Thursday, September 30, 2010

THE: GSQ stages Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

GSQ stages the classic “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with dynamite cast

The Guadalupe Stage Quartet is back to grace Kerr County theatre fans with an all-time classic – Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on Hot Tin Roof”. Onstage at Warrior Theatre in Ingram, the play will stage eight shows from October 15th to the 30th, including a Sunday matinee.

Big Daddy Pollitt is dying. He just doesn’t know it yet. The plantation is on fire though with bickering and backstabbing in preparation for letting him know.

One son, Gooper, is an established attorney with a nose for the family money – $10 million and 28,000 acres of prime farmland. His wife, Mae, though is the manipulative one in that family, at least when she’s not herding her brood of five about the house interrupting every serious moment.

The other son, Brick, is Big Daddy’s favorite son, but wants nothing to do with much of anything except visits to the liquor cart. His wife, Maggie, the ‘Cat’ of the title, wants something more from life than the empty bed she has been left with.

A cat caught on a hot tin roof can elicit several emotions: compassion for the poor thing dancing around trying to keep from getting burned; the chagrin you feel because there’s guilt in laughing at the crazy dance; and admiration for the determination it takes to get to where it’s going.

And such are the complexities of this masterpeice of American literature. The dances necessary to protect everyone’s self-interests and secrets are fascinating to watch as each encounter unfolds. The machinations never stop, the shallowness of love never fails to surprise.

The area’s finest actors were tapped for this production, directed by the venerable actor/director Andy Ritch, assisted by ITM theatre teacher and producer Holly Riedel. Both have directed shows at the Point Theatre, and are frequent lead actors with Ritch known for his dynamic performances in “A Christmas Carol” and “Harvey” among many others, and Riedel for her blistering portrayal of Martha in Jeff Scott’s production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”

Reprising his acclaimed “Cat” role as Big Daddy is veteran actor and playwright John Ruth, while Big Mama is played by ITM theatre teacher Marie Cearley. The two have worked together previously in Ruth’s “Circling the Drain” at the Point Theatre, and in GSQ’s “Lend Me a Tenor”. Ruth is also known to GSQ audiences for his star turn in “The Drawer Boy”, while Marie brought everyone to tears in “Death of a Salesman.”

Taking the central roles of Brick and Maggie are the suave Philip Huddleston, and the charming Lillian Beaudoin. Philip is a graduate of Tivy High School and Schreiner University, and has appeared in Schreiner, Cailloux and Point productions including his hilarious turn in “Almost, Maine”. Beaudoin is an ITM graduate and star of the Point’s “Cinderella”, “Steel Magnolias” and “Beauty and the Beast”. She recently finished up at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is pausing here for this production on her way to a Los Angeles career.

Mae is being handled by the wonderfully gifted Sarah Tacey, best known for her direction of “Cabaret” and a series of Valentine’s shows at the Point, and brilliant turns in GSQ’s “Lend Me a Tenor” and “The Octette Bridge Club”. Gooper is the province of a GSQ newcomer, Aaron James, who has graced the Cailloux Stage with a series of performances, most recently “Bye Bye Birdie”. He is currently in school at Schreiner University preparing for medical school.

In the supporting roles are a number of other local actors including students Aoife Scott and Caleb Hall making their debuts as Trixie and Buster, and writer/filmmaker Tony Gallucci as Dr. Baugh. Technical staff includes Eowyn Scott as stage manager, and professional scenic designer Jim Weisman as lighting designer.

Riedel is the producer of the show along with the Guadalupe Stage Quartet. GSQ is a production company dedicated to bringing serious dramatic theatre and intellectual productions to the Hill Country theatre community. It was founded in 2006 by Riedel, Cearley, Gallucci and the late Roy Burney, to whom all their productions are dedicated. In keeping with Burney’s love of theatre and his students at Ingram Tom Moore High School, 100% of the proceeds from all GSQ shows are dedicated to a scholarship fund in his name and to educational opportunities for the ITM Thespians. The scholarship has now been presented to five ITM theatre students.

The show runs October 15, 16, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30, 2010 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Ingram’s Warrior Theatre. The theatre is located at 510 College Street in Ingram next to the Ingram ISD Administration Building. From the light at the ‘Y’ in Ingram turn right on Texas 27 towards Mountain Home. At the next, blinking, light, turn left onto College Street, go two blocks and you’ll see the theatre up the slope to the right. Plenty of parking is available. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for students. Group rates are available by calling Riedel at 377-8957.

The cast of the Guadalupe Stage Quartet’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, appearing at Warrior Theatre, October 15-30: (back row, l-r) Philip Huddleston as Brick, Lillian Beaudoin as Maggie, Sarah Tacey as Maggie, Aaron James as Gooper; (front, l-r) Marie Cearley as Big Mama, and John Ruth as Big Daddy.

Maggie (Lillian Beaudoin) pleads with Brick (Philip Huddleston) in the Guadalupe Stage Quartet’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, appearing at Warrior Theatre, October 15-30.

Big Mama (Marie Cearley) frets, while Gooper (Aaron James) and Mae (Sarah Tacey) ponder telling Big Daddy his diagnosis in the Guadalupe Stage Quartet’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, appearing at Warrior Theatre, October 15-30.

Brick (l, Philip Huddleston) and Big Daddy (r, John Ruth) go over the finer points of a life well lived in the Guadalupe Stage Quartet’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, appearing at Warrior Theatre, October 15-30.

The wealth of emotion on display in the Guadalupe Stage Quartet’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is apparent in this scene with (l-r) Maggie (Lillian Beaudoin), Big Daddy (John Ruth), Mae (Sarah Tacey) and Gooper (Aaron James). The show runs October 15-30 at Warrior Theatre in Ingram.

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