People dying to see ‘Cemetery Club’
Sales are brisk for the Proscenium Players presentation of the serio-comedy “The Cemetery Club” at the Brewery Arts Center Donald W. Reynolds Theater Friday and Saturday at 8. p.m.
But don’t wait. Tickets are moving pretty well,” said a Brewery staffer Wednesday. And the theater is on the small side.
The play is directed by Carla J. Wilson and stars Jan Meierdierck as Ida, Eloise Koenig as Lucille, Jonni Moon as Doris, Byron Morgan as Sam and Kate Hinton as Mildred. All are accomplished veterans of Proscenium Players productions.
Three of the cast are such veterans that they are repeating in the roles of Ida, Lucille and Doris they performed in the same play 10 years ago. They carry much of the humor.
And director Wilson is also a twopeat as he directed the play 10 years ago. It’s almost like a school reunion.
The play was written by Ivan Menchell, a one-time scriptwriter for the TV sitcom “The Nanny.” And it carries some of the techniques of TV onto the stage, mixing comedy with pathos. It was made into a movie in 1993 starring Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis and Diane Ladd.
The play is about three Jewish widows, old friends in their 60s, who meet once a month for tea to share old times and offer support before going to visit their husbands’ graves in Queens. Lots of laughs come as the three discuss their late spouses. And moments of sadness creep into all the Borscht Belt humor.
Ida (Meierdierck) is sweet-tempered and ready to begin a new life. She’s looking for a lot more fun out of the world. E
Lucille (Koenig) is a feisty woman who just wants to enjoy life and have fun.
Doris (Moon) is uptight, priggish and judgmental, particularly when Sam the butcher enters the scene. E
Sam encounters the widows while visiting his wife’s grave. Lots of wordplay here on the afterlife and the like.E
But Doris and Lucille don’t like the idea of Sam and Ida becoming a number and seek to squash the budding romance However, they are guilt-stricken when this nearly breaks Ida’s heart. So they maneuver to correct their error. The action moves between Ida’s living room and the cemetery in Queens.