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Both Your Houses
Asolo Repertory Theatre


Tom Coiner far left, David Breitbarth far right, with cast
It is January, and Asolo Rep's Repertory Season (January - April) is in full swing: They launched three large scale productions on successive Friday nights after the first of the year. Both Your Houses by Maxwell Anderson is the third to be launched, but the first I have seen. The play has some impressive credentials: It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1933. Anderson has written a pot-boiler drama set in the House of Representatives of the United States. The play seems relevant today, some 80 years later.

There was a talk-back with the cast after the performance I attended. These events are usually attended by 40-50 people, but well over 100 stayed to talk and listen. The conversation was quite lively with many more interested in commenting than time would allow. People who did not know each other before the performance were still thoroughly engaged as they entered the lobby area and exited the theater for the parking lot. One thing that caught my attention over the past few years as I have more actively engaged with Maxwell Anderson's work is that he always seems to be interested in the political aspects of his stories, specifically the book for Kurt Weill's Knickerbocker Holiday, and the plays Winterset and High Tor.

Frank Galati is no stranger to testosterone-laden dramas—he directed Twelve Angry Men a few years ago for Asolo. Here he directs a large cast of mostly men, 16 parts, and all of the acting is up to Asolo Rep's high standards. It is nice to see company members Douglas Jones, as Solomon Fitzmaurice, and David Breitbarth, as Simeon Gray, in meaty roles. they are joined by visiting artist Tom Coiner as Alan McClean. The rest of the supporting cast are excellent and the cast keeps the drama taut. When an entire company are all giving great performances, the director is doing a superb job.

Scenic design by Russel Metheny allows for quick changes between the two settings of Simeon Gray's office and a meeting room in the House office building. All of the furnishings as well as the costumes by Mara Blumenfeld are perfectly in the period. Lighting design by Paul Miller and sound design by Matt Parker are effective. As always, Michelle Hart's make-up and hair/wig design are a treasure. This heavily populated production is stage managed by Kelly A Borgia.

Asolo Rep audiences taking a trip back to the 1930s are in for a gripping time.

Asolo Repertory Theater presents Both Your Housesthrough April 12, 2015, at the Mertz Theater in the FSU Center. 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida. Box Office (941) 351-8000. For more information visit www.asolorep.org.

Cast (in order of appearance):
Katie Cunningham*: Marjorie Gray
Gracie Lee Brown: Bus Nillson
Ben Diskant*: Eddie Wister
Douglas Jones*: Solomon Fitzmaurice
Jeffrey Todd Parrott: Mark
David Breitbarth*: Simeon Gray
Steve Hendrickson*: Levering
Michael Frishman: Merton
Matthew R. Olsen: Dell
Brian Owen: Sneden
Carolyn Michel*Miss McMurtry
Mark Konrad: Wingblatt
Don Walker: Peebles
Mat Andersen: Farnum
Tom Coiner*: Alan McClean
Paul Herbig: Ebner
*Denotes Member of Actor's Equity Association

Directed by Frank Galati
Scenic Design by Russell Metheny
Costume Design by Mara Blumenfield
Lighting Design by Paul Miller
Sound Design by Matt Parker
Hair/Wig & Make-Up Design by Michelle Hart
Voice and Dialect Coach: Patricia Delorey
Dramaturg: Lauryn E.Sasso
Production Stage Manager: Kelly A. Borgia*
Stage Manager: Patrick Lanczki*


Photo: Cliff Roles

--William S. Oser



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