Entries in My Name is Ruth (23)
In case you're about to see one of our brand-spankin' new shows this year, here's a review of MY NAME IS RUTH that perfectly describes what we're all about...
"I cannot recall when I've seen a play more charming than My Name is Ruth. It's an adaptation of the biblical Book of Ruth, set in a virtuous and clean post-war Middle America. The story is simple and told in very clean, accessible language. At the top of the show Ruth's husband promptly dies in World War II. Ruth decides to stick with her aging mother-in-law when she wants to move back to her home town. She struggles to find a job in her new town because the men have returned from the war and all the Rosie the Riveters have been forced back into the house. Ruth is a strong, determined woman and she has no intention of giving up. Finally she meets Boaz, a shy, socially awkward department store owner who hires her on and takes a shine to her. As it turns out, her mother-in-law used to be pretty loaded and has a big estate. When a relative rolls into town and wants to snatch up the estate and throw the mother-in-law into an old folks' home, Ruth and Boaz step in to help her.
It took only few minutes for me to become immersed in the world of the production. The costumes, the music, the set, the script all transported me to 1950s America. It's a spotless, Beaver Cleaver sort of America where people say things like "Golly-gee willikers."
Playwright-director Stephen W. Baldwin's script is delightful. His language and plot are simple. He doesn't bother with fluff or contrived twists and turns. The story is basically a stream of positive, uplifting moments interrupted briefly by a tiny conflict. Baldwin's direction perfectly highlights the charm of his script. I loved his staging. He sets many characters off stage and he has some speeches delivered out over the audience. I think a large part of what makes this work is the proscenium stage at the Connelly Theater. It was like being in an old high school theater.
Barb Scott and Pamela Querin handle the costumes and set design, respectively, and their work here makes this production so charming. Nothing is overdone. In fact, everything in this production is a little understated and I really liked that. There is so much left to the audience's imagination.
The cast, Magdalyn Donnelly and Jeffrey Querin, are completely enchanting. Donnelly plays Ruth while Querin plays Boaz plus about a dozen other roles. Donnelly is hopelessly lovable with her cute Minnesota accent and her ability of blush on cue. Querin plays Boaz so shy and awkward that it's hard to say who the more endearing character is. Querin also plays the "villain" and at one point he does a great job acting with himself in a scene that finds both characters in the same room. The acting in this show is just so perfectly aligned with all the other production aspects. I was really taken with their performances.
I didn't think people still did productions like My Name is Ruth. I have admit at first I was little skeptical. I've grown so used to jaded, curse-ridden scripts or dark, experimental productions that try to shock me into submission. But honestly it didn't take very long for my hard shell to melt away so this show could shine on me. I'm glad I let it in."
Don't miss ONE NIGHT ONLY wiith Magdalyn Donnelly and Jeff Querin!
In honor of our upcoming performance at Grace Brethren January 27, here's a fantastic review from NYtheatre.com of our award-wining romantic comedy...My Name is Ruth.
Actor and co-founder Stephen Wayne gets a visit from his folks, Cliff and Andrea Kerns, atop the roof of 34west's offices.
Wayne states, "Without their support, I'd be sitting in a dark room somewhere, eating nachos."
MY NAME IS RUTH just won the Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting at the New York International Fringe Festival!!!!
Way to go Stephen W. Baldwin!!
And kudos to Jeffrey Querin and Magdalyn Donnelly for brilliantly translating this charming show every night at the Connelly Theatre!
Jeff's already celebrating...
Ring the bell! Sound the alarm! The FRINGE are coming! The FRINGE are coming!
This weekend we began our invasion of NYC!
Friday night we hit Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Borders Bookstore to be exact. 34west joined a marvelous playwright's panel discussion which was moderated by nytheatre.com's Martin Denton (below far left), who as it turns out, is a very kind and interesting man.
The FringeNYC shows represented were (from left) "My Name is Ruth", "Richard 3", "MacChin: The Lamentable Tragedie of Jay Leno", and "A Separate Peace."
A shout out to the 19 year old who adapted Richard III into a rock musical. Geesh.
Saturday morning came early as Jeff Querin departed New York to Ohio to bring in reinforcement. Magdalyn "Ruth" Donnelly and Barb Scott. Maggie has spent the summer performing with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and Barb has been running from bears in the woods.
Barb may deny this but most camping survivors who've suffered trauma normally deny everything anyway.
Back in NYC, Stephen jumped the subway and headed downtown to join in the Fringe Al Fresco event on the corner of Spring/LaFayette.
Various troupes performed bits of their shows including two notable favorites of ours...
"Classically Trained, Practically Broke" sounded like a great cabaret-type show with funny girl, Franca Vercelloni in the lead.
And "Picture Incomplete" stole the morning as Trent Armand Kendall belted out a few rockin' numbers from his one-man show.
D-Day ended with a stop at Fringe Central, where Stephen worked with other playwrights and promoters in a secret plan to invade an upcoming Bloomingdale's Bridal show in one fell swoop.
Just to clarify, ours and other romantically inclined shows have been invited by Bloomingdale's to give our postcards to would-be-brides at an upcoming in-store party.
So you see, all in all, our 'Ruth' is not alone in her quest to make the world a better place. FringeNYC is bustling with many feel good shows all over lower Manhattan.
We're in good company.
"My Name is Ruth" playwright Stephen W. Baldwin will take part in a panel discussion at Borders in Columbus Circle kicking off the New York International Fringe Festival. He and three others playwrights will discuss adapting an author's work to stage.
August 6, 2010 6pm
Manhattan - Columbus Circle - Borders
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Yesterday we dropped 'Ruth' off to get flameproofed. Like sending a child to the dentist. The mannequins were stripped and the screens tested to see how fast they might burst into flames.
The guys at Turning Star were quite professional and kind to our 'Ruth' and even complimented us on the look and design of the pieces. (way to go Pam!)
So now we can rest assured that flames won't shoot out of the mannequins heads, which as it turns out, could have been a problem if ignited properly.
And seeing as that the weather has been quite warm recently and the Connelly Theater will be running shows morning, noon, and night for two weeks- we were glad to have these good folks make sure "My Name is Ruth" doesn't spontaneously combust.
Now, if we can only cool down the chemistry between Ruth and Boaz!