‘A … My Name is Alice’ brings newcomers to the stage
Published: Sunday, October 2, 2011
Updated: Friday, October 14, 2011 13:10
By day, Kris Harrington teaches English 1540 at Youngstown State University. By night, she sings "Demigod" as she graces the stage at the Oakland Center for the Arts in its production of "A … My Name is Alice."
"Alice," which celebrates the Oakland's 25th season, was the company's first production. Director Alexandra "Sandy" Vansuch, who directed the play in 1986, also directed this year's interpretation of "Alice."
The play will run Friday and Saturday, as well as Oct. 14 and 15.
"Alice" auditions were held in July, and Harrington said her schedule allowed just enough time for the play.
"Once school started back, I was only able to rehearse two days a week," she said. "My husband and daughters also act. Usually two or three of us at my house have rehearsal at the same time."
"Alice" marks Harrington's "second time on any stage, ever."
"I didn't have any experience in musical theater, but the director … felt I would bring something to the cast," she said, adding that her first encounter with theater came over the summer at the Youngstown Playhouse.
Like Harrington, cast member Tricia Terlesky said she's new to performing.
"This is my first time performing in a theater, the first time I have more than a paragraph of lines, the first time I've performed a scene alone and the first time I've sang on stage," she said.
Terlesky added that she likes the production's "variety show" approach, full of sketch comedy and touching songs.
"[I like] that we all have at least one individual piece that highlights each of our very eclectic qualities and talent," she said.
Vansuch said "the process of bringing in new people is always fun."
"The most interesting thing for me was working with this cast of people," she said. "Some of them are old friends, and some are new to me."
Cast member Laurie Geer said she was impressed that Vansuch remembered her.
"I thought it was amazing that she remembered my name because she meets so many children," she said, adding that she was a teenager when she first met Vansuch.
Other performers include Maureen Collins, co-founder of Easy Street Productions, and Donna Smith Downie, YSU alumna and former adjunct instructor.
"Alice" is dedicated to the memory of Anne Finnerty James, one of the Oakland's founders.
"The goal for this production is to perform for as many as we can, and to share Annie's life work," Vansuch said.
The Oakland is located in downtown Youngstown at 220 W. Boardman St. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. For more information, call the Oakland at 330-746-0404.