Local theaters offer winter entertainment

The Main Street Players of Boone County

Running for two weekends in February under the direction of Marge Henning, Neil Simon’s Chapter Two is a light comedy based on the biographical details of the playwright’s life. Four local actors assume the roles of George (Howard), his brother Leo (Christian Hogland), Jennie (Pauline Urso), and her friend Faye (Amanda Krumrei).

The familiarity of plot and characters make the production one of expectations fulfilled. The set, side-by-side New York apartments, used the limited space effectively. Henning’s professionalism enables her to effectively share her lifetime of experience with her actors. She has much to give.

Following the production, joan e. kole, president of the Main Street Players Board of Directors, shared the news that the company will be hosting the Regional Competition of Community Theaters late in the summer. Quite an honor—more details are forthcoming.

New American Theater

After several weeks of a dark theater, NAT mounts David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Proof. Catherine (Jessica Zweig) grieves for her father, Robert (Josh Burton). A brilliant mathematician, years of mental illness have dimmed his genius. Catherine, “the good daughter,” has postponed her own career to care for him, while Claire (Kelli Nonnemacher) finds success in New York. Mike McNamara is Hal, a former student searching the professor’s myriad notebooks for evidence of another groundbreaking proof.

Extremely well cast, Director Jeff Christian presents a work that reveals hours of intense rehearsal. His competence results in a smooth-running production and an opportunity for audiences to appreciate a work of depth and drama.

Years ago at a mathematics workshop for teachers, my encounter with Dr. Robert Davis of the University of Illinois gave me insight to the language of mathematics. His reference to the solution of a difficult problem as “elegant” is one heard many times since. Auburn uses the word often in Proof.

The drama depends on the interaction of characters and in spite of a seemingly dull topic, Proof is an evening of elegant theater. It runs through March 14.

Jubilee Theatre

Don Zellmer’s latest show, My Way—A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, is a work in progress. Conceived by David Grapes and Todd Wilson and premiered at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville, the format is a departure from previous shows. Zellmer has used taped music ,which allows singers the security of a consistent musical accompaniment. In the current show, Karen Holmes plays the piano, and a drummer works with her.

Philip Masterton, Carm Rongere, Debbi Torri, and Don Zellmer work individually and together to perform the music of Sinatra’s lengthy career. Analyzing some of the problems, the singers struggled to find a comfortable key. A professional accompanist can transpose for a variety of singers, a difficult task, but those with experience can meet the task.

The set represents the glitter of a Las Vegas club, professionally lit, with chrome and black accents. Rongere and Torri’s gowns give the production a note of sophistication. My Way… can develop into a crowd pleaser. Those who grew up with Sinatra treasure his music. Running through May 30, My Way… can be entertaining for those of any generation.

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