By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing writer
SHREWSBURY – A new community theater group has opened in Shrewsbury.
Square One Players debuts the two-act comedy “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Joe DiPietro. The story humorously tells of an adult grandson considering a move across the country as his four grandparents strive – and plan – to keep him close to them.
The production manager is Edward Lindem. It relates to the characters and scenarios of the play.
âI grew up in a very similar family to the one depicted in the show,â Lindem said. âThe family shows love through food, comes together and looks out for one another – even when it’s a bit bossy.â
More than a year in preparation
This production was originally scheduled to be presented in March 2020 by the now closed Shrewsbury Regatta Players. About two weeks before opening night, pandemic restrictions postponed production indefinitely and ultimately shut down Regatta.
Three former regatta board members – Tara Alano, Joanne Smith and Tara Wykes – banded together and formed Square One Players. They missed their usual, chore-filled schedules behind the scenes during rehearsals and performances.
âIt was very surreal,â Alano said of the many months without live theater. “It was so different to go from the hustle and bustle of a show to nothing all of a sudden.”
As the state reopens, the new Square One Players announced performance dates for “Over the River.”
âThis show is ready to go – we have the cast, the set and the costumes,â Smith noted. âStarting with the basics already in place makes our job very easy. “
They also found it easy to name the new theater company.
âWe’re starting from square one,â said Smith. âWe hope people have so much fun with us that they will want to come back for more. Hopefully next year we’ll do another play in the spring and then a musical in the summer.
Back to the theater
Back when âOver the Riverâ was postponed to 2020, it was unclear how soon live theater might return. To stay prepared, Lindem periodically led the cast during rehearsals via Zoom. Now he and the performers pick up where they left off with in-person rehearsals.
âEveryone is very happy to come back to rehearsals and share this story with an audience,â said Lindem. âIt’s a very sincere comedy. There are certainly parts of the story that touch the heart. There are sad moments, but all with a glimmer of hope and love.
The cast include Dan Biggins, Jim Catapano, James Lamoureux, Christina Pierro, Stephanie Sarkisian and April Swanson.
âThe cast on this series – without exaggeration – is the best I’ve ever worked with,â Lindem said.
Details of the first production
Square One Players has scheduled five performances of “Over the River and Through the Woods” at the Flanagan Theater at Southgate in Shrewsbury, 30 Julio Dr. Opening night is Saturday July 31 at 7:30 pm. August 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday mornings are August 1 and 8 at 2 p.m.
General admission is $ 20. Tickets cost $ 17 for students under 18 and those aged 60 and over. Book your tickets at squareoneplayers.com. For more information call 508-669-7750 or email [emailÂ protected].
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