"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams, which opened at Stow Players March 14, ends the theater's season on a strong note.
Director William Morgan assembled a talented cast to bring this classic story of family conflict to life, and the production was well-received by the opening night audience.
"I thought it was very well done," said Dan Goodell of Tallmadge. "Maggie and Big Daddy played their parts very well."
In the play, the Pollitt family has assembled at the Mississippi homestead to celebrate Big Daddy's (played by Tom Stephan) 65th birthday. However, this birthday is expected to be Big Daddy's last due to cancer. Tensions flare up over who should be in charge of the vast Pollitt estate. Older son Gooper (played by Doug Lillibridge) and his wife Mae (played by Doug's real-life wife Claudia) believe they should inherit, and let no opportunity pass to belittle younger son Brick (played by Brian Westerley) and his wife Margaret (played by Brenda Redmond). Brick gives his older brother and wife plenty of ammunition. After the loss of a close friend, Brick has hit the bottle, and he and Maggie have remained childless, while Gooper and Mae have several children. (Carl Goodell, Daevlynne Lambert, Josephine Reynolds and Colton Reynolds play the children). Through it all, Big Mama (played by Harriet DeVeto) tries to both keep the peace and stay in denial about husband Big Daddy's deteriorating health.
Also in the cast are Tom Marshall as Reverand Tooker, Dave Hinebaugh as Dr. Baugh, Dottie Emmerick as the maid Sookey, and Keri Lambert as the Nanny.
Stephan said that he has wanted to play the role of Big Daddy for 20 years.
"Twenty years ago I was in this play, and I played Gooper," Stephan said. "Since then, I have always wanted to play the role of Big Daddy. We talked about doing this play last year, but another theater did it. I just turned 65 in December. I loved every minute of it. It's such a classic of American drama."
Westerley said that he recently finished directing "Cat" in Brecksville, but he is far from tired of doing the show.
"Brick's a man trapped by society," he said of his character. "Society tells him he can't be who he is, so he feels he can't be. He's told he has to get married, he has to have a family. All he wants to do is bury himself. He acts out, with jumping the hurdles and with drinking."
Morgan said that the team of actors in this show "is probably the most talented cast I've worked with."
"Everybody is so equally talented," Morgan said.
Ticket and show information
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" can be seen through March 29. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with one Sunday matinee on March 23, at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets for "Cat" are $12 general admission; $10 for senior citizens and students (although the theater doesn't recommend the show for students younger than high school). Only cash or checks are accepted for ticket payment.
All Stow Players performances are in the Heritage Barn in Stow's Silver Springs Park, with access from the Young Road entrance only. Call 330-655-6051 for reservations and information. Visit the Stow Players website at www.stowplayers.net or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.