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Neil Thackaberry, co-artistic director of Actors' Summit, said he had been contacted by playwright Sean Christopher Lewis about his script, "Manning Up."
"The playwright had sent me an email and asked me if I would be interested in seeing the script," Thackaberry said, adding that he reads 50 to 60 scripts a year. "I read it and I really liked it, and I emailed him back to say I would be interested in staging it."
Actors' Summit was one of three theaters nationwide to stage a rolling world premiere of the play, which features two soon-to-be dads who worry about and bond over the changes that are coming to their lives. The production is part of the National New Play Network's 33rd Rolling World Premiere.
Thackaberry said an advantage with staging modern pieces is being able to contact the playwright.
"He's been very helpful," he said. "We had a few questions. For example, in the script, there were a number of references to baldness, and Keith [Stevens] and Peter [Voinovich] both have good heads of hair. Well, the first two guys who did play it were bald but it was not integral to the play, so Sean said we could take those references out."
However, the references made to Cleveland were all part of the original script, Thackaberry said.
Voinovich and Stevens, who play friends Raymond and Donnie respectively, not only are brothers-in-law, but recent fathers themselves. Stevens has a daughter, Fiona, 1, and Voinovich has a daughter, Molly, 3, and newborn boy Spencer, who was born the Sunday before the show opened.
"It's been a crazy week," Voinovich said after the opening night performance. "This is probably the most intense week I've ever had, but in a good way."
Stevens said that he and Voinovich "have had a ball working on this."
"It's great working with Peter again," Stevens said.
The play itself takes place in the "Man Cave," in the basement of Raymond's house. Both Raymond's and Donnie's wives are due at any time, and they share their hopes, concerns and fears as they enter a new phase in their lives. There is a lot of humor, such as Raymond signing them both up for a maninar, practicing their manly yells and, at one point, accidentally locking themselves in the basement shortly after Donnie's wife calls and says she is in labor. There are more serious moments as well, as both men, particularly Raymond, worry about the type of father they will be.
Ticket and show information
"Manning Up" can be seen through June 2.
Ticket on Thursdays and Sundays are $28 general; seniors over 65 are $25. Saturdays are $30. Fridays are $28. Full time students with ID under the age of 30 can attend any performance for $9.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. Matinees are at 2 p.m.
For details, call 330-374-7568 or visit actorssummit.org.
Next on stage
Actors' Summit will end its 2012-13 season with "The Bikinis," which runs June 20 through July 21.
On June 28, there will be a gala party to benefit Actors' Summit. The Bikini Bash will start at 5 p.m., and will include music, cocktails, dinner, dancing, and an auction, as well as the performance. For information and reservations, call 330-374-7568.