By Bill Hirschman
Regular South Florida theatergoers will recognize many local stalwarts headlining productions this fall as well as some folks new to these parts – and their parts.
Palm Beach Dramaworks revealed much of its casting for the entire season this week, featuring the boldface name of Tony Award nominee and part-time local resident Maureen Anderman in December.
Dramaworks opens its season Oct. 12 with Lanford Wilson’s bittersweet courtship in Talley’s Folly, starring Erin Joy Schmidt, last seen in Mad Cat’s Macbeth & the Monster while she was still pregnant, but well known for GableStage’s Fifty Words and Florida Stage’s Goldie, Max & Milk. She will be wooed by New Yorker Brian Wallace.
The company, which has produced at least five Albee plays, will tackle his enigmatic A Delicate Balance beginning Dec. 7 with Carbonell Award winner Angie Radosh (A Streetcar Named Desire, Speaking Elephant , The Year of Magical Thinking, Cabaret) and Dennis Creaghan (American Buffalo, A Behanding in Spokane, Seafarer, The Voysey Inheritance, The Fantasticks). But the headline here is Anderman, a veteran New York actress who has played in several Albee works including the world premiere of Seascape. She and her husband, the actor Frank Converse, spend part of their year living in Palm Beach County and have been fans of Dramaworks for several seasons. Converse played in Dramaworks’ The Weir but Anderman has not appeared there yet. More news on Anderman later.
Ethan Henry has had an outstanding season including roles as the duplicitous counselor in The Motherf**ker With The Hat and the only slightly more upstanding attorney in Race at GableStage, plus M Ensemble’s Harlem Duet. Now he gets the lead role of Walter Lee in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun beginning Feb. 1.
Colin McPhillamy doesn’t live in South Florida but he ought to have an apartment here after working in Dramaworks’ Copenhagen and The Pitmen Painters as well as Promethean Theatre’s A Report on the Banality of Love and Blue/Orange and several at Florida Stage. He’ll have the title role beginning March 29 in Eugene Ionesco’s surrealistic Exit The King with Angie Radosh.
The season concludes with Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa with Julie Rowe and Margery Lowe playing two of the five Mundy sisters beginning May 24. Lowe is well known for dozens of local performances including Dramaworks’ A Doll’s House, Caldwell’s Clybourne Park and Six Years and Zoetic Stage’s Moscow.
For more information visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
Some other casting odds and ends of mostly local actors:
* GableStage opens the searing play about women trying to survive in the war-torn Congo starting Sept. 8 with a huge cast featuring Lela Elam as the Mother Courage-like figure, supported by Marckenson Charles, Renata Eastlick, David Kwiat, Sheaun Mckinney, Trenell Mooring, Robert Strain, Jade Wheeler, Jerel Brown, Devon Dassaw, Mcley Lafrance, Rico Reid and Keith C. Wade.
* Ken Clement, one of the region’s outstanding actors in everything from the title role in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol to the satanic visitor in The Seafarer, will stretch himself even further in Mosaic Theatre’s production of Gogol’s Diary of A Madman beginning Sept. 20.
* Boca Raton Theatre Guild, now in its second year as a professional company, opens A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia on Sept. 28 with Patti Gardner (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife at BRTG last season), frequent director Keith Garsson (Other People’s Money, Broadway Bound), Mario Betto (The Sisters Rosensweig) and, as the dog who thinks she’s human, Jacqueline Laggy (Other People’s Money, Chapter Two and numerous shows at The Women’s Theatre Project).
* Tom Wahl has played many roles in South Florida including the husband in Moscow, one of the lovers in Next Fall, and several turns in Shear Madness — but not all at the same time. Beginning Oct. 4 he inhabits about 40 characters in Zoetic Stage’s I Am My Own Wife.
* Nick Duckart, last seen at Actors Playhouse as the Elvish Pharoah in Joseph and the… and the doctor in Next To Normal will return to a Bible theme as John the Baptist and Judas Iscariot in Actors Playhouse’s Godspell beginning Oct. 10. Josh Canfield, who played Joseph, will play Jesus. Henry Gainza, one of Joe’s brothers and William Barfee in Spelling Bee, is one of the ragamuffin disciples.
* The new Plaza Theatre in Manalapan, which has mostly done musical revues to date, kicks off its season Oct. 18 with the straight play Driving Miss Daisy, starring a trio of veterans: Harriet Oser (recently the dotty roomer in Man in the Moon Marigolds) as the crusty matriarch, John Archie as her chauffeur and friend, and Ken Clement as her son.
* Behind (or inside) Rick Pena’s cute puppets having sex and singing about how it sucks to be them in Slow Burn Theatre Company’s Avenue Q beginning Oct. 26 will be Mike Westrich (just finishing Twentieth Century Way), Nicole Piro, Christian Vandepas, Courtney Poston, Pamela Stigger, Ann Marie Olson and Trent Stephens.
* The Women’s Theatre Project’s Delval Divas, a comedy about white collar criminals in a women’s prison, opens at the Willow Theatre beginning Nov. 2 with a cast of familiar faces: Sally Bondi, Lisa Braun, Lela Elam, Jacqueline Laggy, Jessica Peterson and Karen Stephens.
* Stephens is also part of the quartet in Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of Doubt beginning Feb. 5. Stephens plays the victim’s mother, Julie Kleiner is the young nun caught in the middle of the controversy, Jim Ballard as a priest suspected of child abuse and Ms. Anderman again as the strict principal at a parochial school.
* Avi Hoffman is busy with several projects including the lovable lunatic in Plaza Theatre’s Luv beginning Dec. 6 (with Patti Gardner) and as the storyteller in Outré Theatre Company’s one-man An Iliad beginning April 5, and joins Sally Bondi and Ken Clement in the musical Chicago beginning March .
* In between penning plays, Michael McKeever keeps his hand in. He’ll reprise his martini-sipping department store elf in Santaland Diaries for Parade Productions beginning Dec. 13.
* Another quartet of familiar names — Nicholas Richberg, Todd Allen Durkin, Amy McKenna and Betsy Graver – star in Zoetic Stage’s production of Zach Braff’s All New People beginning Jan. 10.
* Jodie Langel who starred last season in the Maltz’s Joseph and…. and Actors Playhouse’s Next to Normal will play a dancer trying to overcome the commitment fears of a widower played by the always busy Wayne LeGette in Plaza Theatre’s Chapter Two beginning March 1.
And that’s just the ones we know about.