THE COVER OF LIFE Review

Links to all reviews can be found using the REVIEWS link at the top of the page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my Facebook fan page. You can also receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

Gretchen Reinersman as Tood Cliffert, Lisa Dirkes as Weetsie Cliffert & Tara Williams as Kate Miller. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Gretchen Reinersman as Tood Cliffert, Lisa Dirkes as Weetsie Cliffert & Tara Williams as Kate Miller. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

THE COVER OF LIFE presented by Falcon Theater through April 25. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Saturday performance.

There is a famous notion that 90% of directing is casting, If this is the case, director Tracy M. Schoster definitely succeeded with her wonderful ensemble for THE COVER OF LIFE. Not only is every character well-defined and unique, but the dynamics among all the characters are as well.

Kristy Rucker as Addie Mae McGough. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Kristy Rucker as Addie Mae McGough. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Tara Williams deftly handles Kate’s journey from cynic to visitor to friend. Gretchen Reinersman shines as simple-spoken, yet wise beyond her years, Tood. Lisa Dirkes smartly finds the humor in dedicated-wife and dedicated-Christian, Weetsie. Holly Sauerbrunn’s smart-tongued, deadpan delivery of pragmatic, life-weary Aunt Ola is spot on. The moment Merritt Beischel throws out the first verbal barb, it speaks volumes to who Sybil is. Kristy Rucker makes busybody Addie Mae fun and endearing. Jared Earland as Tommy looks like he stepped out of a recruitment poster and handles the youngest-brother angst well.

Lisa Dirkes as Weetsie Cliffert & Holly Sauerbrunn as Aunt Ola Cliffert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Lisa Dirkes as Weetsie Cliffert & Holly Sauerbrunn as Aunt Ola Cliffert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Thanks to the director, there are many, very nicely-done moments in the show. Favorites include: Kate and Tood on the hilltop and their final goodbye. Todd and Aunt Ola’s private conversations. Sybil and Weetsie’s argument in front of company. Weetsie eavesdropping on Tood and Sybill and Tood and Tommy at the pond. I could mention a few more, but those would be spoilers. The show is well-paced, flows well and Schoster creates great stage pictures.

Gretchen Reinersman as Tood Cliffert, Merritt Beischel as Sybil Harrist-Cliffert & Lisa Dirkes as Weetsie Cliffert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Gretchen Reinersman as Tood Cliffert, Merritt Beischel as Sybil Harrist-Cliffert & Lisa Dirkes as Weetsie Cliffert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

The costumes, designed by Tara Williams, evoked the time-period and complimented the personalities of the characters. Great work done by Prop Mistress Alecia Lewkowich as well.

This is the first production since the organization has completed some upgrades to their recently purchased venue. The raisers have been installed and the new seating is definitely more comfortable. Freshly repainted, the theater now has an intimate black box aesthetic that works well.

Gretchen Reinersman as Tood Cliffert & Jared Earland as Tommy Cliffert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Gretchen Reinersman as Tood Cliffert & Jared Earland as Tommy Cliffert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Overall an emotionally strong, heartfelt and heartbreaking production. Congratulations to all. The first weekend did sell out, so I recommend you get your tickets in advance.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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