FREEHOLD — A few years ago when Anthony Greco left the Walter Kerr Theatre after a performance of “Doubt: A Parable,” the play continued to haunt him for weeks on end; he knew then that he would direct the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play someday. That day has finally arrived. Greco, an Oakhurst native and a student at Monmouth University, has cast his production with well-known local actors, most of whom have been nominated for Perry Awards for previous theatrical outings.
Eve Connolly, a Lawrenceville resident and the 2008 Perry Award winner for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in Driving Miss Daisy, has been cast as Sister Aloysius, the rigid and fear-inspiring principal of the Saint Nicholas Church School. Jeff Caplan, a Manchester resident and Perry Award nominee, is tackling the role of Father Flynn, a part he performed in Center Players’ play reading series of the show in June.
The naïve and impressionable Sister James is being played by Colleen Labella of Clark; she recently concluded a successful run of The Crucible at the Holmdel Theatre Company, starring as Abigail alongside movie and stage actor Brian O’Halloran. The cast is rounded out by Linda Saunders, playing Mrs. Muller, mother of the boy that Father Flynn is “mentoring.” Saunders, a Freehold resident, has performed in Center Players’ productions of The Vagina Monologues and Charlotte’s Web this past year.
Sexual abuse between priests and young parishioners has been in the news over the last few years. However, this play is not about the church scandals. The playwright Shanley stated, “I’m more interested in people becoming more accepting and comfortable with living with doubt because I think that’s one of the big problems we’ve had in this country in the last decade.”
Greco was drawn to the play because, “Doubt reveals the struggle of seeking certainty in an uncertain world. While Shanley sets this parable to Catholicism, it is a metaphor for life and those who use, or even abuse power. The well-developed characters represent different ages, sexes, social classes, ultimately the different strata of any given society, and enriched by Shanley’s remarkable text, the combination helps evoke the humanity, compassion, and even doubt from this outstanding ensemble drama.”
“Doubt: A Parable” opens at Center Playhouse on Friday, Oct. 15 and runs for five weekends until Saturday, Nov. 13, performing Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with a special Saturday matinee on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 for adults and $22 for seniors and students. Admission includes gourmet desserts and beverage. Group rates are available for groups of ten or more. Dining packages are available with local restaurants. Call 1-732-462-9093 or go to www.CenterPlayers.com for tickets and further information.
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