On March 31, 2011 the Hilberry Theatre Company will once again present a theatrical work of epic proportions, John Irving’s The Cider House Rules, Part 1: Here in St. Cloud’s and The Cider House Rules, Part 2: In Other Parts of the World, adapted by Peter Parnell. Tickets are $25-$30 for each part, and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at 313-577-2972, online at www.hilberry.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Ave. on the corner of Cass Ave. and Hancock. Due to the production’s epic scope, evening performances will begin at 7 p.m. and matinee performances at 1 p.m.
The Hilberry Theatre has presented works of epic theatre in the past with productions of The Kentucky Cycle and The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby. The Cider House Rules is made up of two complete plays that span more than eighty years in the lives of the characters. Productions of this magnitude are produced at the Hilberry only once a decade. Epic productions that are performed in a repertory run over several weeks are rare in most regional theatres, where artistic choices are reduced to small cast plays. The Hilberry Company, however, is uniquely positioned to take on a project of this scope and size; in fact, in today’s economy, a production like The Cider House Rules, which consists of a cast of 22 actors, might only be seen in a theatre such as the Hilberry and on a campus such as Wayne State’s. “We’re fortunate to be able to tackle these big stories that unfold in exciting and dynamic ways over time. The resources and dedicated personnel provided by our program and our audiences make the project possible,” said Director Lavinia Hart. Hart has directed other Wilde Award-winning epic productions at the Hilberry, having received the award for “Best Director” for The Kentucky Cycle in 2004.
The Cider House Rules, Part 1: Here in St. Cloud’s, begins the story of Homer Wells, a boy raised in an orphanage as the protégé of Dr. Larch, the gruff obstetrician who delivered him. Having previously experienced first-hand the pain of being placed with the wrong foster families and having to repeatedly return to the orphanage, Homer is careful to maintain a distance from the other orphans so they can easily transition into adoptive families. As a mentor and father-figure, Dr. Larch makes Homer his medical apprentice, teaching him to not only save babies – but mothers, too. As Homer becomes a young man he struggles to decide for himself what is right and what is wrong.
The Cider House Rules, Part 2: In Other Parts of the World, further develops the story of Homer Wells as he makes a place for himself in the world. Hungry for life’s experiences, Homer ventures into the world and discovers that friendship and love have unexpected complications as his best friend is sent off to war and Homer falls passionately for his friend’s girl. Passion leads to pregnancy and a return to the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, where Homer resumes his mentor’s work and realizes that life isn’t always a matter of right and wrong, but frequently, some place in-between.
The Cider House Rules, Part 1: Here in St. Cloud’s cast members include Christopher Ellis (Wilbur Larch), Andrew Papa (Homer Wells), Lorelei Sturm (Nurse Angela), Vanessa Sawson (Nurse Edna), Samantha Rosentrater (Melony), Carollette Phillips (Fuzzy Stone), Edmund Alyn Jones (Smokey Fields), Dave Toomey (Snowy Meadows/ Mary Agnes), Erman Jones (Curly Day/Stationmaster), George Abud (Young Larch), Peter Prouty (Wilbur Walsh/ Ensemble), Caitlin Morrison (Mrs. Eames), Samantha Moltmaker (Mrs. Eames’ Daughter), Laura Heikkinen (Mrs. Grogan/Ensemble), Kerianne Furgerson (Billie Winkle/Ensemble), Jordan Whalen (Wally), Sara Hymes (Candy), Nick Yocum (Cyrus/Ensemble), James Jordan (John Larch/Ensemble), Ivy Haralson (Kate O’Shaunessey/Ensemble), Ashley Shamoon (Megan/Ensemble), and Erin Hildebrandt (Sally O’Malley/Ensemble).
The Cider House Rules, Part 2: In Other Parts of The World cast members include Christopher Ellis (Wilbur Larch), Andrew Papa (Homer Wells), Lorelei Sturm (Nurse Angela), Vanessa Sawson (Nurse Edna/Squeeze Louise), Samantha Rosentrater (Melony), Carollette Phillips (Fuzzy Stone/Rose Rose), Edmund Alyn Jones (Smokey Fields/Mr. Rose), Dave Toomey (Snowy Meadows/Mary Agnes/ Charlie), Erman Jones (Curly Day/Stationmaster/Eddie), George Abud (Young Larch/Herb), Peter Prouty (Ray/Wilbur Walsh), Caitlin Morrison (Lorna/Mrs. Eames), Samantha Moltmaker (Debra Pettigrew/Nurse Caroline), Laura Heikkinen (Big Pot Pettigrew/Mrs. Grogan/Ensemble), Kerianne Furgerson (Olive/ Mrs. Pettigrew/Ensemble), Jordan Whalen (Wally), Sara Hymes (Candy), Nick Yocum (Angel), James Jordan (Muddy/John Larch/Ensemble), Ivy Haralson (Peaches/ Ensemble), Ashley Shamoon (Megan/Ensemble), and Erin Hildebrandt (Sally O’Malley/ Ensemble).
The production team includes Blair Anderson and Lavinia Hart (Directors), Tara Westlake and Mercedes Coley (Production Stage Managers), Christa Koerner (Costume Designer), Pegi Marshall-Amundsen (Scenic Designer), Rudy Schuepbach (Assistant Scenic Designer), Jon Weaver (Lighting Designer), Brian M. Scruggs (Sound Designer), Michael Wilkki (Technical Director), Peter Schmidt and Curtis Green (Properties Masters), Nira Pullin (Choreographer), Caitlin Morrison and Carollette Phillips (Dance Captains), Wayne David Parker (Fight Choreographer), Edmund Alyn Jones (Fight Choreographer), George Abud (Music Coodinator), Nikki Allen and Robert Lima (Publicity Managers).