Local production goes to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – Marcus Muzopappa will direct Ivan Menchell’s “The Cemetery Club” Aug. 15-24 at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co. located at 937 Liberty Ave.

Claire Fraley will star as Lucille, Lynn Franks as Doris and Arlene Merry as Ida, Karen Hanes as Mildred and Rich Ivaun as Sam. The actors reunite after appearing in the Old Schoolhouse Players’ spring production of “The Cemetery Club” in Hickory. Michael Ramsay, playwrights board president, made arrangements for the Pittsburgh production after seeing it in Hickory.

“The Cemetery Club” is a comedy following three Jewish widows in Queens who meet once a month to visit their husbands’ graves. Doris is content to mourn her husband; Lucille is ready to move on from her philandering husband; and Ida misses her husband, but has hope for the future. A widowed butcher’s arrival strains their friendship.

Muzopappa has worked with Prime Stage, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Little Lake, South Park, Stage 62, Old Schoolhouse Players and The Baldwin Players. He received the Donna Award for Best Actor for the Pittsburgh New Works production of “Breakfast with Willie.”

Merryman has appeared with many theatre companies in the Pittsburgh area, including Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Little Lake, Theatre Factory, and Stage 62. Her portrayal of Maureen in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” garnered her the West Virginia State Theatre Festival award for best actress. Merryman performed at the Galway Arts Festival while touring Ireland in the PICT production of “Major Barbara,” and also performed the one-woman show “Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning” in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Guild’s Estrogenius Festival.

Fraley performed in the Pittsburgh Playwrights’ Theatre Festival in Black and White, as well as with Old Schoolhouse Players, Little LakeTheatre, South Park Theatre, Penn Avenue Theatre and Open Stage. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recognized her performance as Mae in “Fool for Love” with an honorable mention for Best Supporting Actress.

Franks was recently seen in the Prime Stage production of “Walk Two Moons.” She has performed with City Theatre, Little Lake, Opens Stage, Stage 62 and South Park, as well as Ohio’s Coach House Theatre, Weathervane Playhouse and The Akron Civic Theatre.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Aug. 15-17 and 22-24 and 3 p.m. Aug. 18. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased at www.pghplaywrights.com or at the door. The play is produced by MerryRam Productions.