LIMA — Not everyone may have heard of Encore Theatre’s latest play, “Miracle on South Division Street,” but it’s a family journey everyone can relate to.
The comedy, written by Tom Dudzick, details a Buffalo, New York, family whose grandfather was visited in 1942 by the Blessed Mother in his barbershop. Now, granddaughter Ruth, played by Sarah Bennett, unveils her plan to star in a one-woman show about the event.
Director Denise D’Arca is returning to directing for the first time in nearly 30 years and chose this play because of its complexity.
“It’s very funny but serious. The underlying principle is becoming who you were meant to be,” she explained. “This is one of those where you’re not going to figure out how it’s going to end.”
Jacob Eilerman, who plays Bennett’s younger brother Jimmy, said the audience not being able to recite every word — like Encore’s last presentation, “Mamma Mia!” — can still be just as entertaining.
“The beautiful thing is when an audience comes to a show, they aren’t going to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “While we go on the journey, we’re taking them on the journey because they don’t know the story. Even if they look at the synopsis, they may think they can figure out what’s going on but they’ve only found the kernel in the bowl of popcorn that is this story.”
Bennett and Eilerman are joined on the cast by Stacee Brown and Bonnie Oatman. Eilerman said the cast dynamic will make the production that much more believable, along with the fact that they all coincidentally have blond hair and blue eyes.
“We became a family so quickly, it was so natural,” he said. “When we’re supposed to be griping back and forth, we just naturally took over what we are like in everyday life. I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that there’s someone out there watching thinking it’s really cool they cast an entire family as a family, but none of us are related.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.