‘Mrs. Mannerly’ opens at Artists’ Ensemble May 10

Online Staff Report

Actors Stephen F. Vrtol III and Linda Abronski face off in a comedy of manners about manners in Artists’ Ensemble’s (AE) next production, Mrs. Mannerly, opening May 10.

Jeffrey, a middle-aged man, invites the audience to return to 1967, when the times, they were a-changin’. But they hadn’t changed much in Steubenville, Ohio, where children were routinely enrolled in etiquette class at the YMCA. Presiding over the class was the steely, intimidating Helen Anderson Kirk, better known as “Mrs. Mannerly.”

Vrtol plays Jeffrey, both in the present day and at age 9. He also plays all the other pupils in the class. Abronski plays their mysterious and slightly scary teacher.

Young Jeffrey, despite his chagrin that manners class is forcing him to miss The Wild, Wild West on TV, vows to be the first pupil ever to achieve a perfect score in Mrs. Mannerly’s final, a public demonstration of proper behavior at a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Mark Ulrich, guest director from Chicago, calls the play a “devilishly funny script,” and is delighted to reunite with Steve and Linda, old friends from New American Theater.

Mrs. Mannerly performs May 10-26 in the Cheek Theatre at Rockford College. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday tickets are $19. All other performances are $28, $26 for seniors and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at www.artistsensemble.org or by calling (815) 394-5004.

AE is an Equity professional theater performing in residence at Rockford College.

Posted May 8, 2013

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