posted July 12, 2011

HSRT Continues Season with the Heartwarming Story, I Remember Mama

The timeless play "I Remember Mama" opens at the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre on Friday, July 22. Featured will be HSRT veterans, Susan Ericksen and Chip DuFord.

The play will be presented in the main theatre of the DeWitt Center on the campus of Hope College. The curtain rises at 8 p.m.

One of the best-loved stories ever told of immigrants in America, this timeless play, based on the book Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes, became not only a hit play, but a successful radio and TV show and movie. The oldest daughter, in this family of tight-knit Norwegian immigrants in San Francisco at the turn of the century takes us through her memories of their struggles with family conflict, loyalty, crisis and financial problems, but most of all her memories of Mama.

Mama is played by HSRT favorite, Susan Ericksen. As an actress, she has performed in regional theatres throughout the country including The Cleveland Play House, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Baltimore's Center Stage, Virginia Stage Company, and the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. New York credits include A Woman Without a Name at the Signa-ture Theatre and Peer Gynt at Theatre for a New Audience. This season marks Susan's 22nd anniversary with HSRT. She began as Maria, the novice nun in The Sound of Music, and worked her way up to Head Nun in Doubt. She has been fortunate to portray everyone from Rosalind in As You Like It to Prudy Cupp in Pump Boys and Dinettes. Last season she and her husband, David Colacci, performed in I Do! I Do! for the second time together. As an audiobook narrator she has recorded well over two hundred novels by authors as varied as Nadine Gordimer, Charlotte Bronte, T. Jefferson Parker, Kristin Hannah, and J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts.) She has recorded all of Robb's books in the In Death series with great delight. This series has garnered commercial as well as professional praise, and has earned Ericksen an Audie award for Origin in Death, as well as Earphone Awards for many others.

Playing opposite of Ericksen, as Papa, is Chip DuFord who is celebrating his eighteenth season with HSRT. DuFord is well known for other HSRT performances such as Professor Bhaer in Little Women, Gregory Wagner in Room Service, General Harrison Howell in Kiss Me Kate, Froggy in The Foreigner, Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Touchstone in As You Like It, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Mr. Bumble (twice) in Oliver, The Scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz, The Bullfrog in HONK!, and The Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has also been seen on Enthusiastic Productions' roles of Mr. Flabbinjaw, and Joel's housecat, Poo-Kitty, in the children's TV program, Come On Over, which has aired locally on WOTV4 in Grand Rapids. He has performed at theatres nationwide for over twenty years, including Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora, CA., Oregon Cabaret theatre, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, and The Monomoy Theatre in Chatham, MA.

Playing Katrin, the eldest daughter of the family and the narrator of the story, is Alexandra Perlwitz, who is a graduate of the University of Connecticut's BFA Acting program. At Connecticut Repertory Theater she has performed in Spring Awakening (Wendla Bergman), Pericles: Prince of Tyre (Marina), Too Much Memory (Antigone), Othello (Desdemona), Antony & Cleopatra (Caesar), Pride and Prejudice (Lizzy Bennet), and Urinetown (Little Sally). She studied acting with Larry Silverberg, creator of the True Acting Institute, a program inspired by Sanford Meisner's Neighborhood Playhouse. This summer she can also be seen in the ensemble of Children of Eden and as Kitty in Taking Steps.

Directing the production is Louis Rackoff. Rackoff was Artistic Director of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival from 1988 to 2002, where he supervised or directed more than sixty productions. Most recent directing for NCSF included Shakespeare's King Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Tempest; Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters; and Lou's original adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Lou has been a guest director at numerous professional theaters and universities throughout the country, and has directed the following HSRT productions: The Guys, Billy Bishop Goes to War, El Capitain, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Taming of the Shrew, and Candide. He was a Production Stage Manager for the New York Shakespeare Festival 1974-1981, and directed a National Tour of the NYSF Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance. Lou has been Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Southern Mississippi since 2005, where he also serves as Head of the MFA Directing Program.

Performances of I Remember Mama continue throughout the summer on July 23, 27, 29, August 2, 4, 8, 10, and 13.

Tickets are now on sale through the DeWitt and DeVos Fieldhouse ticket offices. Prices range from $10-$26 for musicals and $8-$19 for plays. Season tickets, ranging from $48-$85, are also available.

The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beginning June 14 the ticket office is open on Saturdays at noon. On performance dates, the DeWitt Ticket Office will be open through intermission. The ticket office is located in DeWitt Cultural Center at 12th Street and Columbia Avenue. For tickets call the ticket office at 616-395-7890. For more information visit the HSRT website at www.hope.edu/hsrt.

The DeWitt Theatre is located at 141 East 12th street, Holland.

HSRT is now on facebook! Keep up to date with what's happening this season by searching Hope Summer Repertory Theatre on www.facebook.com.