37 Postcards is Family Folly at its Finest
“37 Postcards” is Family Folly at its Finest
The Matthews Opera House and Arts Center is excited to present Michael McKeever’s heartfelt comedy “37 Postcards.” With opening night just around the corner on February 9, anticipation is building for a debut that will put the “fun” in dysfunctional.
“Postcards” director Jon Steven Wiley is no stranger to the Matthews stage. His legacy at the historic theater began fifty years ago. In that time, he directed and performed in many shows, toured with “The Vaudevillians” (written by local playwright Paul Higbee), and eventually landed in central Illinois, where he became part of a resident theater company. On his return to the Black Hills, Wiley reentered the local theater community by directing plays at Black Hills State University, Homestake Opera House, and Matthews Opera House.
“37 Postcards” introduces local audiences to the Suttons, a family that is sweetness personified with a large dose of insanity wrapped in innocence. When the Sutton’s prodigal son Avery returns home with his fiancé after time abroad, he sees his family as they really are and must face the truth about them.
“It’s confusion wrapped in love,” explains actress Bobbe Ward. Hailing from Belle Fourche, Ward is a familiar face on the Matthews stage. In her newest role of “Nana,” the grandma extraordinaire, Ward declares that she is just like her character: old and cranky (a claim which is heartily contradicted by the evident enthusiasm of her co-performers).
Wiley’s cast is a collection of talented area actors. The ensemble also includes performers Gavin Cox, Lisa Myhre, Connie Hubbard, Randy Bender, and Janet Ott.
Cox, a professional at Sanford Underground Research Facility, portrays Avery Sutton, the confused son returning to his family after an eight year absence. Upon meeting his surprisingly dysfunctional family, his fiancé Gillian has a decision to make: can she become part of the madhouse or should she move on? Actress Lisa Myhre, a face usually seen behind the scenes at the Matthews, plays the increasingly bewildered Gillian in her mainstage debut.
The Sutton family also consists of Evelyn, the gracious mother oblivious to everything around her, played by Connie Hubbard, a multi-talented Spearfish performer. Randy Bender, a local favorite from Sturgis, puts his talents to use portraying Sandford Sutton, the patriarch of the family. Aunt Ester, the amusingly insightful entrepreneur, is played by Janet Ott, a welcomed transplant from Elkader, Iowa.
No show is complete without it’s behind-the-scenes crew. “37 Postcards” introduces first-time assistant director, Sarah Steeves. Says Steeves, “Producing this play has brought so many laughs to the cast and crew. I know it will do the same for audiences.”
Assisting Steeves, Pat Yanzick and Elysia Pederson round out the crew of “Postcards.” Yanzick has gained a solid reputation through the years as a theatrical prop master. “If you need it, she will find it,” says Steeves. Yanzick has been involved with the Matthews since 1991, serving in a multitude of capacities. Elysia Pederson, another Matthews regular who wears many hats, provides the lighting design.
“37 Postcards” debuts at the Matthews Opera House on Friday, February 9 at 7 pm with additional showtimes scheduled for February 10, 16, and 17, and 2 pm matinee performances on February 11 and 18. For tickets, contact the Matthews at (605) 642-7973, purchase online at matthewsopera.com or visit the box office located in the Matthews gallery at 612 N Main St., Spearfish. Advance tickets for adults are $20, and youth $10. This show is rated PG13 for language and situations that may not be suitable for children. This show is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.