SUBMIT ABOUT FAQ
PEOPLE COMPANIES VENUES
LOGIN NEW USER PRODUCTIONS
REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
Hail Mary!
a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Tom Dudzick

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 4873

SHOWING : March 25, 2016 - April 17, 2016

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This comedy/drama, by the author of "Miracle on South Division Street," introduces Mary, a plucky novice who bravely does battle with her Mother Superior, a staunch defender of "that old time religion." Mary puts her future as a nun in serious jeopardy when she dares teach the children her personal, unorthodox views of God and his commandments. Her dream of Sisterhood is further threatened with the untimely arrival of a childhood sweetheart who suddenly declares his love. Will Mary give it all up for the love of a man? Or will she listen to the priest who mysteriously appears and declares Mary to be the world’s next savior?


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Dina Shadwell
Father Stan Theo Harness
Joe Jeff K. Lester
Sister Felicia Eliana Marianes
Sister Regina Ann Wilson
Mary Suzanne Zoller
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Hail Mary Pass
by playgoer
Monday, March 28, 2016
4.0
Tom Dudzick’s "Miracle on South Division Street" was a big success for Stage Door Players last season. Is it surprising, then, that they would choose the same playwright and same director (Dina Shadwell) to bring his earlier play, "Hail Mary," to their stage? The production is equally as fine as last year’s, but the script isn’t as strong. It’s a bit dated, referencing legal same-sex marriage as something implausible, and has a more piously religious storyline.

Sara Rue look-alike Suzannne Zoller plays the lead role of Mary, a parochial school teacher and would-be nun chafing under the by-the-book leadership of Sister Regina (Ann Wilson). Complicating her life are a priest who believes she has greatness within (Theo Harness), a nun who dabbles in Mary’s inventive teaching practices (Eliana Marianes), and a returning schooldays boyfriend (Jeff K. Lester). The conflicting draws of educating children, of educating mankind, and the lure of romance require her to make difficult choices. The play doesn’t result in a resolution of her conflicts, leaving the possibility open of different choices in the future.

Chuck Welcome’s set is, as always, a delight to view. Its blackboard, student desks, teacher’s desk, and glimpses of the hallway outside scream "school," and the statue of the Virgin Mary, the photographs of (male) church leaders, and the kneeling bench scream "parochial school." Costumes, designed by Jim Alford, have a wider range than might be expected, with two different nun’s habits in use and with Mary’s clothes changing for the final scene. Rial Ellsworth’s sound design has little to do during the play except for a phone ring, and I found the scene-setting music much less appropriate than the pre-show music that leaned heavily on the Polish-American polka repertoire. J.D. Williams’ lighting design is equally straightforward, although I love the inclusion of globe lights above the stage that look exactly like miniature versions of the light fixtures in an older school.

The performances are all delightful, and there are a lot of crisp reactions that are as telling of character as are the lines being spoken. That’s usually a sign of fine direction. The only thing I found odd in the performances was the presumably Irish accent used by Theo Harness as Father Stan. He speaks a phrase or two in Polish and refers to his childhood nickname as "Stash," which would suggest he is of Polish extraction himself (a "Stanisław" rather than a "Stanley," which isn’t a prototypically Irish name anyhow). That’s a fairly minor quibble, though, since the performance works overall, gaining exit applause after a particularly vivid scene.

Ms. Zoller gives an earnest, heartfelt performance, matched in intensity by Ms. Wilson. Ms. Marianes provides much of the comic relief, using a Latina New Yawk accent to fine advantage. Mr. Lester plays perhaps the least fleshed-out character, but makes Joe suitably charming. And Dina Shadwell puts it all together in the eminently workmanlike fashion that has become her habit, to use a nun-inspired pun. And who says a workman can’t be a master craftsman, or its less gender-specific equivalent? [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

OPENING SOON
An Atlanta Christmas 2018
by Fuller, McQuinor, Strickland
Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
CLOSING SOON
An Atlanta Christmas 2018
by Fuller, McQuinor, Strickland
Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Making God Laugh
by Sean Grennan
Live Arts Theatre
Rose and Walsh
by Neil Simon
Centerstage North Theatre
NOW PLAYING
A Year with Frog and Toad (2018)
by Willie Reale and Robert Reale
Synchronicity Performance Group
Christmas Canteen 2018
by Brandon O’Dell
Aurora Theatre
Daddy Long Legs
by John Caird (book) and Paul Gordon (songs)
The Legacy Theatre
It is Beginning to Look A Lot Like Murder
by Ryan Girard
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery
Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook
by Allison Gregory
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
Making God Laugh
by Sean Grennan
Live Arts Theatre
Midnight at the Masquerade
by The Murder Mystery Company
The Murder Mystery Company in Atlanta
Rose and Walsh
by Neil Simon
Centerstage North Theatre

©2012 TheaterReview.com. All rights reserved.