58 THE QUEENS COURIER • MOTHER’S DAY • MAY 11, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM mother’s day ‘Other Desert Cities’ at DCT An intense drama is currently challenging audiences at the Douglaston Community Th eatre. Th e fi ercely oppositional right/left leanings of a wealthy family in 2004 are eerily up-to-date in today’s explosive political atmosphere. Th e vehicle is the Pulitzer Prize-nominated “Other Desert Cities.” On opening night, director Linda Hanson returns to DCT with a cast of fi ve fi ne performers. Th e troupe navigates the diffi cult theatrical waters of partisan dogma with studied skill. Despite the potential for the audience to take sides, the actors manage to leave us feeling sympathetic for everyone involved. Well done indeed! Heidi Jean Weinrich plays the lead character, Brooke. She is healing from a very serious and protracted illness. Th e only way to defeat the emotional furies within her is to publish a scathing novel that will destroy her parents. Can she do it? Rather, what will it take to stop her! Her mother Polly is portrayed by Sherry Mandery. Although she is clearly a very hard, very strong woman, her love for her children could reveal an incredibly self-sacrifi cing soul. Patriarch Lyman Wyeth is played with class and restraint by Joe Pepe. He shares deep pain and dark secrets with his wife, Polly. Despite the potential to revile his past behavior, the shocking revelations in Act II may well defi ne his incredible courage. A VIEW FROM THE CLIFF BY CLIFF KASDEN Brooke’s younger brother Trip (Dan Bubbeo) and her recovering alcoholic Aunt Silda (Rosemary Kurtz) are both victims and shapers of the family’s current and desperate situation. But is it merely the central characters’ strong political beliefs and high profi le that have opened the door for the entire family’s destruction? Th at issue and others help this story remain deeply relevant for theatergoers in 2017. Kudos to everyone behind the scenes, though too numerous to acknowledge by name. At least, some bows for Ian McDonald (sets), Marionanne Rourke (stage manager), Emily Grayson and Robert Stivanello (lighting), Gary Stifeld (sound/ music), Robert Gold and the ever-present and ever-smiling Michael Wolf. Th e Douglaston Community Th eatre is housed at the Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall off Northern Boulevard. Th eir projects are always thought-provoking and entertaining. For information on this and future productions, call 718- 482-3332. As always, save me a seat on the aisle. ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ at Secret Theatre Giggling little ones and delighted grandparents have once again greeted America’s lovable loser, Charlie Brown. On opening night at Secret Th eatre, the Schultz inspired, brilliantly understated musical touches young and old alike. Aft er the well-received winter production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” this encore visit entitled “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” is a welcome treat. A solid but minimal set and stage (by executive producer Richard Mazda) off er plenty of room for the larger-than-life comic strip characters. Director/choreographer Michelle O’Bryan ably instills that magical, intangible charm that has endeared these enigmatic children for almost 70 years. Many of the most beloved scenarios are depicted, including Snoopy’s World War I battle with the Red Baron, Lucy’s psychiatric advice for 5 cents, losing baseball games and much more. Th e lead is played by soft -spoken Scott Duell who earns our aff ection as he manages to fi nd meaning in his potentially dismal existence. Know-it-all Lucy is played to annoying perfection by Christina Carlucci. Of course, her unrequited love for Schroeder is skillfully challenged onstage by Aaron Wilson. No one, though, is more in love than Linus, whose security blanket is the object of dance and song by Matt Weinstein. Look out for Sally (Jennifer Wingerter): her determination to win Linus’ heart is well documented in years of comic strip, television and movie episodes. Lying boldly atop his doghouse, exuberant Snoopy adds a warm, wonderful dimension to the performance. Arf, arf to Brian Edward Levario as our fl oppy eared hero. Supporting players are all worldly wise yet delightfully naïve. Th e magic formula for their success lies deep in all of our adult insecurities and childhood confi dences. Kudos to Ashley Blasland as Frieda, Chris Price as Pig Pen, Ali Valentine as Violet and Jesse Lynn Harte as Patty. Th e creative team is complemented by producer Stephanie Wilson, musical director Garret Healey (with Jared Newlen, Lukas Weber and Jennifer Axelson), light/sound by Stephon Legere and stage management by Krystal K.C. Wilson and Rashaun Fraser. For information on this and future productions, surf to www.secrettheatre.com, “like” them on Facebook or call 718- 392-0722. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.
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