Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Heir Pressure
Dover Players
Review by Mark Horning

Also see Mark's reviews of In the Blood, The Panther Dancer, and Passing Strange

Scott MacLean, Keith Behrendt and Holly Prather
Photo by Irene Hatziantoniou
For thirty-five years the Dover Players have been utilizing local playwrights and actors to provide homegrown theater to the immediate North Olmsted community at a minimal cost. The company has staged their works in a variety of settings that included the North Olmsted Middle School stage, an army tent, the Old Town Hall, and their current home at the North Olmsted United Methodist Church at 4600 Dover Center Road.

The repertory has included everything from Shakespeare, mysteries, musicals, comedies, and Sherlock Holmes adaptations to a variety of children-friendly short plays. Dover recently presented the musical-comedy Heir Pressure, written by local Troop 664 Scoutmaster Jeff Campbell who has teamed up with co-writers Keith Behrendt and Bill Royse. The production is also directed by Jeff Campbell.

Lana Smothers-Longworth (Holly Prather) and Lance Longworth (Scott MacLean) are two privileged (spoiled) youngsters who have just gotten married. Life for them could not be any better. After a month of honeymooning in Hawaii, courtesy of Lana's wealthy widowed mother Nancy Smothers (Lynn Galicki), who also sprung for matching Mustangs, they have moved into their new four-bedroom home given to them by widower and spice tycoon Yancy Longworth (Keith Behrendt), who is Lance's father.

Lana soon finds that she may have to be more ambitious with her cooking than opening a can or calling for delivery. Lance is called on the carpet for missing the wastebasket on a continuous basis and his lack of excitement about taking over the family business. Through it all, their parents try to outdo each other with more and more elaborate gifts. Out of desperation they go to a psychologist/plumber/pizza delivery person/detective (Michael Attali) who charges $29.50 an hour (that includes a free car wash). His advice: give the parents the boot for thirty days so they can get to know each other better.

The plan not only works, it works too well as Lance is faced with becoming the owner of the spice empire, Lana is being groomed to be a baby machine (in order to fill the waiting bedrooms), and their housekeeper Carlotta (Mary Manos Mitchem) knows more about them than they do. The current president of the spice company, Leslie Turnauer (Jackie Kelly), has increased sales in just six months using dubious means with the help of the foreman Harry Bleuprince (Bill Graham). The two newlyweds decide to split for the time being, leaving notes for each other that Carlotta finds, and she decides to move into the mansion in their absence while inviting some of her friends, including Harry and his friend Mary Hickey (Lisa O'Halloran), for a party.

There is the presence of a guitar playing Strolling Minstrel (Jacob Phelps) who gets a little behind-the-scenes help from time to time. Special mention must be made of Holly Prather, who did a remarkable job with her singing of five of the twelve songs and assorted reprises. Her voice has a pleasant quality to it. Michael Attali as Dr. Julius Pipper brought a bit of maniacal whimsy to the mix. The ensemble performed equally well in their singing parts. As for the acting, one must remember that this is community theater and not Playhouse Square. There were some problems with a few lines, but overall it was a good representation of the script.

Heir Pressure carries a nice message and has some zingers to keep the audience interested, plus some fine original songs and music.

The Dover Players' Heir Pressure ran through Sunday, May 27, 2018. For more information on the company, visit

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