors were doing on stage! How did you keep a straight face? Jack Foley would be proud!” “Eric Bardes did an excellent job on the sound design”

Costumes: “Sharon Shelton ,Kristen Vincenty, Chad Phillips, Mary Kay Wiesenhahn, and Pam Kaesemeyer collaborated so well together to give this production a real treat in costuming. From a rich British Gentleman to several Muslims to a demented General with an arrow in his hat to a nutsy private investigator to a really pretty Indian girl who was perhaps the only sane character in the troop, plus her interpretation of a chagrined male assistant to Fogg, and to many more important roles of various ethnicities and levels of mentality, the costumes were perfect and versatile because some were easily? changeable quickly. Absolutely excellent work in all areas!”

Wigs and Make-up: “For this period of show, simplicity works best, especially with the number of changes these actors had to make. Ms. Rumpke is credited with makeup for this production, and I will assume that hair was handled by the cast. Everything seemed to work fine and was consistent across the board for cast members. The addition of the facial hair for some of the actors helped play a good comedic bit and read well to the audience.”

Properties: “The props were well chosen to represent 1872. I didn’t detect any instances where props took me out of the moment. The actors must have had sufficient time to rehearse with the props as they appeared comfortable using them. I (and the rest of the audience) particularly appreciated the teacups attached to the saucers and the resulting sight gag. I also noted that the newspaper looked appropriate. Many times, a newspaper for a historic period has a more yellowed effect (as if it is how we would see it now as opposed to what would have been the appearance in that day).”

Special Effects: “Jeff Surber - Projectionist - was on top of every scene and visual effects change and his timing was perfection. The entire set decor was enhanced with the scenes in movement and various parts of the world going by on the train and on the ship. This addition and other great work, I think, took part in several areas including sound and special effects. Mr. Surber handled all his elements of pictures sounds and great timing perfectly and really made this show a joy to watch.”

Stage Combat: “Having the actors directly in front of each other upstage, from where I was sitting, I could not tell that it was a staged punch. It looked believable and the reactions of those around the combat fit the scene. Combat seemed safe and I was not worried about actors during it.”

Choreography: “The cast did a credible job of bouncing on trains, riding on elephants and swaying on ships. As the pace of the vehicles increased their bodies likewise became more jostled. It was all believable and drew the audience further into the story.”

Dialect: “There were quite a few dialects to perfect, especially in some of the comic characters - (for Passepartout - especially, on the French/Scottish accent!) They were all completed with perfection and were very believable in that most all of the characters were very understandable throughout the show despite speaking with accents. Really great work Coach Kate Reid.”

Stage Management: “Jay Gossett as Stage Manager - What a gem of an SM!! I am in awe of all the changes in characters and entrances and exits. All cues were perfectly timed for movement and expectations. An exceptional comedic production that flowed from beginning to end. Fantastic work!!”

Producing: “Kristen Vincenty as Producer & Dramaturg - so many times, the producer is forgotten among all the talent in a production. And so many times, the producer’s main job is to figure out last minute production problems and solve them quickly and with a smile!! This was a really wonderful job -- everything came together very, very well. All technical and on stage duties were handled with an eye to the director’s creative hopes! It all worked to give the audience a really fun evening. Great job!”

Ensemble: “There was no doubt in my mind that this team of performers was having as much fun sharing this story as we were having watching it. Every character was fully formed and everyone was working toward the same goal of bringing laughter to the house. They succeeded in delivering a unified production that gave each performer a chance to shine when appropriate. Great job!”

Acting: Eric Thomas as Phileas Fogg “Really a wonderful characterization here. He moved comfortably on stage. His character moved with lots of quiet authority and he had the belief in himself that so many rich people have. His posture and demeanor were perfect for his character. He was a man with power; however, there was a sweet turning point when the audience realized that he was as in love with Lady Auoda as she was with him”

Eric Day (Actor1) “Wow, what I can say. Mr. Day portraying what I can only imagine to be 3,492 roles. Mr. Day has the experience of a seasoned actor and the sheer ability to steal a scene! I could not wait to see what he would come out as next. The immense amount of physicality needed to execute many of these characters was unbelievable. You were consistent and easy to hear. The dialect choices made were strong, stereotypical and relatable for many of the characters. Well done!”

Ryan Naish (Actor 2) “Mr. Naish also had his fair share of characters. He, too, varied his delivery and posture making the characters unique. His biggest differentiations came from his changes in facial expressions. His Detec,um,uh Fix was a particularly likeable antagonist and his choice of portrayal endeared him to the audience despite his attempts to foil Fogg’s mission.”

Jay Dallas Benson as Passepartout, John Sullivan (Actor 3) “Another Wow! This was a very funny character from beginning to end. “From his first comic line, after Fogg exits of: “I do believe I have seen people at Madame Tussaud’s with more life than Monsieur Fogg,” I knew I would love him! His comedic timing was right on and he fit into all groups and worked with individual actors throughout the production, no matter what part of the world they were in. Also, a really great punch that looked real and made the audience draw in air! An outstanding job with all characters.”

Patricia N. Mullins (Actor 4) “Ms. Mullins opened the show playing 2 male characters. I was fully engrossed in her performance as the former manservant handing over the reins to Passepartout. She quickly followed that up as the newspaperman giving a fantastic rundown of the 80 day estimate. Her return later to apologize for the “fake news” about the railroad was priceless! As Aouda, she was completely engaged and credible as a damsel in distress who falls for Phileas Fogg.”

Patrick Kramer as the Foley Operator, newspaperman “This was a really hysterical character once you understood why he was there! At first I thought he would leave the stage - that perhaps for a comedic effect, he was just sitting to the side and forgot where he was supposed to be! But when the show started for real and we got into other scenes, it became funnier and funnier as we realized who he was! My favorite sound, I think, was the elephant, with his arm adding solidity. And the elephant walking with a heavy gait! I also loved the water sounds in the ship scenes. All cues were perfectly timed. Wonderful!”

Directing: Jerry Wiesenhahn as Director and Choreographer “ A final “Wow” “Wow” “Wow”! All blocking was perfect and choreography movement designed to exemplify each character. A real success when the entire cast was either leaving or entering in a different costume or character. It almost reminded me of a really funny Vaudeville show (of course, I don’t remember Vaudeville, but my father told me about it and I’ve seen old movies)! Every characterization was well thought out and represented by each individual actor. All characters in the ensemble worked beautifully together, always with comedy in movement and vocalizations. I was also
amazed at the “pauses” or “beats” that characters exhibited making the hilarious comedic effects really strong. These actors were all talented and well-rehearsed with exuberance and delight, and it showed by the laughter and enjoyment in the audience. Wonderful!!!”

General Comments
“Thank you for a tremendous night of theatre and congratulations on a wonderful performance.”

“I think an ensemble of perfectly timed comedy with lots of characters whom never missed a beat is probably one of the best ensembles I’ve ever seen in Community Theater.”

“Thank you for what was truly an enjoyable evening at the theater!”

Mariemont Players Limelight Review – June, 2018
Mariemont Players Auditions for The Cemetery Club