Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Music Man

Howard Hill (Richard Wall) charms the ladies of River City, Iowa, in the Davis Musical Theatre Company's production of "The Music Man." From left are Jen Nachmanoff as Mrs. Squires, Dannette Vassar as Alma Hix, Mary Young as Eulalie Shinn, Jean Thompson as Maud Dunlop, Jessica Arena as Zaneeta Shinn and Christina Rae as Ethel Toffelmier. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo
“The Music Man,” which closes out the Davis Musical Theatre Company’s 31st season, is a beloved musical that has been around since it opened on Broadway in 1957. It won five Tony Awards, including one for Robert Preston in the role of Harold Hill, the traveling salesman going about the country selling the promise of a boys’ band.

Preston made the role such an iconic one that when Cary Grant was offered a chance to play Harold Hill in the 1962 movie version, he is reported to have said that not only would he not play the role, but if they didn’t cast Preston, he wouldn’t even see the movie.

And so Preston has been the definitive Harold Hill for nearly 60 years; hundreds of actors have followed him, but none has the panache of Preston. Richard Wall, a middle-school principal from Elk Grove making his DMTC debut with this show, must have done a lot of channeling because his is the first performance I have personally seen, in a host of “Music Mans” through the years, that comes close to creating the magic of Preston’s performance.

According to co-producer Steve Isaacson, the last time Wall was on stage was in high school, when he played … Harold Hill.

But then most of the performers in this production, which DMTC has been presenting for years, are good. Wendy Carey, who grew up as a DMTC kid, plays Marian Paroo. Her voice is smooth as glass and she is a lovely Marian.

(A piece of local history: The dress Carey wears in the final scene was originally made by costumer Charlotte French in 1989 for Nancianne Pfister’s only on-stage appearance, in the Davis Comic Opera Company’s 10th-anniversary show. You have to love the small world of theater in Davis!)

Adam Sartain is very funny as Harold’s former partner in crime, Marcellus Washburn, who has found himself in the quiet town of River City, Iowa, and is settling down with the local piano player, Ethel Toffelmier (Christina Roe). Sartain is at his best leading the local kids in a rousing dance number, “Shipoopi.”

DMTC veteran Mary Young makes an imposing Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn (wife of the mayor, Steve Mackey). Young’s opening-scene costume is a study in yellow and is one of my favorites in the show. She looks like a canary among all those feather-hatted women gossiping about Marian.

Cullen Smith is sadly saddled with a terrible wig, but it does not detract from her delightful performance as Mrs. Paroo, Marian’s mother, who is up for doing anything to help her daughter get a man.

Ten-year-old Django Nachmanoff is an adorable Winthrop, the kid whose lisp makes him shy and silent until Harold promises him a coronet and a uniform with a big red stripe down the leg. His “Gary, Indiana” brought down the house.

Eight-year-old Gillian Cubbage, who made her DMTC debut last year in “The Wizard of Oz,” has fulfilled the faith I had in her during that show. Playing the mayor’s daughter, Gracie, she’s growing in ability and is as professional as any adult on the DMTC stage. (And it doesn’t hurt that she’s cute, too).

Jackie Smith-Induni does well as Amaryllis Hix, Marian’s piano student, who joins her in singing “Goodnight, My Someone.” She plays a lovely “cross-hand piece.”

Tommy Djilas, the “bad” kid from the wrong side of the tracks, is given an earnest performance by Jonathan Kalinen, while his girlfriend Zaneeta Shinn (Jessica Arena) shrieks “yeee-gods” with the best of them.

One other performer in a minor role who deserves mention is Jean Thompson as Maud Dunlop, wife of Ewart Dunlop (Jeff Nauer), a member of the school board-turned-barbershop quartet. Thompson has a magical face that just glows and makes any scene in which she appears extra-fun.

The barbershop quartet includes, in addition to Nauer, Jeremy Carlson, Scott Scholes and Andy Hyun. They are always fun and these guys do a good job of bringing back that old barbershop sound.

Returning to the DMTC stage after a hiatus is Ben Bruening as Charlie Cowell, the anvil salesman, out to expose Harold Hill for the swindler that he is. Bruening is suitably slimy and the man you want to boo.

This is an odd production in that Hill is going to form a “boys’ band” but, other than Winthrop, there are no young boys in the cast and the band to whom he says, “think, men” are all girls. But let it pass. No need to complain about such a small point in an otherwise enjoyable show.

A Revolutionary Mind

The cast of “A Revolutionary Mind,” presented by California Stage, includes Marion Jeffrey as Susan, surrounded by Michael Erwin as the Professor, Joe Monroe as Alan and Berman Obaldia as Raymundo Gleyser. Courtesy photo

 Leslie Lewinter-Suskind (“Italian Opera”) is introducing her new play, “A Revolutionary Mind,” at California Stage Theater’s R25 Arts Complex. The production is directed by Ray Tatar.

Drawing inspiration from the life and disappearance Argentinian filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer, this play centers on Susan (Marion Jeffery), a boomer generation activist who was ready to set the world on fire and make it a better place for everyone.

But first she had to marry Alan (Joe Monroe); then the birth of a daughter, and then a son, intervene with her plans to save the world.

The show itself bounces back and forth seamlessly among three time periods — the present day, Susan’s college years and her dialogs with her professor (Michael T. Erwin) and conversations with Raymundo Gleyzer (Berman Obaldia) as she tries to make sense of her life and what she has accomplished. It also deals with the very real disappearance of her daughter, whom she has raised to be an activist and who went off to film atrocities around the world, like Gleyzer.

The success of this powerful plan rests on the performance of Jeffery as Susan. She is mesmerizing. She has the ability to transform from the modern-day subservient wife to the passionate student to the frustrated activist and back again with the mere turn of her head and slight change in her expression. It really must be seen to be appreciated.

Matching Jeffery in intensity is Obaldia as Gleyzer, a larger-than-life figure whose passion for recording the atrocities he sees around him and sharing them with the world ultimately will lead to his torture and execution. It is he who extracts the most guilt from Susan as he points out that while she has the desire, she gave it up in exchange for a husband and a suburban home where she gives dinner parties serving Swedish meatballs or fondue and attends meetings about the condition of the world.

(“How do you silence the real world so you can hear the real world?” she asks in anguish. Any frustrated activist in the audience will identify immediately!)

Erwin as the Professor is a nice, tell-it-like-it-is character who takes no excuses from Susan and always challenges her to be better than she thinks she can be.

At the same time, husband Alan (Monroe) is himself frustrated, wanting to be supportive of Susan, but tired of her leaving the family, whether physically or emotionally, to try to change the world.

As the play begins, he is dealing with the American Embassy, which has called to let the family know that their daughter is missing. The encouraging and then discouraging news of the daughter permeates the evening, and is driving Susan’s conflicted emotions, realizing that it was she who instilled in her daughter the need to change the world, which has led to this dangerous situation in which she now finds herself.

(According to his bio, “A Revolutionary Mind” is the first theater production for Monroe, and he certainly shows promise for future productions.)

While I found this play excellent and very moving, I also found it depressing. The collegiate Susan’s passionate hopes for her future are shared with her professor and sound like they came right out of a Bernie Sanders speech. (Maybe they did.)

The more that Susan, her professor and Gleyzer talk, the more one realizes that we have not come nearly as far as we hoped we had. We are still fighting the battles they fought during the civil rights era, only now we are fighting for the rights for even more categories of human beings. We still do not have universal health care or schooling available to all. Atrocities are still happening in foreign lands. The battle goes on, as it has for centuries.

I don’t know if this will be a wake-up call for all former passionate activists, but it certainly will leave you wondering how you might have done things differently when you had the opportunity. And does the life you have lived leave you satisfied with your own role in changing the world from the comfort of your air-conditioned house?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Caifornia's Everything Man

It’s likely that Ray Tatar is a familiar sight to many who visit California Stage. Tall and white-haired, the theater company’s hands-on artistic director greets every patron cheerfully.

Tatar’s theater roots go deep—although he’d initially planned a career in film. A theater gig in Southern California at Knott’s Berry Farm would eventually change that course, however. After graduation, Tatar worked in Hollywood as an intern on many TV series and films, including Funny Girl, but realized it just wasn’t his passion.

“I just couldn’t get film into my heart. Live theater always excited me,” Tatar said.

This week, Tatar finds new excitement at California Stage, directing Leslie Lewinter-Suskind’s A Revolutionary Mind, which opens June 17. The production explores the tumultuous Vietnam-era 1960s—a period that unarguably shaped Tatar’s outlook and ethos.

Back then, he attended UC Berkeley, where he worked at the Magic Theatre and received an MFA in directing. In the ’70s, Tatar ended up in the United Kingdom, where he worked at a theater for the deaf in London. Tatar also taught method drama at a junior college in the area—a job he got thanks to a connection he had with famed acting teacher Lee Strasberg.

When he returned to the states, Tatar worked as a drama critic for a TV station in Los Angeles, and in 1977 was named executive director of the LA Stage Alliance. In 1982, he went to work for the California Arts Council, serving under then-Gov. Jerry Brown and helping to raise millions for the theater community.

That same year, however, he also wanted a change and moved to Sacramento, where he founded the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance. SARTA, which bands together local organizations, actors, technicians and administrators to produce and promote work in the region, helped Tatar realize just “how powerful that kind of [organization] can be to service theater and community.”

Tatar only planned to stay in Sacramento for a few years, but after meeting and marrying his wife Susan, he decided to make it his home.

These days, Tatar is still active in the theater community, discovering new works for California Stage, including A Revolutionary Mind. The show, told in flashbacks and flash-forwards, tells the story of protesters who marched against the war in Vietnam.

“It’s a different type of play,” Tatar said of its unusual structure.

Its activism storyline and counterculture themes are also meaningful for him. “The heroine represents to me the boomer generation—we who marched against the Vietnam War, and who wanted to make the world better. We didn’t succeed.”

Tatar says the play speaks to the legacy of that generation and passes down the message to future generations.“We may not have been successful,” he said of the ’60s, “but maybe our grandchildren will be.”

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Legally Blonde

Omigod, you guys! Elle Woods is at Music Circus this week!!

“Legally Blonde” (music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin and book by Heather Hatch) is as light and frothy as cotton candy — and just as pink. It has all the story of the movie with Reese Witherspoon, but without the depth.

The songs aren’t memorable (except for the opening and recurring “Omigod You Guys”), but the cast is so enthusiastic and the dancing so infectious that you find yourself enjoying it in spite of yourself.

This particular production, directed by Michael Heitzman, is extra-special for a reason that I suspect few in the audience realize. The cast includes a member of the original Broadway cast, coming out retirement for one last production.

Chico plays Elle’s Chihuahua, Bruiser, and is very professional. He’s trained by William Berloni, a 2011 Tony honoree for excellence in theater and the trainer for just about any animal appearing on Broadway, starting with the original Sandy in the first production of “Annie.”

Chico (his understudy Roxie is also a Broadway veteran) didn’t miss a cue, made all of his exits, barked on command and performed his big moment, running across the room, jumping onto a bed and into a dog carrier, flawlessly.

Co-starring with Chico is Lauren Zakrin, as Elle Woods, who looks like a Barbie doll and acts like an air-headed sorority girl, until circumstances teach her that she has more brains than she gives herself credit for and that her life does not have to center around a handsome boy to be complete.
Instead of asking her to marry him, as she expects, Elle’s boyfriend Warner (Jordan Bondurant) breaks up with her, now that he is on his way to Harvard and a successful career. He doesn’t feel she would fit into the world that he imagines for himself.

With all the casualness of someone ordering dinner from a menu, Elle decides to go to Harvard Law School, too, and win Warner back.

Not surprisingly, she finds Harvard harder than anticipated, especially when taking a class from the strict Professor Callahan (Paul Schoeffler), who dangles four internships in front of his class and makes Elle finally get serious about her studies.

Emmett Forrest (James Michael Lambert) is the class T.A. who takes Elle under his wing, helps her buckle down and actually study … and falls in love with her in the process.

Along the way, she makes friends with beauty shop attendant Paulette Bonafont√© (Ryah Nixon) and the two women become support for each other. Elle teaches Paulette the delightful “Bend and Snap” as a way to win the heart of the UPS guy Pforzheimer (Adam Lendermon). Lendermon is a man of few words, but definitely makes an impact.

Outstanding is Grace Stockdale as Brooke Wyndham, falsely accused of murdering her husband. Brooke is a famous exercise instructor and her “Whipped into Shape,” sung with an exercise class in prison, is a show-stopper.

There is a trial that takes place, during which some stereotypical gay sight gags went on far too long. I found them offensive, especially so soon after the Orlando massacre, though the audience laughed uproariously.

Eric Anthony Johnson makes the most of the small role of Carlos, whose appearance at the trial changes the course of things.

On the whole, Heitzman’s direction is fine, with such a big cast on such a small stage, but he occasionally has characters performing scenes facing in one direction so that our part of the audience saw them only from the back.

Lighting technicians, too, need to watch timing, as on more than one occasion, they brought up the lights too quickly, exposing the usually invisible set crew to the audience.

This is “Legally Blonde’s” debut performance at Music Circus and sets the stage nicely for a fun season with three more debut shows and two old chestnuts still to come.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


If you’re in the mood for an hour and a half of zany, slapstick fun, there’s still time to catch the free performance of Acme Theatre Company’s “Scapino,” on the outdoor stage at the Davis Arts Center.

“Scapino,” adapted from the original Moliere play, was written by actor, clown and comedian Bill Irwin and humorist Mark O’Donnell. Originally a 16th-century Commedia dell’arte production, it is not surprising that this modern comedy is funny from start to finish.

With pirates, stolen babies, mistaken identities, overbearing mothers and conniving heroes, all this show is missing is music to place it right in the Gilbert & Sullivan vein!

As director Maddy Ryen comments, “ ‘Scapino’ is not a comedy with a lot of depth. It’s heavy on the commedia slapstick and our production … aims to evoke as much of an old-time vaudeville feeling as we can.”

The program explains that it’s set in San Francisco, though other than a backdrop of the Victorian “Painted Ladies,” you’d never know it.

With only 12 people in the cast, this may be the smallest of the annual Acme Memorial Day shows, but the small cast was able to devote more time to perfecting the roles.

Rocket Drew, in the title role, is perfect as the wily rapscallion who plays both ends against the middle, nearly seamlessly. When Octavio (Meili Monk) confesses that he has fallen in love with the lovely Hyacinth (Eleanor Richter), though his mother has already arranged a marriage for him, he turns to Scapino for help.

In the meantime, Scapino’s boss Leander (Isaiah Darshan) has fallen love with the pirate girl named Zerbinetta (Bella Houck, who may have been cast for her ability to laugh endlessly on cue!), and knows that his father is going to be furious. He, too, turns to Scapino for help.

Scapino is aided in all of his machinations by his pal Sylvester (Sarah Zaragoza-Smith). Throughout her history with Acme, Zaragoza-Smith has played a number of pint-sized spitfires and this works extremely well for her in this production.

Actress Maddie Olwert wrote in her bio that she is always cast as “fancy and opinionated elderly women.” Maybe it’s because she’s so good at it. She plays Octavio’s mother, Madam Argante, determined to make the right marriage for her son, partly because of a big secret that is revealed toward the end of the show.

Andres de Loera-Brust is Leander’s dad, Mr. Geronte, and Isa Sultan is Nerine, Zerbinetta’s traveling companion

Making the zany antics just that much more zany are the “Zanni,” a trio of music makers — Patrick Foraker, Mikaela Manzano and Maya Tripathi — who play slide whistles, tambourines, blocks and a host of other noise makers to accentuate the action on stage.

Little kids will love this show even if they can’t figure out what is happening, but there is so much visual comedy going on, one doesn’t need to understand the thin plot, which becomes much easier to follow by Act 2. Adults will love the comedy, the corny jokes and the subtle references to current pop culture.

With a barbecue outside the Arts Center starting at 5:30 p.m. and the free show beginning at 7, this is an early evening, but lots of fun for all. Bring your chairs and/or blankets to sit on the grass, and don’t forget a sweatshirt when the sun goes down.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mr. Burns

Director Mindy Cooper, University of Granada artist-in-residence, explains that “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play,” now on stage at the UC Davis Wright Hall Main Theatre, is playwright Anne Washburn’s exploration of a post-apocalyptic society, questioning what survives and what doesn’t, and how things change.

Using the backdrop of the popular “Simpsons” episode “Cape Feare,” the play, sometimes clearly, sometimes muddily, takes us through a dystopian society that has undergone great destruction and shows how the survivors cope.

The play is structured into three scenes: shortly after the event (whatever it was) takes place, the second seven years later and the third 75 years later.

It’s difficult not to think of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″ when watching the first scene. In that classic work of science fiction, all the books in the world are burned, but a small group of dedicated readers survives and each has memorized his or her favorite book and is now teaching it to a younger person, so the story can continue.

In “Mr. Burns,” five survivors are gathered around a campfire (there is no electricity) and they begin to recreate their favorite Simpsons episode, “Cape Feare,” in which Sideshow Bob stalks Bart Simpson with threats to kill him (people who make lists place this 1989 episode as No. 2 in the top 10 “Simpsons” episodes). For the newly displaced and shell-shocked survivors, it’s a bit of normalcy that helps them push away their fears … for the moment.

Matt (Matt Skinner) and Jenny (Leah Daugherty) lead off, yelling lines at each other, as they try to get the show in sequence, with the nervous Maria (Rose Kim) reacting in delight.

Interrupting the fun of the group is a new arrival, Gibson (Ryan Gerberding), who has been traveling across the country assessing the damage. The action takes a very somber tone as they learn which cities he has visited and bring out their book of lists to ask if, maybe, somehow, he has come across one of their loved ones.

Eventually Gibson, too, joins the others in remembering a beloved television episode.

Others in this group include Delaney Leigh McCowan as Colleen and Zach Padio as Sam. These six actors will continue to take similar roles in the subsequent two scenes.

Over time, this “Simpsons” episode takes on almost cult status, first seven years later (in the most muddled of the three scenes) as performed by one of many groups of “Simpsons” episode re-enactors. Their performance includes reminiscing about food and drink they once had (“at this point all I care about my imaginary alcohol is that it is aged”), obsessing on where Diet Cokes have gone (“I know a guy in Wichita who has a stash of Diet Cokes and do you know what he’s selling them for? Lithium batteries. Two a can.”) and comparing their productions of the “Simpsons” episode with other companies’ productions.

Gerberding takes on the role of a menacing Sideshow Bob in this scene while Padio becomes Bart, Skinner is Homer, Kim is Marge (carrying the blue Marge Simpson wig instead of wearing it), and Daugherty is Lisa. In this scene, the cast is also joined by Danika Burmester, in-law of the legendary Davis theater family, as Quincy/Wife (and Edna Crabapple in Scene 3).

After 75 years, “Cape Feare” has become a full-blown cult classic, with the menacing character now Mr. Burns, rather than Sideshow Bob (Gerberding again). This scene adds a host of new characters, the Nuclear Family Players, and music by Graham Sobelman (musical director) and Aaron Molho (for some reason, the music also includes excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan).

This is not a show for everyone. It has the feel of a cult classic and “Simpsons” fans will love it, while non-“Simpsons” fans may find parts of it funny, but perhaps not get all the “in” jokes and references to the original.

The script assumes that the audience is already familiar with not only the major characters but also the minor characters, like Itchy and Scratchy and Apu. This may be why there was so little laughter in the audience, though encouraged at the start of the play to laugh loudly.

If you can find a copy of the original “Cape Feare” episode, I suspect it would greatly enhance enjoyment of this play.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Motown the Musical

“Motown the Musical,” now at the Sacramento Community Center Theater, is the loud, flashy, audience-pleasing story of Berry Gordy, the man who gave the world Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5, just to name a few. One wonders what the music world would be like today if not for Berry Gordy.

While Gordy’s musical vision was second to none, sadly, his talents as a scriptwriter are less acute. Gordy wrote the book for this musical, which is filled with 68 Motown songs by some of the best knock-off stars around, and the script serves — barely — as a hook on which to hang those famous songs. One wonders if Gordy should have been a bit more realistic about his shortcomings and left the writing of this show to others more experienced.

But then the happy crowd was not there for the story, but for the music, as each familiar tune brought cheers from the audience from the first familiar notes.

The device used to telling the Gordy story is the 25th anniversary of Motown, for which there is a show planned in Pasadena. Gordy (Chester Gregory) is refusing to attend because he believes all of the stars he helped to make “betrayed” him by going off and making it bigger on their own. (How dare they!)

This is a good jumping-off point for meeting the young Gordy and his dream to make records, and the growth from the original “Hitsville, USA” to the more familiar Motown, a name based on the location in Detroit, “Motor City.”

While covering the 25 years of the growth of African-American music, the show gives a backdrop of the tumultuous civil rights movement, the assassinations of both President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and so in a peripheral way, it becomes the history of black America of the 1960s.

With sensational dancing, dazzling costumes and often eerily accurate vocal imitations, the show does not disappoint.

Galen J. Williams, as Jackie Wilson (Gordy’s first find), starts things off with a rousing rendition of “Reet Petite.”

Allison Semmes makes a wonderful Diana Ross, as she goes from a giddy star-struck teenager to the icon that she becomes. Her interaction with the audience in Act 2 is particularly good and, on opening night, she pulled an amazing volunteer out of the audience to join her at the mic. (I think Semmes was as stunned as the audience.) Ross gets the most stage time because of her years-long personal relationship with Gordy.

Jesse Nager had the audience at “hello” in his first appearance as Smokey Robinson, though like most of the other big Motown names, he pretty much takes a back seat to Diana Ross throughout the show.
Leon Outlaw Jr. may have a small role as Michael Jackson but he steals the show and was decidedly an audience favorite. He had all of Jackson’s moves down and it was almost sad to see how much joy he brought to the role, thinking of Michael’s later life.

A bittersweet moment was when Jarran Muse, as Marvin Gaye, sang an a cappella version of “Mercy, Mercy Me,” trying to explain to Gordy why he was leaving Motown.

At 2 hours and 45 minutes, this is a longer-than-usual musical. If you are a big fan of very loud concerts, you will love this show, but if your sensitive ears hurt from the amplification, you might consider ear plugs. It will make the whole experience less painful and still allow you to enjoy the music and the dancing. (Ear plugs won’t fix the script, though!)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Not Medea

“Not Medea,” a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by playwright Allison Gregory, has opened at the B Street Theatre’s B3 Stage and is a work that is both funny and painfully shocking.

The play was a 2015 O’Neill finalist and included on The Kilroy’s 2014 “The List,” an industry survey of “excellent new plays by female-identified playwrights.”

Directed by Gretchen Corbett, this is a tour de force for actress Lori Prince, who plays a pediatric oncologist newly divorced, with a young daughter. Today is her allotted day to have the child, but she is frazzled and just needs a couple of hours to get away.

“Usually I go straight home and nurse a fat drink,” she says, “but not tonight. Tonight is about theater!”

It is a dark and stormy night … really! Claps of thunder are heard outside. Before the lights go down in the theater, the woman (known as “Woman”) rushes in, laden with packages, frantic to find her seat before the show starts. It’s not the play she wants to see, but she needs to get away and this is where she ended up.

She speaks to the audience about what brought her here and begins to reveal something about herself. Her child is apparently at home with a baby-sitter, but calls often, concerned about when Mommy will be home, and also about her missing Cuddle Bunny.

“I’m kinda at my wits’ end. All the questions, it never stops. Wears you down, you know? I had to get away from her. That sounds awful doesn’t it?”

As she walks onto the stage, still looking for a seat, Woman notices the Medea set and encourages the audience to leave.

“It does not end well, my friend. No, do yourself a fat favor and go! All of you, go! I’m not kidding, forget the ridiculous amount of money you just paid and get out.”

As she continues to mutter, she talks about her similarity to Medea, including the fact that her husband, too, was named Jason (though no hero, she is quick to add). She is obviously hiding a big secret that sometimes doubles her over with emotional pain.

“Poor Medea wanted to end her personal pain. Yeah, don’t we all? So what? She was a monster.”
“Chorus” wanders in to speak the lines from the play, and Woman adroitly slips back and forth between 21st-century Woman and the ancient character of Medea.

(“Chorus” is one woman, Deonna Bouye, whose role is brief, but she holds the show together and helps weave it smoothly between mythology and reality.)

Ross Hellwig is the Green hero Jason — tall, strikingly handsome and passionate, but later cold and cruel.

Woman, like Medea, falls for Jason and her bitterness grows as Jason turns cold.
Throughout the play, Woman hints at her deep, dark secret and everything in the telling of the Medea story reveals more and more until at last, she confesses everything and is overcome with the pain of her grief.

The play has a lot of humor, but it also packs an emotional wallop. As Woman’s secret is told, the audience is moved to tears and feels her pain. This is an unusual show, but powerful, and very special.