“LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS” written by Neil Simon
Produced by Mat Sicko
Directed by Mike Wolske
The story revolves around Barney Cashman a man going through a mid-life crisis. Barney feels like he missed out on the sexual revolution and has decided he is going to fix what’s missing in his life by having an affair making use of his mother’s Manhattan apartment. Now add his choices to form an extra marital dalliance three very different women complete with their own peccadilloes and you have the crux of Simon’s very funny play.
“Lovers” was originally on deck for SPAO to do last fall but after some scheduling conflicts held up the start and a cast member had to withdraw at the last minute SPAO had no other choice but to cancel their fall show altogether. SPAO was proud of its 21 years of producing two quality full length plays a year with never having to cancel before. Some said it would lead to ruin but their loyal audience proved to be far more understanding and welcomed their spring run of “Anybody Out There”. Now SPAO Resident Director Mike Wolske is poised once more to present this Simon blockbuster.
Furthering Wolske’s excitement is his stellar cast. John Quinnan, playing Barney Cashman is a civil servant working for New York State. Quinnan, a resident of Cohoes, has over the years worked with many different capital district community theaters taking on a variety of tasks both on and off stage. This marks Quinnan’s debut with SPAO. Besides his acting chores for SPAO, Quinnan is currently serving as stage manager for Curtain Call Theater’s production of Simon’s “California Suite”.
Andrea Valenti is playing Elaine Navazio. Valenti works in the medical field, loves to travel and resides in Guilderland. Valenti is currently in Italy enjoying her daughter’s wedding. Valenti, who like her fellow cast mates has performed for a number of local community theaters last worked with SPAO in 1999 playing Charlotte Hay in SPAO’s production of “Moon Over Buffalo”. Valenti won a TANYS Award for best actress in Albany Civic’s rendition of “Lovers”.
Nancy Wilder is Jeanette Fisher. While Wilder has been involved in theater all over the capital district for a number of years, this marks her acting debut with SPAO. Wilder is single and enjoys living in Albany.
Bonnie McKeown (Bobbi Mitchell) is no stranger to the SPAO stage having starred in many shows. She was also often cast in roles for Home Made Theater. After taking a long sabbatical from theater she returned to play Arlene in SPAO’s “Murder At The Howard Johnson’s”. McKeown is married and along with husband Mike is building a home in Gansevoort. McKeown is a therapist working with special needs children for the Wildwood School Systems.
What makes this cast even more special to director Wolske is the fact that besides all being exceptionally talented and well known in the community theater world, Wolske has worked with all four-cast members in other projects. What’s more, Quinnan directed “Lovers” for Albany Civic about five years ago, the same production that featured Valenti. Also, Wilder was Quinnan’s assistant director. Quinnan and Wilder each professes a long desire to take on the roles they were chosen for. What’s even more remarkable is that they all auditioned separately proving that Community Theater in the capital district is long on talent but remains a small and very connected world.