The Drama Workshop opens the Cincinnati premiere of the hysterical comedy, PRECIOUS HEART, on Friday, July 25, with additional show dates on July 26 and 27, and August 1, 2, and 3. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 pm, and Sunday afternoon performances at 2 pm. Proceeds from this limited-engagement production will help fund construction of a handicap access ramp for The Glenmore Playhouse.
After the performances on July 25 and 26, The Drama Workshop will host a reception for Ted Karber, Jr, the show’s author. The reception is open to ticket-holders for the evening’s performance, and will allow the audience to meet Mr. Karber; the star of the show, Mr. Greg Smith; and the rest of the production team.
Tickets are $15 each in advance, $16 at the door. They may be ordered online at the TDW website www.thedramaworkshop.org, or on the 24-hour ticket line at 513.598.8303. Performances will be held at The Glenmore Playhouse, 3716 Glenmore Ave, Cheviot, 45211.
PRECIOUS HEART introduces Miss Fleeta May Bryte, a sixty-something resident of Precious Heart, Texas – and as friendly as they come! Come on in and set a spell, have a cup of coffee, and she’ll tell you all about the town, her mama, her high school beau, Harry Lee, and her archrival for his affections, Emmaline. Will she work up the nerve to call Harry? It’s been so long, after all.
Mr. Karber is traveling to Cincinnati from his home in El Paso, Texas, specifically to attend these performances. He became interested in playwriting as a freshman in high school, and has continued to learn this craft throughout his life. In 1985, he received a BA in Theatre Arts and English from UT El Paso, and in 1988 he received an MA in Theatre Arts. At various times in his life, Mr. Karber has taught at the university and junior college levels. In 1997 he founded, and served as the artistic director of El Paso’s premier community theatre, Aardvark Theatre, Inc. While serving as artistic director of Aardvark, Ted directed over 30 productions.
In 2005, he closed Aardvark Theatre to devote his time to playwriting. Mr. Karber was a semi finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 1993 (PRECIOUS HEART) and 2007 (BUNTY’S BONES). PRECIOUS HEART was premiered in Dayton, Ohio by Firstage Productions. Subsequent productions of the show have been given in Dayton and El Paso.
Greg Smith has played Fleeta May in multiple venues in Southwest Ohio over the last several years, since originating the role with Dayton Theatre Guild in 2010 where it received critical and popular acclaim, and was one of the top productions at the 2010 Ohio Community Theatre Association annual conference. “I fell in love with Miss Bryte about twenty-five years ago,” he relates, ”when the play was submitted to the play festival at the Dayton Playhouse. Perhaps because we are fellow Texans and because I have my own odd set of relatives, friends and enemies, I felt an immediate kinship.”
The normally ebullient Smith then turns thoughtful. “As an actor, this role has been an amazing experience. Getting to take the stage for almost two hours, tell wonderful stories and secrets, laugh a little and cry a little while speaking directly to the audience….it just doesn’t get much better,” he recounted. “I hope the audiences of The Drama Workshop will enjoy their trip to Precious Heart as much as I have enjoyed mine.”
Director Blake Senseman is thrilled to bring PRECIOUS HEART back to the stage. “This has been, for me, a welcome chance to work again with the multi talented Greg Smith,” he said.”His ability to give Fleeta a depth of character that is at once hugely funny and at the next sweetly sad generates true pathos. A talent that makes it very easy for the audience to be pulled into Fleeta May Bryte’s world and a talent that made my job very easy to execute. Hat’s off to Ted Karber Jr. for creating such an unforgettable character!”
The Drama Workshop is hopeful that strong community attendance for this production will enable them to finally install a handicap access ramp and entrance, which has been a major goal for the theatre group since it purchased the former Glenmore Bowl building in 2011. “We want to entertain the entire community, including those with mobility issues,” offered TDW Box Office Chair Gretchen Gantner. “Right now if a patron cannot climb the three steps into the building, they cannot see our shows. Having the new ADA ramp will mean that we can open our shows up to a wider audience, which is our end goal.”
If sufficient funds are raised, it is hoped that the new ramp and entrance doors can be installed prior to the next TDW production, September’s ARSENIC AND OLD LACE.
The Drama Workshop was founded in 1954. TDW is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to advancing education and promotion of the theatrical arts. The Drama Workshop is widely recognized as one of greater Cincinnati’s most accomplished community theater organizations, garnering dozens of awards annually from the Association of Community Theatres of Greater Cincinnati.
TDW productions have been selected to represent the Southwest Ohio region at the Ohio Community Theatre Association annual conference eight of the last ten years, and will present an excerpt of last season’s NUNSENSE at the 2014 state conference this year. TDW was also honored to represent the state of Ohio at the American Association of Community Theatre regional conference in 2013. The Drama Workshop was recognized in 2013 by the Cincinnati Preservation Association for their efforts to rehabilitate the former Glenmore Bowl into The Glenmore Playhouse.
Prospective members, and individuals or businesses interested in becoming involved or in helping advance TDW’s mission are encouraged to contact the group through our website at www.thedramaworkshop.org, or by phone at 513-598-8303.