‘Jake’s Women’ opens at Church Hill Theatre
CHURCH HILL — Church Hill Theatre is delighted to open its 2017 season with the play “Jake’s Women” by Neil Simon.
The CHT production of “Jake’s Women” will run from Jan. 20 through Feb. 5, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
CHT is offering special two for the price of one tickets on opening night, Friday, Jan. 20, for those who reserve by phone, and discounted rates for groups of 10 or more. Call the box office at 410-556-6003 or visit the website www.churchhilltheatre.org for details and reser vations.
Simon has been writing play for more than fifty years. Director Shelagh Grasso thinks Jake’s Women, written after the breakup of Simon’s third marriage, offers a “peek into the mind of Neil Simon.”
Whether or not it is truly autobiographical, Jake’s Women is a classic Simon comedy, combining hilarious moments and vivid characters with real insight about modern people and their problems. Alan Alda earned a Tony nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake in the original Broadway production.
Jake, a writer with both mental health and relationship issues, is trying to save his marriage. In the course of the play, he consults with both the audience and “ghost” women from his past, including his mother, a much-loved deceased wife and his daughter.
When real and imaginary women collide, even Jake’s psychiatrist is confused. In typical Simon fashion, viewers are treated to a highly satisfactory, if not quite expected, conclusion.
Jake is played by Greg Minahan, an experienced Broadway performer making his Church Hill Theatre debut. Minahan most recently played Macbeth for the Shore Shakespeare Company.
Christine Kinlock plays Maggie, Jake’s current and very estranged wife. She studied theater at Wellesley College and is familiar to CHT audiences through plays ranging from “Rabbit Hole” to “Noises Off.”
Debra Ebersole plays Karen, Jake’s sister. Another CHT regular, Ebersole last appeared as Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Jake’s daughter, Molly, is played by two actors: Riley Sutherland as a 12-year-old and Nina Sharp as a young adult. Sutherland has acted in CHT’s summer youth performances since 2011; Sharp is CHT’s executive manager.
Jane Copple takes the role of Edith, Jake’s frustrated psychiatrist. Copple is also a CHT veteran, with numerous credits in both musicals and dramas.
Kendall Davis, a recent Washington College graduate makes her CHT debut as Julie, Jake’s wife who died too young.
Jake’s current love interest, Sheila, is played by Becca Van Aken, another actor with extensive CHT credits in both dramas and musicals.
Shelagh Grasso, the director, was a long-time head of the drama program at Queen Anne’s County High School, and developed its substantial theatre program. A board member of CHT, she has directed both musicals and dramas including CHT’s hit production of “Noises Off!” and Shore Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
Sally Borghardt is the producer and Michelle Christopher is the stage manager. Both have worked with Grasso on other productions, including “Blood Brothers” and “Noises Off!”
Carmen Grasso is responsible for the set design and construction, Barbi Bedell designed the costumes, Patrick Fee is the sound designer and Doug Kaufmann is the light designer. Matt Folker and “Little” Speedy Christopher assist back stage and both Jim Johnson and Tom Rhodes helped build the set.
For more information, visit churchhilltheatre.org.
Jake (Greg Minahan, center) takes comfort in imagining his daughter Molly at age 11 (left, Riley Sutherland) and age 21 (right, Nina Sharp) to help him get through a bumpy patch.