WARSAW — Center Street Community Theatre’s upcoming “Over the River and Through the Woods” marks the group’s next fall production. The community theatre has come a long way since 2013, but is continuing to grow as it draws amateur talent from all over northeastern Indiana.
“Over the River and Through the Woods” illustrates this diversity well, as a story focusing on three generations: Young adults, their parents and their grandparents.
The story focuses on Nick, a single, Italian-American guy from New Jersey. His parents retired and moved to Florida. That doesn’t mean his family isn’t still in Jersey, though; in fact, he sees both sets of his grandparents every Sunday for dinner. This is routine until he has to tell them that he’s been offered a dream job that would take him away from his beloved—if annoying—grandparents. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around. Frank, Aida, Nunzio and Emma do their best, and that includes bringing to dinner the lovely—and single—Caitlin O’Hare as a motivation to stay.
Directing the show is Jennifer Shepherd, who is no stranger to the Wagon Wheel both in the summer company (she played Ms. Darbus in “High School Musical,” among many other credits) and in Center Street Community Theatre. She also directed CSCT’s “You Can’t Take it With You” a few years ago, and acted in “Almost, Maine” and “M*A*S*H.” According to Shepherd, this play is one that reminds the audience of the importance of family in our lives. “While we may not always be happy with each other, we love unconditionally the people in our family,” Shepherd said. “Tengo famiglia!”
Performing in the play are several veterans of CSCT, as well as a couple newcomers. Lin Metzger (Emma) and Staci Skiles Schaum (Caitlin O’Hare) have both worked with many regional and/or community theatres, but this will be their first appearance on the Wagon Wheel stage. Returning actors include Eric Totheroh (Nick), Gerald Cox (Frank), Melissa Jordan (Aida), Curt Clevenger (Nunzio), and Rebecca Crim (also playing Caitlin O’Hare).
“Over the River and Through the Woods” opens Friday, Sept. 30, and runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Oct. 9 at Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., while Sunday matinee performances are at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available online, over the phone at (574) 267-8041, and in person at the box office.