2003-01-25 / Community

RP Playhouse Sets New Productions

RP Playhouse Sets New Productions

The Rockaway Park Playhouse’s family theatre series continues with February’s installment, A. Better U. This hour-long comedy of errors presents a self-help seminar gone awry when sleep-deprived, self-help guru Albee Better inadvertently allows two carpenters to run his seminar into the ground. Written by Della Doherty and directed by Liz Lord, this original comedy is suitable for children of all ages and even has three original songs thrown into the mix. Director Liz Lord, whose previous directing credits include Noel Coward’s Private Lives, and a couple of Neil Simon comedies, considers this project her "silliest most fun ever!" Performers in this production include Jenni Peterson and Deirdre Verdolino from New Jersey, Christopher Renna from Brooklyn, Jimmy Neas and Jeannie O'Leary, both high school students from Rockaway, and Edwin Hauge and theatre owner John Baxter, who both live in Rockaway Park.

A. Better U. marks the fourth play in the ambitious series presenting a new original production every month. Producer and theatre owner John Baxter opens the ground floor of his landmark 1837 building to the players and airs each of their productions on his weekly public access television programs in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. "We do this to give the actors a chance to get some experience and to put something original on television. These people have so much talent, it would be a crime for them not to be seen," Baxter said.

Casting has already begun for the March play, The Hag’s Bag, which is an adaptation of an ancient fairy tale from County Donegal, Ireland, the place from which playwright Doherty’s parents emigrated during the 1950s. "It’s a classic tale, championing the hospitality and generosity of spirit for which the Irish are famous," Doherty notes, "but I’ve given it a modern edge and squeezed in a few of the corny songs which make our plays unique." The March production begins Saturday, March 1.

Performances of A. Better U. are Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m., from February 1 through February 23, at the theatre located at 160 Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, Queens. At $5 per person, tickets are an affordable alternative to the movies. Take the whole family for an afternoon of wholesome fun.

Pictured in the cast photo, from left to right,  Jenni Peterson, Christopher Renna, John Baxter, Edwin Hauge, Jimmy Neas, Deirdre Verdolino, and Jeannie O’Leary.

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