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Drama teacher searches for missing wife in Best Medicine Rep’s ‘Blue Over You’

Francis (played by John Morogiello) believes he’s found a clue in the Best Medicine Rep’s one-person mystery “Blue Over You.” COURTESY PHOTOFrancis (played by John Morogiello) believes he’s found a clue in the Best Medicine Rep’s one-person mystery “Blue Over You.” COURTESY PHOTO  On the surface, “Blue Over You” is about a high-school drama teacher who is trying to find his wife who’s gone missing.

Beneath the surface, Dan Noonan’s play, which Best Medicine Rep Theatre is presenting, is the theme of reality and what people think it is.

The fact that “Blue Over You” takes its title from the song Barbra Streisand (as Fanny Brice) sings in the movie version of “Funny Girl” is appropriate. The protagonist Francis periodically breaks into snippets of song from musicals.

These are familiar rather than obscure show tunes, Noonan said.

Since this is a one-person play, audiences will find themselves “intimately involved,” said Best Medicine Rep’s artistic director, John Morogiello, who portrays Francis.

“It’s incredible, wonderful play” he said. “I laughed, and I cried. And Francis is fun. He’s completely off the wall.”

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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.

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When Chaplin defied the Nazis, as told by Best Medicine Rep

 

John Tweel recreates famous scene from Chaplin’s "The Great Dictator" in Best Medicine Rep's stage production of "The Consul, The Tramp and America's Sweetheart." COURTESY PHOTOJohn Tweel recreates famous scene from Chaplin’s "The Great Dictator" in Best Medicine Rep's "The Consul, The Tramp and America's Sweetheart." COURTESY PHOTO  It was 1939, and silent film sensation Charlie Chaplin – the highest-paid entertainer in the world – was trying to make his first talkie.

But “The Great Dictator,” a scathing spoof of Hitler, faced opposition from two directions. The more expected of the two was from the German Consul in Hollywood, whose job was to minimize the film industry's criticism of the Third Reich. But the second, ironically, came from United Artists, the studio Chaplin had co-founded with Mary Pickford (called “America’s Sweetheart”) and others. Though the two were friends, they disagreed about how to handle the pressure.

It was a time before the United States entered World War II, and anti-Semitism was rampant. Nazis showed up at Hollywood parties, and Chaplin, “accused” of being Jewish, made a statement that became famous: “I do not have that honor.”

Eventually, “The Great Dictator,” concerning a Jewish barber whose mustache gets him mistaken for Hitler, was released to great acclaim. And, after America entered the war, public opinion shifted considerably against Nazism.

John Monogiello, president and artistic director of the non-profit Gaithersburg-based theater group Best Medicine Rep, has fashioned these historical elements into the play and BMR’s next production, “The Consul, the Tramp, and America’s Sweetheart.”

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The tale of two staged readings - one a comedy

9BMRJeterOct2017 copyLiz Galuardi and Paul Reisman in Best Medicine Rep’s reading of “Derek Jeter Makes the Play.” COURTESY PHOTO BY MARY ROBERDSThe historical farce “Philosophus,” by contemporary playwright Colin Speer Crowley, is billed as “clever and funny,” making it perfect fare for Best Medicine Repertory Theater.

The Gaithersburg-based theater began its programming earlier this year, focusing on new works and specifically on comedies, according to John Morogiello, artistic director.

“The Shadow of a Doubt,” on the other hand, was written by Edith Wharton, the author of such classic novels as “The Age of Innocence” and “The House of Mirth,” who passed away in 1937. It is her only known play – planned for a Broadway run that never happened.

“Two scholars working at the University of Texas found the manuscript, which Wharton wrote in 1901, right before she started writing novels,” said Drew Lichtenberg, Literary Manager of Shakespeare Theatre Company, where the play will have a reading. “Like many people, she wanted to write for the stage.”

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