Dinner theater production brings a bit of Italy to Merrill
TINA L. SCOTT
The Merrill Community Theater, which was on hiatus during COVID, returned with a dinner play that brought a bit of Italy to Merrill, with two shows each on August 22 and 28. Held at the Sawmill Brewery in Merrill, the group performed Over the River and Through the Woods, described as a heartwarming piece about the three F’s of first-generation Italian grandparents – faith, family and food.
Written by Joe DiPietro and directed by Larry Kirchgaessner of Wausau, the play focused on the relationship between first-generation Italian grandparents and their grandson, Nicky.
The cast of the play included Chris Hahn [as Nicky], Aaron Kremin, Jeff McDonald, Darlaen Jansen, Kevin Erickson, Alyssa Hahn and Rachel Bergmann.
Theater spokesperson Ed Kemery shared the plot: Nicky received a job offer that would require a move away from them [to Seattle]. Not wanting him to leave [New Jersey], the family concocted a ploy to encourage him to stay. “They put him in touch with the lovely Caitlyn and use all the Italian charm they can muster to convince their darling Nicky to stay,” Kemery said.
“As he struggles with his decision to stay or go, he is faced with the difficult question of ‘How much do you owe the people who take care of you? How much is enough? ‘ », Could we read in the teaser of the show.
The play also explored generational differences related to the characters’ concepts of family and home and what Italians mean by “Tengo Familia”.
Dinner events included delizioso Italian food and soft drinks, as well as a cash bar.
Early shows included an Italian brunch before the show and Italian desserts during the intermission, including cannoli, tiramisu cupcakes, and anginetti cookies. [All taste-tested by cast members.] Subsequent shows included antipasto appetizers – Italian kebabs, smoked stuffed eggs, and a cucumber and rye sandwich – with the same Italian desserts at intermission.
The first show was sold out, the third being very close, and the other two shows also attracted a lot of people.