by Nicky Silver
April 19-May 19
Directed by Nathan Motta
Rita Lyons is the indomitable matriarch of a dysfunctional family at a major crossroads. Her husband is dying, her son is in a dubious relationship, her daughter is barely holding it together. And worst of all, Rita can’t figure out how to redesign her living room!
“The Lyons” is hilarious. Think “Seinfeld” with everyone a Costanza. Director Nathan Motta’s genius is most evident in his casting choices (and in the lively pace of this production), for he has found performers capable of delivering all this dark, corrosive comedy without flinching at the toxic fumes. As Ben, Dudley Swetland’s veteran physicality and comic timing are put to grand use. Jeanne Task is wonderful as Rita. Anjanette Hall is a pleasure to watch all the time, but particularly when Lisa’s façade fades under attack and she regresses to the vulnerable little girl her parents and brother still see her as being. Christopher M. Bohan’s Curtis is so thoroughly uncomfortable in his own skin that he seems to be channeling the young George McFly from the film “Back to the Future” all flailing limbs, awkward imbalance, and stammering speech when on the defensive. It works beautifully. …disappointing is the fact that “The Lyons” ends at all.”
-Bob Abelman, NEWS-HERALD, CHAGRIN VALLEY TIMES,
SOLON TIMES, GEAUGA TIMES COURIER
“The first act smashes all four of these flawed, neurotic people together into a small hospital room and the comedy sparks fly in all directions. …if you like to wallow in another family’s comical turmoil, and who doesn’t, The Lyons is your hilarious cup of acidic tea.”
-Christine Howey, CLEVELAND SCENE, RAVE & PAN.
“If you are a fan of dark comedy, then this is the play you have been waiting for all season. The dialog is exceptionally well written. It is sharp, fresh and right on the mark. The actors are perfectly suited and comfortable in their parts and the comedic timing is perfect. The only negative I could find in the entire evening was that at times the laughter was so loud and long that the next few words of their lines were lost in the noise… The premiere was sold out and I expect that by word of mouth, the rest of the run will be also. I would suggest getting your tickets early to avoid missing out… Well worth the price of the ticket. I suggest that everyone should get a chance to hear “The Lyons” roar!”
-Mark Horning, EXAMINER.COM
“Hilariously frank, clear-sighted, compassionate and forgiving.” – The New York Times
“Silver’s in top form — a funny, furious tale with honesty, savagery, humanity and wit.”- New York Magazine
“IT’S COMEDY NIRVANA” -New York Post
“TRULY ENJOYABLE! A TERRIFIC EVENING!”-Newsday
“YOU CAN’T STOP LAUGHING!” -Associated Press
“A SHARP-TONGUED PLAY WITH SNAPPY DIALOGUE, CURVY PLOT TWISTS.” -NY Daily News
“HAS AUDIENCES HOWLING!” – TheaterMania
“THE LYONS IS SMART AND FUNNY AND MOVING! -The Observer
Dudley Swetland* (BEN LYONS) is excited to be returning to Dobama where he last appeared in THE CRIPPLE OF INNISHMAN. For the past sixteen seasons, he has been part of the Great Lakes Theatre Company. Previous to that he was a member of the Cleveland Play House artistic staff where he acted in or directed over 45 productions during his nine year tenure . During that same period he traveled extensively, working in Vermont (Champlain Shakespeare Festival), Columbus, OH (The Contemporary American Theatre Company), Boise, ID (Idaho Shakespeare Festival) and throughout the greater Cleveland area. He has appeared in film (The Miracle Dog with Josh Hutcherson and Rhu McClanahan and Leap of Faith with Charles Durning , Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Mia Sara). Dudley is married to Sharon Bicknell (the Ohio Lottery’s CASH EXPLOSION co-host for over 20 years). They have a daughter, Mackenzie, a Freshman in high school and accomplished equestrian. They also have two dogs, a fish and a horse who do NOT attend any theatrical productions!
Jeanne Task (RITA LYONS) is very excited to be back on the Dobama stage where she had been a member of the company for many years. She was last seen in VARICOSE VANITIES there, which was presented as part of the benefit for the naming of the The Donald A. Bianchi Theater. You may also remember her from other Dobama productions such as: ANGELS IN AMERICA (Hannah, etc.), THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE (Marjorie) and THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Anne Murray, etc.) among others. She has been very active in the Cleveland theater scene for many years and has appeared at CPT, Ensemble Theater, Cain Park, TrueNorth, The Bang and the Clatter Theatre and Willoughby Fine Arts. Some other credits include: STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Ouiser), PIPPIN (Berthe), OLIVER (Mrs. Sowerberry, Old Sally) and BETTY’S SUMMER VACATION (Mrs. Seizmagraff). Jeanne is thrilled to be playing Rita in Dobama’s upcoming production of THE LYONS.
Anjanette Hall* (LISA) is thrilled to be returning to Dobama. Theatrical credits include: Dobama; The Motherfucker with the Hat. Cleveland Playhouse; A Carol for Cleveland. Baltimore Centerstage; Snow Falling on Cedars. Two River Theatre Company; Opus, Rutgers Theatre Company; Big Love, Oleanna, Betrayal, The Triumph of Love. Redstage Theatre Company; J.B. , Spring’s Awakening. Cardinal Stage Company; Our Town, A Year with Frog and Toad. BrownCounty Playhouse; The Importance of Being Earnest. Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater; Grease, Into the Woods,Hello Dolly. The Barn Theater; The Rocky Horror Show. Film/T.V. credits: How to Make a Baby, Be Still, Ed (NBC),With a Friend Like Carl. Anjanette holds a M.F.A in acting from Rutgers University, and a B.F.A. in musical theatre performance from Western Michigan University. Anjanette’s favorite role to date is wife to Krys, and mother to Jack!
Christopher M. Bohan* (CURTIS) is returning to the Cleveland area after an eight-year absence. Christopher left Cleveland in August of 2004 to pursue his MFA at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. After receiving his MFA, he moved to Philadelphia, PA where he worked as an actor, director, teacher, producer and playwright. In Philadelphia, Chris founded Red Square Theatre (RST closed when Chris moved to Cleveland) which produced works using techniques Chris learned while studying at the Moscow Art Theatre during graduate school. Chris is a professor of acting, voice and movement at CWRU and performs locally. Before Chris left Cleveland, he performed with many local theaters and was an actor/teacher for Great Lakes Theater Festival. Chris is a founding member of Something Dada Improvisational Comedy Company. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity and SAG/AFTRA. Chris lives in University Heights with his wife, Kristie, and daughter, Frances.
Joyce Meadows (NURSE) As well as being a familiar face to Northeast Ohio theatergoers, she has performed on stages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, and at the National Black Theater Festival in Winston Salem, N.C. Joyce has appeared in: Bourbon at the Border, From Breast Cancer to Broadway, King Hedley II, Proposals, Underground Griots, Black Nativity, Having Our Say, Jelly’s Last Jam, Flyin’ West, Unthinkable and When We Were Colored Girl. She has toured in productions of Young, Gifted and Black, Conversations with the Delany Sisters, and Sweet Flypaper: A Langston Hughes Scrapbook, just to name a few. Ms. M has also appeared in several movies and commercials. Joyce is a poet, playwright, director and singer. She is also the writer and narrator for the L.O.V.E. Ensemble Concert Choir. Her motto: “Life is good; taste and see.”
Sean Grandillo (BRIAN) is thrilled to join this production team to work on this great piece. Most recently, Sean played the title role in a national tour of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” that brought musical theater to cities large and small in the southern United States. Sean trained as a Musical Theatre major at Ithaca College last year and was lucky enough to be a part of an original play called “The Dirty War Project” at Ithaca. Sean also played Roger Davis in “RENT” at Cornell University. Favorite past roles include Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables”, Macduff in “Macbeth”, Chip Tolentino in “The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee”, and Cain/Japheth in “Children of Eden”. Sean wants to thank Nathan for the opportunity, and the rest of the cast and crew; and also his wonderful teachers: Fred Sternfeld, Dr. Norm Johnson, Tom Fulton, Mitchell Fields, and Joan Ellison. Love to his mother, father, and brother, and to Caroline, always.
Nathan Motta (DIRECTOR) is the 5th Artistic Director at Dobama Theatre. A professional director, conductor, and composer/lyricist, Mr. Motta has worked with Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Opera Cleveland, Ohio Light Opera, Cain Park, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Mercury Opera Rochester, and Civic Light Opera (Pittsburgh). Nathan is the Founding Artistic Director of the Dobama Emerging Actors Program, an auditioned summer acting program where he’s directed productions of ANTIGONE, BLOOD WEDDING, and THE TEMPEST. Nathan has written two original musicals, LITTLE WHITE GLOVES (an adaptation of the movie All I Wanna Do which premiered in February 2010) and MIDSUMMER (based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which premiered in October 2012). His recording of the operetta DER VOLGELHANDLER with the Ohio Light Opera was released on the Albany Records label. He acted as Assistant Director on Cleveland Play House’s productions of Brecht’s GALILEO and Tom Stoppard’s EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOR, a collaborative production with the Cleveland Orchestra. He also served as music director and consultant for CPH productions of A CAROL FOR CLEVELAND and BELL, BOOK, and CANDLE. Other directing credits include OUR TOWN; ALMOST, MAINE; PIPPIN, INTO THE WOODS; A FUNNY THING…FORUM; CHICAGO and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. He holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.M. from the Eastman School of Music.
*members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States appearing under a special appearance contract