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Prince William Little Theatre The Homecoming

By • Dec 8th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Prince William Little Theatre’s production of The Homecoming [MP3 5:05 2.3MB].

The Homecoming
Prince William Little Theatre
Round Elementary School, Manassas, VA
$12/Adults, $10/Seniors/Students, $6/Children
Through Dec. 16th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio.net review of The Homecoming performed by Prince William Little Theatre in Manassas, Virginia. Mike and I saw the opening night performance on Friday, December 7, 2007.

Mike: The Homecoming is a nice Christmas show with a nice message about how you don’t know your family as well as you think you do.

Laura: I liked this show. It was very family friendly. There were lots of children in the audience. It was a large cast with lots of ensemble pieces. I think overall the group performed well.

Mike: The Homecoming is based on the autobiography of Earl Hamner, Jr. and adapted by Christopher Sergel. It’s Christmas Eve in 1933 and Daddy isn’t home yet. Has there been an accident or is he out with the Staple Sisters? This play is the heart warming story of a family waiting for the magic of Christmas Eve to arrive. Not Santa, but Daddy. It’s told from the perspective of the adult Clay-Boy as he remembers the journey he took that snowy evening long ago.

Laura: Olivia Spencer was the mother to the large family in Virginia on that Christmas Eve in 1933. She was played by Becky Farris. She did a good job. She was very much in control of all the children. She ruled the house with a strong hand, but a loving heart. You could tell she was worried that her husband husband was not home yet. That really came out on her face and in some of the conversations that she had with her husband in her mind. Those scenes were very powerful and moving.

Mike: I liked when she was looking off into space and having a conversation in her mind. It was either a memory or a fantasy conversation with the husband about their life together. That was a very touching scene.

Laura: Clay-Boy, the oldest son of the Spencer family was played by Drew Prendergast. I liked his performance. He was the narrator for the story and kept the pace moving. He had compassion on his face as well as through out meeting the various characters on his journey searching for his dad. He gained insight about them and I though that was neat the way he understood more about his father.

Mike: He was the oldest of the siblings. He did share with us through the narrator role how he didn’t like having to be in charge all the time and having to be good. He did assume the responsibility when he was looking for his father, when he was helping his brother and sisters get ready for Christmas and getting the Christmas tree for the family. He did that pretty well. I think his best scene was when he was sipping egg nog at the Staples’ sister’s house. That was a funny scene. He did not overpower the scene. He was very much a part of it. The discomfort he was feeling was very evident and I think he did a fine job with that.

Laura: This was a large cast. There were lots of children and lots of people who were only in one scene, but all worked together well. In reading their bios several of them had done shows together before and there was definitely a community feeling. Everyone seemed to get along well and really did a nice job.

Mike: When you enter the auditorium at the Round Elementary School in Manassas, you see that there are two sets of seats set up facing each other with an aisle in between. The set for the household is on the left or the right (depending on which side you’re sitting.) In order to watch that set you do have to swivel in your seat. The stage is used for many scenes in the second act and was very much like a tennis match. Sometimes you were looking left and then shifting to the right and then back to the left. There was a lot of back and forth.

The other thing is the scenes that were done in between the two sets of seating areas had lights shining on the actors in that area. Frequently I was blinded by the lights because they were aiming at the actors and if the actor was not in the exact right spot the lights would go right into my eyes. That was a shame and quite distracting. It got to the point that I was really not looking forward to those scenes. If they had had the lights higher that might have worked better, but because they are having to rent the space from the school system there is not a lot they can do about the light set ups. The Set and Lighting design were done by Don Peterson and Dave Warner.

Laura: The Homecoming is playing through Sunday December 16th. Friday and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2 PM at the George C. Round Elementary School in Manassas Virginia. The show ran about an hour and forty five minutes with one intermission. This is a nice Christmas show and I recommend you go see it. It is definitely OK for children.

Mike: And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Olivia Spencer: Becky Farris
  • Clay-Boy: Drew Prendrgast
  • Matt: James Bolling
  • Becky (Dec 7,8 & 9): Amanda Collins
  • Becky (Dec 14,15 & 16): Katie Farris
  • Shirley: Taylor Campbell
  • Mark: Ben Risko
  • John: Charlie Bolling
  • Luke: Alex Risko
  • Pattie Cake (Dec 7,9 & 15): Laura Kline
  • Pattie Cake (Dec 8, 14 & 16): Hope Campbell
  • Clay Spencer: Jay Tilley
  • Grandpa Homer: Don Wilson
  • Grandma Ida: Jackie Holohan
  • Birdshot: Paul Rubenstein
  • City Lady (Dec 7,9 & 15): Faith Bolling
  • City Lady (Dec 8, 14 & 16): Sallie Willows
  • Townspeople: Naomi Gibson, Carolyn Kline, Janice Eisenhart
  • Ike Godsey: Ted Ballard
  • Sheriff: Bill Kitzerow
  • Charlie Sneed: Jay Bolling
  • Mr. Dooley: Mike Edwards
  • Young “Mary”: La’Ren Davis
  • Miss Emma Staples: Marji Jepperson
  • Miss Etta Staples: Ilma Striker

Crew

  • Director: Don Petersen
  • Producer: Janel Manning
  • Stage Manager: Monica Price
  • Set Design: Don Petersen, Dave Warner
  • Master Carpenter: Dave Warner
  • Set Construction: Don Petersen, Don Wilson, Amanda Westenberger, Mike Babecki
  • Set Painting: Austin Groebner, Zina Bleck, Becky Farris, Monica Price, Amanda Westenberger, Tammy Warner, Don Petersen, Katherine Blondin
  • Muralist: Austin Groebner
  • Costumes: Susy Moorstein
  • Running crew: Gina Folino, Tammy Warner, Amanda Westenberger, Becca Jackson, Carl B. Long, Katherine B Londin
  • Sound Design: Dave Warner
  • Lighting Design: Dave Warner, Don Petersen
  • Hair and Makeup Design: The Cast
  • Publicity: Janel Manning
  • Program: Pam Cribbs
  • Program Cover Design: Austin Groebner
  • House Manager: Cana Wade
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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.

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