Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Potomac Theatre Company The Cemetery Club

By • Jun 19th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Potomac Theatre Company’s The Cemetery Club [MP3 4:41 1.3MB].

Laura: Sunday afternoon we saw Potomac Theatre Company‘s The Cemetery Club in Potomac, Maryland.

Mike: The Cemetery Club is a comedy by Ivan Menchell. Three Jewish widows meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husband’s graves. Ida is sweet tempered and ready to begin a new life, Lucille is a feisty embodiment of the girl who just wants to have fun, and Doris is priggish and judgmental, particularly when Sam the butcher enters the scene. He meets the widows while visiting his wife’s grave. Doris and Lucille squash the budding romance between Sam and Ida. They are guilt stricken when this nearly breaks Ida’s heart.

Laura: This is a really neat show. I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of funny one liners back and forth. Even Sam the butcher had the New York accent down pretty good, I thought. Everybody just seemed really comfortable with each other and very easy going. The lines just seemed to flow and I had a really good time.

Mike: This show was definitely a treat. I think if you have the opportunity you’ll want to go see this. I think you’ll have a good time. It’s a small theater company up in Potomac and they’ve done a great job with this show.

Laura: The first widow, Ida, played by Nancy Francoise, did an excellent job. She was the one who was ready to start a new life, but didn’t want to be disrespectful to the memory of her husband. I loved the expression on her face when she discovered that her two other friends had connived to break up the relationship between her and Sam. Just the shock and the heartbreak on her face was really believable.

Mike: Lucille was played by Gina Deavers. She was very funny. She had a juicy role. A lot of personality with her. She had a lot of emotions, too. She went smoothly from very confident to very sad and heart broken. She showed a lot of depth in the emotions she was feeling about her husband and what he had done to her.

Laura: The third widow, Doris, was played by Karen L. Winokur. She also did a very good job. She was very much the prim and proper, knew just the way things should be. She was very devoted to visiting her husband’s grave once a month for the last four years. Even though her friends were starting to get a little tired of it and let her know that, she still pretty resolute in saying that this is what I need to do. She also had some pretty funny one liners.

Mike: Sam the Butcher was played by Jerry Schuchman. He was very effective. He was the one male in the show, the grieving widower. He kept it all together. He had a boyish excitement when he was talking with Ida and getting to know her better. Her eyes were sparkling when they were together. They were such a good casting choice for those two parts.

Mildred was played by Joy Cecilly Gerst. She was the third wheel at the wedding that they all went to. She had a small part, but it was the right characterization. The brash noisy third wheel who doesn’t know she’s the third wheel. You really kind of wonder why she was there.

Laura: The set for The Cemetery Club was very good. It was two sets on one stage. You had a living room set where the ladies met for tea and to talk about their husbands. Then on the other side was the cemetery where they would all go. I thought it was really good. The Set Designer was Andrew Greenleaf, who is currently in a production of Rough Crossing over at Montgomery Playhouse.

Mike: The director of the show was Barry Hoffman. He did a good job. The pacing of the show was excellent. The cast members were perfectly chosen. I think it all worked together really nicely. If you have the opportunity next weekend, go see the Cemetery Club performed by the Potomac Theatre Company in Potomac, Maryland. The show is only open one more weekend. Friday and Saturday night at 8 and Sunday the 24th at 2. Performances are at the Blair Family Center for the Arts at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland.

Laura: The show is approximately two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission. I also recommend you go see this how. It was really funny and very enjoyable.

Mike: One way to judge the success of a production is to see if people are talking about the show afterwards. This show by that definition is a success. Laura and I talked about a lot of the issues they raised and and had a really good conversation afterwards.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Ida: Nancy Francoise
  • Lucille: Gina Deaver
  • Doris: Karen L. Winokur
  • Sam: Jerry Schuchman
  • Mildred: Joy Cecilly Gerst


  • Director: Barry Hoffman
  • Producer: Barry Hoffman
  • Stage Manager: Tammi T. Gardner
  • Assistant to the Director/Assistant Stage Manager: Melanie Mack Williams
  • Set Designer: Andrew Greenleaf
  • Light Designer: Steve Deming
  • Sound Designer: David Steigerwald
  • Props & Set Dressing: Sonya Okin
  • Costume Designer: Cookie Anagnoson
  • Light Board Operator: Steve Demming
  • Sound Board Operator: Tammi T. Gardner
  • Set Construction Supervisor: Mac Grant
  • Set Construction: Alan Beck, Steve Demming, Ray Durante, Maureen & Michael McMurphy, Elie & Ted Cain, Tony Pisarra, Steve Giddings, Michael schowalter, John Shockey
  • House Manger: Elie Cain
  • Playbill: Marilyn Shockey
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    started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

    One Response »

    1. Thank you for your very astute analysis of our prodution of The Cemetery Club. You have acurately sensed the sensitivity, and emotions, of each or the characters Having watched the cast develop these emotions during rehearsals, I heartily agree with all your observations.