BC Productions proudly announces the premiere of Saint Georges Blues, the latest script by local playwright Earl Lewin. This contemporary comedy-drama in two acts will have its premier at Church Hill Theatre on September 29, 2016.
The script is a true tale and tribute to Joe Michini and his wife Marge. In the deliberate, insightful, and sensitive style for which he is known, Lewin invites his audience to join the Machinis on the journey of their wildly successful collaboration with Garry Cogdell and Gene Fontana in bringing Rhythm and Blues to Saint Georges Country Store. The play follows the love story, events, and tragedy that turned a country store into a recognized East Coast music venue and created a nationally-recognized, annual Rhythm and Blues Festival in this Chesapeake and Delaware Canal town.
Performances of Saint Georges Blues will be held at Church Hill Theatre beginning on Thursday, September 29th and running through Sunday, October 9th. Saint George’s Blues will also be performed on Saturday, October 29th at the Smyrna Opera House.
Lewin, a published playwright, having had two one act plays published by Baker’s Plays, brings his extensive experience to directing his own script. Church Hill Theatre has a collaborative history with Lewin having provided a venue for original scripts including two musicals She Stoops to Conquer, The Musical and Celluloid both featuring musical scores by Dick Durham. Celluloid played Off Broadway in 2010. His murder-musical The Burgundy Wine Mob also debuted at CHT to go on to an Off-Off Broadway production in 2012. Lewin’s short script entitled Not Responsible was also featured in the Short Play Lab’s MidTown Festival in New York City in 2013. Most recently, BC Productions collaborated with Church Hill Theatre to present Lewin’s murder mystery, Accidentally Wealthy in 2015 and romantic comedy, Visiting Sam in 2014.
Saint Georges Blues is a contemporary comedy-drama that deals with small town personalities confronted by the “come-heres” who bring change to the small Chesapeake and Delaware Canal town. The protagonist, Marge (portrayed by Peggy Chiras), a longtime resident of Saint Georges wants to own the only business in town, Saint Georges Country Store. It’s up for sale. Divorced with two grown children and an elderly aunt with Alzheimer’s (portrayed by Jane Jewell), Marge can’t afford it. Joe (played by Steve Hazzard), a Delaware River pilot with a taste for good scotch and a knack for Cajun cooking, is in love with Marge. He has the resources, but does Marge have the courage to take a chance on commitment after the collapse of her 20-year marriage and its subsequent rocky divorce? Joe is very persuasive and has big plans. She accepts. Everything is looking great and then fate steps in and takes them, their friends, and the whole town in new directions.
Lewin tells this moving tale populated by real people who spawned real events with a seasoned local cast including Peggy Chiras as Marge. Chiras made her on-stage debut in Lewin’s production of Accidentally Wealthy having served as assistant to the director in CHT’s production of Good People and having participated in the dramatic reading of Love, Loss & What I Wore. Steve Hazzard portrays Joe, Marge’s new suitor. Hazzard first appeared at CHT in How the Other Half Loves and in the 2015 production of Accidentally Wealthy. He has acted in many roles in Michigan theater productions and emceed community events at Michigan’s Tecumseh Civic Theatre.
Portraying Marge’s charming, if demented, aunt is Jane Jewell who is well-known to Eastern Shore audiences through her performances with CHT, the Prince Theatre, and most recently as a very convincing witch in Shore Shakespeare’s 2016 summer production of Macbeth. The Country Store staff grows when Jen comes to town looking for a waitressing gig. Jenise “Jen” Guthrie is played by Michelle Christopher who was last seen on stage in the CHT production of Oklahoma! Portraying Jen’s father-in-law and Marge and Joe’s burgeoning business partner Garry Cogdell is Chris Rogers. Eastern Shore audiences are also well-acquainted with Rogers and his diverse talents. Co-founder of Shore Shakespeare Company, he was last seen in Macbeth, but has also appeared in many of Lewin’s productions including Accidentally Wealthy, Visiting Sam, and the Burgundy Wine Mob. Joe’s friend with the true business acumen and connections is Gene, played by John Haas. Haas is a theatre veteran with an impressive history of strong performances with BC Productions, CHT, Peake Players, and the Prince Theatre.
Rounding out the cast are Marge’s eccentric neighbors. Howard Mesick portrays Marvin, the local curmudgeon. Coming off of a remarkable run as McMurphy in CHT fall 2016 production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Mesick has appeared in a wide array of roles with CHT, the Prince Theatre, and Shore Shakespeare Company, and has written several short plays presented at the Garfield’s Short Attention Span Theatre and Revolutionary Theatre. Juanita Wieczoreck portrays local busybody Molly. Also no stranger to local audiences, Wieczoreck has portrayed an impressive and moving array of characters in CHT, Prince Theatre, and Shore Shakespeare Company productions. Tom Dorman plays a patron of the Saint Georges Country Store. Dorman is also a stalwart Eastern Shore actor with his most recent credit a convincing portrayal of one of the inmates in CHT’s production of Cuckoo’s Nest.
Assisting Lewin with the production is an equally experienced and accomplished crew: Jan Eliasson (Stage Manager); Brian Draper (Set Decoration); Lewin (Set Construction); Doug Kaufmann (Lighting and Sound Design/Operation); Barbi Bedell (Costumes); and William Hazzard (Technical Assistant).
Please join Marge and Joe and the eclectic crew who assemble at Saint George’s Country Store for gumbo, pumpkin pie, the Blues, and camaraderie. Saint Georges Blues will be performed September 29th through October 9th, 2016 at 8 pm Thursdays thru Saturdays, a special 2 pm matinee will be performed on Saturday, October 1st, followed by the 8 pm evening performance. A matinee will be performed at 2 pm on Sunday October 9th. All tickets are $15 (cash or check only) and may be picked up prior to performance at the box office. Reservations are suggested. Call Church Hill Theatre at 410.556.6003.
Saint George’s Blues will also be performed on Saturday, October 29th at 7:30 pm at the Smyrna Opera House. Please call 302.653.4236 for reservations.