The grandmother of all comedies comes to the Studio Theatre

Posted on: October 26, 2016

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Nick has just received a job offer in Seattle that he simply can’t refuse. Trouble is, accepting it means he’ll have to tell his grandparents he’s moving away from New Jersey. And if you’re Italian and Catholic, with grandparents like Nunzio, Emma, Frank and Aida, that’s a big problem.

Premiering Thursday, September 22 at the Studio Theatre it’s Joe DiPietro’s comedy Over The River And Through The Woods, a heartwarming story about family, faith, food, and other things that sound good but sometimes make life more than a little complicated.

In the minds of Nick’s beloved (annoying) Italian grandparents there is nothing more sacred than family. So for years Nick has dutifully attended Sunday dinner in an effort to atone for the sins of his parents who had done the unthinkable and moved to Fort Lauderdale. Over The River And Through The Woods has everything a family comedy requires — big-hearted grandparents adrift in a new world, a thoroughly modern grandson they just don’t understand, and the Grand Canyon of a generation gap that exists between them. When Nunzio and the others try to set Nick up with beautiful young Caitlin to make him stay in the East, the cake is iced with all the ingredients of a comedy that any generation will appreciate.

“This play is both funny and heartwarming,” says director Patricia Parry, a veteran of stage comedy. “It’s about life, love, and learning to let go — a family show even kids will enjoy.”
Another engaging aspect of the show is that it introduces Perth audiences to several performers they may not be familiar with, Smiths Falls actors who are pleased to join the Studio Theatre’s ever-expanding stable of talents. These include Rob Glas, David Wright, Sheila Jasiak, and Jenifer Jasiak, who take the stage with local favourite Norma Cummings, and newcomer Connor Williamson. Parry is thrilled to have so many new faces on her stage.

“It can take time for a cast to grow into their roles,” she says. “But right from the start I knew we had something special. It’s been exciting to watch this cast, and this great show, come together.”

Over The River And Through The Woods will have shows on Sept. 22, 23, 24, 30 and Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. matinees on Sept. 25 and Oct. 2. Tickets are $22 (cash only) at the Book Nook, 60 Gore St. E, and $22 plus convenience fee at Shadowfax, 67 Foster St., (613-267-6817; shadowfax.on.ca) and Tickets Please, in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (485-6434; ticketsplease.ca) both of which accept in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases. Tickets are $24 at the door, and $10 at the door for students with ID. Attend opening night and save $5!

Remember that Season Passes for the Studio Theatre’s 2016/2017 season of outstanding live theatre will be on sale until the end of September at the Studio Theatre box office on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon, and at Shadowfax.

PHOTO: All in the family: (L to R) Connor Williamson (Nick Cristano), Sheila Jasiak (Emma Cristano, Nick’s paternal grandmother), Jennifer Jasiak (Caitlin O’Hara) and Rob Glas (Frank Gianelli, Nick’s maternal grandfather) rehearse a scene from Over The River And Through The Woods, premiering at the Studio Theatre Sept. 22.
Article by Paul Joyce / Photo by Len Modderman