laugh ‘til it hurts:
Canyon Moon’s The NERD
by Gaylin Wyllford
you ever been set up for a blind date by a friend? And as
the day approaches, you find you’ve built up certain expectations
about the person you’ll meet? You think to yourself, “Well
this must be a special person or my friend would never have
set me up with him/her. We must be a good match.”
And then have you blithely
gone ahead with the date only to find all your expectations
were disastrously wrong?
If you can relate, then you’ll
have a pretty good idea about what to expect from Canyon Moon
Theatre Company’ s upcoming production of The Nerd, opening
April 18 at their new theatre in the Old Marketplace.
In The Nerd, Willum Cubbert
is a semi-successful architect in Terre Haute, Indiana. He
has a good job, loyal friends and a caring girlfriend. In
short, he’s a nice guy. No, Willum doesn’t get set up on a
blind date - hey, it was just an analogy - but a man saved
his life in Vietnam and he is about to meet that man for the
And what a meeting it is.
Benny Hill. Jerry Lewis. The
Nerd? Judge for yourself. You’ll smile so much it hurts as you wade through
the carnage of comedy served up by this conglomeration of
A stellar cast is headed up
by Ben Brittain, of Phoenix, who plays Willum Cubbert. Brittain
has most recently been seen as Brodie in The Real Thing, and
Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, at Actor’s Theatre of Phoenix.
Also from Phoenix, veteran
stage actor Richard Glover portrays no-nonsense businessman
Warnock Waldgrave, as humorless and unimaginative a straight
man for the plot’s shenanigans as one could possibly hope
for. Glover works frequently with Phoenix Theatre, The Florida
Studio Theatre in Sarasota, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre
in Little Rock. He’ll bring such shoot-from-the-hip dourness
to his characterization that the audience is bound to roar
at all that befalls him - and oh, the things that befall him.
Gerard Maguire, recently seen
in CMTC’s production of Side By Side By Sondheim, deftly inhabits
the wry character of Axel Hammond, local drama critic and
colorful friend to Willum. In addition to his important plot
duties, the cynical Axel gleefully tosses priceless quips
and epithets around like so many hackneyed reviewers’ headlines.
Recent Sedona arrival, Jennifer
Jane, plays the role of Tansy McGinnis, Willum’s soon-to-be-ex
girlfriend. McGinnis landed a job in Washington, D.C., as
a TV weather girl and is eager to pursue her big break, even
if it means breaking Willum’s heart - or is she? Can she leave
him when his life is being turned upside-down by the nerd’s
outrageous antics? Will love win out?
Performer and writer Dev Ross
takes on the role of Waldgrave’s demure wife, Clelia, and
has one of the funniest opening lines you’ll ever hear. Ross
is an accomplished writer, who was awarded an Emmy for her
work with Disney, as well as three Emmy-nominations for writing
and acting in the acclaimed PBS children’s series “TNRC Presents.”
Young Dillon Zrike, who is
sure to rend laughs from the audience when he meets his match
in The Nerd, plays the Waldgraves’ incorrigible son Thor.
And what can be said about
the title role? Rick Steadman is a nerd’s nerd, the creme
de la creme of misfits. His arrival turns Willum’s rather
humdrum life into a nightmarish sitcom parody of Sartre’s
No Exit. CMTC veteran Ben Gorman portrays Rick. Gorman was
last seen with a juice glass on top of his head in CMTC’s
production of The Foreigner, also penned by Larry Shue.
After a stint in southeastern
Minnesota playing several roles in a production of Twelfth
Night and Moon for the Misbegotten, Gorman has returned to
Sedona to help launch Canyon Moon’s new theatre.
Director of last year’s hit
CMTC production of The Foreigner, Dan Schay brings to bear
his exhaustive theatre background for this production. Schay
has a national reputation based on his work with regional
theatres across the country. He also knew Larry Shue personally
and claims, with absolute candor, “my generation lost its
Neil Simon when Larry died.”
Come enjoy a professional-quality
regional theatre production and be reminded of what it feels
like to have your face ache with laughter.
Make sure to buy purchase
your tickets early as many performances of Side by Side by
Sondheim sold out.
The Nerd previews April 17,
opens April 18 and plays Wednesday - Saturday evenings at
7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. through May 12. The theatre
is located in the Old Marketplace plaza at 1370 West Hwy.
89A in West Sedona.
Tickets are $12 for Wednesday
performances, $17 otherwise. Tickets for full-time students
and children 12 and under are $10 for any performance.
Call (928) 282-6212 for reservations.
Make sure to tour CMTC’s Web site at www.oakcreektheatre.org.
Canyon Moon Theatre Company is a nonprofit organization.