Theater Review: Theater Barn Cast Definitely Not Phoning It In

FB_IMG_1547936324714
A wrong number leads to some interesting possibilities for Verna (Linda Seay), Kathy Ann (Stefanie Rosenberg), Diane (Frances McGarry) and Rose (Laurel Letteri), in a scene from Old Ringers, playing through February 23rd at Ridgefield Theater Barn.
(Paulette Layton photo)

By Elizabeth Young

February 07, 2019 at 07:00 am

The Newtown Bee

Frances McGarry is a brave scene stealer. A gifted comedic actor, she takes hold of her character and plays her at full tilt.

RIDGEFIELD — The phones are ringing off the hook at Ridgefield Theater Barn, and for good reason. They are being answered by crafty women of a certain age who provide a certain kind of comfort for lonely souls. Joe Simonelli’s Old Ringers is on stage for a full-on hilarious evening of theater.

A group of New York women gather frequently in the Bronx apartment of one very sassy and bawdy Diane (played by Frances McGarry). Diane lives in the home she shares with her religious and uptight daughter, Amanda (Sarah J. Ahearn). Constantly at odds with the other’s concept of a good life, they exasperate each other.

Diane is well fortified by her drop-in lover, Harry (Mark Rubino), her cadre of likeminded friends, and vodka. Amanda is appalled.

Sexually charged Verna (Linda Seay) has not been active for some time and is highly motivated to end this drought. Rose (Laurel Lettieri) suffers from a sore hip and rejection. Rounding out this posse is Kathy Ann (Stephanie Rosenberg), a youngish widow with a naïve charm, until she gets the hang of her calling.

Financially fragile, these women gear up to earn some cash in a modestly illegal immodest manner. With support from Harry, in chaps, the calls for their services just keep coming, until Police Officer Tony Rumson (Joshua Adelson) starts stopping by to woo Amanda, with whom he is instantly infatuated.

This adorable play is a very funny in the hands of this comedic cast, who appear to be enjoying every minute of the ribaldry. The direction of Carol Dorn allows the determination and unity of this group of sisters in kind to shine. The laughs are as easy as the action is unforced.

Frances McGarry is a brave scene stealer. A gifted comedic actor, she takes hold of her character and plays her at full tilt.

Linda Seay is gorgeous as the long tall wannabe seductress, Verna.

Rigid and demanding, until she is not, Amanda is wonderfully rendered by Sarah J. Ahearn. She energetically lets her character loose with expert timing.

As a shy and very innocent Kathy Ann, Stephanie Rosenberg is sweetly befuddled. The reticence of her character is the perfect contrast to her enthusiasm as she gets the hang of her new job.

Laurel Lettieri is lovely as the older and more worn out Rose.

Playing the sidekick to Ms McGarry, Mark Rubino is a hoot. He is gleeful in this role and super fun to watch.

The soulful performance by Mr. Josh Adelson, as his Tony falls in love for the first time, is authentic.

The set, designed and constructed by Nick Kaye, is wonderfully cozy and worn. The design provides large spaces for the actors to gather and move, yet retains a small-space feel. Much credit to Will Heese for fabulous and funny costuming.

The Barn is the absolute perfect venue for this light-hearted fare that pairs excellently with a snack and beverage. Make the call, ring the bell, and get yourself a ticket.

Performances continue weekends through February 23, on Friday and Saturday evenings as well as the afternoons of Sundays, February 10 and 17. Visit ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org for full performance and ticket details, directions, and reservations.

 

OLD RINGERS: a new comedy by Joe Simonelli

old ringers revised outside

A Hilarious Comedy By Joe Simonelli

Directed by Carol Dorn

It’s Golden Girls meets Calendar Girls in this semi-sequel to Men Are Dogs where four senior women try to fight the shrinking economy and their shrinking pocketbooks by investigating alternative means or generating income.  
A wrong number leads to interesting possibilities in this adult bawdy comedy.

*Mature Audiences Only*

.fran on phone mouth open

February 1 ~ 23
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sunday February 10th & 17th at 2pm

GET TICKETS

Cabaret Seating ~ Bring Food & Drink

Doors open one hour prior to curtain 

Featuring:
Frances McGarry
Linda Seay
Laurel Lettieri
Stefanie Rosenberg
Sarah Ahearn
Mark Rubino
and Joshua Adelson

Ripple Effect Artists: Guarding the Bridge

July 18, 2018 was Nelson Mandela International Day:  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Change your perspective.  Visit those dark spaces.  Shed some light on it and spread the love. 

Final performance  July 30th at 7pm!!! Tickets

Guarding the Bridge CoverWhat a fierce evening of theater and substance!GUARDING THE BRIDGE with authentic performances by Scott Zimmerman, Tim Dowd  deftly directed by Jonathan Libman and one-woman wonder, Spoken Word Artist, Dawn Speaks!

It is the mission of Ripple Effect Artists to address injustice and causes social impact through art — primarily by producing masterful plays – presenting them along with talk-back discussions in partnership with educators and advocacy groups.  Jessie Fahay, Founding Executive Director recollected seeing A Normal Heart and was so incredibly moved and thought “theatre moves people.  What can I do about this? Theater can cause a ripple effect”; thereby, becomes the laser focus of Wednesday evening’s performance of Guarding the Bridge by Chuck Gorden and Spoken Word Artist Dawn Speaks.

The juxtaposition of the powerful one-act play about the roots of racism and Dawn Speaks’ one-woman jam-poetry entertaining narrative candidly tackles issues of racism, fear, and bigotry.  Following this, a panel featuring Erika L. Ewing of Got To Stop Think TankDawn Speaks, Chuck Gorden and two representatives from Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. shared their insights and solutions to start a conversation about these issues:

“People are hungry.  And what am I gonna do about it? People are helpless. And what am I gonna do about it? Bring humanity back. Be willing to hear; be interested to hear it.  Systems [are] designed to suppress.  [We] have to be in that conversation.” ~Erika L. Ewing

“Why we hate we? The material is not new but the conversation is very old. . . I decided to educate; that’s how I intend to spark a revolution.”  ~Dawn Speaks

“You can’t say I’m not a racist – it’s inherent.  As long as you’re not aware of it it perpetuates. White people fear [being called] racist.”   ~Chuck Gorden

Catch a glimpse of their exchange:

https://www.facebook.com/jessica.l.jennings.33/videos/10156557155178887/?comment_id=10156557162083887&notif_id=1532011170859783&notif_t=comment_mention

July 18th, 2018 was Nelson Mandela International Day:  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Change your perspective.  Visit those dark spaces.  Shed some light on it and spread the love.

Final performance on July 30th at 7pm!!! Tickets: https://www.rippleeffectartists.com/productions #socialjustice

The Trauma Brain Project PODCAST!

THE TRAUMA BRAIN PROJECT is a unique theatrical narrative about the personal journey of one of its survivors, playwright Dayle Ann Hunt. Actress Marsha Mason talks about her role in the play and how The Arts can spark a conversation about early sexual trauma.

Following the NYC performance, a panel of neurologists, psychologists, and body-oriented psychotherapists discuss the relationship between early sexual trauma, PTSD and its hidden effects.

There’s No Place Like Art!

First Online With Fran’s First Podcast

There’s No Place Like Art…

FOLWF Podcast Art

The Arts are imperative — a life journey, a life experience that is like no other.  The Arts brings people together all in one space.  The plays I’ve written have touched lives — they’ve changed lives and that’s what Art does. ~Dan McCormick, Playwright

The arts are an essential part of a complete education, no matter if it happens in the home, school, or community. Students of all ages—from kindergarten to college to creative aging programs—benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and creativity. Celebrating National Arts in Education Week is a way to recognize this impact and share the message with friends, family, and communities.

Towards that end First Online With Fran celebrates National Arts in Education Week by launching her first podcast featuring guest Dan McCormick, playwright of The Violin  at 59E59 Theater.

The podcast offers opportunities for you to join her in discussions on how ordinary people are doing extraordinary things in The Arts to make our world a richer, deeper, better place to live. In these divisive times, tune in and listen to how The Arts transforms people’s lives and remind us how vitally important a role The Arts play in tapping into our humanity.