WELLSBURG - Brooke Hills Playhouse has announced the cast for its production of John Patrick's comedy, "A Bad Year for Tomatoes," to be presented at 8 p.m. July 15-18 and 22-24 and at 2 p.m. July 25.
"A Bad Year for Tomatoes" follows the adventures of television actress Myra Marlowe as she attempts to retire to a small town in Vermont to write her memoirs. In addition to the usual bouts with writer's block, Myra also has to contend with constant interruptions by her well-meaning but nosy and eccentric neighbors.
Director Charles Calabrese said he's pleased to be working with an experienced cast of character actors on this production.
"This is a play written for mature actors at the full height of their powers of comic timing and vivid characterizations, and I have a cast that fills that bill perfectly," he said.
Amy Novak of Wheeling is cast as Myra.
"Every time I've worked with Amy, she's played a unique and distinct part, ranging from an ingenue to a mother with grown children to a housekeeper with a drinking problem, so it's no surprise that she would fit perfectly into the role of a glamorous Hollywood actress," Calabrese said.
Nancy Longo of Toronto will portray Cora Gump, one of Myra's eccentric neighbors, who has a taste for good Scotch.
"Nancy has graced the stage of every community theatre in the Ohio Valley, including Brooke Hills and its Cloak and Dagger Mystery Company, and I couldn't ask for a more versatile actress with a better command of her craft," Calabrese observed.
Michelle Turner of Wintersville will portray another neighbor, Reba Harper. "Whether she's working from a full script in a conventional play or improvising as part of the Cloak and Dagger Mystery Company, you would be hard-pressed to find a quicker wit or a more inventive comic mind than Michelle's," Calabrese noted.
Roger Van Horn of Weirton will play woodchopping and manure entrepreneur George Washington Piney, as well as consulting on physical comedy "bits."
Calabrese said, "Roger is a wonderfully warped, creative mind from local community theaters, including Brooke Hills, as well as our mystery company, and he never ceases to amaze me with his comic inventiveness."
"Every year, we attempt to bring new people into our extended playhouse family, and this year is no exception," Calabrese observed.
This year's new recruits are Regina and Joseph Pino of Steubenville, who will play local witch Willa Mae Wilcox, and Myra's agent and sometime suitor, Tom Lamont, respectively.
"Regina and I were drama majors together at what was then the College of Steubenville, and I've been trying to get her back on stage ever since," Calabrese said. "This year, I finally succeeded, and got her husband, Joseph, as a bonus," he added.
Pete Fernbaugh of Avella completes the cast as the local sheriff. "Pete is one of those versatile actors who can play virtually any age or type, while coming up with a unique spin on the character and making it all seem effortless," Calabrese said.
The playhouse's production of the musical comedy "Little Shop of Horrors" continues at 8 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets for both shows are $9 for adults, $7 for students and $5 for children 12 years of age and under. Reservations can be made by calling the Playhouse box office at (304) 737-3344.
Groups of 20 or more can obtain a $1 discount off admission to any performance. Call the box office for details.
The Brooke Hills Playhouse is in Brooke Hills Park off state Route 27. For information, visit www.brookehillsplayhouse.com.