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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Sterling Playmakers Plaza Suite

By • Apr 6th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Plaza Suite by Neil Simon
Sterling Playmakers
Sterling Middle School, Sterling, VA
Through April 10th
2:00, with one intermission
$12
Reviewed April 1st, 2011

Plaza Suite is a comedy in three acts by Neil Simon. Three different stories with the common denominator of all taking place in suite # 719 of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. These three stories shows the ups and downs of life in the late 1960’s.

Each act was directed by a different set of directors, and had a different set of actors. While overall this worked well, and allowed for more people to be involved with the production, it did result in each act having a slightly different feel. Act one, Visitor From Mamaroneck, introduces us to Sam and Karen Nash who have come to the Plaza suite to celebrate their 23rd (or 24th) wedding anniversary (which anniversary it is depends on who you ask.) Susan Nash, played by Susan Kronenberg, comes across as good-hearted, and a bit ditzy. Eager to please her husband she is willing to overlook his nature. Sam Nash, played by Dell Pendergrast, is rude, uptight and seems to be in a great hurry to get to the office which confuses Karen until his efficient and attractive secretary Jean McCormack (Kara Succolosky) shows up and the you-know-what hits the fan. The tension is heavy as reality sets in and then the sparks fly. Both Pendergrast and Kronenberg kept the emotion going throughout the evening.

Act Two is called Visitor From Hollywood and shows a big Hollywood producer who invites his former high school girlfriend to visit him in trying to rekindle old feelings. This second story was a bit too slow and seemed to lack energy. The Producer Jesse Kiplinger was played by David Chappell. Alone Chappell was able to strut his stuff impress people. Muriel Tate played by Jackie Davis played the role of old flame who grew up, got married and moved on yet was flattered by Jesse’s interest in her. However you put the two of them together and there was simply no chemistry. Together they were stiff and awkward. There needed to be more trust between the two of them. It just did not seem to be there.

The Act Three story, Visitor From Forest Hills, tells the story of a family about give their daughter away when the realities of marriage hit home and the bride gets cold feet. The story centers around the husband and wife and how they deal with the situation. Norma and Roy Hubley are excited about the day. Norma played by Sonya Kalian is anxious to make sure everything runs smoothly and that she looks good to impress all her friends. To say the least having her daughter lock herself in the bathroom five minutes before the wedding totally puts a kink in her pantyhose. Kalian is highly flustered and upset. Add to the tension her husband Roy, played by Tim Griffin, is angry and solves most problems by yelling. The physical comedy of this act was well done and added to the mounting hysteria by Norma and the apoplexy Roy was about to have. The two were used to each other and had a good rapport on stage.

The set by set designer Terry Nelson DiMurro was detailed and well spaced on stage. It did not look crowded, although the use of taped lines to represent the wall between the suite’s two rooms did result in several occasions where the actors would look “through” the wall to interact while in different rooms instead of moving towards the doorway to “see” the other person. There were also two large gaps along the side walls, the breaks served no purpose and while not distracting, did look odd. The show’s opening announcements by Scott Ruegg were humorous and funny. The stage crew did an efficient job of changing the set each act, although their chatter in character as hotel staff was a bit distracting, and lengthened the scene changes. Beth Howard’s costumes were attractive.

A funny, more or less truthful look at marriage and its ups and downs. If you enjoy Neil Simon’s work, you’ll enjoy this production.

Act One Cast

  • Sam Nash: Dell Pendergrast
  • Karen Nash: Susan Kronenberg
  • Jean McCormack: Kara Succolsky
  • Waiter: Herb Fuller
  • Bellhop: Ben Zook

Act One Director: Bob Rosenberg
Act One Assistant Director: Meredith Solano

Act One Director’s Notes

I have thoroughly enjoyed occupying the director’s chair once again. This is my first time working with the wit and wisdom of Neil Simon, and I was fortunate to have such marvelous actors to bring Simon’s vision to life. “Visitor from Mamaroneck” is a bittersweet look at the joys and challenges of matrimony. I think every wedded woman will see a bit of herself in Karen; and every married man, some of himself in Sam. So sit back and enjoy helping this colorful couple celebrate their anniversary! – Bob Rosenberg

Act Two Cast

  • Jesse Kiplinger: David Chappell
  • Muriel Tate: Jackie Davis
  • Maid: Joni Carluzzo

Act Two Director: Beth Howard
Act Two Assistant Director: Annelise Lohmeyer

Act Two Director’s Notes

This has been a wonderful experience to work with such talented folks. I would like to thank the Board and Terri DiMurro for this opportunity. I would especially like to thank my Assistant Director Annelise Lohmeyer. As a first time AD, she has given generously of her ideas, time and energy. I can’t wat to see what she directs! I would like to thank the actors for their hard work and willingness to become Jesse, Muriel, and Casey – great job! I would also like to thank my mom for her support through challenges and her constant belief in my ideas. And finaly I would like to thank our producer, Jerri, and the crew for the behind the scenes support and hard work. It’s been a great ride, and by the way – do you know Frank Sinatra?? – Beth Howard

Act Three Cast

  • Norma Hubley: Sonya Kalian
  • Roy Hubley: Tim Griffin
  • Borden Eisler: Dan Clark
  • Mimsey Hubley: Leandra Lynn

Act Three Director: Kelly Gray

Act Three Director’s Notes

Neil Simon has always been one of my favorite playwrights – how could he not be? So I jumped at the chance to make my directorial debut with Act III of Plaza Suite, because it is rife with physical humor, larger than life characters, and lots and lots of laughter. I would like to thank my wonderful cast for their hard work and enthusiasm – and for putting up with my obsessive attention to detail. I think it is safe to say that we all had a wonderful time during this process. It is my hope that you will have fun as much fun watching it as we have had creating it. So sit back, relax, and, “Wait ’til you hear what goes on tonight!” – Kelly Gray

Photo Gallery

Herb Fuller, Dell Pendergast, Susan Kronenberg, Kara Succolosky, Jackie Davis, Dave Chappell, Sonya Kalian, Tim Griffin, Joni Carluzzo Movie producer Jesse (Dave Chappell) tries to rekindle his old flame Muriel (Jackie Davis)
Herb Fuller, Dell Pendergast, Susan Kronenberg, Kara Succolosky, Jackie Davis, Dave Chappell, Sonya Kalian, Tim Griffin, Joni Carluzzo
Movie producer Jesse (Dave Chappell) tries to rekindle his old flame Muriel (Jackie Davis)
Karen Nash (Susan Kronenberg) looks over her husband's secretary (Kara Succolosky) -- literally! Norma (Sonya Kalian) attempts to control her husband (Tim Griffin) when their daughter locks herself in the bathroom to avoid her wedding.
Karen Nash (Susan Kronenberg) looks over her husband’s secretary (Kara Succolosky) — literally!
Norma (Sonya Kalian) attempts to control her husband (Tim Griffin) when their daughter locks herself in the bathroom to avoid her wedding.

Photos by Paul Gernhardt

Crew

  • Opening Announcements: Scott Reugg
  • Producer: Jerri Wiseman
  • Coordinator: Terry Nelson DiMurro
  • Production Stage Manager: Helen Gernhardt
  • Technical Director: Scott Ruegg

Production Staff

  • Stage Manager: Kathleen Donovan
  • Stage Crew: Mary Burnett, Joni Carluzzo, Dan Clark, Herbert Duvall, LeandraLynn
  • Lighting designer: Terry Nelson DiMurro
  • Set Construction crew: Joe Campanella, Joni Carluzzo, David Chappell, Dan Clark, Kevin Daly, Lori Daly, Jackie Davis, Terry Nelson DiMurro, Bill Fry, Helen Gernhardt, Chris Gray, Kelly Gray, Tim Griffin, Beth Howard, Sonya Kalian, Anneliese Lohmeyer, Leandra Lynn, Bob Rosenberg, Scott Reugg, Meredith Solano, Jerri Wiseman, Ben Zook
  • Costume Designer: Beth Howard
  • Properties Coordinator: Maria Bissex
  • Properties Crew: Jeannie DeLisi
  • Makeup Director: Anneliese Lohmyer
  • Publicity: Joe Campanella
  • Photographer: Paul Gernhardt
  • Advertising: Kathy Blueutge, Angela Hepola, Jerri Wiseman
  • House Managers: Lora Buckman, Barbara Gillen
  • Ushers: Lisa Alford, Georgia Belle, John Bleutge, Kathy Bleutge, Katie Buckman, Joe Campanella, Lee Dunay, Laura Garofolo, Louise Gillen, Chris Gray, Kathy Howard, Mark Humphrey, Jordan Lohmeyer, Elise Smith, Frank Smith
  • Lobby Pianist: Abby Gray
  • Box Office Manager: Emilie Pugh
  • Box Office Staff: Doris Argall, Judith Bartow
  • Bulk Mail Chairman: Joe Campanella
  • Bulk Mail crew: Maria Bissex, David Chappell, Bill Fry, Karen Fry, Kimberely Fry, Helen Gernhardt, Sonya Kalian, Anneliese Lohmeyer, Jerri Wiseman
  • Graphic Artist: Kevin G. Summers
  • Audition Staff: Lora Buckman, Laura Garofolo, Barbara Gillen

Disclaimer: Sterling Playmakers provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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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.

2 Responses »

  1. Just to answer the question why were There two large gaps along the side walls, the breaks served no purpose and while not distracting, did look odd
    They are there in order for us to be able to accomodate some of the requirments of the school to be able to use their stage. Not an excuse just an explaination for your FYI.
    Thank you for coming to the show

  2. Hi Terry, Thanks for that clarification. Is it possible to put up a false wall in those two gaps during your performances? Oh, the joys of working in schools. Mike