Category: Reviews

Successful Run for Travesties!

Successful Run for Travesties!

What a successful and fun show! The cast and crew brought their quirky humor and acting chops to the stage for MCCT’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties. MCCT could not have performed this absurdist comedy without the help of our community of volunteer artists, designers, and sponsors.

Special thanks to Oddball Fermentables, Sherwood Oaks Christian ChurchMonroe County Martial Arts, Ken Pimple & Jennifer Livesay, Taylor & Josh Bennett, William A. Henry, and Susan J Rautio-Dietz, PhD.

The Herald-Times wrote a review for Travesties, you can find a copy of the review HERE.

What did you think of the show? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Here are some photos from the show:

Promotional poster by Emily Mcgee
Gwen Livesay as Cecily Carruthers and William Henry as Henry Carr
William Henry and Roy Sillings as younger/older versions of Henry Carr
Roy Sillings as Henry Carr
Gwen Livesay as Cecily Carruthers and Emily Mcgee as Gwendolen Carr
Steve Heise as Bennett and William Henry as Henry Carr
Jennifer Whitaker as Nadya
Steve Scott as Vladimir Lenin
Gwen Livesay as Cecily Carruthers
Maryann Iaria, Dan Heise, and costume designer Jen Horsley
Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, and Tristan Tzara
Nadya and Vladimir Lenin
Jason Lopez as Tristan Tzara
The Odd Couple (Female Version) kept audiences laughing the night away!

The Odd Couple (Female Version) kept audiences laughing the night away!

What a whirlwind! The cast and crew of The Odd Couple (female version) really brought their all this weekend to provide the sold-out audiences with a memorable and raucous comedy. From the acting to the directing to the set design and the many, many wigs… this show would not have been possible without the help of our community of volunteer artists, designers, and sponsors.

Special thanks to PopKorn Kernels with a Twist, Vibe Yoga Studio, Long Family Eye Care, Monroe County Branch NAACP, City of Bloomington Community & Family Resource Department, Sherwood Oaks Christian Church, Hoosier Barber Shop,  Latjoorawa Photography, and Monroe County Martial Arts.

The Limestone Post wrote a preview and The Herald-Times wrote a review for The Odd Couple (female version). You can find a copies of the preview and review HERE.

Photos from the show’s run can be found on our Facebook and Instagram!

What did you think of the show? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Trojan Women bring the tears!

The Trojan Women bring the tears!

What an emotional run for the cast and crew of The Trojan Women! MCCT could not have performed this show without the support from local artists, writers, and businesses. Special thanks to Oddball Fermentables, Oliver Winery, and Monroe County Martial Arts for their contributions!

The Herald Times wrote a preview AND a review for The  Trojan Women. You can find a copies of the preview and review HERE.

What did you think of the show? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

The cast is in place for 2017’s opening show, Jean Paul Sartre’s adaptation of Euripides’ The Trojan Women. Director Jennifer Whitaker is very proud of this great cast, which includes actors from all of MCCT’s 2016 productions.  We also welcome back set designer Leah Lee (Macbeth, Lysistrata), costume designer Shannon Pilrose (Macbeth, It’s a Wonderful Life), choreographer Yolanda Valdivia, and our music team: Jason Lopez, Mary Emma Heaps, Nic Newby, and Brant Hughes.

Meet the players below:

Poseidon                              Roy Sillings

Athena                                  Katelin Hope Vesely

Hecuba                                 Becky Stapf

Odune                                   Emily Bedwell

Cassandra                            Gwen Livesay

Andromache                        Tayler Fischer

Helen                                     Maria Roncalli

Talthybios                            Steve Heise

Menelaus                              Steve Scott



Janet Templeton-Heise

Anna Hughes

Dianne Shewmaker

Nancie Eagan

Jody Black

Mary Carpenter

Maryann Iaria

Mary Emma Heaps

Ashley Hash



Pip Chamberlain



It Really is a Wonderful Life

It Really is a Wonderful Life

What a fantastic run! The cast, crew, and Sherwood Oaks choir and band put their all into making It’s a Wonderful Life MCCT’s best show to date! We couldn’t have done it without the support from local artists, writers, and businesses. A special shout-out to Russell McGee for writing the adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life specifically for our production!

There was a preview written in The Herald Times by Bloomington’s own Joel Pierson. It appeared in the Sunday, November 13th edition. You can find a copy of the preview HERE.

The show was also reviewed by Ken Pimple HERE and Bravo Bloomington HERE.

What did you think of the show? We’d love to hear from you!

Here are photos from the show:

Lysistrata Brings the Laughs

Lysistrata Brings the Laughs

On the weekend of March 24th, Lysistrata sold out all three shows at the Blockhouse. Each night was a great show – big laughs, lots of happy audience members, and a buoyant mood among cast and crew created a fun-filled evening for all involved. Director Jennifer Whitaker is proud of the show and it’s reception, which she puts down to her wonderful cast of hard working comedians! And the magical costumes and wonderful set and props created by Mary Emma Heaps, Leah Lee, Anna Hughes, Pamela Milam and more.

You can watch the full run of Lysistrata on YouTube HERE.

You can read the IDS preview article HERE and the Herald-Times review HERE.

And check out our Lysistrata Gallery (Photo Credit- Beth Milam Cummins 2016):

The Plot to Overthrow Christmas

The Plot to Overthrow Christmas

Last Christmas MCCT performed a radio play on WFHB titled The Plot to Overthrow Christmas and it was a hoot! Members from all over Monroe County came together to meld their voices to create something spectacular!

Read the IDS review about it HERE.


Reviews are in for 12 ANGRY JURORS!

Reviews are in for 12 ANGRY JURORS!

Updated drama should provoke thought and discussion about American legal system

by Matthew Waterman, Bloomington Herald-Times, Jul 21 2014

Reginald Rose penned “12 Angry Men” in 1954 as a 60-minute teleplay for CBS, later adapting it into a stage play and a black-and-white feature film. That 1957 film, directed by Sidney Lumet, is widely recognized as the quintessential American legal drama. Six decades later, Monroe County Civic Theater presents not “12 Angry Men,” but “12 Angry Jurors” as its second show of this summer.

The traditional cast of all white men is diversified in this production, incorporating men and women of differing racial backgrounds (a warranted update from the original script). Eric Van Gucht makes his directorial debut with this show.

At the outset of the play, 12 jurors are faced with the heavy task of deciding the outcome in a murder trial. A troubled young man (who never appears onstage) is accused of patricide by stabbing. The penalty if he is convicted? Death by electrocution.

The evidence for his guilt seems overwhelming; a man downstairs heard the incident, a woman across the street saw it and the alleged perpetrator had purchased the murder weapon that very night.

Once they’re settled in, the jurors elect to take an initial vote. The foreman calls out “guilty” and eight hands shoot up … then nine, then 10, then 11. The foreman calls for “not guilty” and a lone hand is raised. It’s the hand of Juror No. 8, played sensitively in this production by I. James Torry.

“It’s not so easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first,” explains Juror No. 8.

Over the course of an hour and a half or so, the jurors spar back and forth about the case, dissecting the finest details, only to find that nothing is what it seems. Some jurors are unflinchingly stubborn, while other falter easily. The only trait they all share is a desperate need to be listened to.

Like all Monroe County Civic Theater productions, this is a low-budget volunteer effort, and the cast is composed primarily of amateur actors. In Friday night’s performance, many actors stumbled over lines and struggled with pacing. Despite these issues, all the performers displayed strong senses of their characters.

Steve Scott portrays Juror No. 3, the play’s belligerent antagonist. Scott’s performance mixes fiery rage with undertones of vulnerability, to a compelling effect. Yolanda Valdivia (Juror No. 11), Rob Hunter (Juror No. 9) and Patricia Blanchfield (Juror No. 6) also turned in laudable performances.

The decision to place the cast’s only black woman in the role of the bigoted juror is a questionable one; it feels as if the play is trying to teach us that black people can be prejudiced too. A white man using prejudice as an appeal to other white men (the playwright’s intention) would be more believable and resonant than a black woman using prejudice as an appeal to a diverse jury. Nonetheless, Whryne Reed tackled the part with impressive energy and commitment.

Monroe County Civic Theater’s courtroom (or, technically, jury room) drama is sure to provoke thought and discussion about our legal system in the United States. What exactly is “reasonable doubt”? What roles do prejudice, impatience, hard facts and personal feelings play in the life-or-death decisions made by juries? “12 Angry Jurors” won’t definitively answer these questions, but it might take us a step closer.


I. James Torry & Eric Van Gucht, Co-Directors

JUROR 1     Jennifer Whitaker
JUROR 2     Kelsey Carlisle
JUROR 3     Steve Scott
JUROR 4     Bill Goveia
JUROR 5     Lydia Stewart
JUROR 6     Patty Blanchfield
JUROR 7     Ryan Thiery
JUROR 8     Aaron Hart
JUROR 9     Rob Hunter
JUROR 10   Whrynne Rasheed
JUROR 11    Yolanda Valdivia
JUROR 12   I. James Torry
GUARD        Taran Snodgress

URINETOWN reviewed by Bloomington Herald-Times!

URINETOWN reviewed by Bloomington Herald-Times!

Herald-Times Review by Doris Lynch

When I was young, train and bus stations and even some department stores had pay toilets, and on several occasions, I watched women slither across dirty floors to avoid paying for something so necessary and basic. Despite its crass name, “Urinetown The Musical,” this play explores a city where everyone, especially the poor, has to pay to pee.

Monroe County Civic Theater is the only all-amateur theater in the area, and wow, did this vibrant cast of varied ages bring the production to life. Eric Anderson Jr. provided excellent direction.

A decades-long drought has ruined Urinetown’s water table, and Caldwell B. Cladwell’s monopoly has taken over the city facilities, where he keeps raising fees higher and higher. Frank Buczolich captures both the evil and jovial practicality of a corporate titan indifferent to the fact that his profits cause people pain.

One of them is Old Man Strong (Adrian Cox-Thurmond) who becomes the first casualty of the play; because yes, take away a man’s ability to do something necessary, and there will be some willing to risk death instead. This only strengthens the resolve of his son, Bobby, who works as the assistant superintendent at Facility No. 9. Cameron Butler’s hero is both tough and kind. His powerful voice and stage presence were commanding.

Of course, you can find love even near the latrines, and there Bobby finds Hope. Audie Deinlein gives a fine portrayal of a rich young woman drawn to the barricades. She shares a delightful duet with Butler, “Follow Your Heart,” where they read what is inside each other.

As you might guess from the title, the play is also both campy and postmodern, making fun of itself while broadcasting predictions of when certain events will happen in the script — “that will happen in the all-cast number in Act Two.” Engineering these one-way audience chats were Officer Lockstock (Eric Van Gucht) and Little Sally (Hadley Abrams in the productions Thursday and Saturday.)

Abrams was a joy to watch throughout — her dancing, singing and acting were all strong. Her solo number in Act 2 was mesmerizing, and equally good when it turned into a duet with Butler.

Liesl Cruz nailed down the bureaucratic, rules-centric character of Penelope Pennywise. Yet her portrayal was nuanced, she showed that someone could be both coldhearted and still touched by other’s dreams.

As the corrupt, bought-off Senator Fipp, Nick Pappas was delightful to watch. But as the bloodthirsty, vengeful and vile Hot Blades Harry, he was even funnier as he led the renegades after Bobby disappeared.

Vocally, the cast was mixed. The leads were all excellent, though a couple sang too quietly. Some cast members were not as talented vocally, but as an ensemble, the sound rocked. The choir number and spiritual were also very strong. Callie Rekas’ choreography depicted both the uptight office folk and the revolutionary street people. The dancing made each number visually interesting.

The fine band consisted of June Lee, Kevin Staggs, C. Neil Parsons, Stefan Lenthe and Don Stejskal.

Although first produced in New York more than a decade ago, “Urinetown” seems ever more timely now with its themes of exploitation, injustice and environmental desecration. That said, despite its serious themes, the musical is sly, delightfully clever, full of humor and brimming with life. In other words, it’s one not to miss.


Special thanks to Callie Rekas for recording: