“Our Town,” Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama from 1938, is now on stage at the Bellevue Little Theatre for two more weekends. Director Marya Lucca-Thyberg and assistant director Steve Thyberg have a cast of 21 talented actors.
The key to this show is the character of the Stage Manager, who is played extremely well by Stuart Stenger. He is so good as he explains to his audience — in a perfect New England accent — the events that are taking place in the town of Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire. He even explains how long the intermissions are going to last and he introduces us to the characters who live in the small town.
The play is three-acts and has short, 10-minute intermissions. The first act is titled “Daily Life.” The second act is “Love and Marriage.” The third act is called “Death and Eternity.”
“Our Town” is presented on stage with minimal scenery. The actors don’t use props — they pantomime cooking and other activities on stage. There are a couple tables and chairs on stage. This is actually more scenery than I have seen in previous productions over the years.
The Stage Manager tells the audience about two families in 1901. They eat breakfast together and have normal problems. One family is Frank Gibbs’ family. He is the local doctor and his wife is Julia. Frank is played by Mike Palmreuter and Julia by Sara Mattix. They have great chemistry together.
Charles Webb, played by Thomas Gunning, is the editor of the local paper, which is called “Grover’s Corner Sentinel.” He is married to Myrtle Webb, played by Phyllis Cremonini. Their kids are Emily, played by Danielle Luby, and Wally, played by Andrew Hedin.
George loves to play baseball and he and Emily become girlfriend and boyfriend. There are many interesting characters in the show. Ms. Niven is played by Julie Livingston; Simon Stimson is played by Jon Roberson; Howie Newsome is played by Mike Pilmaier; Irma Stein is played by Jaeden Starling and many more talented actors.
In act 2, George and Emily fall in love and plan to get married. The ceremony is charming with the whole cast on stage.
In act 3, Emily dies at an early age. George is heartbroken. The scene is now at the local cemetery. The chairs are lined up on stage right. The people sitting on those chairs have passed away from various ways. The lights on the scrim have been used very artistically in all the scenes in the show.
Lights were designed by Taelori Sterns; costumes by Nancy Buennemeyer; and sound design by Josh Christie. Those jobs make a huge difference in the play and were all done very well.
The show runs two hours and 12 minutes. If you have never seen this classic, you shouldn’t miss it at the Bellevue Little Theatre. It is a very good production.
“Our Town” runs two more weekends at the Bellevue Little Theatre, 203 W. Mission Ave., Bellevue, Nebraska. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays; and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket prices are $20 for adults; $18 for seniors; and $10 for students with ID. To make reservations, call 402-291-1554.