Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Tapestry Theatre Crimes of The Heart

By • Aug 12th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Tapestry Theatre’s Crimes of The Heart [MP3 5:06 1.5MB].

Laura: Friday night we saw the opening night performance of Tapestry Theatre‘s Crimes of The Heart in Alexandria Virginia.

Mike: Crimes of The Heart is a Pulitzer prize winning play by Beth Henley. At the core of the black comedy are the three Magrath sisters who reunite at Ole’ Grandaddy’s home in Hazzelhurst Mississippi when the youngest shoots her husband. The trio is raised in a dysfunctional family with a penchant for ugly predicaments. Each has endured her share of hardship and misery. Past resentments bubble to the surface as they’re forced to deal with nosy relatives and past relationships while coping with the latest incident to disrupt their lives.

Laura: I thought this show had a good pace to it. The three sisters seemed very comfortable with each other, they all had a good rapport. I really enjoyed this show.

Mike: A few months ago we rented the movie version of Crimes of the Heart, and it did nothing for me. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a live version. But I really enjoyed the show. The characters were interesting and each brought their own little personality quirks to these quirky characters. I had a good time.

Laura: Meg Magrath, the middle Magrath sister was played by Catherine Nelson Hassett. She was good. She had some of the best reactions to the action happening on stage. It was really funny. The facial expressions she was making behind the backs of the sisters and their nosy cousin were just priceless. They were really funny. I enjoyed her performance. I like how she was very intense, she was just trying to make people happy. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t always being truthful. She was just trying to keep life moving along.

Mike: Lenny Magrath, the oldest sister, was played by Cynthia Huesman. She did a very nice job with he character. I felt so sorry for her early on when she was being depressed about her birthday and making the day her own in her own little way. I don’t want to give anything away, but I really liked how she did that. I really liked how she made it feel true that the three of them were sisters and they really had the fights that families get into and they also had the care and the love as well. I really enjoyed that.

Laura: Then the youngest Magrath sister, Babe Botrelle, was played by Hannah Gavagan. She did a good job. She opened up kind of being a little bit spacy and a little bit starry eyed having just made bail from shooting her husband (which she freely admitted that she did). It was interesting watching her. In the first act she was sort of distant and almost kind of in la la land. The second act she really had some deep emotions that were revealed. She had a really good scene at the end of the show that I really enjoyed and won’t give away because really have to go see it.

Mike: The girls’ cousin, Chick Boyle was played by Mary L. Fettes. She did a pretty good job with the annoying “I know everything and I’m just such a wounded little person and I need to let you know that I’m wounded.” I liked the way she made that character real. Doc Porter (August Kruesi) was the doctor that one of the characters had had a relationship with in the past. He is all grown up now and has kids. It made for an interesting dynamic with the girls not sure what she should do with the doctor. Barnette Lloyd, the lawyer, was played by Alex Avila. He did a good job. He was not quite sure of himself it seemed like since he was kind of a new lawyer. He did well. They focused with “I need to win this case. I’ve got my personal vendetta.” I really like how he stayed true to the part and wanted to get back at a certain person.

Laura: The set for Crimes of The Heart was pretty good. The set designers were Jennifer Rose, Mark Edwards, and Elizabeth Vernaci. It all took place in kind of the kitchen area of the Magrath home. It had a rural feel to it. The sofa wasn’t modern, and there was even a roll up bed in the corner where Lenny slept so she could be near her grandfather, who was in the hospital. It was really just kind of down to earth and nicely done. The costumes were also nice. I think each kind of represented the personalities of the three sisters and even the annoying cousin. The costumes were designed by one of the shows directors, Zina T. Bleck. I thought they were good.

Mike: Crimes of The Heart runs two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission. It’s playing though Sunday the 26th. Friday and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees at 3 at the Lee Center for the Performing Arts in Alexandria, Virginia.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

Photo Gallery

Lenny Magrath (Cynthia Huesman) and Cousin Chick (Mary Fettes) discuss family problems Meg (Cathy Nelson) and her sister Babe (Hannah Gavagan) catch up
Lenny Magrath (Cynthia Huesman) and Cousin Chick (Mary Fettes) discuss family problems
Meg (Cathy Nelson) and her sister Babe (Hannah Gavagan) catch up
1. Babe ( Hannah Gavagan) listens in as Barnett (Alex Avila) talks to her husband Zachery Meg (Cathy Nelson) and Doc (August Kruesi) see each other again
1. Babe ( Hannah Gavagan) listens in as Barnett (Alex Avila) talks to her husband Zachery
Meg (Cathy Nelson) and Doc (August Kruesi) see each other again

Photos by Zina Bleck


  • Lenny Magrath: Cynthia Huesman
  • Chick Boyle: Mary L. Fettes
  • Doc Porter: August Kruesi
  • Meg Magrath: Catherine Nelson Hassett
  • Babe Botrelle: Hannah Gavagan
  • Barnette Lloyd: Alex Avila


  • Directors: Zina T. Bleck, Herb Tax
  • Producer: Peggy Jones
  • Assistant Producer: Elizabeth Miller
  • Stage Manager: Helen McCarthy
  • Assistant Stage Manager: August Kruesi
  • Set Design: Jennifer Rose, Mark Edwards, Elizabeth Vernaci
  • Lighting Design: Herb Tax
  • Set Decoration: Zina T. Bleck, Kristine Cornils
  • Properties: Zina T. Bleck, Kristine Cornils, Erin DeCaprio
  • Master Carpenter: Jennifer Rose
  • Set Construction: Mark Edwards, Jennifer Foster, August Kruesi, Elizabeth Miller
  • Set Painting: Zina T, Bleck, Jennifer Foster, Peggy Jones, Hannah Gavagan, Catherine Nelson Hassett, Susan Schulman
  • Properties Running Crew: Margaret Snow, Erin DeCaprio
  • Costume Coordinator: Zina T. Bleck
  • Sound Design: Herb Tax
  • Sound Operator: Jennifer Foster, Herb Tax
  • Light Board Operator: Susan Schulman
  • Special Effects: Herb Tax
  • Hair/Makeup Consultant: Lolita Marie
  • Publicity: Kathy Ryan, Susan Schulman
  • Graphic Design: Herb Tax
  • Program: Susan Schulman
  • Photography: Bob Morrison

This article can be linked to as:

One Response »

  1. All in all this made for quite an enjoyable production. It was a tad slow in the beginning, but once rolling it became engaging. This is the second Alexandria theater I have visited in the past several weeks that featured performances related to sisters who have gone their separate ways only to be brought together because of tragedy. They end up discovering things about themselves and each other, thus forming a strong bond. The actresses in ‘Crimes of the Heart’ did an amazing job with three Mississppi ‘sistahs’ who had such differing personalities. Not to ignore the male actors in this production, as they were wonderful, but I must throw in my two cents worth about the ladies, and to keep this short. Catherine Nelson Hassett’s ‘Meg’ was truly a joy to watch. Miss Hassett was so natural in her movements, facial expressions, and dialog. When ‘Meg’ made her entrances we were going to have a good time. She was also the strongest of the siblings. It took a little getting used to Cynthia Huesman’s ‘Lenny’ until I realized it was a nervous, fussy personality she was supposed to portray – kind of like Rue McClanahan fueled on fluster. ‘Lenny’ became my hero as she transformed into a lioness when chasing away Chick. Hannah Gavagan’s ‘Babe’ spent little (if any) time remorseful. She rather made light of it all in a comical sort of way. She was childish, carefree, and just could not for the life of her get it right in attempts to do away with herself. Miss Gavagan did all of this so well (and so comically).