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Directing the Way...

The holiday lights may have faded, but the stage lights are just going up on the Bobcat Players’ 2020 season. And it is promising to be a glowing season at that.

For the first time in ages, our directors are all closely aligned with the Bobcat core. Three are on the board of directors, and one is an instructor and director in the Beaver Area School District. All of the names and faces should be familiar to our audiences.

Opening the season is our postponed summer 2019 show, One Man, Two Guvnors, a hilarious farce adapted from the 18th century A Servant to Two Masters. Veteran actor, director, and board officer Keith Zagorski will take over the direction of this show in the departure of our friend and fellow director, Lora Oxenreiter, who stepped down for health reasons. Keith last sat in the director’s chair for the masterful mystery, Something to Hide, which inaugurated our 2018 season. Since then he has taken the stage in two specials, The Drawer Boy and Red Herring.

Accolades are extended to the Guvnors cast, which largely has remained intact. In the titular role is Joshua Antoon, the Bobcat Players’ president, most recently seen as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire. Joining him are Bobcat Player veterans Eric Armstrong (Too Many Cooks); Valerie Boyce (Something to Hide); Jason Fernandez (Something to Hide); Johanna Lord (A Very Oblonski Valentine); Kevin McGuire (Too Many Cooks); and Michael Prest (Something to Hide).

Along for the rollicking ride are newcomers Tiffany Belcufine and Eric McAnallen. Also joining the company is musical consultant Erin Bock, who worked with the Bobcat Players in their New Works production of The Setup. A few key roles have yet to be filled; that will happen this coming weekend with season auditions.

Several years ago Valerie Boyce flew in on the wings of Boeing, Boeing, and she’s been flying high with the Bobcat Players ever since. A new member of the board of directors, she has amassed acting credits in Decision Height and Something to Hide, and she has assisted in the direction of The Drawer Boy. Now she is a full-fledged director who pilots our first season special, The Gentleman Clothier, a gentle and reflective comedy with a cast of four. The Bobcat Players welcome Valerie to the directors’ circle and look forward to seeing her work unfold onstage.

Our second season special is scheduled for September. The Bobcat Players are excited to bring to the stage the new drama, The Revlon Girl. Based on a real-life tragedy, this show offers incredible roles for five women. The director of this challenging work is board president Josh Antoon, who last directed the memorable dark comedy, The Drawer Boy. Antoon already has begun research, set design, and strategies for this highly moving piece.

The Bobcat Players are long overdue for the production of a musical, and we proudly announce our plan to do one this season. Rounding out our slate of shows is the hilarious murder mystery musical, Lucky Stiff. The director may be new to the Bobcat Players, but she is a fixture in Beaver Area High School’s arts and music program. Susan Metelsky makes her Bobcat Player debut with this absurdly funny story of a man who enlists his nephew to wheel his corpse around Monte Carlo. Casino after casino, beach after beach, this multi-millionaire shady character controls the destiny of his nephew and a cast of other winners and losers; he is one lucky stiff at that. Check out Metelsky’s work this coming March with her spring musical production of the nostalgic My Favorite Year.

That rounds out the Bobcat Players season with one addition. Customarily the Outreach Committee takes one show on the road during the dreary winter months. This year, however, that committee has reserved Oak Arbor Grille in Bridgewater during the month of July for the production of the hilarious farce, The President. This is the rarely performed tale of a corporate titan who is assigned the guardianship of a most wayward ward. The ward, a delectable young lady, is about to have a child with a roughly hewn, most unsuitable cabbie, and the executive has one hour to transform him into a prince. Called into action is a motley crew of barbers, tailors, counts, salespeople, florists, underlings - all intent on one nearly impossible mission. Artistic director Patti Ross is committed to this piece, a work that the Bobcat Players have long had on their to-do list. It’s well worth marking the calendar.

That’s the season, and there’s plenty of reason to be on board. A shout-out to all the directors, for without them there would be no season, no laughter, no applause, no stage lights burning brightly show after show. They help to sustain the love affair that has long been our motto. Because of them, we have the chance over and over again to fall in love with the theater.

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