Opening at ACTORS in March is the long awaited “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. This rich, off-beat comedy masterpiece claimed the 2013 Tony Award for best Play. ACTORS has been eager to get this gem on the stage. In a season celebrating comedies, the timing was perfect!
The play introduces Vanya and Sonia, two middle-aged siblings who have lived on the family farm for the past 20 years. Masha, their movie star sister, has returned to attend a costume party thrown by some of her influential friends. She insists that they all dress up as characters from Disney’s Snow White. Adding to the chaos is Spike, Masha’s much younger boyfriend; Nina, an attractive young neighbor and Cassandra, the sooth-sayer cleaning lady.
Loosely based on four of Anton Checkov’s greatest full length plays, we see many familiar characters and themes. Don’t worry: No homework will be assigned. This play easily stands on its own. The goings-on are very funny, if not just a little kooky. After all, how many shows have Snow White, fortune tellers, flying tea cups and voodoo dolls in them?
Experience is the hallmark of the production crew. Greg Leavengood has performed and directed in many shows around central Iowa, including directing “Moon Over Buffalo” for ACTORS. Producers Lynn Lloyd and Judy Brown were eager to assist Greg in this comedy of quirky family relationships.
The cast includes some returning favorites and a couple of new people to ACTORS. Nicholas Root, who most recently played Lawrence in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” is the polite and self-contained Vanya. This part was originally played by David Hyde Pierce. ACTORS veteran Stacy Lempares Brothers is Sonia, his discontented and mournful adopted sister. The glamorous Masha is played by newcomer, Brenda Currier. The Broadway role was premiered by Sigourney Weaver. Wesley Tenor is Spike, the self-absorbed aspiring actor boy toy with a tendency to undress unexpectedly. Wesley made his ACTORS debut as Donkey in “Shrek.”
The cast is completed with Iowa State students. Nina, the lovely and energetic neighbor, is played by Morgan Mulford. Finally, Ali Sandler is playing her first role at ACTORS as Cassandra, the rather weird fortune teller.
Performance dates for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike are March 29, 30, and 31 and April 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. The single matinee performance is Sunday, April 8 at 2 p.m. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided on opening night. Tickets may be purchased online at actorsinc.org. You may also purchase tickets at Ali Cakes in downtown Ames.
This is not a children’s show, despite the fairy tale costumes.
Most performances have sold out this season, so ACTORS encourages you to get your tickets early.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. New York.