Meet the Cast, Vol. 2

  • By Emily Flowers
  • 13 Apr, 2017

Presenting Mariah Reilly, George Jacobsen, Haeley DePace, Teri Sweeney, and more...

Don't miss the Cloverdale Playhouse's upcoming production of The Crucible! Not only is the cast made of fascinating people, the story is compelling, frightening, and is set in the round for an intense, interactive experience. Join us April 27 through May 7 for our re-imagining of Arthur Miller's classic tale of a small town in the midst of a very real witchhunt. 
Eventbrite - THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller

Meet Mariah Reilly - who, fortunately, does not hate our director Sarah Adkins.

1. My first play ever was the very artsy / modern-take-on-Greek tragedy called Brides. That was probably in 1997 (my freshman year) in the Huntington Dungeon and it was directed by the inimitable Georgia Hallman, one of the most talented actresses to ever come from Montgomery. My whole body felt like ice for the very first 5 minutes and I guess the stage lights melted it away and I realized I fe lt more at home on that stage than I'd ever felt in any other circumstance.
I was very fortunate to experience several wonderful plays and characters under Fiona McLeod's tutelage over the next few years; like Dancing at Lughnasa and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Probably my very favorite was playing Elvira in Blithe Spirit, directed by Michael Howley.


2. I took about a decade off after college, but I've enjoyed doing a few productions at the Cloverdale Playhouse. I was in Season's Greetings, during the very first season of the Playhouse, My Three Angels during last season, Greg Thornton's Pastime, and The Weir.  


3. In this production, I am playing Elizabeth Proctor and I would like her very much in real life. She has a hard go-of-it but she's very true to herself and her principles. I would see her as a feminist who wields a lot of her own power in this patriarchal society - both in her marriage to a domineering, flawed man and in her own convictions.  


4. I work in a Montessori pre-primary class, so mostly with two to three year olds. It's equal parts humbling and noble, I can tell you!  


  5. Favorite color is probably robin's egg blue... or wyeth blue.  


  6. Who would I like to dedicate this work to? I should say to my dearest family, since they enable my endless shenanigans. But for this particular production I think I'll dedicate it to our fearless director Sarah Adkins. Since the very moment I met her, we were perfectly positioned to become rivals, but instead she became a trusted friend and champion. I hope I can do justice to her huge faith in me and to this important, timely story.

Here's our Q & A with George Jacobsen, who you'll recognize from many shows at the Playhouse both onstage and as a volunteer.

First Play? No. Other plays: The Winter's Tale, Hamlet, King Lear, As You Like it, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, The Weir, Inherit the Wind, The Laramie Project, among others.

First play at the Playhouse?  
No. The Boys Next Door, Cabaret, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Irish Voices.

3) Which character are you playing in The Crucible, and would you like your character in real life? 

Thomas Putnam. I don't think we would have hit it off.

4) What's your day gig?  
Docent/puppeteer at the MMFA

5) What's your favorite color?  
All

6. I would like to dedicate this show to Bridget Bishop, the first resident of Salem to be executed for witchcraft and the subject of my first college paper.

Meet Haeley DePace, playing Mercy Lewis in The Crucible!  

1) Is this your first play? No.

2) Is this your first appearance at the Cloverdale Playhouse? Yes.

3) Which character are you playing in The Crucible, and would you like your character in real life?
Mercy Lewis. I definitely wouldn't like her, she's very manipulative and spiteful, things that don't make for a very good friend.

4) What's your day gig?  
I am a Spanish teacher and pianist during the day.

5) What's your favorite color?  
Green

6) Tell us to whom you'd like to dedicate your work in this show.  
I'd like to dedicate my work in this show to my professors AUM. This is my first show outside of AUM and they have prepared me for it, and I am eternally thankful for that.
Meet Teri Sweeney!  

1) Is this your first play?
 No, not by 58 years. My first gig was playing Peter Pan at age 7.

2) Is this your first appearance at the Cloverdale Playhouse?
No. At Cloverdale, I have also appeared in The Boys Next Door and Pastime.

3) Which character are you playing in The Crucible, and would you like your character in real life?
I am Rebecca Nurse, for whom I have tremendous respect and affection. She is one of the few honest people in Salem, and a GENUINE Christian.

4) What's your day gig?
I am a certified American Sign Language interpreter. My full-time position is with Montgomery Public Schools, but I also freelance, so you may see me at work almost anywhere.

5) What's your favorite color?
Jewel tones: cobalt, emerald, & violet, plus butter yellow.

6) Tell us to whom you'd like to dedicate your work in this show.
I dedicate my performance to Marty Young, my daughters' elementary school principal, and a real-life, 20th century Rebecca Nurse.
Welcome Meghan Yapana, playing Tituba in her Playhouse debut.  

1) Is this your first play?  
No. Millbrook Community Players - Audrey in Leading Ladies, Prattville's Way Off Broadway - Fairy May in The Curious Savage, Wetumpka Depot Players - Ensemble in The Schoolhouse Rock, Grandpa in Fancy Nancy Splediforous Christmas, Mr. Toot in Junie B. Jones, Darlene in The Christmas Bus, & Edith in Blithe   Spirit

2) Is this your first appearance at the Cloverdale Playhouse?  
Yes, this will be my first appearance at Cloverdale Playhouse.  

3) Which character are you playing in The Crucible, and would you like your character in real life?
My character in The Crucible is Tituba. In real life I could see myself liking her. She knew how to make light even in the darkest aspects of her life. However, I do not stand by "some" of her approaches in achieving them.  

4) What's your day gig?
I am blessed to be a Full Time Mom and I am an Instructor for The Depot Days Youth Acting Academy.  

5) What's your favorite color?
My favorite color is Green  

6) Tell us to whom you'd like to dedicate your work in this show.  
I would like to dedicate my work on this show FIRST to God, who gave me my gift and I am thankful for every opportunity he has opened for me to be on stage. To my Husband and Daughter for reacting to my random and in character line readings as normal behavior for me. To my parents and sisters in MD who are not able to see the production but support that I am doing what I love. And to my mother and sister-in-law who have helped me while I live out my passion. Thank you so much!!!  

Special Thank You to Sarah Adkins for selecting me to forge into her cast and allowing me to tell the story through Tituba's eyes. And to the rest of the Amazing Crew... this "magic" could not and would not be possible without you!
Presenting our Q & A with Lee Bridges, a veteran of the stage in the River Region!

1) Is this your first play?
No, not by a long shot. More than 100 productions at various theatres throughout the area -- everything from plays to musicals to revues to ballet, etc., etc.

2) Is this your first appearance at the Cloverdale Playhouse? If not, what shows have you appeared in here?
No. I was in "Season's Greetings" and "The Long Christmas Dinner."

3) Which character are you playing in The Crucible, and would you like your character in real life?
Judge John Hathorne. I played the role once before, 19 years ago. I didn't like him then, either.

4) What's your day gig?
Unemployment.

5) What's your favorite color?
Peach.

6) Tell us to whom you'd like to dedicate your work in this show.
Hmmm ... that's a tough one, and I honestly don't have an answer. I'll have to give it some thought.
Sarah Adkins may be a familiar face to Playhouse audiences, but this time, she's taking on a new role for the very first time: Director!

1) Is this your first time directing?
Yes! And if the exclamation point does it express it clearly enough, I am super excited to face a new artistic challenge!

2) Is this your first appearance at the Cloverdale Playhouse? If not, what shows have you appeared in here (and elsewhere)?
It is certainly not my first time. I've been at it for years! Wait. Is this coming out wrong?! I have appeared in Clybourne Park, Crimes of the Heart, Pastime, Dinner With Friends, The Long Christmas Dinner, Strip Talk on the Boulevard, and The 39 Steps at The Cloverdale Playhouse. I have appeared in other professional and community theatre productions in Chicago and Los Angeles including Electra, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Voire Dire, Veronica's Room, The Strip, Splendor in the Grass, and most recently I was the understudy for Miss Casewell in The Mousetrap at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

3) Do you have a favorite character in The Crucible? A least favorite?
This is a tough one. When I was younger I always wanted to play Mary Warren because she has this incredible character arch but now that I am older and neck deep in directing the play, I see potential for greatness in all of them. John Proctor is certainly a meaty role for any actor to chew on. I wish I could play him! He also goes on this incredible emotional and spiritual journey that climaxes in an absolute crisis of identity before he is able to answer the question, "What is John Proctor?" But this very talented cast has allowed me to me see qualities in each character that I have never seen before. I think every single character in The Crucible is fascinating. I like them all. Even the villains! Or is it especially the villains?

4) What's your day gig?
I am Patron Services Manager at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

5) What's your favorite color?
Orange is the new black, baby!

6) What has surprised you about working on this show so far?
My cast is constantly surprising me. We had over 70 people come out an audition, which is Playhouse record I believe! And I was just blown away by the amazing talent we have in this town. And everyone seems to be as excited and as passionate about working on this great American classic as I am. My crew is equally amazing. I just have such an amazing team of talent around me. I feel truly blessed to have this group of people walking with me in my first journey to the other side of the stage. Sometimes I even surprise myself!

7) Tell us to whom you'd like to dedicate your work in this show.
I would like to dedicate my work in this show to my mom and dad. They have been through the fire many times yet they never crumble or melt beneath the intense pressure that life puts on us at times. They emerge from the flames as heroes and their strength saves me every day.
A few words from the mysterious Miles Joye

1. Is this your first play? Yes.
2. First show at the Playhouse? Yes.
3. Which character are you playing, and would you like them in real life? Ezekiel Cheever. He just needs a hug.
4. Day gig? Department of Public Health
5. Favorite color? Green
6. Dedication of your work? My mom and dad
Meet Frances Brown, making her Playhouse debut but no stranger to the stage.

1) Is this your first play? If no, what else have you been in?
No, I have been doing shows at ASF (Christmas Carol) and school plays/musicals since I was 10!

2.) Is this your first play at the Playhouse?
Yes, this is my first show at the Cloverdale Playhouse and I am so excited!!!

3.) Which character do you play in The Crucible? Do you think you would like them in real life?
I play Betty Parris, and considering that she is possessed for most of the show + kind of insane, I probably would totally love her in real life.

4.) What's your day gig?
I am actually only 15, so I am still in school! I am a sophomore at Loveless Academic Magnet School (LAMP)!

5.) Favorite color?
Navy. It goes with everything!

6.) To whom would you like to dedicate your work on this production?
My mom and dad, who have been driving me to/from rehearsals for years and always encouraging me! I am so thankful for them!!!

Notes from the Cloverdale Playhouse

By Emily Flowers 13 Apr, 2017
Don't miss the Cloverdale Playhouse's upcoming production of The Crucible! Not only is the cast made of fascinating people, the story is compelling, frightening, and is set in the round for an intense, interactive experience. Join us April 27 through May 7 for our re-imagining of Arthur Miller's classic tale of a small town in the midst of a very real witchhunt. 
By Emily Flowers 05 Apr, 2017
The cast of our production of Arthur Miller's legendary social commentary, The Crucible, is a large group! We have many returning Playhouse regulars, but we're also looking forward to several Playhouse debuts on April 27. 
By Emily Flowers 07 Sep, 2016

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.”   – Julia Cameron

With the approaching Fall season, much is changing. Kids are returning to school, the temperature is (hopefully) cooling down, and I get to start wearing scarves again! There is a natural shift in the energies in the world with each passing month, and a new season represents growth and beginnings.

This Fall at the Cloverdale Playhouse is a time for new beginnings as well. After finishing a sold-out run of   “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,”   the contagious energy of our young acting company has been redirected to schoolwork. The “Missouri clay” on the stage floor has been repainted to black, and all at once, the theater is a blank stage again. Vacancy is one of the more exciting, and oftentimes slightly scary, states of being for artists. It is eerily silent, and simultaneously bellowing with possibility, risk, fear, and hope. You begin with a blank page, an empty space, and you must fill it with something new. We wait for inspiration, and then for the courage to leap, willing that net to appear.

Our first step into our Fall season is the staged reading of a new play, “The Lemonade Stand,” which was the winner of our annual Page to Stage playwriting contest. What began with a handful of entries a few years ago has grown to almost 200 entries this year from all over the world. We spent weeks reading piles of plays by writers who created new, untold stories out of thin air and sheer imagination. Now, it is our job to bring one of those stories to life, to fill our empty stage and audience with people to share this story for the first time.

We also begin our next production this month! We’ve held auditions for Dead Man’s Cell Phone , Sarah Ruhl’s award-winning play about a woman who answers a deceased stranger’s ringing cell phone and begins a journey to uncover the mysteries of his life and her own. Starting rehearsals for a new play creates great excitement and anticipation! The costume racks rotate from one world’s look to the next. The stage transforms to an entirely different location from the one we walked into the month before. We invite new faces into our hallways, we make new discoveries, and we work together to create a new experience for our audiences and ourselves.

We also form new connections, meet new people, and collaborate in new ways. This September, the Playhouse is teaming up for the first time with members of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra to create a new event for our space: “An Evening of Words and Music”. We will share beautiful compositions of music and writings, bringing members of our two artistic communities together under one roof for the first time, showcasing how much talent there is in our area, and rejoicing in how exciting it is that we can work together to make something new.

Our blank stage is ready and waiting, there are songs to be played and stories to be told. Come join us! It’s a new season filled with new adventures. Our pews are eager to be filled. We will save you a seat!

Sarah Walker Thornton   is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, who walks like a New Yorker and waves like an Alabama girl. She is a product of a Montgomery arts education, with several years of life in NYC thrown in for extra flavor.

By Emily Flowers 19 Apr, 2016
The fun of each new play is trying out a new lens for life. You'll start to think about the world differently depending on the costume you're wearing or the set you're building.  In early April, we viewed the world with an eye to the rhythms and melodies of Kander and Ebb. During both nights of performances, voices were ringing and audiences were yelling "yes!" Life is a Cabaret: A Kander & Ebb Revue was a roaring success both as a production and as a fundraiser for the Playhouse School and for the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts . Director Randy Foster brought together some captivating musical performances in just one week of rehearsal. Alex Katz was assistant director and choreographer. If you saw the show and supported the fundraiser, thank you. Based on ticket sales and applause, the audience seemed to have as much fun as the performers did.

The lens Kander and Ebb songs brought to us wasn't perfectly rosy and cheerful. In their songs, hearts break, disappointments happen, and loneliness is part of life, but at the end of it all, the music joined us together to say "yes" to the next day. 

Meanwhile in our downstairs rehearsal room, three ladies tuned out the thunderous sounds of music on the stage above them as they bent over their scripts to  tackle our next show. Director Georgette Norman has been digging into Having Our Say - The Delany Sisters' First Hundred Years with her actors, Yvette Jones-Smedley and Cynthia Harris, to tell the story of two incredible lives that spanned over one hundred years of American history. It may not sound as thrilling as a night of song and dance, but it's time to put on a new pair of lenses - lenses that look back in time and reflect our thoughts forward into the future. The fact that the Delany sisters stories are true - that these were real women, whose memoirs topped the New York Times Bestseller list - lends extra poignancy to their trials and extra sweetness to their happy memories. Don't miss the chance to listen to two wise women and see the past through their eyes. The show opens April 21 and runs through May 1. 

What's Next? 
Sarah Thornton will direct the world premiere of a script entered in our 2015 Page to Stage Playwriting Contest, Strip Talk on the Boulevard by Donna Spector. Auditions will be Sunday April 24 and Monday April 25 at 6pm. Performance dates June 16-25.  Please see the webpage for character descriptions and a synopsis of the show. 

Jason Morgan will lead the 2016 Playhouse Troupe in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in late July. Auditions for young actors age 8 through 18 will be held May 21 and 22 at 2pm. 

If you're wondering if you should come to the Playhouse, say yes! We'll show you life in a new light, if only for a few hours. 
By Emily Flowers 29 Mar, 2016


The halls of the Cloverdale Playhouse have come alive this week with music, laughter, and vibrant energy during rehearsals for Life is a Cabaret- a Kander and Ebb Revue ! Tickets are going fast for this two-night only benefit performance this weekend on April 3 and 4, and you don’t want to miss out on an evening of musical theatre at its finest. 


Last year we presented a special musical event called Hey, Old Friend: Sondheim at 85  in this same format, bringing together singers and dancers from all over the River Region, and it was a sold-out hit. The celebrated, talented director Randy Foster has once again gathered an ensemble of some of Montgomery’s finest talent to bring Kander and Ebb’s music and spirit to life, and the ever-innovative  Alex Katz brings us choreography. It’s hard not to dance to the music of this brilliant musical duo!

 

The Cloverdale Playhouse’s acclaimed production of Cabaret in our 2012 Season was an audience favorite, and you’ll see and hear some familiar performances from that show (which was also directed by Randy Foster and choreographed by Alex Katz) along with many other gems as we celebrate the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb, the legendary Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning songwriting team. Their Broadway shows include Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Act, Curtains, and The Scottsboro Boys and timeless songs including “New York, New York,” “All That Jazz,” “Money Makes the World Go Around,” “Say Yes,” and “Maybe This Time.”

 

Doug’s 2 Salon - Spa is graciously sponsoring this special event. The proceeds from  Life is a Cabaret: a Kander and Ebb Revue  will be used to provide scholarships for children to participate in classes at the Cloverdale Playhouse school and for public school teachers to participate in professional development training in the arts at Summer Institute 2016 presented by the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. This is the second year of this collaboration between the Playhouse and AIEA. 

 

So come to the Cloverdale Playhouse April 3 and 4 at 7:30pm , tap your toes, have a ball, and support the arts in education in our community! Tickets are available online here   or by calling the Box Office at (334) 262-1530. Tickets are $15/ general admission. 

For more information about the organizations this performance will benefit, please visit artseducation.org as well as our Playhouse School page.  

By Emily Flowers 22 Mar, 2016

We're breaking ground and growing!


Please join us! On  Wednesday, March 23 at 2pm, we are getting out the shovels and celebrating our expansion: the Courtyard Stage! The new outdoor stage will host Playhouse School Classes, rehearsals, special events, and live music.  

Goodwyn Mills and Cawood designed the new use of the space, and Foshee Design and Construction are making it a reality. 

The Courtyard Stage has been given a generous start by the J.K. Lowder Family Foundation and the Alabama State Council on the Arts, but we need  community support like yours  to make this a 100% successful project that will allow us to expand our Playhouse School Classes, our community theater productions, and our special events.

Please join us at the Groundbreaking and/ or become a  Courtyard Stage Sponsor online. 

To give by check, please mail to  Cloverdale Playhouse at  960 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL 36106. (334) 262-1530

Gifts of any amount will help us reach our goal! Thank you!

By Emily Flowers 15 Mar, 2016
So, here we go...sallying forth into the brave world of blogging. We will use this from time to time to share the fun things, the exciting projects, and the news of the Playhouse that doesn't quite fit into an email blast or a postcard.

If you're reading this, maybe you've already been to the Playhouse. Maybe you've been in a production or two, or helped with an Opening Night Reception. Maybe you've been in the audience once or ten times, and maybe you have laughed and/or cried here. Whatever you've done with the Playhouse, thank you.

Everyone who visits contributes something. Everyone. Even the people who get up and leave if they don't like the show  - it's rare, but it happens! - they remind us of the tremendous power of the spoken word and live theater. Words that wouldn't give us pause on tv or in a book somehow become a jolt of lightning in this intimate space. 

The Playhouse's pews hold about 100 people, and our stage is fairly small, about 25 feet deep and 27 feet wide. We don't have fly space or wings, so we won't be presenting Peter Pan anytime soon - or at least, not very well. The shows we can produce in this space are often small in terms of cast or set requirements, but that limitation has led to some brilliant solutions. Last summerin James and the Giant Peach   , when James and his huge insect friends met with a shark attack as they flew across the Atlantic Ocean, the Playhouse Troupe and their clever director Jason Morgan came up with a fun, simple way to stage the attack. They didn't use cut-outs, they didn't use costumes, they didn't ask for much - they found inflatable 3 foot sharks online and tossed them across the stage to each other! The actors were 'terrified' and the audience loved it. They knew that we knew that they knew - and that understanding between audience and performer led to one of the many priceless moments we've had here in our first four years.

Despite our relative youth, the Playhouse calendar  is already developing a rhythm. March and April tend to be busy months here. We've just closed our first regular-season production, the hilarious and well-received Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang. Our new Artistic Director, Sarah Walker Thornton, brought the show to life while learning her new job, and did so with grace, poise, and lots of coffee from our friendly neighborhood Cafe Louisa up the street.

  Irish Voices returns on March 19 as the thinking person's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. Directed by John McWilliams for the first time this year, we'll build on the beloved tradition of sharing Ireland's witty, sweet, and delightful songs, poems, and stories. Think of the Voices format as a "live anthology" - a great format for exploring a large body of work year by year. 

The Joe Thomas Jr   Guitar Pull on March 15 will be the 49th consecutive night of this monthly series of live, original music. Forty nine nights x 3 musicians each show = a lot of new songs brought to life during the course of this jewel of a music series. Join us, and you'll be proud of the tremendous talent brewing in the state of Alabama and the South. 

Next on the big calendar: Spring Break, Easter, and then in early April, Randy Foster will have us roaring along to Life is a Cabaret: A Kander and Ebb Revue . If you loved our production of Cabaret in 2012 or Hey Old Friend: Sondheim at 85   last spring, you will NOT want to miss this special event April 3 and 4th. Montgomery native Alex Katz returns from New York to choreograph this show. He was responsible for the shimmys and kicks in Cabaret, too, and we're grateful to have Randy and Alex collaborating here again. This revue is a benefit for the Playhouse School's Financial Assistance Fund and the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts  and its annual Institute offering training across all arts disciplines for general classroom teachers, arts specialists and community arts advocates.

Rehearsals have just begun for Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters First Hundred Years . Director Georgette Norman sees this story of two sisters recounting their incredible lives as part history lesson, part life lesson, and we hope that audiences will bring younger friends to see this story about two African-American women who lived through some incredible days in American history. The show opens April 21 and runs through May 1. 

Because it will be here before we know it, we'll go ahead and mention Southern Voices on May 7 right here and now, though it's only March. The way spring flies by, we'll soon be enjoying stories by Pat Conroy, Roy Blount, Flannery O'Connor, Rick Bragg - whatever Director Michael Thornton selects for the live anthology. 

Spring 2016 is looking pretty good, don't you think? 

- Emily Flowers
Cloverdale Playhouse 
March 15, 2016

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