Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, a 1976 play by Ed Graczyk, opened on the Chapel Street Players’ stage Friday night (Apr 22nd). Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, tells the story of an all-female fan club called the Disciples of James Dean who meet at the H. L. Kressmont & Company five-and-dime in McCarthy, Texas. Spanning some 20-years, the play is slightly bizarre and somewhat banal with the disciples fulfilling a promise to meet in 1975 to commemorate Dean’s untimely death, then reaching back to 1955 for their backstory, then flip-flopping back and forth through time to advance the story in a mélange of confessions, obsessions, and surprises. This production, directed ably by Michelle Cullen, stars Carol Van Zoeren, Pam Huxtable, Danielle Cathcart, Michelle Opalesky, Nicole Pierce, Alex Bock, Kathleen Kimber, Cindy Starcher, and Kelley Bielewicz.

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Play On! Or Murder Most Funny!

Play On!, the hilarious comedy by Rick Abbott (a pseudonym for the late playwright, Jack Sharkey), opened on the Chapel Street Players’ stage Friday night (Feb 11th). Play On! is the hysterical story of a theater group trying desperately to put on a play (Murder Most Foul-no, not that one) despite production problems and constant, maddening interference from a novice playwright who keeps re-writing the script. This production, directed most capably by Jeff Robleto, stars Melody Bock, Kerry Slinkard, Meg Barton, Shawn Kline, Nathaniel Rambo, Amelia Moss, Jessica Lorin Tanner, Gabrielle Rambo, Caitlin Custer, and Katie Brady.

Continue reading “Play On! Or Murder Most Funny!”

A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play

Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale comes to life on the Chapel Street Players stage as a 1940s radio broadcast this holiday season complete with delightful vintage commercials, live sound effects, and musical underscoring as CSP presents A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play directed by Brian M. Touchette and featuring the talents of Richard J. Cohen, Steve Connor, Judith A. David, Frank Newton, Walt Osborne, Nicole C. Pierce, and Joseph Pukatsch.

20211206-G91A0324-2A Christmas Carol is arguably the most famous Christmas story ever. First appearing in December 1843 as a novella written by Charles Dickens, this cautionary tale of a bitter old man who has forgotten how to love and, indeed, forgotten how to show even the simplest acts of kindness, has endured throughout years. The story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, first visited by the ghost of his former partner, Marley, and then by three Christmas spirits that take him on a whirlwind journey to teach him the true meaning of Christmas has enjoyed countless reprints, stage productions, and a multitude of adaptations for television, radio, and films. This production, adapted for the stage by Joe Landry, features a handful of actors who play dozens of characters. In his Director’s Note, Touchette, reminds us that the actors, without benefit of costumes or make-up, have to convince the audience that they are different characters. They all do so with remarkable finesse.

20211206-G91A0390-2The incredible ensemble cast is energized, very capably drawing the audience into the story. Richard J. Cohen plays Freddie Filmore playing Ebeneezer Scrooge. Cohen brings exuberance and great feeling to the role of Scrooge who makes the audience believe that by the end of the story, he is a man transformed. Steve Connor brings the character of Jake Laurents to life with seven on-air roles including Ebenezer’s nephew, Fred, and the Ghost of Christmas Present. He does so with pizazz. Judith A. David is Sally Applewhite and charmingly brings to life eight characters, including many of the women in Ebeneezer’s life. Frank Newton is engagingly entertaining as Harry “Jazzbo” Haywood who plays nine characters including young Ebeneezer Scrooge and Scrooge’s iconic clerk Bob Cratchit as well as Tiny Tim. Walt Osborne as Professor Maxwell D’Arcy tickles the ivories in this production and provides some hilarity with his quest to read a note given to him before airtime. Nicole C. Pierce as Lana Sherwood brings six roles to life including the ghost of Christmas Past and a delightful young girl charming Santa Claus and the audience with the description of the doll she’d like for Christmas. Finally, Joseph Pukatsch returns to the CSP stage in another silent but fascinating role as Herman “Whizz Bang Pop” Smith, the special effects man for the broadcast, making this reviewer long for the days of old and the wonderful radio broadcasts with the brilliant sound effects that are, sadly, no longer part of our daily lives.

20211206-G91A0430-2A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play is a charming take on this all-time favorite holiday story that will have no one saying “Bah Humbug!” The show runs from December 10-18. Reserve your tickets today by calling the theater box office at (302) 368-2248 or by visiting Happy Holidays and may God bless us everyone.

Moon Over the Brewery

After an 18-month hiatus, live theater returned to the Chapel Street Players’ stage on Friday, September 17th in the form of Moon Over the Brewery, a not so ordinary play about family dynamics by Delaware County playwright Bruce Graham, former playwright-in-residence at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre For New Plays. The play, set in an unspecified Pennsylvania coal town, is directed by Kathleen M. Kimber and stars Meg Barton, Frank Newton, Jerimiah Dillard, and Tami Lunsford.

Meg Barton & Tami Lunsford ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Moon Over the Brewery is a tale of conflict between free-spirited single mother, Miriam Waslyk, an artist who sculpts, makes quilts, and paints moonscapes after her day job as a waitress, and her precocious teenage daughter, Amanda, who disapproves of Miriam’s male suitors and attempts to run them off before they can get too comfortable. There are two men central to the story—Warren Zimmerman, a postal carrier and Miriam’s latest beau, and Randolph, Amanda’s imaginary friend and co-conspirator—the conspiracy being to get the male companions to kick rocks.

Meg Barton ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Amanda (Barton) is a young comic, evil genius. Proficient in the intricacies of tormenting adults and making them want to flee. This teenage terror exploits anything she can, from mortification (presenting to Warren (Dillard) the watch that he accidentally left behind the night before) to the Encyclopedia Game, her ultimate form of obliteration, in her attempts to ensure no man sticks around. No man, except Randolph (Newton). Miriam (Lunsford) loathes the invisible Randolph, who is invisible to all but Amanda. She sees him in the form of the lead male character in whatever novel she is currently reading. Whatever his form, his resolve is firm – there shall be no men in Miriam’s life.

Frank Newton

Barton is a near pint-sized comedic genius with impeccable timing and a great stage presence. It was a treat to see Meg Barton on stage again as she is a delight. One hopes to see this actress grace the stage again soon. Barton’s partner in crime, Newton, is charming and deliciously wicked in his loathing of Warren. Newton’s presence (or Omnipresence) makes for great comedy and pure wicked fun when he sets out in concert with Amanda to run Warren off.

20210913-MoonOverBrewery-G91A0630Miriam is supposed to be a free-spirit, someone who loves to paint – and is quite good at it – but can’t seem to manage her money—she’s unable to sell a painting for anywhere near what they are worth or balance her checkbook without Amanda’s help. Even so, the character seems more level-headed than she should be and that is probably due to how Graham wroth the part. Nevertheless, Tami Lunsford is wonderful as Miriam and makes the role work. She captivates in every scene she appears. Dillard is delightfully charming as Warren. He plays the awkward character to perfection and may just win Amanda over with his common sense, and charm.

20210913-MoonOverBrewery-IMG_6136Moon Over the Brewery is an engaging (though not especially profound) and entertaining comedy with great pacing. The actors do a marvelous job keeping the flow going and that may be credited to Kimber’s direction as much as the actors’ talents. Kimber and Christie Cerminaro’s set design for the ramshackle country home was spot on and, as always, Brian Touchette’s lighting design was excellent.

If Rom-Coms are your thing, odds are you’ll like Moon Over the Brewery which runs through September 25th. Covid-19 protocols are in place (masks must be worn), but it’s a small price to pay for the return of live theater. Find out more at

The House of Blue Leaves

The House of Blue Leaves, the 1971 black comedy by American playwright John Guare, with its somewhat warped view of fame, celebrity, religion, and the dark underbelly of the American Dream, premiered on the Chapel Street Players stage this past Friday evening. Directed by Judith A. David, The House of Blue Leaves stars Zachary Jackson, Matthew Ford, Danielle Finlay, Pam Huxtable, Meg Barton, Colleen Boyle, Susie Moak, MacKenzie Warrick, Michael D. Peco, Matthew Brown, and Michelle Opalesky.


Danielle Finlay, Zachary Jackson ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

First staged in 1966 (Act I), the play is set in Sunnyside, Queens in 1965—a turbulent period in American history marked by political upheavals, challenges to the social status quo, Vietnam, assassinations, and the dawn of the Civil Rights movement—and focuses on Artie Shaughnessy (Jackson), a disillusioned zookeeper and would-be songwriter during Pope Paul VI’s visit to New York City. Artie dreams of achieving fame and fortune in Hollywood. When Blue Leaves was written, fame was more fleeting, less attainable, but in this age of YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms rewarding just about anyone with 15-minutes of fame (talented or otherwise), Artie’s character isn’t too implausible nor does his quest for fame seem so unattainable. 



Zachary Jackson,Pam Huxtable ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

It’s painfully obvious in the first moments of the play that Artie has no talent for writing music when he tries and fails to charm an apathetic audience at amateur hour. As the play opens, Artie is abruptly wakened by Bunny Flingus (Finlay), his abrasive, self-serving girlfriend, who insists that Artie run out into the street to wave his musical compositions at His Holiness so the pontiff can bless them as the papal motorcade passes by. The plan is for Artie to have his schizophrenic wife, Bananas (Huxtable), committed to an institution that inspires the play’s title, so he and Bunny can move to California where Artie’s old neighborhood pal, famed director Billy Einhorn (Peco), can open doors for Artie. Jackson brings his usual high energy to the role which exactly matches Finlay’s incredible high energy. The chemistry between the two as they flirt and fight almost convinces you that their scheme might actually work…almost. But what it really does is generate empathy for Bananas. The back and forth banter between Jackson and Finlay is the highlight of the first act and provides comical moments. 



Meg Barton, Zachary Jackson ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Huxtable does a fine turn as Bananas, enduring Bunny’s attacks and Artie’s threats of commitment with a sort of quiet grace. Shabbily dressed in frumpy house clothes, Huxtable moves about the stage like a miserable ghost, longing to experience emotions that aren’t suppressed by pills that have been forced down her throat. Despite her bewildering habit of barking like a dog, she may be the most human person in the room.



Matthew Ford ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Act II opens on a disturbing note. Artie and Bananas’ son, Ronnie (Ford), emerges from his hiding place to a vacated apartment and delivers a monologue that reveals his own disquieting plan for becoming famous. From there, the second act descends into farcical chaos. Billy’s girlfriend, Corrinna Stroller (Barton), turns up for a brief visit before going on to Australia. Deaf since an accident on a movie set, the former actress promptly loses her hearing aids and desperately tries to hide her disability. Barton’s comic timing is really terrific in these scenes.



Susie Moak, Colleen Boyle, MacKenzie Warrick ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

A trio of eccentric (and very funny) nuns (Boyle, Moak, and Warrick), eager to see the pope, somehow end up getting trapped on the roof and join the fracas in the Shaughnessys’ apartment, climbing in through the window to watch the papal coverage on TV. The nuns don’t hang around long, but they do offer an unholy amount of zaniness. Warrick is especially good as a sweet young aspirant inspired by The Sound of Music to become a bride of Christ. She’s ultimately inspired by events to become a young divorcee.  Much of Act II is noisy and chaotic with the words and actions of the characters mixing together, like multiple broadcasts all at once. Finally, Billy, ably played by Peco, shows up following an inconceivable tragedy and is the quintessential Hollywood big wig. A policeman (MP) and a nurse round out the cast in the second act played by Brown and Opalesky respectively.



Zachary Jackson, Michael D. Peco ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

David’s direction seems well-suited to this difficult material. It seems this is not her first time directing this play. Ray Barto’s set design, Brian Touchette’s lighting design, and Caitlin Adams’ sound design are all up to CSP’s exceptional standards as is costume design. Kudos to Nancy Starch, Cindy Starcher, and the cast.


As David stated in her Director’s Note, “Those searching for their place among the stars can be hilarious, scary or sad…sometimes all three at once.” The House of Blue Leaves runs through February 29th. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit to reserve your tickets today.

The Lion in Winter: What Family Doesn’t Have its Ups and Downs?

Newark becomes twelfth century France as Chapel Street Players presents The Lion in Winter, James Goldman’s 1966 play depicting the personal and political conflicts of Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children and their guests during Christmas 1183. The play stars John Barker, Corinne McMahon, Sean McGuire, Paul Henry, Steve Travers, Cindy Starcher, and Timothy Sheridan under the direction of Gwen Armstrong Barker.

Cindy Starcher,  Paul Henry ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

It’s Christmas 1183 at Henry II of England’s castle in Chinon, Anjou, Angevin Empire. Eleanor, whom Henry has had imprisoned since 1173 for attempting to kill him, is arriving at Chinon for a holiday visit with her family. The story, which has themes of sibling rivalry, infidelity, parental favoritism, and abusive power, centers around a battle for the throne between Henry and Eleanor, their three surviving sons Richard, Geoffrey, and John, and their Christmas Court guest, the King of France, Philip II Augustus, who was the son of Eleanor’s ex-husband, Louis VII of France. Henry favors John (since his eldest son and namesake is deceased), the sulky and sullen youngest son, who is in all ways a spoiled brat, as his successor while Eleanor backs Richard, a more virile and regal choice. Meanwhile, Geoffrey schemes in the background as the family engages in a dynastic chess match with the crown as the prize and Alais, Philip’s half-sister, who has been at court since she was betrothed to Richard at age eight, but has since become Henry’s mistress, an unwilling pawn in this grueling stalemate.

John Barker, Corrine McMahon ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Goldman wrote Lion some four years after Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and although this twelfth century battle royal echoes that greater play, the historical fact-based work may not resonate quite so well with contemporary audiences, so Goldman infused his play with modern day jocularity to help us relate to these Plantagenet schemers. It works to a degree. Lion is more historical farce than Shakespearian drama and plays much funnier on stage than the more solemn 1968 film starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn with an overabundance of one-liners such as, “What shall we hang, the holly or each other?” And this gem by Eleanor, “Henry’s bed is Henry’s province, he can people it with sheep for all I care… which on occasion he has done.” The scene in which Henry arrives in Philip’s bedroom for round two of their political negotiations, only to discover that all three of his sons are cowering behind tapestries and have been plotting against him plays more like a Feydeau farce (or at least a Joe Orton one). The comedy becomes rather spicy when Henry learns that manly Richard the Lionheart, with all his prickling aggression has been having a gay fling with Philip.

Sean McGuire, Paul Henry ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

What really drives the play is the relationship between Henry II and his once beloved queen. The marital slugfest between Henry (John Barker) and Eleanor (Cindy Starcher) is like Albee’s George and Martha, each striking sparks off of each other like swords against stone in furious quarrels. Equally shocking are the sudden kindhearted moments where we discover the vestiges of their love and tenderness. Barker delivers a nice performance, swaggering around the stage with a mixture of rage and charming wit. Starcher affectingly suggests a woman all too aware that she is no longer in her prime, but who refuses to give ground to her husband. When Henry and Eleanor tear chunks of flesh from one another like two vultures, it makes for good theater.

Timothy Sheridan, Steve Travers ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Steve Travers does a fine turn as Richard, the aggressive, handsome warrior and future king. Paul Henry stands out as the cold, amoral schemer Geoffrey. He’s attractive, charming, and has the strongest intellect of the family. Sean McGuire’s characterization of John is a bit more puzzling. John is described as spoiled, fearful, and weak with a boyish outlook. McGuire’s portrayal of John, however, is not so much overindulged, malcontent teen as it is gay and campy, which may not be the intent, but either through direction or interpretation, comes off that way. Nevertheless, McGuire provides some great comic moments. Corinne McMahon plays Alais, Henry’s mistress, with grace and quiet confidence while Timothy Sheridan delivers a splendid performance as Philip who is impressive and handsome. Philip is not as adept at manipulation as Henry, but acquires greater skill as the play unfolds.

John Barker, Cindy Starcher ( photo by: Peter Kuo )

Gwen Armstrong-Barker does a nice job with this production. Although long at nearly three hours, the play moves along and doesn’t get too bogged down. However, a purple pillow upon which to sit my ass is sorely needed. The scene changes are overlong and involved, with several people moving about, placing and replacing props as if they were making it up on the spot. Curtis King and Gwen Armstrong-Barker deserve high marks for their set design. Joseph Pukatsch, in addition to filling the role of stage manager, also did nice work as the sound and lighting designer. Finally, compliments to Sean McGuire for costume design. 

However terrible your own yuletide celebrations prove; however vicious the infighting, they are nothing compared to Henry II’s Christmas party at his castle Chinon in 1183. The Lion in Winter runs through November 23rd. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit to reserve your tickets today.

National Coming Out Day 2019

Today is National Coming Out Day. As I reflect on what it means to have the freedom to live openly as a gay man, I’m reminded that we didn’t always have that right and many in this world still don’t.

The thought of coming out used to terrify me. The thought of being outed petrified me. I lived in fear that someone would guess my secret. I was teased relentlessly in my youth and beat up often, so I spent the first 50 years of my life masquerading as a straight man. I changed my voice, my walk, the way I sat, the way I crossed my legs, and even tried to ensure I didn’t wear anything “gay.”

Living in a Christian home and being involved in church (Assemblies of God) was Hell. Many Christians are quite judgmental, some are downright brutal. I won’t get into a theological discussion here, but because of those beliefs, my sexuality was always at war with my Christianity.

In my 20s, I enlisted in the Air Force and so the masquerade continued. It was not possible to be openly gay and serve. Today, it is a much different story. Airmen, Marines, soldiers, and sailors all have the right to serve regardless of how they identify. My entire life up to the point I came out was a charade, my attempt to be “normal.” I wouldn’t admit to myself that I was gay. I dated girls, but I never had a relationship that worked. In my heart, I was attracted to guys. I didn’t want to be. I tried (and failed) to ignore, explain, or otherwise dismiss these feelings and thoughts. I even tried praying the gay away. 🙄

At 31, I married and had kids. Over time, the marriage deteriorated (for reasons other than my sexuality). It’s important to note here that I never strayed. I was true to my marriage vows. When we split, I decided I was finally going to be my authentic self. I was going to come out. It was no less scary at 50 then it would have been at 20. I had the same fears as all people who come out do. Will my family hate me? Will they disown me? Will my friends break ties with me, abandon me? But I also had other concerns. What about my boys? Will they hate me? Will they lose respect for me? Am I about to irrevocably destroy my relationship with them?

Well, obviously I came out. My kids were accepting and loving and nothing changed. If anything, we have a better relationship now because I am authentically and unapologetically me. A few “friends” from my old church no longer talk to me, but whatever. They obviously weren’t really friends. My family still loves me (although the mom-lady is afraid I might be headed to Hell in a gasoline g-string (but I’ll look faaaaaabulousss!). Kidding. 😄

When I finally came out, it was like a weight had lifted from my shoulders. I no longer had a dark secret hanging over my head. More importantly, I could be me, finally me! No more masks! (I once gave a speech at a church retreat that I think was called “Masks” or had something to do with masks–that would be a WHOLE different speech now-haha). Do I wish I had come out sooner and avoided some unpleasant experiences in my life? Absolutely, but everything happens for a reason, I guess. So on this National day of coming out, what would I say to my younger self and what do I say to someone contemplating coming out? To my younger self, I’d sit little Anthony in my lap and say:

RJ 1971“Don’t be sad. Don’t worry what others think. You be you. You’re brave and strong. I know that because you endure all that those bullies do to you and you survive. You have a family that loves you and that will never ever change. You will have amazing friends in your life that love and support you. You’re smart and funny and very talented. It is okay to be you! Embrace who you are! It’s okay to like boys. You’re not broken or sick. You’re not a deviant and you’re NOT a sinner! If anyone says different, to Hell with them. Be your authentic self without fear, without regrets. Oh, and when you see a company called Apple show up in the stock market-buy! 😛 Now here’s a list of guys I want you to make sure you avoid in the future so they can miss you with their bullshit! 🙄

If my path in life had been any different, I would not enjoy some of the blessings I have today. I have two wonderful, funny, talented, loving sons; a sweet, beautiful daughter-in-law, and a gorgeous granddaughter! Life is good and I am blessed!

To any of you contemplating coming out, no one can tell you how to do it!! It’s different for all of us. You don’t need to do it on National Coming Out Day. The right day to do it is the day you’re ready to do it! Will it be scary? Probably. But you got this! You decide who to tell and when to tell them not anyone else. Listen to/read other coming out stories. It helps. Most importantly, be true to yourself. Be honest with yourself. Know that it’s okay for you to love who you love. If you’re struggling with accepting your sexuality, we’ve all been there. Talk to someone. Watch those coming out stories on YouTube. It helps a lot. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, seek help now! Please don’t wait. Your life matters!

If you came out today, congratulations! I’m happy for you! If you’re not quite there yet, that’s cool. You decide when it’s the right time. See you on the other side of that closet door. 🌈

Night Watch

Night Watch, the suspense drama written by Lucille Fletcher, opened on the Chapel Street Players stage Friday evening. Susie Moak directs this thriller which stars Denise Rogers Mylin, Patrick Cathcart, Heather McCarty, Sam VerNooy, Walt Osborne, Kelly Bielewicz, Chris Hankenson, Cindy Starcher, and Bill Potter.


Denise Rogers Mylin and Patrick Cathcart (photo by: Peter Kuo)

Plagued by insomnia, Elaine Wheeler (Mylin) chain smokes cigarettes and paces the living room of her Manhattan townhouse, troubled by vague fears and unsettling memories from the past. Her husband, John (Cathcart), tries to comfort her, but when he steps away for a moment, Elaine lets out a blood-curdling scream. John rushes back into the room to find Elaine terrified and trembling. Elaine tells John she saw the body of a dead man in a window of the vacant building across the way, but when John looks, he sees nothing. The police are called to investigate but find only an empty chair, the years’ thick layer of dust in the old tenement is undisturbed. Did Elaine see a murdered man or was it a hallucination? Elaine’s obsessive behavior regarding the body she thought she saw, her gross fascination with the mysterious vacant building, and Elaine’s repeated “cry wolf” calls to the police, prompts John to call in famed psychiatrist, Dr. Tracey Lake (Starcher). John is convinced his wife is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Lake agrees with John’s suggestion that Elaine should commit herself to a sanitarium in Switzerland for treatment. When Elaine claims she sees another body—this time a woman’s—her terror grows, but by now the police are skeptical and pay no attention to her hysterical claims. John, Dr. Lake, Elaine’s old friend and house guest, Blanche Cooke (Bielewicz); Curtis Appleby (Osborne), the inquisitive and rather flamboyant next-door neighbor; and Helga (McCarty), the nosy German housekeeper—all contribute to the intensifying suspense as the play draws near its chilling climax.



Kelley Bielewicz and Denise Rogers Mylin (photo by:Peter Kuo)

Denise Rogers Mylin delivers a compelling performance as obsessive, possibly delusional heiress, Elaine Wheeler, a woman on the edge. Has she really seen two dead bodies, or has she imagined it all? What other secrets lie locked in her mind?


John Wheeler, the doting husband, is a strong character, well-played by Patrick Cathcart, who puts up with his wife’s hysterical antics. As Elaine’s suspicions intensify, John’s frustrations escalate. Their two personalities clash making for riveting dramatic moments.


Denise Rogers Mylin and Heather McCarty (photo by:Peter Kuo)

Heather McCarty deftly brings some comic relief to the stage as Helga, the suspicious, unapologetic, eavesdropping German housekeeper. Helga is loyal to Elaine and despises Blanche, often making snide comments and rendering an icy look of contempt before uttering a “hmpf’ and storming off.


Kelly Bielewicz delivers a stellar performance as Blanche, Elaine’s supposed best friend who happens to be a nurse and who helped Elaine recover after a nervous breakdown years earlier following the tragic death of Elaine’s first husband and his mistress. We never really believe Blanche is a devoted friend to Elaine. Blanche certainly seems to have ulterior motives as she practically forces Elaine to take her pills.


Walt Osborne (photo by:Peter Kuo)

Walt Osborne is brilliant as Appleby, the eccentric and flamboyant neighbor who lets himself in at all hours and who has a new hobby—murder! With his foppish dress, over the top mannerisms, and comical stares, he absolutely steals whatever scene he’s in. Appleby is odd, a little creepy, but hilariously funny. Walt plays the character in such a way that you suspect he’s up to something, but you’re never quite sure what.



Denise Rogers Mylin and Cindy Starcher (photo by:Peter Kuo)

Cindy Starcher is wonderfully convincing as Dr. Tracey Lake; a psychiatrist John has contacted to help him commit his wife. Starcher opted to don a less prim and proper look for the character than called for in the script, but it worked well with the mysterious theme and mood of the play. Is Dr. Lake really a doctor? Is she part of a plot by John to get rid of his wife, to lock her away in some sanitarium?


Chris Hankenson brings the hard-core police investigator, Lieutenant Walker, to life quite ably. Walker is gruff and quickly becomes annoyed with Elaine’s prolonged fascination with murders that seemingly never happened and with her repeated frantic calls.


Chris Hankenson and Sam Vernooy (photo by:Peter Kuo)

Sam VerNooy is charming as quirky Patrolman Vanelli, a beat cop with a fascination for fine art that seems oddly out of place.


Bill Potter plays the deli owner (known for the worst potato salad in town), Sam Hoke, with conviction. He’s another suspicious and idiosyncratic character. I half expected him to be unmasked as the villain, spouting “I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.”

Susie Moak has waited for years to direct Night Watch. The passion she has for the play certainly shows in her direction. Also, hats off to stage manager, Michelle Cullen. This production of Fletcher’s work is first-rate. Ray Barto outdid himself on his stunning set design. Bill Fellner, Brian Touchette, and Peter Kuo deserve kudos for outstanding sound and lighting design. Finally, compliments to Ann Matthews and the cast for the fabulous costumes. 

In the best tradition of Hitchcock (think Dial “M” for Murder and Rear Window), this cleverly devised thriller builds steadily in menace and suspense until the final, breath-stopping moment of its surprise ending. Night Watch runs through September 21st. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit to reserve your tickets today.

Pippin, On The Right Track

Pippin, the Tony Award-winning 1972 musical from Roger O. Hirson (Bob Fosse also contributed to the libretto) and Stephen Schwartz, opened on the Chapel Street Players stage Friday evening. Sarah Nowak directs this dark and groovy coming-of-age pop musical which stars Ian Yue, Gabrielle Rambo, Jason Beil, Danielle Finlay, Tyler Ward, Kathy Buterbaugh, Reneé O’Leary, Bridgette DuBrey, and Jamie Depto and includes the acting talents of Genevieve Aucoin, Caitlin Custer, Tony DelNegro, Kaitlyn Diehl, Lacey Eriksen, Leeia Ferguson, and Kathy Harris. Continue reading “Pippin, On The Right Track”

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