Monthly Archives: February 2018

Auditions for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” & “bare: A Pop Opera”!

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”


A charming rogue, McMurphy, contrives to serve a short sentence in an airy mental institution rather than in a prison. There, he clashes with the head nurse, Ratched, a fierce disciplinarian. He quickly takes over the yard & leads others out of introversion, stages a revolt so that they can see the World Series on TV & arranges a rollicking midnight party with liquor & women. Ratched quietly works in the background to stop McMurphy from taking over her ward. The end is as shocking today & it was when it premiered 45 years ago.

ROLES AVAILABLE (Some may be doubled. Looking for a range of ages & ethnicities):























Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Please bring a resume & headshot with you to the audition.

Location: Bethel Lutheran Church, 3852 Everett Rd, Richfield, OH 44286

To sign up for an audition:

“bare: A Pop Opera” Auditions



Book & Music: Damon Intrabartolo

Book & Lyrics: Jon Hartmere

A pulsating, electric contemporary rock musical, bare follows a group of students at a Catholic boarding school as they grapple with issues of sexuality, identity, and the future. Peter and Jason have fallen in love with each other, but Jason — a popular athlete — fears losing his status if he is discovered to be gay. Unpopular Nadia, Jason’s sister, is contemptuous of Ivy, a beautiful girl with a questionable reputation. As the group attempts to put up a production of Romeo and Juliet, tensions flare, self-doubt simmers, and God’s path seems more difficult to find than ever. bare rings with the sounds of youthful repression and revolt. With a unique sung-through pop score, heart-pounding lyrics, and a cast of bright young characters, bare is a provocative, fresh, and utterly honest look at the dangers of baring your soul, and the consequences of continuing to hide.

ROLES AVAILABLE (All roles except the Priest, Claire & Sr. Chantrelle must be able to convincingly play high school age):


JASON: handsome golden child of St. Cecilia’s senior class (Baritone)

PETER: introspective, Jason’s clandestine boyfriend (Tenor)

IVY: pretty, popular, insecure (Soprano)

NADIA: Jason’s pudgy, sardonic twin sister (Mezzo-Soprano)

MATT: studious, pious, Jason’s academic rival (Tenor)

LUCAS: The school’s fun-loving purveyor of altered reality (Baritone)

TANYA: Lucas’s girlfriend (Soprano)

KYRA: student, sexy (Alto)

DIANE: student, very naive (Alto)

RORY: student, sarcastic (Soprano)

ZACK: student, jock type (Baritone)

ALAN: student, nerdy (Tenor)

CLAIRE: Peter’s mother (Mezzo-Soprano)

SR. CHANTELLE: African-American nun, wise, no-nonsense (Soprano)

PRIEST: St. Cecilia’s headmaster (Baritone)

Please prepare a song in the style of the show, BUT NOT FROM THE SHOW. Auditions will also consist of cold readings from the script. Be prepared to move, as well. Please bring a resume & headshot with you to the audition. Callbacks, if necessary, will be held Tuesday, April 17 at 7PM.

Location: Western Reserve Playhouse, 3326 Everett Rd, Richfield, OH 44286

To sign up for an audition:

CLEVE REVIEW: Nostalgic ‘Lost in Yonkers’ Finds the Perfect Balance of Comedy and Drama at Western Reserve Playhouse

Robert Rush, Shani Ferry, and James Patrick in “Lost in Yonkers”

WHO: Western Reserve Playhouse

WHAT: Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon, directed by Keith Stevens

WHEN: Now through February 10

HOW: To reserve tickets, visit the company website at

WHERE: Western Reserve Playhouse, 3326 Everett Road in Bath

Western Reserve Playhouse is starting off the new year by looking back at yesteryear in Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers. The sweetly sentimental family portrait is guaranteed to warm viewers hearts on a cold winter night.

When their father Eddie reveals he has to travel for work, two teenage boys Jay and Artie find themselves reluctantly living with their eccentric relatives in Yonkers in 1942. They suddenly find themselves having to deal with mentally challenged Aunt Bella, conman Uncle Louie, breathless Aunt Gert, and worst of all, strict Grandma Kurnitz.

The bittersweet comedy-drama is beautifully directed by Keith Stevens. He keeps the focus on the dysfunctional family members, masterfully escalating the tense confrontations then defusing each situation with humorous observations and interactions.

Stevens has formed a fantastic family of actors to tell Simon’s tender tale. They include Robert Rush and James Patrick as the teen boys Jay and Artie, August Scarpelli as Louie, Beth Gaiser as Gert and Jay Hill as Eddie. Especially endearing are Shani Ferry and Harriet DeVeto as the daughter and mother who are constantly at odds yet cannot survive without one another.

“Home sweet home” is the perfect phrase to describe the ambiance that WRP’s creative staff has achieved onstage. Technical director Jim Gremba designed the comfortably lived-in setting, sensitively lit by Kevin Rutan. Kelsey Tomlinson provided the evocative costumes, and Sue Snyder delivered the period props.

Western Reserve Playhouse’s ‘Yonkers’ ‘excellent’

2/1/2018 – West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

Photo Credit – Chris Douglas

Sharing a scene in Western Reserve Playhouse’s “Lost in Yonkers” are, from left, Shani Ferry, Beth Gaiser, Robbie Rush, James Patrick, August Scarpelli and Harriet DeVeto.

Photo courtesy of Western Reserve Playhouse

BATH — Western Reserve Playhouse opened its 2018 season with Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” which will run through Feb. 10.Artistic Director Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski and Co-artistic Director Brian Westerley are leaving their mark on the theater and helping to bring new audiences to the theater. Audiences are sure to see great changes as the theater changes.

Simon received the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for “Lost in Yonkers,” which is a delicate story of a family struggling to remain a family in 1942.

As the story opens, Jay (Robbie Rush) is grieving the death of his wife from cancer. He struggled to pay for the medicine he bought when his wife was ill. He now has to find someone to take care of his two teenage sons, Arty (James Patrick) and Eddie (Jay Hill). He will have to leave his two sons with his mother while he becomes a traveling salesman in an attempt to pay off his debts.

Grandma Kurnitz (Harriet DeVeto) doesn’t want to care for her grandsons, but finally agrees to help. She is a dictator in her home.

Louie (August Scarpelli) is a single man, the brother of Jay and the uncle of Arty and Eddie. As the story unfolds, the audience learns Louie is a gangster.

Bella (Shani Ferry) is Jay’s slowwitted sister. She lives with her mother and helps care for her mother’s ice cream store. Bella wants to marry and have children. However, the man she wants to marry is not willing to leave his parents and get a job working outside of the movie theater.

Gert (Beth Gaiser) is another sister of Jay, Bella and Louie. She has a speech problem brought about by her mother’s dictatorship.

Director Keith Stevens kept the story moving at a brisk pace. The script is well written and challenges the cast and audience to watch the action of the story.

The director chose a superior cast. DeVeto is excellent as the difficult Grandmother Kurnitz. She seems at times to become a loving woman but just as quickly becomes tough and unhappy because of her life in Germany.

Patrick and Rush do a masterful job of slowly evolving. The two teenagers play their first scenes resenting their grandmother, but as the story unfolds, they find ways to live with their grandmother and not destroy themselves. These changes are slow, deliberate and entertaining.

This is an excellent production of a well-written show.

For ticket information, call 330-620-7314 or visit


David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Cleveland Critics Circle.

Western Reserve Playhouse heats up 2018 season with Neil Simon’s ‘Lost in Yonkers’

by Kerry Clawson, Akron Beacon Journal

Photo Credit – Chris Douglas

Western Reserve Playhouse has kicked off a highly auspicious start to its first year-round theater season with a warm, lively, comical yet emotional production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers.

The theater, situated in a barn at the Richfield-Bath border, now has heat for the first time, allowing the organization to transition from a summer theater to a year-round operation. Through the vision of new artistic director Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski and co-artistic director Brian Westerley, Western Reserve Playhouse’s opened its first winter show with the Simon work Friday.

The results are thrilling.

Director Keith Stevens leads a dynamic cast of varying ages, from teens through senior citizens, in this heartwarming World War II story that portrays a Jewish family struggling to come together. The comedic drama from 1991 won the Pulitzer Prize and four Tony Awards.

As a result of a harsh, cold upbringing by German immigrant Grandma Kurnitz (Harriet DeVeto), her four children all struggle with varying difficulties into adulthood. They’re all emotionally traumatized and have handled that in different ways.

Each of the four siblings is lost, including emotional widower Eddie (Jay Hill), who cries easily. His sons, Jay and Arty, are lost, too, having just buried their mother.

The charismatic August Scarpelli portrays smooth-talking Uncle Louie, a small-time mobster who fascinates his young nephews. Actress Beth Gaiser also creates a memorable turn as Aunt Gert, who has a giggle-inducing nervous tic.

Through the great Simon’s writing, we’re able to laugh along with this family through much of its pain. Everyone’s afraid of Grandma Kurnitz, including her children and grandchildren. Both pathos and rich situational comedy stem from that premise.

Excellent actress DeVeto creates a Grandma who believably inspires that fear through an unforgiving severity that belies the love she has buried inside. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Shani Ferry — a former Actors’ Summit company member — is bright, kooky and beautiful as the hopeful Bella, the boys’ aunt who has mental disabilities.

Ferry’s Bella, ever a girl trapped in a woman’s body, represents the heart of the family. Despite her mental disability, she has a sagacity that ends up being the glue that holds the family together.

Ferry and DeVeto create a heartbreaking confrontation between Bella and Grandma that delves into the anger the latter has harbored for many decades and the great loss she endured back in Europe.

As brothers Jay and Arty, young talents Robert Rush and James Patrick play off of each other wonderfully and have an innate sense of excellent comedic timing. Patrick’s Arty delivers some of the show’s greatest one-liners with zest.

This play is such a fulfilling family story, it’s a wonder it’s not produced more often in Northeast Ohio. With director Stevens at the helm, every aspect of the playhouse’s community theater performance has a professional quality. Sniadak-Yamokoski has brought in a friend/colleague with excellent credentials: Stevens is an Equity actor who consistently delighted audiences with his performances as a company member of the former Actors’ Summit.

This cast has set the bar so high at the playhouse, theater lovers can eagerly anticipate what’s coming next in the nicely varied, eight-show main stage season.

Next up will be the regional premiere of the musical Tomorrow Morning in March, followed by the musical Dogfight, the drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, bare: A Pop Opera, the dramedy Terms of Endearment, Little Women: The Musical, and the Noel Coward comedy Hay Fever.

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or


Photo Credit- Chris Douglas


Photo Credit- Chris Douglas