Theater as community feast

It’s “Marathon Sunday” at Near West Theatre. Cast, crew and staff are together all afternoon and evening, preparing hard for A Christmas Story, the Musical, opening this Friday, Nov. 15. In a grand NWT tradition, tonight’s rehearsal dinner break is a potluck. Actors and their families chip in with casseroles or chicken, salad or soda pop, pizza or paper plates. If the pure joy of theater isn’t quite enough nourishment to get a person through 10 hours of stop-and-start scenes, imperfect set changes and technical tweaks, there’s always a pretty darned delicious break right in the middle of this one Sunday.

Food and community are always in the spotlight at the Marathon Sunday potluck. More pictures below. Photos by Hans Holznagel

Food and community are always in the spotlight at the Marathon Sunday potluck. More pictures below. Photos by Hans Holznagel

People line up, fill their plates, and spread out on the stage and risers, cross-legged or in chairs. They commiserate about sloppy entrances and stubborn set pieces, or just get their minds off it all for a few minutes, yakking about kid stuff, teen stuff and adult stuff — in short, reminding themselves, by sharing a meal, of the community they have become through two months of rehearsals. Soon the house won’t be their home anymore. They’ll migrate backstage, a community of mutual support onstage and off. After tonight it’s seven more in a row: rehearsals through Thursday, then performances through Sunday of opening weekend. What a great time to fuel up with a little companionship and a last cupcake. — Hans Holznagel

Cast, crew and staff take nourishment on stage and in the house.

Cast, crew and staff take nourishment on stage and in the house.

It's not just the food. It's the hang time.

It’s not just the food. It’s the hang time.

The aftermath -- with plenty of leftovers, thanks to Volunteer Coordinator Kim Flaherty and contributing cast members and families.

There’s enough for seconds, thanks to Volunteer Coordinator Kim Flaherty (left) and contributing cast members and families.

An ever-more-finished set, now including a festive main curtain, reminds everyone that the show opens in just a few nights.

An ever-more-finished set, now including a festive, custom-painted curtain, reminds everyone that the show opens in just a few nights.

———-

Supporters of this production of A Christmas Story, the Musical, include the City of Cleveland, Department of Community Development, and a presenting sponsor, Hinkley Lighting. Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

———-

A Christmas Story, the Musical

Musical by Joseph Robinette, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul,

 based upon A Christmas Story © 1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and on the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.

A Christmas Story, the Musical, is produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., of Woodstock, Illinois. Produced with permission of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.

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About Near West Theatre

Our Mission Statement: "Near West Theatre builds loving relationships and engages diverse people in strengthening their sense of identity, passion, and purpose, individually and in community, through transformational theatre arts experiences." View all posts by Near West Theatre

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