2003-03-01 / Community

‘The Hag’s Bag’ Opens In Rockaway


The cast, clockwise from left: Christopher Renna, Sara Price, Ronnie Belpanno, Deirdre Verdolino, Eileen Nichols, John Baxter, Jimmy Neas, Sheera Gefen, and Jeannie O’Leary.The cast, clockwise from left: Christopher Renna, Sara Price, Ronnie Belpanno, Deirdre Verdolino, Eileen Nichols, John Baxter, Jimmy Neas, Sheera Gefen, and Jeannie O’Leary.

March is the perfect month to catch the latest installment of the Rockaway Park Playhouse’s series of original plays for family audiences. The Hag’s Bag, which opens March 1st, and runs every Saturday and Sunday during the month of March, presents a modern day fairy tale combining a unique blend of ingredients guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s hunger for entertainment. Written and directed by Della Doherty, and based loosely on the Donegal fairy story called "The Old Hag’s Long Leather Bag," this play tells the story of an old Hag’s attempt to destroy the happiness of the Boyle family. Performances of this hour-length musical begin at 3:00pm at the quaint theatre located at 160 Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, Queens.

The Hag’s Bag is the fifth consecutive play in the ambitious family theatre series begun at the Playhouse in October 2002. This production showcases the talents of the creative team particularly well. Five original songs, including a few written to the lively rhythms of traditional Irish tunes, help to tell continually moving and ultimately up-lifting tale.

Theatre owner and musician, John Baxter, plays the role of the Boyle family’s memory-challenged patriarch; and Eileen Nichols, who starred as Holiday Spirit in the Playhouse’s murder mystery Who Killed Holiday Spirit? returns as loving matriarch, Maureen Boyle. The Hag, deftly played by comedian and attorney Sheera Gefen, manages to steal the life savings of the Boyle clan, not once, but three times. When punk-rocker daughter Doreen, played by comedian and pianist Deirdre Verdolino, attempts to recovery the cash, Doreen’s graft almost rivals that of the Hag. Teenagers Jimmy Neas and Jeannie O’Leary, who both performed in Feb-ruary’s A. Better U., play star-struck twins Kevin and Colleen Boyle; and Christopher Renna of Brooklyn, another returning member of last month’s cast, plays the "dweeby" but gallant would-be hero Brian McGinn. Only the efforts of ever-earnest daughter Noreen, played by Canadian born Sara Price, are successful in out-witting the Hag and bringing her to justice. Narrated by the smooth baritone voice of Ronnie Belpanno, the shenanigans offer a veritable Irish stew of family values, lively music, and hearty laughs. Tickets are only $5 per person.


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