Religious comedy debuts Friday at Beckwith
Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 12, 2015
Family squabbles, long-held secrets and holy miracles will be the focus of the Beckwith Theater Company’s latest production, which begins its two-week run on Friday.
The Dowagiac community theater presents Tom Dudzick’s religious-bent comedy “Miracle on South Division Street,” which will be held at the downtown theater house on the weekends of Nov. 13-15 and 20-22. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Set in Buffalo, New York, “Miracle” tells the story of the Nowak family, whose members have developed a reputation around the neighborhood after the family patriarch built a statue of the Virgin Mary in their backyard after claiming to have been visited by the holy mother in his barbershop. Nearly 70 years later, Ruth Nowak visits the old residence to inform her mother, Clara, and her two siblings, Jimmy and Beverly, that she intends to put on a one-woman stage show to reveal the truth of the family miracle — which Ruth reveals doesn’t exactly have a divine inspiration.
As to be expected, her deeply religious family doesn’t exactly welcome this news with open arms, said Andi Creasbaum, the director of the Beckwith production.
“It’s a family with a lot of secrets,” Creasbaum said. “The middle daughter [Ruth] knows them all, and wants to share them with everyone.”
Creasbaum, who has directed several comedies in her native state of Indiana, said she was immediately drawn to the play and its cast of bickering characters after reading it for the first time.
“This script is set in New York, but it might as be set in Indiana,” she said. “These are the types of people I know…a couple of them are family members of mine.”
The comedic play is the first that Creasbaum is helming at the Dowagiac theater, and just the third Beckwith production she has been involved, having performed on-stage in the May script reading of “A German Party” and Agatha Christie’s “Murder at the Vicarage” in July.
Creasbaum has had little trouble getting everything in place over the last six weeks of preparation, though, thanks in large part to her assistant director, Sara DeMaria, and her cast, she said. The four cast members, Brian Beckwith, Kayla Nikodem, Donna Courtney and Rebecca Maxey, are all veterans to the Dowagiac stage and have developed a strong chemistry with one another over the last several weeks, Creasbaum said.
“I would be happy to work with any of them again,” she said.
Calling it “a play with plenty of laughs and a lot of heart,” audiences who come out to Beckwith the next few weekends are sure to walk away happy, Creasbaum said.
“I think a lot of people will see themselves in these characters,” she said.
Tickets for the show cost $10. For reservations, people can call (269) 782-7653.