Five Bucks Series

Western Reserve Playhouse presented the witty, comical play “Eastern Standard” as the second staged reading in its Five Bucks Series Sunday, directed by Patrick Dukeman. The 1988 play, which features incisive dialogue by playwright Richard Greenberg, explores four yuppies attempting to “fix” two less fortunate women while they also deal with their own problems.

The solid cast featured Jim Fippin, Kyla Williger, Kelsey Tomlinson, Jay Sigler, Kathy Ashcroft and Dukeman, who was highly humorous as the most flamboyant character, Drew. While the play was a comedy, it also dealt with serious subjects including AIDS and homelessness.

The reading was an entertaining afternoon of theater for just $5. The new series, which started in February with Noel Coward’s “Private Lives,” directed by Nancy Cates, will continue with “Finks” by Joe Gilford, directed by Jeff Hall at 2 p.m. May 19. On the verge of TV stardom, comic Mickey Dobbs meets actress and activist Natalie Meltzer, and their romance blossoms — as does the risk that they’ll be blacklisted for their political activities.

Next will be Matt Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band,” directed by Jim Fippin at 2 p.m. July 14. In his upper East Side apartment in 1968, Michael is throwing a birthday party for Harold. As the drug- and alcohol-fueled evening wears on, unresolved conflicts come to light when a game of “Truth” goes terribly wrong.

Deborah Zoe Laufer’s “Sirens,” directed by Fippin, will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 15. When Sam Abrams first fell in love with Rose he wrote her a song that has been covered by every recording artist. Sam and Rose are now celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a cruise in the Mediterranean. While on the cruise, Sam hears the most sublime music ever heard, jumps overboard and winds up with a Siren.

Finally, Theresa Rebeck’s “Dead Accounts,” directed by Hall, will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 17. Jack’s unexpected return throws his family into a frenzy, and his sister Lorna needs answers. The comedy tackles issues of corporate greed, small town values and whether or not your family will always welcome you back.

For more information on the series, see www.westernreserveplayhouse.org.

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or kclawson@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj.com