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Miracle on South Division Street

a Comedy
by Tom Dudzick

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 4827

SHOWING : December 11, 2015 - December 19, 2015



Meet the Nowaks of Buffalo, NY. Clara and her three grown kids have always known they were special, ever since the miraculous night in 1942 when the Blessed Mother appeared to Grandpa in his barbershop! Since then, the neighborhood has looked upon the Nowaks’ 20-foot commemorative shrine as a beacon of hope and faith amidst the urban rubble. And now daughter Ruth unveils her plan to write and star in a one-woman show about the family miracle so the “whole world will know!” However, as her plans for theatrical immortality unfold, the entire family’s faith is shaken to the very core when a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel. The results are heartfelt and hilarious.

Director Cheryl Baer
Ruth Nowak Laura Dietrich
Clara Nowak Phyllis Giller
Beverly Nowak Audra Lopez
Jimmy Nowak Daniel Phelps
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A Slightly Sanctified Event on South Division Street
by playgoer
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Stage Door Players produced "Miracle on South Division Street" in the spring of 2014 in an absolutely splendid production. A community theatre production can’t hope to compete with the memory of that production, but Centerstage North’s production is not bad at all. It also has a Christmas orientation that makes it marginally a seasonal offering.

David Shelton’s set design is tidy, functional, and (intentionally) dated, with wood paneling on the living room side of the set and a full kitchen on the other side. We see all this on an angle, with a hallway upstage, but the kitchen table at which most of the action is set is arranged straight-on. Director Cheryl Baer’s blocking doesn’t always allow all faces to be seen by all members of the audience, but the set generally works quite well. Brad Rudy’s lighting design lets everything be seen, and Brenda Orchard’s sound design provides appropriate effects, with a nice selection of seasonal music on scene transitions. Kathy Ellsworth’s props work very well, with a toaster more appropriate than the one I saw at Stage Door.

The story comes through loud and clear in this production, with good pacing and levels of emotion. This is largely due to the glorious performance of Phyllis Giller as the mother of the clan. She makes every moment ring true. Audra Lopez, as the bowling-obsessed daughter, is also quite good, although her cue pickup is not always what it might be. Daniel Phelps gives a good community theatre performance as the son, while Laura Dietrich has the stilted stance of a high schooler who has been instructed to plant her feet and act with her arms. Ms. Baer has cast the show well and gets performances that are probably the best they could be. This may not be the quality of show seen at Stage Door Players, but it does Tom Dudzick’s script proud. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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