Talented Performer Diane Roberts Takes on Maternal Role in Western Reserve Playhouse’s ‘Dogfight’

Mother’s Day came early this year for talented performer Diane Roberts, who was cast in the role of Mama in Dogfight. She is a familiar face on the local theatre scene — she’s been acting, singing and dancing for 22 years.

This time out, Diane gets to portray the concerned mother of a young woman who is the target of a cruel joke played by a group of Marines.

Western Reserve Playhouse is presenting Dogfight now through April 28. The show features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, and book by Peter Duchan. It is being directed by Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski, with musical direction by Dave Stebbins. The venue is located at 3326 Everett Road in Bath. For tickets and more information, please visit the official website at www.westernreserveplayhouse.org.

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

Diane: I was born and grew up in Toledo, Ohio.

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

Diane: I live in Kirtland with my husband and bunny, and I work at System Seals in Garfield Heights. I am the assistant to the President of a fluid power seal company.

LandOfCleve:  What are your other Northeast Ohio connections?

Diane: I have been living in Northeast Ohio since 2005, and have some family and many friends in the area.

LandOfCleve: How did your background and education prepare you to work as a performer?

Diane: My previous experience and training has helped me be fully prepared and confident for auditions and make smart choices on stage.

Diane Roberts (center) with castmates from Garfield Hts.’ “The Drowsy Chaperone”

LandOfCleve: What are a few of your favorite past stage and/or film experiences?

Diane: My favorite roles were Polly in Crazy for You, Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone and a dancing old lady in The Producers.

LandOfCleve: What is your past experience with Western Reserve Playhouse?

Diane: This is my first show at Western Reserve Playhouse.

LandOfCleve: Tell us about your current production Dogfight and what role you are playing.

Diane: Dogfight is a musical by Pasek and Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman) set in the 1960s in San Francisco. The plot focuses on a group of Marines setting off for Vietnam. They decide to have a “dogfight” contest where the Marine who brings the ugliest girl to the party wins. I play Mama, the mother of Rose.

LandOfCleve: What are some of the rewards and challenges of doing this show?

Diane: Rewards for me are being in such a high caliber production with such talented performers and being in a show that is really edgy, funny and sad all in one. Some challenges would be making it through the war scene without crying and putting on a production that may not be publicly acceptable with an older theatre community. This is not your traditional musical, and that’s why I love it.

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

Diane: Because of the cohesiveness of everyone from Dawn, Whitney, Dave, Elise, et al, this has been a thoroughly enjoyable production to work on, with a unique voice that needs to be heard. It is an excellent show.

LandOfCleve: What are your dream roles or projects you’d like to act in the future?

Diane: I would love to be Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers, Diana in Next to Normal and Margaret in Carrie the Musical.

Diane (right) with cast members from “Crazy For You” at Kent State Stark

LandOfCleve: What advice do you have for aspiring performers?

Diane: Practice your craft. Don’t take things so personally. Ask questions. Be present. Be prepared. Be passionate about what you do. Have fun. Don’t take yourself so seriously!

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

Diane: Please come see Dogfight, running now through April 28th at Western Reserve Playhouse.


WHO: Western Reserve Playhouse

WHAT: Dogfight, music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul and book by Peter Duchan; directed by Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski, musical direction by Dave Stebbins

WHEN: Now through April 28; performances Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm (except April 21st); Sundays 2pm and 6:30pm.

WHERE: Western Reserve Playhouse, 3326 Everett Road in Bath

HOW: For tickets and more information, please visit the official website at www.westernreserveplayhouse.org

It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But, when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress whom he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.

Artistic Director Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski directs the show, with musical direction by Dave Stebbins.

The cast includes Kimberly Sullivan, Kyle Burnett, Nina Takacs, Kaleigh Velette, Maximillian Winer, Zachary Palumbo, Daniel Hunsicker, Ben Arrington, Brian Innenberg, Diane Roberts and Kevin Cline, along with Kayla Lehman, Micayla Carafelli, Ryan Dyke, Dorota Zarzycka and Steven Schuerger.

Show Times: 8pm Fridays & Saturdays (except April 21st); 2pm and 6:30pm Sunday.

Tickets: $17.00 Adults; $15.00 Seniors & Students.

To reserve tickets, please visit our website: www.westernreserveplayhouse.org

The venue is located at 3326 Everett Rd., Bath, OH 44286.

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