Theater Review: ‘Greetings’ from Pec Playhouse

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

Written by Tom Dudzick and directed by Michael Dice at Pec Playhouse Theatre in Pecatonica, Ill., Greetings is the story of a family holiday complicated by differences in religious beliefs, a disabled adult and the marriage of son, Andy.

Returning home with his intended bride, Randi, played by Erin Hannigan, Andy, played by Ben Riddle, encounters many of the family problems that have faced him for years.

The Hon. Ronald Pirrello is Phil Gorski, the cranky patriarch, who constantly complains about every detail of his life. Laura Wiegert is his wife, Emily, trying in vain to smooth the troubled waters. James Castree, a longtime member of the company, gives an amazing performance as the 30-year-old disabled son, mumbling and moving awkwardly across the stage. A transformation occurs that brings drama to the piece, and Castree becomes the center of the play.

Greetings incorporates the stresses that families face as their children age, and long-held traditions are cast aside and independent thinking takes over.

Hannigan, making her debut performance at Pec Playhouse, is a lovely addition to the cast. Her determination to cast aside her Jewish roots is a challenge to this family of traditional roots. Family gatherings become more and more controversial as we age and our children assume their own identities.

Pec Playhouse continues to design and mount sets that give a special aura to every production. Greetings is no exception. Father, Phil, is a holiday decoration addict, and every surface in his modest home is hung with wreaths, garlands and colorful lights. The décor is an inspiration to us all.

A great introduction to the holiday season, Greetings will give you an evening of superb entertainment. Playing through Dec. 2, it is the perfect way to begin your holiday. Tickets are available by calling (815) 239-1210. Upcoming productions include Write Me a Murder, Feb. 8-24; John Lennon and Me, April 19-28; Dearly Beloved, June 14-30; All Shook Up, Sept. 13-29; and one of my favorites, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Nov. 22-Dec. 8, 2013.

Pec Playhouse Theatre has recently received “It’s a Great Day in Rockford” from the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Congratulations!

From the Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2012, issue

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