Theatre Americana’s production of the original Neil Scanlan and Greg Wood musical Mary of The Avenue had a triumphant opening night on Friday August 17. It was the culmination of many years of hard work by the writers, producers and actors to bring this show to its current showing here in town at Fremont Centre Theatre.
The story focuses on a young woman in search of the mother who left her under mysterious circumstances. She believes she may be living on the streets of New York City and sets about finding her. After involving the press and an ambitious politician, the young woman finds who she believes to be her mother. She is indeed living among the homeless but seems to have no memory of her former life. As the woman, Carrie, attempts to get to know her “mother”, she comes to know the people who have become family and the ways of the streets; all is not quite what she expected.
It’s a sweet story delivered by an earnest cast who deliver terrific ensemble work. The production makes clever use of scaffolding and a cityscape to represent a New York alleyway. The Fremont Centre Theatre is a perfect venue for an intimate, heartfelt show like this.
Mary Ellen Gridley leads the cast as the would be mother, Mary. She is a veteran actress and it shows. She is funny and charming and gives the poignant moments just the right amount of vulnerability. Marianne Davis imbues Carrie with pain and hope that is deeply felt.
Pamela Feener captivates as the sweet but tough-as-nails pal, Florida. Several fine actors round out the cast from Bill Brunold, as the clever Riviera who somewhat leads the street family, to the appealing Piper Wood as the Mayor’s assistant and the imposing Stephen Rose as the Mayor.
In a scene straight out of 42nd Street, the actor who portrays the reporter, Victor Huzvar, was taken ill at the last minute and the composer himself took to the stage to thunderous applause. The terrific ensemble includes Al Timss, Michael McAdam, Ashley Houson, Lani Ridley-Pedrini, Donna Scarantino, Hoberleigh Phreigh, Phillip Powell, Denise Harvey, Jim Corey, Bruce Spring, Charles Offenhauser, and Richard Van Slyke.
To catch this touching musical story, there are three more performances this coming weekend!
Show dates: 8/17 & 8/18 @8:00 pm; 8/19 @2:00 pm
8/24 & 8/25 @8:00 pm; 8/26 @2:00 pm
TICKETS: $20.00 at brownpapertickets.com
or $25.00 at the door
Fremont Center Theatre is located at 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena
About Theatre Americana
Theatre Americana was formed in the 1930s by funds set aside from President and Mrs. Roosevelt to provide job opportunities for performing artists. Throughout Theatre Americana’s golden years, activities included the production of hundreds of plays and oversight of playwriting contests. Theatre Americana played host to numerous indoor and outdoor performances dating back to the 1930s at the historical Farnsworth Park amphitheater and Davies Hall. Peter the Great was the first play to premiere at this venue on April 22, 1934. Zane Gray provided the money for the lighting of this very first production. Currently, Theatre Americana continues to thrive by producing original work by local artists, and by providing a low cost musical theatre experience to audiences of all ages. Theatre Americana has been a grant recipient from the L.A. Commission for the Arts, and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, and a six-year recipient of the Pasadena ARTNIGHT grant. Visit Theatre Americana at www.theatreamericana.com.