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Comedy and music on stage in September posted on 09/01/2022

When Clackamas Repertory Theatre (CRT) selects plays for a season, David Smith-English noted they go through numerous scripts before finding one that piques their interest. Smith-English will direct one of those, “The Book Club Play,” by Karen Zacarķas, opening this month, although it took him a couple times reading the script, which centers on a book club, before really envisioning it.


“I first read it, (it’s got) just six characters talking about books; you can’t have a play with no action,” Smith-English said. “The more I read it, the more I realized it’s right there, all this wonderful action is going on.”

The comedy, a newer play that CRT intended to do three years ago before the pandemic thwarted those plans, offers the story of a devoted book club that becomes the subject of a documentary filmmaker’s efforts. The club’s intimate discussions, along with the literature and a provocative new member, are all captured on film.

“Some interesting things happen when people forget there’s a camera on them,” Smith-English said. “It’s really fun. It’s just a really enjoyable experience with a fabulous cast.”

CRT presents the comedy, “The Book Club Play,” from Thursday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices are from $30-40. For more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call 503-594-6047.

CRT will also offer an evening of music, featuring the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim performed by Susannah Mars and Merideth Kaye Clark, for one night only at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21. Tickets are $20 and sold at the door.


Classic musical in Boring

The names of the women who have tackled the role of Dolly Gallagher-Levi in the renown musical “Hello Dolly!,” book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and based on the play “The Matchmaker” by Thornton Wilder, include some A-list celebrities: Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters among them.

For the Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company’s (NNB) production, veteran performer and NNB’s Artistic Director Kelly Lazenby will take on part with her husband, Justin, directing.

“It’s a ‘bucket list’ part for her,” Justin said.

The story focuses on Dolly, a turn-of-the-century matchmaker who decides that the next match she needs to make is to find someone for herself. The show includes many well-known songs in the musical theater cannon, including “It Only Takes a Moment,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” and the title number, “Hello, Dolly!”

In taking on such a popular show, Justin noted that he hopes to solidly hit the things that audience members will already know, including those songs, while also making the story their own.

“I like to tell the story without distraction,” he said, adding that there is a “delightful familiarity” with the show.

Justin added that while the show offers challenges, including mounting a production with such a large cast in a space that has its limitations, he enjoys how positive the story is.

“Even the grumpiness of the main guy is all tongue in cheek, it’s all fun,” he said. “This one is just meant to be an uplifting story of love and relationships.”

Justin added that many reservations have already been made for the show, so audience members are encouraged to buy tickets as soon as they can.

NNB presents “Hello Dolly!” from Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for children and seniors, and $13 for law enforcement. For more information, or to make reservations, call 503-593-1295 or visit nnbtheater.com.


Neil Simon’s “Rumors” in Sandy

Patrick Roth’s involvement with the Sandy Actors Theatre (SAT) stretches back to 2007, and he’s performed in numerous productions since. But Roth will take on a first-time role with SAT’s latest production, Neil Simon’s comedy “Rumors,” as the show’s director.

And while the process has endured some bumps in the road, including a performer testing positive for COVID-19 and another one dropping out altogether, Roth is focused on making sure the audience will enjoy it.

“I hope they just come out laughing,” he said.

The play tells the story of the Deputy Mayor of New York, who is wounded just as a gathering for his tenth wedding anniversary is about to begin. With his wife nowhere in sight, his lawyer, Ken, and Ken's wife, Chris, must get “the story” straight before the other guests arrive.

“In this show, everyone is an opposite, which is great,” Roth said. “They each have their power dynamics, which is classic Neil Simon. Each character trying to outdo each other.”

Roth has a background in clowning, and he noted that has offered a good foundation for the play’s movement and physical comedy, adding that he’s enjoyed connecting his cast with their inner comedic timing.

SAT presents “Rumors” from Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Oct. 16, at 17433 SE Meinig Avenue in Sandy (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $18 general admission, $13 for children and $15 for seniors, first responders, students and veterans (reservations are recommended). For more information, or to make reservations call 503-936-4378 or visit https://sandyactorstheatre.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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