April Deming Rules the Roost as Nurse Ratched in Western Reserve Playhouse’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

Cleveland-born actress-director April Deming moved back to Ohio in 2011, and has made herself right at home again on area stages. She will be spending the next few weeks away from home and in the hospital, but thankfully not as a patient. From May 11-26, April is portraying the steel-nerved Nurse Ratched in Western Reserve Playhouse’s upcoming production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Written by Dale Wasserman — based on the book by Ken Kesey — the WRP production is being helmed by WRP Co-Artistic Director Brian Westerley. The show will run during Mental Health Awareness Month, May 11-26. As part of their commitment to community awareness, WRP is partnering with Portage Path Behavioral Health to bring you this show. In doing so, WRP & PPBH will be holding talkbacks after the performances on May 12th, 20th and 25th. These talkbacks will include the ability to talk with the cast and director, as well as different clinicians who specialize in mental illness.

In addition to April, the ensemble also features Ryan Rasnick, Joe Turner, Dennis Burby, Andrew Gordon, Marc Dusini, Craig A. Webb, Irv Korman, Ryan M. Dyke, Abby Morris, Vince Sarowatz, Bradley Haramis, David Wagar, Mikhayla Wilkins and Annette Fernandez.

The classic play will be presented at Western Reserve Playhouse, located at 3326 Everett Road in Bath. To reserve tickets, visit the company website at www.westernreserveplayhouse.org.

LandOfCleve: Where were you born, and where did you grow up? 

April: Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio but moved away when I went to college.

LandOfCleve: Where do you live now, and where do you work?

April: I live in Cuyahoga Falls. I am sort of a professional volunteer.

LandOfCleve: What are your other Northeast Ohio connections?

April: I have three daughters that live in the area now. One sister and one brother on Cleveland’s west side.

LandOfCleve: How did your background and education prepare you for a career in the theatre?

April: My degree is in theatre with a concentration in acting and directing. It is what I have always done.

LandOfCleve: Tell us about a few of your favorite past local stage and/or screen experiences.

April: Most of my current favorites have been at Weathervane Community Playhouse in Akron where I am a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2016 I played Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and I played Julia Budder in It’s Only a Play last fall.

LandOfCleve: Tell us about your past involvement with Western Reserve Playhouse.

April: I have only been an audience member so far. This is my first time on the WRP stage.

April Deming (center) with castmates from WRP’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”


LandOfCleve: What character do you play in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and what is your approach to your role?

April: I play Nurse Ratched. I approached the role by deciding for myself why she is so controlling and demanding. I think her control stems from emotional abuse where SHE was controlled (most probably by a demanding father). No one is this obsessive without cause.

LandOfCleve: How have the director, cast and crew collaborated to bring this show to life?

April: Brian Westerley (our director) has worked to keep us developing a character rather than presenting “caricatures.” The partnership with Pathways has given us a real-life view of mental health issues beyond the hints present in the script.

LandOfCleve: What can audiences expect when they come see the show?

April: It’s a good script and I hope the audience feels the confines of what life is like for these men. “The ward” is a little claustrophobic and there is a very real power struggle between Nurse Ratched and R. P. McMurphy.

LandOfCleve: What are your dream roles or types of characters you’d like to play in the future?

April: I have been so lucky to play so many “dream” roles already. I love new material and keep my eyes open for new parts that might appeal to me.

LandOfCleve: What other upcoming projects and productions are you working on?

April: Weathervane Community Playhouse is gearing up for our 8 x 10 Festival. Eight, new ten minute plays (submitted to Weathervane) are chosen to be performed the weekend of July 19 – 22, 2018. The audience gets to vote on which play they like best. The top three receive a cash prize.

LandOfCleve: What advice do you have for aspiring actors and actresses?

April: Do what you love. If you have a career in something besides theatre you can still pursue your love of Theatre in your spare time.

LandOfCleve: Anything else you would like to add or promote?

April: The Cleveland/Akron area has an abundance of arts and theatre. Take advantage of that and go see all that you can.

And kudos to Western Reserve Playhouse in putting forth a complete season. Good theatre benefits all of us.

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