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Jo Lusk

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The Hot Mikado at the Masquers

The original Mikado was written by Gilbert and Sullivan, opening in 1885 in London. The show is nominally set in Japan where Gilbert and Sullivan could take jabs at the Victorian English. The Hot Mikado was adapted by David H. Bell and Rob Bowman and set into the 1940s; it was performed first in 1986 in Washington, DC. This Masquers production is directed by Ellen Brooks, with music direction by David Howitt.

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Is this the season for silly? Exactly six years ago for my first TPIT review, I watched David Irving metamorphose into a dog. This time his face contorts with petulance, his feet fly, and he shoes his way into our hearts.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a fun show suitable for youth and adults alike and plays at the Masquers until Dec. 18th. The show is directed by John Maio with music direction by Pat King and was written by Rachel Sheinkin with music and lyrics by William Finn. The music is ably executed by Wesley Asakawa, Barbara Kohler, Jo Lusk, Dean Starnes, Patrice Young and Pat herself.

Fuddy Meers at the Masquers

Fuddy Meers, like the funny mirrors in a fun house carnival, is a wacky comedy. I’ll tell you right now, I neither liked nor understood it. That’s not to say the acting was poor; the plot and dialogue are just not my kind of humour. At intermission, I did a quick temperature test of the audience and discovered we were fairly evenly split: fully half of the respondents thought the play was side-splittingly funny. Certainly the audience howled throughout. Actually, I had another litmus test: I asked how well the interviewee liked Monty Python. Those that do, did; and those that don’t, didn’t. I rest my case.

First performed in 1999, Fuddy Meers was written by David Lindsay-Abare and is directed by Michael Haven. Claire, an amnesiac, wakes up each morning remembering nothing; so her family must teach her who she is, every day. When she is kidnapped, her adventures really begin!

The Apple Tree at the Masquers

Feeling at loose ends? Don’t know what to have for dinner? The Apple Tree might solve your itch—it’s three, seemingly unconnected plays in one. Continuity occurs because the same actors play throughout, time travels from long ago to the present, and the stories are about love and innocence. The publicity flyers for the show differ, stating that these plays are about getting what you want and discovering what you really wanted afterward. You’ll have to decide who's right.

Music and lyrics of The Apple Tree were written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The first play was based on the writings of Mark Twain, the second a short story by Frank R. Stockton and the third a story by Jules Feiffer. In the Masquers performances, Robert Love directs, with music direction by Pat King. Music is ably performed by Pat herself, Ted Bigornia, Jo Lusk, Jim Ware and Barbara Kohler. The show plays until May 1.

The first play is The Diary of Adam and Eve, a sweet comedy, especially for those with a Judeo-Christian background—particularly since it answers so many questions. (Photos by Jerry Telfer).

Rocky Horror Show at the Masquers

I was a virgin until that night. Assistant Director Michelle Pond told me that’s the label for someone who’s never seen Rocky Horror Show. As always, virgins are rare. For 30+ years, Rocky Horror, written by Richard O'Brien, has drawn a huge cult following; Director G. A. Klein has seen the production upwards of 500 times.

G. A. Klein directs a big show: Rocky Horror has lots of glitter, a copious cast and sweeping, grand music.

Absent Friends at the Masquers

Awkward, what? A few delicate difficulties exacerbate a rare gathering of old friends in Absent Friends, written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by Angela Mason. The situation is ripe for the kind of tragic comedy for which British playwrights, especially Ayckbourn, are well known.

Diary of a Scoundrel at the Masquers

The problem with most masquerade parties is that few guests take them seriously enough. There is no such problem here. If ever you liked to play dress-up, here is a brilliant vicarious opportunity. Costume Designer Carol Woods provides so many delights that if ever you toyed with an interest in performing with the Masquers, this performance will convince you to sign up for an audition!

Diary of a Scoundrel, directed by Carlene Collier Coury and Marilyn Kamelgarn, is a comedy set in Russia in 1867, six years after the freeing of the Russian serfs, an issue bitterly resented by some characters in the play, though not by all.

Farnsdale Ave Housing Estate's Tradeswoman's Guild's Dramatic Society's Production of Macbeth at the Masquers


The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomens' Guild Dramatic Society's Production of Macbeth is a mouthful, but the title does establish the play's intent. As the play-within-a-play suggests, all characters are embroiled in playing their parts well, even to the extent of handing out another set of programs. Each actress in the performance plays a multitude of characters in the Macbeth concert, so it is all very confusing indeed.