Monthly Archives: January 2019

Review Number TWO is in!

Strong directing, cast featured in Western Reserve Playhouse’s ‘Tartuffe’

1/31/2019 – West Side Leader
      permalink bookmark

By David Ritchey

Jim Fippin, at left, and Brian Pedaci star in Western Reserve Playhouse’s production of “Tartuffe.”
Photo: Chris Douglas

BATH — Religious hypocrisy is alive and well in Ohio. Molière’s play of religious hypocrisy, “Tartuffe,” is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it was originally written in the mid-17th century.“Tartuffe” was first performed in 1664 and now, 355 years later, Western Reserve Playhouse is offering an audience-pleasing production of the show through Feb. 3.

When Molière (1622-73) first submitted the script to the French censors, he had to rewrite it twice, in 1667 and 1669, before “Tartuffe” could be brought to the stage. The censors thought the play was an indictment of all religions, not just religious hypocrisy. At its opening in France, the show ran for 33 performances, a record at the time.

The play was translated by American poet and literary translator Richard Wilbur (1921-2017), who received the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and 1988. He wrote the script in rhymed couplets.

In the opening scene, Orgon’s family seems to be having a family conference. Orgon (Jim Fippin) and his mother, Madame Pernelle (Harriet DeVeto) happily receive Tartuffe (Brian Pedaci) into the family’s arms. Tartuffe’s pious words win him the support of some of the family. Other members of the family oppose his living in the family’s home and recognize him for the hypocrite he is.

As the play progresses, the audience discovers Tartuffe is a religious hypocrite and a leech who uses his devout style to win the confidence and financial support of Orgon.

Pedaci makes Tartuffe as slick and unappealing as a religious hypocrite can be. Molière has given him the pious words, which he uses while attempting to seduce Orgon’s wife, Elmire (Mia Radabaugh). Pedaci’s Tartuffe has a religious fervor that moves him over the top of appropriateness and, of course, generates plenty of laughs from the audience.

Kelsey Tomlinson (Dorine) as the lady’s maid wins the hearts of the audience. The maid speaks for the playwright, telling the truth and directing the audience to look at hypocrisy and the way of true love.

However, it’s Radabaugh playing the faithful wife, who unleashes Tartuffe’s lechery in a scene that is classic French comedy, with characters hidden under the table, seduction on the table and closed doors that open on truth. Radabaugh and Pedaci play the seduction duet like two well-trained performers, which they are.

Fippin as Orgon as the head of the household rushes from one crisis to another, gasping for breath and control of his family. Fippin is at his best as the well-meaning father who thinks he’s surrounded by a disloyal family.

This production gives local audiences a great opportunity to see DeVeto at her best in the opening scene. Fippin is excellent as the confused husband, father and friend. Tomlinson probably has the largest role in this madcap comedy and she follows in the tradition of the strong female comics. I hope to see her perform again soon.

Director August Scarpelli has directed with intelligence and wit. He has made intelligent choices in line interpretation and in movement. With great wit and elegance, he has shaped a difficult script, making it accessible to the audience.

This is one of the best productions to come our way in a long time. Don’t miss it.

For tickets, call 330-620-7314 or visit


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

2019 Summer Camp Registration Now Open

WRP is excited to announce that we will be offering three camps this summer!

Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon KIDS

For ages 6 – 12  Camp Fee is $150.00 Limited to 30 campers

Camp runs from  June 3-20, 2019 from  9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Performances run June 21-23, 2019 • (Fri. & Sat. 7:00 PM; Sun. 2:00 PM)

Book by Jenny Laird Music and Lyrics by Randy Courts Additional Lyrics by Will Osborne

Based on Magic Tree House #4, Pirates by Noon by Mary Pope Osborne


An adaptation of the fourth of Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning fantasy adventure books from the Magic Tree House book series, which has sold more than 100 million copies and is available in more than a hundred countries around the world. This time around, Jack and Annie’s tree house takes them to an exotic island with pirates, where the two discover the power of friendship and the simple pleasures in everyday life. The two siblings return to visit the magic tree house on a dreary, rainy day. They find a book where the sun is shining and the waves are crashing, so they wish to travel to this tropical place. They realize that they are in the eighteenth-century Caribbean, the time of pirates! The siblings meet Captain Bones, a mean old pirate who captures the two and forces them to help him find buried treasure. It’s up to Jack and Annie to find their way back to the tree house and make their way home.

The registration fee is $150.00 and there are discounts available for siblings. If you need further information or want to register, please call (330) 620-7314.

Harry’s Hotter at Twilight

For Ages 12 – 19

Camp Fee is $150.00 • Limited to 25 campers

Camp runs from June 10-27, 2019 from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Performances run June 28-30, 2019  (Fri. & Sat. 7:00 PM; Sun. 2:00 PM)

Show Tickets are $10.00; Age 3 and under are free.

This crazed mash-up parody of the Harry Potter and Twilight series (with nods to Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland, and other stars of the pop culture pantheon) features invisible rabbits, armies of babies, murderous lunatics, evil gourmets and much more. Hilarity ensues as everyone’s favorite wizards, vampires, and werewolves battle to save the gloomy town of Spork — and indeed the world — from certain destruction at the hands of the nefarious Fine Diner and the bloodthirsty Euphoria.

The registration fee is $150.00 and there are discounts available for siblings. If you need further information or want to register, please call (330) 620-7314.

Fractured Fairy Tales: the Play

For Ages 3-6

Camp Fee is $75.00 • Limited to 20 campers

Camp runs from July 8-12, 2019 from 9-11 AM
Performance is  July 12 (Fri. 6:30PM)

Show tickets are $2. ; Age 3 and under are free.


This exciting one week Young Artist’s Theater camp is for our youngest students ages 3-6. This camp’s focus is art, crafts,acting and putting on a 20-minute delightful play Older siblings are allowed to participate too! What a fun and new way to introduce your child to the world of theater arts!

The registration fee is $75.00 and there are discounts available for siblings. If you need further information or want to register, please call (330) 620-7314.



Akron Beacon Journal Review is in…..and “Tartuffe” is a HIT!

Review: Strong cast carries witty ‘Tartuffe’ at Western Reserve Playhouse

Photo Credit: Chris Douglas

By Kerry Clawson
Beacon Journal/

Tartuffe is the ultimate master manipulator. And in the hands of Brian Pedaci, he also comes across as dangerously charismatic in Moliere’s classic comedy “Tartuffe” at Western Reserve Playhouse.

This 1664 French play, done in verse, is performed in a highly accessible English translation by Richard Wilbur. And the strong cast at Western Reserve Playhouse makes all of Moliere’s witty rhymes crystal-clear in terms of understanding.

This “Dr. Seuss for adults,” as artistic director Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski refers to the play, is directed by August Scarpelli. The lively combination of insulting rhyming couplets and zany physical humor in this production brought plenty of laughs on opening night Friday, including from my 11-year-old son.

The show features a gracious-looking set by Daniel Hunsicker depicting the wealthy Orgon’s home and elegant costumes and wigs by Harry James. All of the characters in this comedy wear heavily rouged cheeks except for Tartuffe, the villain, who also is the only bald character in this show where the other older males wear elaborate white wigs.

Pedaci doesn’t play Tartuffe as an over-the-top villain or do an oily, desperate characterization like others I’ve seen in the past. He doesn’t play the role for laughs. Instead, he presents a suave man who dominates the stage and seems to be enjoying bamboozling the master of the house, Orgon. For that reason, one can see why people could at first be drawn to Tartuffe.

Much of the humor comes from how ridiculously blind Jim Fippin’s Orgon is in his admiration for this houseguest. But everyone in this story soon sees clearly what a con man he really is, except for the easily duped Orgon and his mother, Madame Pernelle (Harriet DeVeto).

Orgon thinks he owes everything to Tartuffe but it’s the other way around: The previously homeless Tartuffe is living the high life eating well at Orgon’s home, where he makes a big display of his supposed piety while wearing a black robe that looks like a cleric’s.

Fippin’s comical Orgon is so completely “hoodwinked by this rascal’s art,” he offers his new “spiritual adviser” his daughter in marriage and practically hands him his wife on a platter, without realizing it.

The danger here serves as a warning in any time period: Orgon won’t think for himself or question what is going on around him. Moliere’s work stirred controversy when it premiered in 1664 and was censored by King Louis XIV.

Kelsey Tomlinson is wonderfully saucy as the mouthy maid Dorine, who inserts herself into the Orgon household’s controversy and schemes to expose Tartuffe for the hypocrite he is. She uses one of the best words in the play when she tells another character, “You deserve to be Tartuffified,” or duped.

This is the largest and funniest role I’ve ever seen Tomlinson play, and she performs it with zest. Dorine, one of the smartest characters in “Tartuffe,” sets about a scheme to expose this fraud. One naughty moment in a seduction scene may go over younger viewers’ heads but is appropriate for older audiences.

Friday night’s audience laughed hard at young lovers Mariane (Kayla Lehman) and Valere (Zach Manthey), who engage in a very stubborn, tantrum-like fight. Manthey’s physical humor is priceless, whether he’s sliding down a wall crying or literally running into walls as his riled-up character throws a fit.

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

Additional showing of Tartuffe has been added

Because of last weekend’s snow storm, we’ve added another showing of Tartuffe.

February 3rd and 2:00PM.

You can even be home in time for the Super Bowl!

Buy tickets for this showing here.



January 19th Performance of Tartuffe Canceled

Dear Western Reserve Playhouse Patrons:

This message is to inform you that the January 19, 2019, performance of Moliere’s “Tartuffe” has been cancelled, due to severe snowfall and high winds.  

The safety of attendees, cast and crew always comes first.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to having you at another show during this run.

“Tartuffe” has 5 more performances and we are looking into adding an extra show due to this cancellations.  Please make sure you check on our website and social media outlets for that potentially added show.

If you have purchased tickets online for this evening’s performance one of our staff will be in contact shortly about your options. Always feel free to call and leave a message at 330-620-7314. For questions, please contact us at


Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski
Artistic Director
Western Reserve Playhouse