05 Oct Double Feature 5 Bucks
Join the Western Reserve Playhouse (WRP) in heralding the festive season with a two-night theatrical extravaganza on November 17 & 18, 2023, at 8pm. Reviving our acclaimed $5.00 Bucks professional stage reading series, WRP offers audiences two distinct staged readings for the unbeatable price of just $5.00. Experience the magic of Thorton Wilder’s “The Long Christmas Dinner,” followed by the contemporary humor of Larissa FastHorse’s “The Thanksgiving Play,” ensuring a delightful blend of classic and modern theatrical comedy.
Type: $5 Bucks Series
The evening commences with Thorton Wilder’s timeless comedy, “The Long Christmas Dinner.” This play artfully unravels the intricate tapestry of several generations of the Bayard family, inviting the audience to witness their myriad Christmas dinners. Wilder masterfully transcends the confines of time, allowing spectators to indulge in a continuous, joyous Christmas feast that spans the past, present, and future. Under the adept direction of Neil Thackaberry, the performance boasts a stellar cast including Tricia Bestic, MaryJo Alexander, Bob Keefe, Sam Daniel Telford, Peter Voinovich, Mary Mahoney, and Olivia Queen.
Following a brief intermission, the stage is set for Larissa FastHorse’s contemporary comedy, “The Thanksgiving Play.” Fresh from its Broadway debut, this wickedly humorous satire delves into the chaotic world of a group of overly “woke” teaching artists. As they grapple with the challenge of crafting a pageant that honors both Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month, hilarity ensues. Directed by Jim Fippin, a piece originally slated for our 2020 Canceled Covid $5 Bucks Series, the play features the talents of Hannah Storch, August James Scarpelli, Zach Manthey, and Adrienne Jones. Prepare for a night filled with laughter and festive spirit, only at WRP!
MaryJo Alexander (Mother Bayard, Ermengarde) Actor, costume designer, makeup artist. Co-
artistic Director of Actor’s Summit Theater for 17 seasons. MA from University of New Orleans
&amp; member of resident acting company. Performed with Actor’s Summit, Ensemble
Theatre, Shakespeare at Stan Hywet; Porthouse Theatre: Starlight Theatre, Rock Valley College,
Rockford University and Weathervane Playhouse. Guest artist at University of Mount Union;
Shakespeare at the Castle, Kent State University theatre. Favorite roles: Wife, Mom,
Professional Grandmother; costume, fashion design and quilting artist. French bread baker;
queen of home canning. And makeup artist for NFL, TNT, ESPN, MLB.
Tricia Bestic (Lucia I & II) a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and Sag-
Aftra Unions, holds a BA (Communications and Political Science) and a Post
Baccalaureate degree (Education) from John Carroll University; MFA in Acting, Kent State
University, and is a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov acting technique. Theatre credits
include: Steel Magnolias, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Trying, Respect…A Musical
Journey, and Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit at Playhouse Square. She has been on
stage at The Cleveland Playhouse, Porthouse Theatre, Cesear’s Forum, The Beck
Center, Dobama, the former Actor’s Summit and Blank Canvas (Sally Bowles, Cabaret).
Commercial/Film work includes: the PBS mini-series The War That Made America, Tammy
the Tum’s waitress, Foot Locker, and national voiceovers for
Kleenex, Walmart, Dannon, Huggies, Nestle, and McDonald’s. She has taught Theatre and
Acting at Kent State University since 2009, as well as offering private coaching.
Shani Ferry (Leonora) is a Northeast Ohio-based actor. She has appeared in numerous
productions at local theaters, including the Player's Guild, Seat of the Pants, Western Reserve
Playhouse, Shakespeare at the Castle, and Actors' Summit. Some of her favorite roles include
Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man, Vivian Bearing in Wit, and Sally Talley in Talley’s Folly.
When not on stage, Shani plays the roles of mother, wife, and early intervention speech-language
pathologist. Shani is a member of The Greenhouse, a collaborative group of artists.
Bob Keefe (Roderick I & II), a native Clevelander has worked and performed in Chicago for 20
years where he studied improvisation with Second City legend Del Close. Since returning to “the
Land” Bob has performed in two long running improv shows at Playhouse Square; Flanagan’s
Wake and We Gotta Bingo. He has also performed at Actors’ Summit, Dobama, Ensemble
Theatre, the Beck Center, and the Cleveland Play House. Currently Bob also performs the roles
of Coach Paul Brown and Eliot Ness for “Take a Hike Tours” in Downtown Cleveland. He has
also appeared in local commercials and industrials and is represented by The Talent Group.
Mary Mahoney (Genevieve) has been performing in theatre over 30 years and happy to be
working with Neil & MaryJo again. Some of Mary’s favorite roles are Juror #8 in 12 Angry
Jurors (Weathervane); Doris in Same Time, Next Year (Coach House); Sally in David Selby’s
Final Assault (Canton’s Players Guild); Lenny in Crimes of the Heart (Coach House) and the
Witch/Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, N.E. Ohio tour (Magical Theatre
Company). You might recognize Mary from her role as Isaly’s Chipped Chop Ham Lady on T.V. commercials. She has worked professionally in industrials, radio/TV commercials and
voiceovers. “XOXO to hubby Mark.”
Daniel Telford (Cousin Brandon, Sam) has appeared in several Beck Center productions, most
recently in Michael Frayn’s Noises Off, Simon Stephens adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel The
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, and Elf, The Musical,
based on the 2003 film. He was seen at Great Lakes Theatre/Idaho Shakespeare Festival in
Macbeth and Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution and with Blank Canvas Theatre in
David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
Neil Thackaberry (Director, The Long Christmas Dinner) has performed with the Cleveland
Play House, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Ensemble Theater, Cleveland Public Theatre, None
too Fragile, and Oberlin College. He co-founded Actors’ Summit, a professional theater that
performed 130 productions over 17 years. He has served as Chairman of the Theater Department
at Rockford University, Executive Director of Weathervane Community Playhouse and General
Manager of Cleveland Signstage Theatre. He is a member of SAG/AFTRA and recently retired
his Equity card. In the course of his career he has directed over 80 productions from Greek
tragedies to Shakespeare and from Shaw to world premieres of contemporary plays. In June he
celebrated his 52nd wedding anniversary with MaryJo Alexander, his partner in all things. He is
the grandfather of three incredibly beautiful, highly intelligent, and exceptionally well-behaved
grandchildren about whom he is completely objective.
Peter Voinovich (Charles) graduated from Ohio University with an MFA in Acting back in the
20 th Century. Some of his favorite roles performed are Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, Nick in Over the River and Through the Woods, and Colin in Absent Friends. Peter is
pleased to be performing at Western Reserve Playhouse for the first time. Peter lives in
Cleveland with his wife, Sasha Thackaberry and their two kids Molly, and Spencer.
Ashley Dyer (Stage Manager) is delighted to be back at the barn to cap off 2023 with a few
more excellent readings. She has previously served as Stage Manager for Western Reserve’s
production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville earlier this year, and staged readings since 2019. She has
also worked onstage and backstage around the Akron area, including with Stow Players, Ohio
Shakespeare Festival, Coach House Theatre, and Weathervane Playhouse. Ashley spends her free
time reading, catching up on new music, and wrangling cats. Love to her wonderful husband,
family, and friends.
Jim Fippin (Series Coordinator/Director, The Thanksgiving Play) Directing credits include:
Baskerville (at WRP), The Man Who Came to Dinner, Italian American Reconciliation, Love!
Valour! Compassion!, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Proof,
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Art, Barefoot in the Park, The Cocktail Hour, Last of the Red Hot Lovers,
Betrayal, Chapter Two, Hurlyburly and The American Dream. Jim’s acting resume includes roles
in Hay Fever, The Importance of Being Earnest, Saint Joan, Hamlet, Shakespeare in Love,
Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, The Wild Goose, Kimberly Akimbo, Four Dogs and a
Bone, Uncle Vanya, August: Osage County, The Rainmaker, Custer, The Real Thing, The Odd
Couple, The Lion in Winter, Jesus Christ Superstar, Noises Off, Twelfth Night, Another Antigone,
Romeo and Juliet and King Lear; WRP acting credits include Cyrano de Bergerac, The Weir,
Blithe Spirit, and Tartuffe. Jim earned a BFA in Theatre from Otterbein, where he met his wife,
Elaine, and where their daughter Emelie graduated Magna Cum Laude with the class of 2020.
Adrienne Jones (Alicia) is delighted to return to Western Reserve Playhouse, having previously
appeared here in The Maids and Scotland Road. Adrienne is a proud graduate of The Theatre
School at DePaul University. Since returning to northeast Ohio her credits include Noises
Off, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and The Man Who Came to Dinner at Weathervane
Playhouse, Alabama Story at Ensemble Theatre, and Lend Me a Tenor at Coach House Theatre.
Zach Manthey (Jaxton) is happy to be back on stage at WRP, where audiences will remember
his appearances as the cunning Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, the brilliant Sherlock Holmes in
Baskerville, the skeptical Dr. Bradman in Blithe Spirit, the ditsy lover Valère in Tartuffe, and the
bratty Simon in Hay Fever. His resume also includes roles in Hamlet (Laertes), Blur (Father
O’Hara) and the hit film My Summer in Ohio (Bobby). Zach is also a published playwright and
comedian. ‘Nuff said.