Category Archives: Announcements

Meet the Cast of “Lost in Yonkers” – Neil Simon

 

Meet our AMAZING cast of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” which opens January 26, 2018 @ 8PM and runs till Februray 10, 2018. We have one matinee on Februray 4, 2018.

Tickets are going fast, so get yours today! $16.00 for adult and $14.00 for students and seniors.

westernreserveplayhouse.org or call 330-620-7314 for tickets!

Come and help us open this new season with this wonderful show!

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“Lost in Yonkers” by Neil Simon Opens January 26, 2018!

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Adults – $16.00

Students/Seniors – $14.00

Lost in Yonkers

By: Neil Simon

Directed by: Keith Stevens

Performance Dates: January 26, 2018-February 10, 2018 (Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM; Sunday at 2PM)

By America’s great comic playwright, this memory play is set in Yonkers in 1942. Bella is thirty-five years old, mentally challenged, and living at home with her mother, stern Grandma Kurnitz. As the play opens, ne’er-do-well son Eddie deposits his two young sons on the old lady’s doorstep. He is financially strapped and taking to the road as a salesman. The boys are left to contend with Grandma, with Bella and her secret romance, and with Louie, her brother, a small-time hoodlum in a strange new world called Yonkers.

Cast:

Harriet Deveto – Grandma Kurnitz

Jay Hill – Eddie Kurnitz

Shani Ferry – Bella Kurnitz

August Scarpelli – Uncle Louie

James Patrick – Arty

Robert Rush – Jay

Beth Gaiser – Gert

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2017 LAND OF CLEVE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS!

Congrats to Western Reserve Playhouse for getting nominated for best play and musical of 2017! Congrats to the cast and Crew of “It Runs in the Family” and “Forbidden Broadway- Greatest Hits!”

So extreemly proud and honored. Thank you Rich Landocle! And a huge congrats to all as well!

https://inthelandofcleve.blogspot.com/…/high-five-fifth-an

Thank You, Allstate!

Look at all these amazing classes coming this winter!

Thank You to The Bath Country Journal for This Great Article!

Western Reserve Playhouse recasts itself in a new role
by Wendy Turrell

When Western Reserve Playhouse (WRP) opens its 2018 season on Jan. 26 with Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” it will also raise the curtain on a fresh performance philosophy. New Co-Artistic Directors Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski and Brian Westerley want to build a theater family based on relationships with actors, audiences, volunteers and community partners.

The change from a summer stock theater to a varied year-round repertory that will include both comedic and dramatic plays, musicals, a regional premiere and a pop-opera is just one of the transformations in store. The new artistic directors’ goal is to have the theater dark just one month out of the year, mid-December to mid-January.

New leadership
Westerley and Sniadak-Yamokoski became new WRP board members last spring. Both were looking for opportunities to employ their theatrical experiences. They had complementary backgrounds – Westerley has theatrical acting and directing experience in New York and Los Angeles, and Sniadak-Yamokoski has a theater and musical performance background – and they worked well together. Both have acted in Akron-area theater companies.

The WRP board, led by Chairperson Marie Dusini, voted to give Westerley and Sniadak-Yamokoski artistic management beginning immediately with the 2017 summer season, creating the new positions of co-artistic directors, a first for the theater.

“It is no secret that I have long been looking to hand over my position to someone willing and able to fill it,” said Dusini, who has led the theater for over a decade. “With the expertise of our co-artistic directors and the many new people that they have brought to the board, I do feel the theater that I love is in excellent hands and will grow enormously. … While [my husband] Marc and I will remain on the board, neither of us will select to run for an office. Our time has come, and we look forward to less responsibility.”

Westerley and Sniadak-Yamokoski unveiled the first of their creative ideas this fall when they introduced the first annual 80 Minute Play Festival. Local authors submitted original 20-minute plays, and the four winning plays were performed.

Classes and programs
WRP has always had a long-standing summer theater program for teens. Sniadak-Yamokoski will expand that youth training with the Itty Bitty Theater program, where children ages 3-10 can take classes such as introduction to acting, dance and puppet theater. Acting opportunities increase for older youth, ages 11-19, in the Young Artists’ Theatre Program.

In addition to year-round classes, both age groups can take a three-week summer camp at the theater, and the camps will culminate in fully staged productions. In 2018, younger kids will perform Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.,” making their own headgear costumes and learning African drumming. The Young Artists’ Theatre group will perform “Into the Woods Jr.”
Westerley will concentrate on teaching adult classes. His experience includes directing two world premieres in Los Angeles, “Shark Tank” and “The Day I Said Goodbye.” His class offerings will include acting, directing, dance, audition workshops and lighting design.

Sniadak-Yamokoski earned an opera performance degree from the University of Akron and has taught vocal lessons for 17 years. At press time, she was in negotiations with an opera company to offer opera evenings for the 2019 season.

Building renovations
The WRP building is evolving to support its new performance format. Two years ago, the house of 95 received new, raised seating. Over the summer, Westerley and Sniadak-Yamokoski oversaw a sizable expansion of the stage, the addition of a bar with seating at the rear of the house, installation of a new furnace and replacement of the actors’ portable toilet with indoor plumbing in the dressing room area downstairs.

Much remains to be done, said Sniadak-Yamokoski. She is passionate about making the public restroom compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This will allow her to achieve a cherished goal: offering acting classes and production roles to children and adults with special needs.

To reach the goal of $14,000 for bathroom renovations and $8,000 to bring the entrance up to ADA standards – as well as raising funds for other projects, such as building dressing and prop rooms in the dirt-floor basement – Westerley and Sniadak-Yamokoski hope to develop partnerships with Bath businesses.

Two have already stepped up. MR Remodeling built the new bar and lounge with donated labor. Parsons Grounds Maintenance donated labor to clean the entrance of the theater and will do so again when the grounds are re-landscaped in spring.

Fundraisers and fresh faces
The artistic duo hopes to institute monthly karaoke bar nights to help raise funds and is always looking for new ideas to introduce and include new people in the WRP experience.
Sniadak-Yamokoski said she hopes for a mix of new and seasoned actors in productions.

“If you’re ‘green’ to acting, come and try out,” she said. “… We want to create a theater family, to be that place where when people in the area are looking for something to do for the weekend, they go online to see what WRP has to offer.”

Westerley added, “Western Reserve Playhouse has never been a ‘home theater’ before, because it was only a summer season. We want to give this theater the love and attention it deserves. … If you have happy actors and a happy audience, you will succeed.”

Sniadak-Yamokoski said subscribers are a vital part of the theater family, and she and Westerley look forward to knowing all of them by name.

“If we get 100 people, at $100 per subscriber, that will fund the whole season,” she said.

Subscribers receive two free shows with membership. Flex ticket packages of four shows for $55 are also available and include a free show.

For more information, visit westernreserveplayhouse.org. Ticket purchase is available online or by calling 330-620-7314. WRP has a Facebook page,Western Reserve Playhouse, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @WRPlayhouse.

WRP is Proud to Announce Our BroadwayWorld Cleveland Nominations!

Western Reserve Playhouse would like to congratulate our 2017 BroadwayWorld Cleveland Nominees:

Jim Hagan for Best in Actor in a Comedy or Drama for “Scotland Road”

Adrienne Jones for Best Actress in a Comedy or Drama for “Scotland Road”

Nicholas Peters for Best Actor in a Comedy or Drama for “Matt’s First (Real) Thanksgiving”

WRP would also like to congratulate our Artistic Director, Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski for her nomination for Best Scenic Design for a Comedy or Drama for her work on “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Weathervane Playhouse.

We’d also like to congratulate our Co-Artistic Director, Brian Westerley, for his TWO nominations: Best Actor in a Comedy or Drama for “A Kid Like Jake” at Weathervane Playhouse & Best Director for “Thumbs” at Hudson Players.

Please use this link to vote for your favorites!

https://www.broadwayworld.com/cleveland/vote2017region.cfm

WRP Announces “Lost in Yonkers” Cast!

Western Reserve Playhouse is pleased to announce the cast of “Lost in Yonkers”!

The cast stars talented young actors Robbie Rush & James Patrick, along with seasoned professionals Shani Ferry & August Scarpelli, as well as OCTA recipients Beth Gaiser & Jay Hill. Rounding out the ensemble is award-winning local legend Harriet DeVeto.

Keith Stevens directs this heartwarming memory play by Neil Simon.

Performance Dates: January 26 – February 10, 2018

Show Times: 8:00 pm Fridays and Saturdays; 2:00 pm  Sunday
Tickets: $17.00 Adults; $15.00 Seniors & Students

Get yours today!

Buy Now

Western Reserve Playhouse Plans First Year-Round Season

10/12/2017 – West Side Leader

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By Kathleen Folkerth

Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski and Brian Westerley are heading up a new era at Western Reserve Playhouse in Bath. They are shown seated at the theater’s new bar area.
Photo: Kathleen Folkerth

BATH — The lights will be on — and the heating and air conditioning, when needed — all year at Western Reserve Playhouse (WRP) starting in January.After 61 years as a summer-only venue, the theater housed in a 161-year-old barn at 3326 Everett Road will feature a greatly expanded schedule of shows, as well as theater education and community performance opportunities in 2018.

Earlier this year, the board overseeing the theater named Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski artistic director and Brian Westerley co-artistic director. Westerley said the paid staff positions were in the theater’s bylaws but had not been filled until now.

Sniadak-Yamokoski, a Peninsula resident and Woodridge High School graduate, said she ran her own theater in Cleveland for several years but put that on hold when she got married and had children. With her children now a little older, the idea of getting back into running a theater was appealing, she said.

At the same time, Westerley, of Stow, was also interested in working for a theater after directing and appearing in shows throughout the area. He is an Akron native who has also worked professionally in New York and Los Angeles.

The two knew each other through friends but only met about a year ago. After they both were added to the WRP board and found they worked together well, they proposed teaming up to take on greater roles in the organization. The board unanimously agreed, they said.

Once that happened, in May, they had less than a month before the start of the 2017 season, for which the shows had already been scheduled.

“We didn’t sleep a lot that first month,” Westerley said.

The two weren’t just focusing on the season’s three productions; they also delved into some projects to improve the theater’s space. They first launched a crowdfunding effort that quickly raised $2,600 to put toward new heating and air conditioning.

“People got excited when they saw what we were doing,” said Sniadak-Yamokoski.

Using volunteers and donations, other projects also got attention: a new bar was added to the back of the theater (which has a liquor license) to replace the old concession stand, the stage was extended and the lobby was refurbished. Wi-Fi was added to the entire building, and plans call for the addition of a few high-top tables to encourage socializing before shows and during intermissions.

With the 2017 season now complete, Sniadak-Yamokoski and Westerley are now looking ahead to their expanded 2018 season, which they just announced.

“I am thrilled by how well we worked on the second season,” said Sniadak-Yamokoski. “We didn’t have a lot of disagreements.”

Westerley added it helped that he’s more of a fan of plays and his colleague loves musicals. The season features a few of both styles, ranging from new works to old favorites.

The plays to be performed in 2018 are Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” Jan. 26-Feb. 10; “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” May 11-26; “Terms of Endearment,” Aug. 17-Sept. 1; “Little Women,” Oct. 5-20; and “Hay Fever,” Nov. 2-17.

Musicals on the schedule are “Tomorrow Morning,” March 9-24; “Dogfight,” April 13-28; Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.,” June 22-24; “Into the Woods,” June 29-July 1; and “Bare: A Pop Opera,” July 13-28.

The artistic directors said they are excited about bringing “Tomorrow Morning” to the stage. WRP will be the first theater to produce the work in the state. The book, music and lyrics are by Laurence Mark Wythe, based in London, and he will work closely with WRP on the show.

Also planned next October is the second annual 80 Minute Play Festival, which will feature performances of four new 20-minute plays submitted by the public. Submission information will be available in the near future.

In addition to the full year of shows, WRP also will begin to offer youth and adult theater classes. Sniadak-Yamokoski said she’d also like to offer workshops, such as dancing for actors, to help performers prepare for auditions. She and Westerley would also like to have a workshop on stage lighting design.

In the barn’s lower level, which still has part of the dirt floor from its early use as a dairy barn, Sniadak-Yamokoski and Westerley are planning to eventually build out an area for classrooms and better dressing rooms for performers. They’ve already added a “real” bathroom for performers so they no longer have to use the portable unit outside the barn.

The barn’s top level is full of costumes and props from years of shows — 2,400 square feet, to be exact. Sniadak-Yamokoski said she would like the theater to have a resident costumer to oversee a costume shop.

The two are also hoping the addition of activity at the theater will bring in more volunteers.

“If anyone wants to be involved, we want to grow this family,” Sniadak-Yamokoski said. “We’ll put you to work, and we’ll appreciate you.”

With the Akron area full of several small theater groups, WRP’s new artistic directors said they believe their changes can help the theater stand out.

“We’re not the richest theater, but that’s where creativity comes in,” Sniadak-Yamokoski said. “I want every person to leave and go, ‘Wow, I was moved by their artists.’”

The two also did a comprehensive study of ticket prices and found there was room for a slight increase. Single tickets are $17, or $15 for seniors 65 and older and students.

“We didn’t raise it much, but it will support the season,” Sniadak-Yamokoski said.

Season tickets are available for $100 for eight shows or $55 for a Flex Pass that allows admittance to four shows. Those options do not include the “Lion King Jr.” and “Into the Woods” performances, which are part of the WRP’s Young Artists’ Theatre Program. Those single tickets will be $10.

For more information, go to westernreserveplayhouse.org or call 330-620-7314.