Jackie Miesle, Editor
Art Kibby, Distribution
Membership Summer Party
Mariemont Players General Membership Party
Linda Callahan and Maris Ryan did a wonderful job hosting the Mariemont Players General Membership party meeting on Saturday evening, August 18th. We had a festive gathering of about fifty members and guests. We enjoyed camaraderie, a game, good food, music by Aretha Franklin, and door prizes. Thanks to all who contributed their delicious potluck dishes. During the meeting, we heard about the upcoming events and activities of our members.
The following awards were presented during the meeting:
The 2018 Elston Hurst Award for Achievement in Technical Excellence was awarded to Liz Venn.
The 2018 F.A.M.E. Award for Friendliness, Achievement, Merit & Enthusiasm was awarded to Pat Kramer.
The 2018 Roger Grooms Award for Achievement in Artistic Excellence was awarded to Jerry Wiesenhahn.
The 2018 President’s Award for Talent, Commitment, Dedication, and Being-the- Person-Upon-Whom-All of Us-at-Mariemont-Players-Depend was awarded to Michael Sauer.
Congratulations to Liz, Jerry, Pat, and Michael, and thank you for your contributions!
We Want You (to usher)!
MPI is in need of volunteer ushers for the upcoming production of The Cemetery Club, which runs September 7-23, 2018.
Three ushers are needed for each performance. We are most in need of ushers willing to be the Head Usher and the Elevator Operator Usher. The Head Usher must stay in the lobby and does not see the show. The Head Usher must have previously ushered for Mariemont. Two ushers who are not the "Head Usher" will be able to see the performance if empty seats are available. The Elevator Operator Usher must help people use the elevator at the beginning of the show, at intermission, and at the end of the show. If seats are available, all non-Head Ushers may watch the performance for free.
All The Way – Thank You!
By Ed Cohen, Director
About two years ago, when Mariemont’s committee interviewed me to direct for the 2017-18 season, we all shared some very mixed feelings about producing ‘All the Way.’ There was a long list of reasons to not take it on: it has a huge cast (including 17 men and a large number of African-American characters) who must play multiple characters, all actual people; the script called for at least some sort of projections or video content (it’s referred to as a ‘Tally Board’ in the stage directions); it would require costuming that was accurate for the early 1960’s; and it needed a directing and design concept which would work in Mariemont’s very specific space. Yet the Board believed that we could not just pull it off, but do so without sacrificing the integrity of the show and, lo and behold, they chose me to take on what seemed even then a very daunting project.
And now that it’s over, I feel as if we accomplished something very rare: by working to our strengths and by having faith in ourselves and the material, we reached a level beyond what people might normally see in community theatre; we gave our audience as real a version of this play as they would ever see, no matter what the venue or ticket price.
It’s a long list to thank, but I have to start with Steve Winslow, who agreed to be stage manager almost two years ago, but later volunteered to also be Co-Producer when Norma Niinemets’ health wouldn’t allow her to take part. Steve also ran all the video images from his station, while still calling light and sound cues. There’s Ted Weil from Falcon Theatre who devoted hours of time (and his theatre’s computer and software) to create the video content with me. Mike Morehead watched weeks of rehearsals and developed a beautiful lighting design; Jackie Miesle, Liz Wyan and Cheryl Huffman ran lights and sound for all performances and tech rehearsals (Jackie and Cheryl operating the equipment for the first time). Dan Dermody created a completely original, evocative set design, built by Bill Pauly, Art Kibby and Tim Carney. And costumes? When our original designer was unable to continue (4 weeks before we opened), I asked Megan and Jack Williams if they could give us any time, just to get at least basic costumes; but I could never have imagined what they actually gave us, beautiful detailed costumes for 20 people, down to wigs, shoes, cuff links and pocket squares. They were there practically every night, ironing, polishing shoes, without a complaint; and with valuable assists from Dava Lynn and Jenna Pauly, the costumes were an outstanding element of this show. Dee Anne Bryll provided between-show meals (for 25) on our two-show days and the usual contributors – Ken Smith’s photography, Teresa Johns’s program, Dan Maloney’s publicity, Michael and Noreen Sauer’s opening night reception; Betsy Farro’s fantastic handling of ticketing and the box office; Tom Peters coordinating dozens of ushers; and Steve Farley and Kim Woods’ help with the building leading up to opening – were invaluable.
And there’s of course the cast: A. J. Ford; Derek Snow; Tom Peters; Arny Stoller; Dava Lynn; Aaron Bates; Sally Fint; Charles McClinon; Gary Glass; Elizabeth Leigh Taylor; John Langley; William Gibson; Fred Murrell; Burt McCollom; James Christian, Jr.; Dan Maloney; Joel Lind; Jef Brown; David Reid Hatfield; and Kenny Tessell – an amazing ensemble that gave me all they had and all I asked
Finally, thanks to our audience for their acceptance of a wordy historical drama and their willingness to see the powerful theatre that was inside of it. Thank you, Mariemont Players, for trusting me with this project; I hope it was what we all imagined a long time ago when we took a leap of faith together.
Mariemont Players and director Michael Morehead announce auditions for Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley
• Audition Dates and Times: 7:00 PM Sunday, September 9th, 2018, 7:00 PM Wednesday, September 12th, 2018
• Location: 4101 Walton Creek Road, Cincinnati, OH 45277
• Performance Dates: March 8 to 24, 2019
Set in rural Ireland, this compassionate, delightful, and deeply moving story explores with poetic passion two introverted misfits and their journey to find a kind of happiness.
Tony Reilly, playing age 75.
Rosemary Muldoon, playing age 36.
Anthony Reilly, playing age 41.
Aoife Muldoon, playing age 70.
Please bring to the audition a resume, a head shot, and a list of conflicts from December through performances. Blocking and table work may be scheduled prior to the Christmas holidays. Rehearsals will begin after New Year's Day, if possible.
For more information or to review a copy of the script, please contact director Michael Morehead or producer Steve Winslow
Get your tickets for The Cemetery Club, directed by Jerry Wiesenhahn, now!
Ida: Mary Ann Smith
Doris: Chessie Vigran
Lucille: Barbara H. Russell
Sam: Arny Stoller
Mildred: Susan Schapiro
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.
The Cemetery Club runs September 7-23, 2018. To order tickets, call Betsy at 513-684-1236 OR order online at www.mariemontplayers.com. All seats are reserved and $20 each.
All Around Town
Wayne Kirsch will play Mr. English, Patricia Mullins will play Ann, and Susan Unes will play Jenny in the Beechmont Players production of Widdershins, directed by Jef Brown and produced by Pam Kaesemeyer. Performance dates: October 19-27.
Harold Murphy will play Walsh in The Milford Theatre Guild’s production of Rose’s Dilemma. Performance dates: October 19-21, 26-27.
Danny Davies will play Sy Benson, Katelyn Reid will play K.C. Downing, Tim Carney will play Uncle Morty, Samantha Toberman will play Aunt Sadie, and Sharon Shelton will perform in the ensemble in Cincinnati Music Theatre’s production of My Favorite Year. Performance dates: November 9-17.
Sally Fint, Linda Callahan and Dan Maloney were all cast in Other Desert Cities at Middletown Lyric Theater, running November 9-17.
Scott Unes will play Yusef El Fayoumy, C.J. Bossart will play Jesus of Nazareth, Michael Ireland will play Satan, Susan Unes will play Henrietta Iscariot, Dan Maloney will play Butch Honeywell, and Kenny Tessel will play Saint Matthew/Saint Thomas/Drunk Uncle Pino/Sigmund Freud in Village Players’ production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, directed by Dan Maloney. Performance dates: September 28-October 6.
From The Toolbox
By Art Kibby
A BRIGHT IDEA - Steve Farley and I recently installed 4 new LED fixtures in front of the stage and replaced the 10 work lights bulbs over the stage with LED lamps. Not only is it MUCH brighter, but the new lights make it a whole lot easier to see when building and painting sets. These lights are only 50-60 watts each, half the wattage of the old incandecent bultbs (thus saving energy) burn cool, and are rated to last from 10,000 to 60,000 hours. They all go on together with the same worklight switch by the stage manager station. It’s no longer necessary to turn on the auditorium lights for rehearsals or construction. Actors and directors may also find it easier to read their scripts during rehearsals.
August, 2018 Play Reading Report
By Anna Nixon
We offer grateful thanks to Linda Callahan for finding and negotiating with the playwright to use her copyrighted show for our reading. She also arranged for the play to be copied for our reading.
The play is entitled “Sooner/Later” by Allison Currin. It is complex with only three characters and it requires considerable and enjoyable thought to follow the mind of the playwright.
It was also performed at Cincinnati Playhouse earlier this year.
Thank you, Linda for the play and thank you, Joyce for your great cookies as ever.
Our readers were Jan Costello, Joyce and Art Kibby, Linda Callahan, Bill Hartnett (welcome back!), Fred Rothzeid, Karen Rokich , John Nixon and yours truly.
Our next reading will be on MONDAY, Sept. 17th. at 7.30 pm. (Note the change from our usual Tuesday date.)
OCTA Conference, 2018
To the cast and crew of Around the World in 80 Days…Break a leg at OCTA!!!
MPI will be excerpting Around the World in 80 Days, directed by Jerry Wiesenhahn and produced by Kristen Vincenty, at the Ohio Community Theatre Association 2018 state wide theatre conference over Labor Day Weekend.
MPI extends our deepest condolences to Katey Blood on the unexpected loss of her brother, Jared, who passed away July 31st.
MPI offers our sincere sympathy to Jerry Wiesenhahn, whose mother passed away last week.
MPI Membership Renewal – Please stay and play with us for another year!
The 2018-2019 membership year begins July 1st and we hope you will renew! If you haven’t sent your renewal ($15 for individual or $25 for family), please do so as soon as possible so you can continue to receive the Limelight Review, party invitations and other news. See the membership form (enclosed, at the end of the newsletter) for more information.
Let’s be social! Like/Follow Mariemont Players Inc. on Facebook!
All The Way – “A total immersion into the ‘60s!”
Lobby Display: “Wow! What a great display, all cast members pictures were in color and were mounted on the board with newspaper articles from the Cincinnati Enquirer from the time period of the JFK assassination, when LBJ had to take over the presidency.”
Pre-Show: “The pre-show music and lighting set a serious and appropriate mood for the show. I really liked the gospel songs that were included to reflect the African American culture and its involvement in the civil rights events depicted in the play.”
Program: “Teresa Johns did a very good job with the playbill. It was easy to read, cleanly laid out, and organized in a sensible way. I appreciated reading the Director’s Notes (especially the very nice dedication to Ellie Shepard), and the glossary of terms included was helpful to me in better understanding the groups referred to in the show.”
Set Design, Décor, Construction: “Dan Dermody designed a simple yet effective set that worked well for this show. Because of the ever-changing locations and time line of the play, having a neutral playing space with lots of levels gave the director many ways to use the space and to create good scene pictures;” “Bill Pauly and his set building team did great work constructing this set. Everything appeared to be very solid and well put together, which gave the actors a sturdy and comfortable place to do their work. The steps and levels added depth and interest to the set, and all of the build appeared to be well executed.”
Lighting Design & Execution: “Michael Morehead’s lighting design reflected the somber mood of the show and highlighted the different areas of the stage in very effective ways…This lighting plot seemed to be pretty complex due to all the movement and quick changes in scenes, locations, speakers, etc., and the lighting design definitely kept up with these demands;” “Jackie Miesle, Liz Wyan, and Chery Huffman did a good job of executing this lighting design. All cues appeared to be on time and well-coordinated with the action on the stage. Well done.”
Sound Design & Execution: “The sound design consisted of music cues, reporters, crowd noise, announcements etc. All were clear and were appropriate. The volume and clarity were spot on. I don’t believe there were any microphones, nor were any needed in this intimate space. The performers were able to easily interact with the sounds as required (listening to reporters’ questions and responding).”
Special Effects: “Video projection was a central component of this show, and video designers Ted Weil and Ed Cohen put together great slides to highlight different details of the show’s events as they played out. I liked how there was a slide of each historical figure depicted in the show every time a new one was introduced on stage, which helped to keep track of all of the actors and the multiple roles many of them played. The execution of the video done by Steve Winslow was timed well with all the stage action and never seemed out of place.”
Costume Design: “Head costumers Megan and Jack Williams used a simple subdued color plot to clothe the onstage characters that worked well for the tone of the show and the time period depicted. The ladies’ dresses and shoes looked like late 1960’s garb, and all of the men were rightly dressed in suits appropriate to that time period and to the political arena.”
Make-Up & Hair Design: “Megan Williams did an excellent job with the looks for all of these characters. The wigs for the women worked well and really helped to differentiate between the characters the ladies played. All of the make-up seemed appropriate for the characters and enhanced their looks onstage. Well done.”
Properties: “All props that I saw were reflective of the time period and used comfortably by the actors. I liked the President's Red Phone! The briefcases, papers, etc. all looked very real and were handled appropriately by the actors.”
Producer: “Producers Ed Cohen and Steve Winslow assembled a great production staff that clearly put together an excellent technical show. All aspects of the show flowed well from start to finish, giving the production a definitive professional quality. It seems that with all of these technical elements, this could have been a hard show to put together, but everything ran flawlessly.”
AARON BATES AS WALTER JENKINS: “A wonderful portrayal of the very valuable Presidential White House Aide;” “As the dutiful assistant, Mr. Bates’ Jenkins was always present without dominating the scene. He was properly subdued and was genuine in his interactions with LBJ. His acceptance of the compliment of being like a son without fanfare was a choice that worked well and was consistent with his character.”
JEF BROWN AS CORMAN, SANDERS, TAILOR, BARBER: “A great job with these characters… I loved the tailor and barber movements and facial expressions. Great work;” “His characterizations were solid and he helped us understand LBJ better whether he was performing a service role (and getting chewed out) or losing out in a political scuffle.”
JAMES CHRISTIAN, JR. AS RALPH ABERNATHY: “This actor was comfortable with his character and played the role as just what he was – a friend of Martin Luther King, a minister, and a Civil Rights Activist. He was powerful at times and reflective at others;” “…he was a formidable advisor to MLK and a voice of reason. I appreciated his more level headed approach as a strong counter balance to the more excitable Carmichael.”
SALLY FINT AS LURLEEN WALLACE, MURIEL HUMPHREY, SECRETARY, WOMAN: “From these two cameos which featured well known women to a secretary and a woman, again, took some concentration to go into these roles and make them believable…That is really good acting and a great job of characterization!” “Had I not known better, I would have thought these characters were portrayed by four different women. She effectively changed her look and mannerisms with each character change and made it easy to believe each distinct character.”
A.J. FORD AS LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON: “A really historically true characterization… His mannerisms and speech were trulyTexas in so many instances. I knew this President swore quite a bit, but I had no idea he was so funny in his descriptions of situations and people;” “I cannot say enough positive things about A.J. Ford’s performance as Lyndon Baines Johnson. I knew next to nothing about this president aside from his connection to Kennedy and his Texas roots, but Mr. Ford brought him to vivid, unforgettable life. The accent, the physicalization, the pace and flow of his vocal delivery—it was all done with a professional ease that was both amazing and admirable. I enjoyed this performance so very much—thank you for sharing your gifts with the audience, and for committing so completely to such a demanding role;” “The sheer volume of material Mr. Ford had to learn was staggering! His Texas accent was unwavering throughout. He was tenacious in delivering LBJ’s dogged pursuit of his goals. He seamlessly poured on the charm when needed to lure in a rival before pulling the string to get his way. His appearance and demeanor were consistent and he was very believable as LBJ.”
WILLIAM GIBSON AS STOKELY CARMICHAEL: “All of Mr. Gibson’s scenes were filled with energy and passion, and he engaged fully in all of his acting choices… Excellent work, and I hope to see much more of Mr. Gibson on our local stages;” “A very impressive characterization of the man who was the founder of SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) and who coined the phrase ‘Black Power.’”
GARY GLASS AS ROBERT McNAMARA, JAMES EASTLAND, WILLIAM McCULLOCH, PAUL JOHNSON, JR: “Watching Mr. Glass play these bold, powerful characters was a delight. At the same time, it was particularly satisfying to watch his Paul Johnson deflated by LBJ’s machinations;” “…brought great physicalization and vocal differences to his portrayals of Robert McNamara, James Eastland, William McCulloch, and Paul Johnson, Jr. He was very engaged in every character interaction and made the most of all of his scenes. Well done.”
DAVID REID HATFIELD AS WILLIAM COLMER, ROBERT BYRD: “This character looked very natural on stage and moved well… Both characters were very well represented and stated their opposition to Civil Rights to President Johnson;” “Mr. Hatfield did a solid job with these two characters. He was believable as a longtime politician.”
JOHN LANGLEY AS GEORGE WALLACE: “A great characterization and facial expressions which really stood out because this character worked downstage. Good Southern dialect, a smiling professional politician;” “Mr. Langley’s smug and smarmy portrayal of George Wallace made it easy for us to see him as the election’s antagonist. Despite knowing who would win, his portrayal made it easy for us to root for LBJ to go ‘All The Way.’”
JOEL LIND AS CARTHA 'DEKE' DELOACH, HOWARD 'JUDGE' SMITH, AND EVERETT DIRKSEN: “This characterization was very strong. He looked like Dirksen, sounded like Dirksen, argued like Dirksen, and was convincing in his arguments and statements. Excellent work here;” “His Deke Deloach was just as sneaky as Hoover and it was enjoyable to watch them scheme together.”
DAVA LYNN AS LADY BIRD JOHNSON, KATHERINE ST.GEORGE, KATHERINE GRAHAM: “…was perfect in her attempt to calm her husband. Her movements were always very supportive of LBJ, almost to the point of real Texas woman humbleness, which was extremely historically correct;” “…did a wonderful job switching between several female roles, making each identifiable, but she was definitely strongest in her portrayal of Lady Bird Johnson. Her love and belief in her stage husband, along with her frustration, came through nicely in all of their interactions. Well done.”
DAN MALONEY AS STANLEY LEVISON, JOHN McCORMACK, SEYMORE TRAMMELL, EDWIN KING: “Mr. Maloney was solid in all of his portrayals. As Edwin King, he displayed great angst as he tried to reject his seat at the Democratic Convention in one of his stronger moments;” “These gentlemen were all recreated as what they were, historical characters, and very well represented in this production.”
CHARLES McCLINON AS ROY WILKINS, DAVID DENNIS, AARON HENRY: “These were all very heavy roles. Mr. McClinon did a wonderful job in representing these gentlemen and showing great emotion in his characterizations. Great work;” “…moved easily between playing Roy Wilkins, Aaron Henry, and David Dennis. Each character was set apart not only by simple costume additions or subtractions but also by Mr. McClinon’s vocalization. Good work.”
BURT MCOLLOM AS J. EDGAR HOOVER: “A really first class acting job. His characterization showed emotions that were Hoover. He was at times, a bit bossy, sometimes an interested bystander. His conversations with the other characters were comfortable and very natural on stage;” “His slimy maneuvering and attempts to bring down MLK and anyone else that got in his way was played deftly.”
FRED MURELL AS STROM THURMOND: “This character came across to me as a powerful man with great emotion. He was violently against The Civil Rights Act, but claimed he was not a racist – that he wanted to leave the burden of racism with each state;” “I have always looked at Strom Thurmond as a “cranky old man.” Mr. Murrell’s portrayal of a younger, disgruntled Thurmond was easy to understand. His approach appeared natural and was in line with what I would expect from this character.”
TOM PETERS AS HUBERT HUMPHREY: “This characterization was performed very well… This was a great job on this role. It was a tricky characterization because Humphrey had been a well-liked Senator for some time, working on Civil Rights Issues, social welfare and fair employment issues. What we saw was a politically savvy man running errands for the President. A step down to get a step up! Excellent!” “His movements were natural and he appeared to be comfortable with all of his blocking. His reactions conveyed appropriately varying levels of confidence and understanding of the ramifications of the political events happening around him.” “Tom Peters delivered a strong performance, and he brought the highs and lows of this character’s story to vivid life through his facial expressions, mannerisms, and vocal work. I knew nothing about the historical man, but Mr. Peters helped the audience to really connect with Humphrey’s dilemmas and emotions throughout his scenes. Great job.”
DEREK SNOW AS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: “This is a case where history has painted a character larger than life. At first, I was surprised by Mr. Snow’s more subdued portrayal. As the show unfolded, I realized how appropriate the demeanor was…Seeing this side of such an iconic figure drove home just how unfairly he and other African American leaders were treated and with how little regard even those who were fighting for their rights held them.” “…played the indelible Martin Luther King, Jr. with a tired ease that seemed to fit the circumstances of where Dr. King was in his life as these events unfolded. Dr. King’s care and dedication was definitely displayed, but Mr. Snow also helped the audience to see the frustration that underpinned his interactions and his political dealings. And in the speech given toward the end of the show, Mr. Snow’s delivery realistically echoed the cadences and quality of Dr. King’s voice. Another very good performance.”
ARNY STOLLER AS RICHARD RUSSELL: “Mr. Stoller did a wonderful job on this characterization. He was forceful and powerful in his conversations. He moved very well on stage and gave us a good look at Russell through facial expressions as well as movement;” “Mr. Stoller’s principled old guard Russell was natural and believable. It was easy to see his frustration and respect for the political dealings of LBJ. He was certain he was right but also understood the way the political winds blow. His reactions and movements were genuine and reinforced the gravity of the situation as it unfolded.”
ELIZABETH LEIGH TAYLOR AS CORETTA SCOTT KING, FANNIE HAMER: “These two roles were very different and Ms. Taylor impressed the audience with both characterizations. She moved appropriately for both women, took beats between sentences that really brought out the character. Two very well done roles;” “Ms. Taylor adeptly showed us the place of the dutiful wife in the 1960’s as Mrs. King. Her receipt of and subsequent reaction to the tapes at the end was heart-breaking. As Fannie Hamer, her testimony was delivered with an intensity of emotion that vividly painted the picture for the audience. Her portrayals gave us great insight into these women and the time period.”
KENNY TESSEL AS EMMANUEL CELLER, WALTER REUTHER, MIKE MANSFIELD: “Mr. Tessel differentiated the characters well. He was credible in all three roles. His strongest moment was as Reuther as he was threatening to pull funding;” “Mr. Tessel did a good job on each of these characters. This was not an easy task since they all had different roles in their participation in the years during the fight for Civil Rights.”
Stage Management: “All scene changes, entrances, exits, and cues seemed to move flawlessly from curtain to curtain. There were no set changes to worry about, so no execution problems there. I imagine this may have been a difficult show to coordinate and call from a stage management perspective with all the technical cues, and Stage Manager Steve Winslow handled it all very well.”
Ensemble: “This cast definitely worked well together, and everyone seemed to have a very strong understanding of the script, the action, and the dynamics of the play. So many interactions between different characters were so well executed—bravo to this ensemble for excellent work together that made for a very engaging and absorbing show.”
Direction: “Mr. Cohen obviously had a solid grasp of the time period and characters. There was a consistent commitment to historical accuracy that enhanced the production. The pacing was spot on as the show kept me riveted as the historical events unfolded (and as a youngster, I found History to be one of my least favorite subjects)…Mr. Cohen used the entire stage and varied entrances and exits to keep the stage pictures fresh throughout…The cast had a solid understanding of their characters and each was well developed. It was easy to understand the motivations of even the characters with less stage time and/or lines.” “Director Ed Cohen put together a very talented cast of actors to play the roles in this historical drama, something that can be quite a feat on its own. Playing a real-life person whose speech, mannerisms, and other definitive features have been captured and recorded can be daunting to an actor, and there is a fine line between mimicry and portrayal that must be addressed in these situations. Mr. Cohen was able to help the actors find strong characterizations for their roles without the portrayals becoming static, boring, or heavy-handed. Stage pictures were strong in the way scenes were grouped and performed, and although the stage area didn’t change much at all, the scenes never became tedious, even with all the exposition present in the script. The pace of the show never dragged, and it was infused with energy from all of the actors that engaged the audience at all times. There were a couple of instances when a pair of characters would confront each other downstage center in complete profile, which bothered me a little and made it hard for some audience members to see both actors’ facial expressions, but overall, the direction of this show was outstanding. Mr. Cohen, his actors, and his entire production team should be very proud. Thank you for an excellent and thought-provoking evening of theatre.”