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Living life according to a Bronx Bomber at Best Medicine Rep

Liz Galuardi, Paul Reisman, and Rebecca A. Herron performed "Derek Jeter Makes the Play" in a October 2017 reading at Best Medicine Rep.  COURTESY PHOTOLiz Galuardi, Paul Reisman, and Rebecca A. Herron performed "Derek Jeter Makes the Play" in a October 2017 reading at Best Medicine Rep. COURTESY PHOTO  Who wouldn’t want to be Derek Jeter?

The retired player for the New York Yankees was a five-time World Series champion, noted for his hitting, base-running, fielding, and leadership.

He’s also a business owner, philanthropist – and good-looking.

Constantly asking what the famed shortstop would do is another matter. But that’s the conceit of “Derek Jeter Makes the Play” by Robin Rothstein. After first featuring the comedy in a reading last October, Best Medicine Rep is now showcasing the play in a full stage production later this month, directed by Linda Lombardi.

The play’s female protagonist is Jackie, a feisty dental hygienist in Queens, N.Y., and a huge Jeter fan. In the same relationship for six years, she’s beginning to question it. Her partner doesn’t see things the way she does, and he lacks ambition. One of her patients has “the most beautiful teeth in the world.” So, should she stay or move on?

Is admiration for the baseball star the only thing she and her partner share, or is it driving them apart?

“Jeter was a man who always handled himself well, so Yankee fans – and others – could easily idolize him,” said John Morogiello, Best Medicine Rep’s artistic director. “But Jackie’s dilemma is a little like Jane Austen.”

For Brooke Friday, who plays Jackie, the young woman is facing a “common relationship dilemma.” Her goal as an actor is to avoid a female stereotype – of a woman who’s never romantically satisfied.

“I grew up around a lot of people who remind me of Jackie,” she continued. “My goal with the character will be to show her as multifaceted and relatable to the audience. Finding that balance is definitely going to be my biggest challenge ... Does she throw away a sure thing in hope of something better? There are plenty of laughs in this fun romp.”

Brooke, a recent graduate of American University, started acting as a child. She appeared in Best Medicine Rep’s recent production of “The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995.” 
“I just love romantic comedies,” she said. “Because there aren’t a lot of plays written with strong female leads with a lot of depth to them, I’m especially excited to play the role of Jackie.”

However, she added, “having baseball as a major theme makes it appealing to all audiences.”

Morogiello, noted that in scheduling “Derek Jeter” when it did, the theater was aiming to coincide the production with the opening of the baseball season.

“But you don’t have to like baseball to enjoy ‘Derek Jeter,’ he said.
The appearance of Rebecca Herron in the play represents the first time a Best Medicine Rep board member is acting in a full-length production at the theater.

“It’s exciting to be up there,” she said. “I’ve been in almost every reading we’ve done, but now I’m in a real show!”

With a BFA from the University of Miami, Herron has performed all over the country and was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award in 2006 for a role at Theater Alliance. 

Herron, who still has to “stay on top of the production” while acting, enjoyed playing the character of Lou – Jackie’s sister – in the reading of the play last season. It’s even more gratifying to reprise the role in a full production,” she said.

“Lou is much like people I knew when I lived in Queens,” Herron added. “She doesn’t disguise her feelings about Sal, because she wants what’s best for her sister. The fact that she is a Mets fan in a play about a famous Yankee is hilarious.”

“Derek Jeter Makes a Play” runs April 25 through May 19 at Best Medicine Rep, whose theater space is located on the second floor of Lakeforest Mall at 701 Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg. Easiest access is via the Green Flower entrance. For more information, visit www.bestmedicinerep.org.  

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