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Thursday, June 16, 2011 02:17 pm

Springfield playwright brings ice cream to comedy

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The cast of Let Them Eat Cake, to be performed 6:45 p.m. June 25 at Temple B’rith Sholom.
PHOTO BY WENDY PRICE

What could possibly be more fun than a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake? How about two ice cream cakes and one wedding ring? Throw in a rich software developer named Alvin Chandler, a veterinarian named Brad Chancellor, a good girl, a gold digger, two mothers who want their sons to marry, and a gossipy cousin to stir it all up and you have a recipe for hilarity.

Springfield author Sherry Yanow’s romantic comedy, Let Them Eat Cake, will have its Springfield debut at Temple B’rith Sholom on Saturday, June 25, at 6:45 p.m. Yanow, whose husband, Glenn, owns the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Laurel Avenue in Springfield, says, “Last year sometime, my husband told me that what happens sometimes happened again and people picked up the wrong cake because they had similar names. So the cakes got mixed up. A family with one name got the wrong cake and then the other family picked up the other cake. The wheels started turning and I started thinking, ‘Gee, that’s almost funny in a way’ and that became the genesis of this play.”

Let Them Eat Cake recently opened under the direction of co-author Deborah Fezelle at Fieldcrest of North Canton (Ohio). This production does not have nearly as many special effects as other plays that Yarnow and Fezelle have co-written, making it perfect for smaller stages. Much of the success of the play depends on the ability of cast members to play off one another. Crystal Butterfield, the bad girl, is a particularly interesting character. Yanow says of Crystal, “We knew we had to get the right Crystal and if we did not get the right Crystal we were not going to do the play and it was not going to come to Springfield.” Fortunately, Fezzelle was able to cast Meagan Sonner, a “natural talent” with whom Fezzelle had worked in the past.

Under Fezelle’s direction, Sonner and other members of the cast of Let Them Eat Cake hit their marks. In his review of the Ohio opening of the play, art critic Tom Wachunas writes, “This marvelously crafted study in irony and romance has a practically Shakespearean flavor to its comedic narrative twists. All seven cast members are superbly suited to their roles, delivering them with palpable verve.”

Fezelle’s Top of the Town Productions ordinarily focuses on producing live theater events in the Canton, Ohio, area. However, when Yarnow approached Fezelle with the idea of bringing Let Them Eat Cake to Springfield as a fundraiser for Temple B’rith Sholom, Fezelle and members of her non-equity acting company graciously agreed to become a “traveling troupe,” making the eight-hour drive from Canton to Springfield for a single presentation of the play.

The Springfield production of Let Them Eat Cake offers a full evening of entertainment. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are available between 6:45 p.m. and the 7:30 p.m. curtain time. During a 30-minute intermission, audience members will have a chance to sample the same type of Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake featured in the play. Yanow indicates that ticket sales have been brisk, with nearly half of the 200 available tickets already sold. To reserve your seat for this “romantic comedy where everything goes wrong but the ending,” send checks made out to Temple B’rith Sholom, to the Temple at 1004 S. Fourth St., Springfield, IL 62703 or call 525-1360, Ext. 4 for credit card reservations. Be sure to include your name, phone number and number of people attending. Tickets are $25 per person.

Contact Grace Sweatt at writtenbygrace@yahoo.com. Read Tom Wachunas’ full review at artwach.blogspot.com.

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