The Women’s Theater Company, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, premiered their production of Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize winning Crimes of the Heart this past week. This a delightfully quirky, screwball comedy about three eccentric young sisters who reunite in their Granddaddy’s home in the real-life town of Hazelhurst, Mississippi circa 1974-75. All the action takes place in the 1960’s style kitchen.
The oldest sister, Lenny MacGrath, played by Jacqueline Ann Holloway, is celebrating her 30th birthday, she is the most responsible and level headed, but severely lonely as she has been caring for her sick grandfather. Holloway’s performance is appropriately warm and touching. Her younger sisters are; Meg MacGrath, 27, who has an unpleasant history with men. She went to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career that never happened. Michele Danna is the lusty, chain smoking, bourbon fancier and grossly irresponsible, Meg. She has an interesting way of eating boxed chocolates. Danna impresses here as she did last year in the WTC’s rave production of Enchanted April.
Then there is Babe MacGrath Botrelle, played wonderfully by Elizabeth Mackintosh,at 24 the youngest sister who has been locked in a troubled, abusive marriage with the most important man in the county. Babehas a special answer for dealing with the ugly moments of life (and she has had a truly big one as the play opens)…..she makes lemonade….even before calling 911after shooting her husband! This recent drama grad has a bright future.
The balance of director Barbara Krajkowski’s fine cast includes; Jason Szamreta as Barnette Lloyd, Babe’s ambitious lawyer working his first real caseand with his own vendetta against Babe’s husband. We just saw Jason’s fine performance two weeks ago in the Dreamcatcher’s production of Next Fall…this is quite a contrast from a dying young gay man inNext Fall to a nerdy Pee Wee Herman style lawyer infatuated with Babe;Carie Ivanovski is a delight as the thoroughly obnoxious cousin Chick Boyle who oozes her own brand of Southern charm (her southern drawl is spot-on, if a tad bit fast for senior ears), Chick thinks the MacGrath side of the family are “white trash;” and Billy C. Edwards is nicely cast as Doc Porter, Meg’s ex-boyfriend who is now married (to a Yankee!) with two children.
To recap: Each sister has a problem; Babe is out on bail for shooting her lawyer husband. Meg’s primary problem is a failed singing career and Lenny considers herself unattractive, not worthy of love. Will Babe go free? Will Lenny find love? Will Meg grow-up? The answers are to be found at The Women’s Theater Company through December 4, 2011.
To recap the cast credits (and hometowns);Jacqueline Holloway of Philadelphia, as Lenny MacGrath, Michele Danna of Glen Rock, NJ, as Meg MacGrath, Elizabeth Mackintosh of Aberdeen, NJ, as Babe, and Actors Equity performers, Billy Edwards of Southampton, NJ as Doc, and Jason Szamreta of Rahway, NJ. as Barnette. Also featured, Carie Ivanovski of Sparta, NJ, as Chick.
The production staff: Stage Manager-Grayce Coviello; Set Design/Construction-Todd Mills; Costumes-Frances M. Harrison; Lighting Design-Todd Mills; Sound-Larry Wilbur; Set Decor-Robert Lavagna; Props-Erica Conrad Stepper, Katie Mitchell andLizette Zuccamaglia.
Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pmand Sunday matinees at 3 pm.The intimate, in-the-round- theater isat The ParsippanyArtsCenter, within the ParsippanyCommunity Center, 1130 Knoll Road, (GPS alert use Boonton as the town…postal quirk).Tickets for performances are $20.00 and discounted for Senior Citizens to $18.00. Groups of 10 or more pay only $15.00 per person for any performance.Call 973 316-3033 to reserve seats for a performance.Groups call 908 306-0881 for reservations.
Note: Ample free parking is available at The ParsippanyCommunity Center. The theater entrance is in the rear of the building.
Reviewed by Rick Busciglio November 19, 2011