Jennifer Chudy Simon (1233-3111-2222-1) of Brooklyn, New York, wrote to give me her new address and to request copies of the Almy Family Newsletters she had missed since she moved. She also sent newspaper clippings of the play she starred in last winter in the BoarsHead Theater in Lansing, Michigan. It was quite a success. Following is an excerpt from the review in the Lansing State Journal of January 16, 1997.
"A major event occurred in Lansing last week while we were digging out from beneath the snow drifts: Kate Hawley's play, Diva Days, had its world premiere at the BoarsHead Theater."
"We've come to expect new plays from BoarsHead on a seasonal basis. Sometimes we've become almost blasé about them, forgetting how unusual it is for a small regional theater to take that kind of risk."
"Don't get blasé about Diva Days and let it pass you by, for Hawley's play is warm, delightful and thoroughly engrossing with characters real enough to be your best friends. The play's many virtues are fully realized in this BoarsHead production."
"We first meet Jane and Margaret when they are seniors at the University of California at Berkeley. It is 1967, during the height of student protests against Vietnam War. While the young women support the anti-war movement, they also are making plans for their lives: Jane is going to be an actress, Margaret plans to live on a commune with her radical boyfriend but will have a career as diva in the evenings."
"Hawley has a knack for drawing us into these lives. She creates dialogue that is both natural and compelling, whether it's their girlish banter or their later reflections on life's surprises."
"It's hard to believe that Hawley could have found a better theater than BoarsHead for the first production of her play. Director Larry Thelen, formerly with the Thunder Bay Theatre in Alpena, makes the dramatic transitions flow -- from youthful high jinks to near tragedy to mature reflection."
"Jennifer Chudy and Roxanne Wellington as Jane and Margaret are so believable as bubbly undergraduates in the early scenes that it was hard to believe that they could be convincing as mature women but they were. Chudy, especially, revealed subtle changes in her manner from scene to scene, as Jane has to deal with life's surprises."
"John Peakes as the girls' politically conservative landlord has little patience for these young radicals. But he, too, changes as life deals him some surprises. Peakes gives a beautifully subtle portrayal of this complex character."
Another review in the Towne Courier stated "Playing Jane is New York actor Jane Chudy. Chudy has the task of taking Jane from graduate school-bound college senior to responsible adult business person. Chudy is believable at every turn. This role requires Chudy to be silly, angry, confused, naive, reflective and forgiving. She handles all emotions beautifully. At the end of the show, I wanted to be a part of Jane's life. And due to Chudy's performance, I felt I was."
Jane wrote that the new play Diva Days was quite a success, and that the BoarsHead Theater is a wonderful venue, with lovely people, producing top-notch classical and contemporary theatre. She recommended that if I was ever in Lansing, I should make a point to attend one of their productions.
Congratulations Cousin Jane, on a great performance.
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