‘Ancestral Voices’ coming to Lake Shore Center for the Arts

WESTFIELD — Lake Shore Center for the Arts is happy to bring A.R. Gurney’s Ancestral Voices, produced by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing, NYC, to their Jacqueline Phillips Theater from May 17 to 19. Set in Buffalo in the 1940s, his bittersweet story is humorously told through the eyes of young Eddie.

His family is turned inside out when his grandmother unexpectedly divorces her husband to marry his grandfather’s best friend. Simultaneously the outside world faces big changes with the advent of WWII and social upheaval.

Director Tina Rausa, LSCFTA President, brings this delightful story to life. Stage Manager, Pat Kirell does the heavy lifting, organizing all of the moving parts of the production. Working with them behind the scenes, Libby Sciarrino, often seen in performance, is lending her talents to costuming for this production. Kelly Mathews, a man of many talents, handles the tech and sets.

Phillip McMullan plays the role of Eddie who narrates his family story in Ancestral Voices. He is Theatre Director of Ted Sharon’s Main Street Studios and performs with Syracuse Opera. This summer at Main Street Studios he takes on the title role in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Tim Newell plays Eddie’s grandfather. After seven years in New York City, Tim moved to Buffalo in 1993. In the winter of 1995, he decided to return to the stage. Since 1996, he has appeared in dozens of productions, in Chicago and in most of Buffalo’s premiere houses, including Shakespeare in Delaware Park. He is a four-time recipient of the ARTVOICE ARTIE AWARD for his work as an actor and director. He was voted Western New York’s Favorite Actor of 2011 by BUFFALO SPREE magazine.

Joan Caruso delights in helping Executive Director Rick Mascaro, her brother, fulfill his vision of an arts center in Westfield. While she fills various roles at LSCFTA: board secretary, art gallery docent, art opening hostess and sometimes toilet cleaner, her favorites are onstage. Of special note in her memory is Melissa in A.R. Gurney’s LOVE LETTERS. She now admits to a fondness for her character in this play, Grandmother Madeleine, a woman born too soon for the freedom and fulfillment she seeks.

Steve Wendell plays Harvey, Steve has performed in several musicals in Jamestown, most recently Jersey Boys, Spamalot, and Something Rotten. He also appeared in Guys and Dolls at Main Street Studios in Fredonia and in two productions of Into the Woods in Erie and East Aurora. After playing Joe in Becky’s New Car in 2022, Steve is forever grateful to Lake Shore Center for the Arts for producing his original musical in 2023.

Gwen Spann plays Mrs. Mitchell, Gwen is originally from Jamestown, NY, where she was involved in several productions at the Lucille Ball Little Theater. Gwen was in Grease and the LTJ Guilders. She also worked back stage as stage manager for Oklahoma, The Bat, and Oliver. Gwen also met her husband, Joe, there. After living all over the country, Gwen and Joe moved back to Westfield in 2008. Gwen is part of the original group that Rick Mascaro put together to start up LSCFTA. She has been involved in several productions in LSCFTA – Spoon River Anthologies, Mornings at Seven, the first annual One Act Competition production, and several springtime follies. Gwen retired from 40 years of medical billing in the summer of 2023 and is looking forward to exploring her more creative side – through theater and other crafts.

Chuck Mutch plays Uncle Roger. He is an avid theater goer, director and actor began his love for the stage while attending high school at Westfield Academy and Central. Over the years he has performed in Camelot, Finian’s Rainbow and Oklahoma, to name a few. Expanding his involvement, he worked from assistant director to director while living in Oklahoma. He notes the pinnacle of his theatrical journey is the establishment of three different children’s theaters, all of which are still going strong. Though he loved working with children, he admits he favors working with adult actors and has a great story about an Atoka, Oklahoma success. Just ask him. Chuck began his acquaintance with LSCFTA through his friend, Executive Director Rick Mascaro. In founding our group, Rick sought some suggestions and advice from Chuck. The Mutch Family made an initial contribution to the center’s efforts by financially sponsoring some of the chairs in our theater and throughout our facility. Since Chuck’s return to Westfield, he now has appeared in two of our productions and is enjoying presenting Roger in Ancestral Voices. He is very grateful to the directors with whom he has worked, knowing the extent of their jobs.

Jennifer Davis, Jane, is a music teacher for the Chautauqua Lake Central School District who actively participates in local theater as both an actor and director. She has performed at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown and the Lakeshore Center for the Arts, and recently directed Kate Hamill’s “EMMA” at CLCS and LBLTJ. Jennifer is dedicated to enriching her community through her passion for theater alongside her teaching role.

“Ancestral Voices” is produced in cooperation with Broadway Play Publishing www.broadwayplaypublishing.com

It will be presented at Lake Shore Center for the Arts, Westfield at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 19. For tickets & Information see the website: www.lakeshorecenterforthearts.com or call 716-224-2135.


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