Sentimental comedy focuses on family

Successful playwright's works prove popular around Denver

Posted 10/14/14

At Cherry Creek Theatre's production of “Over the River and Through the Trees” by Joe Di Pietro, the audience sits around the edges of Aida's and Frank's living/dining room in Hoboken, N.J. It's hard to resist entering into the conversation at …

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Sentimental comedy focuses on family

Successful playwright's works prove popular around Denver

Posted

At Cherry Creek Theatre's production of “Over the River and Through the Trees” by Joe Di Pietro, the audience sits around the edges of Aida's and Frank's living/dining room in Hoboken, N.J. It's hard to resist entering into the conversation at times as ambitious young Nick (Luke Sorge) tries to tell his two sets of grandparents that he's moving across the country to Seattle.

He's been coming to dinner every Sunday with the four of them and they cherish the time with him.

Director Gavin Mayer has assembled an excellent cast for this sentimental comedy by one of America's more successful playwrights.

Di Pietro, who hit the big time with “I Love You, You're Perfect — Now Change” some years ago, has had three works onstage in Denver at almost the same time — including “Last Romance” and “Memphis” at the Arvada Center.

Kathy Brady plays Nana Emma and Annie Oberbroekling is Nana Aida — both are very skilled at comic timing and keep the play in constant motion as hovering grandmas.

Eddie Kirsch and Martin David are grandfathers Frank, who should probably quit driving, and Nunzio, who is dealing with some health issues, completing a quartet intent on keeping what's left of “la famiglia” intact in Hoboken. We learn a bit about each one's life story, but it's limited. They are almost caricatures of elderly New Jersey Italians.
They plan a surprise for Nick at the next dinner, involving a young friend of Emma's — Caitlyn, played by Heather Marie Dorris.

Emma is generous with Mass cards for Nick and Aida wants to feed everyone — all the time. She even has a pan of lasagna ready for Nick to take on the plane with him.

This is a sweet play, with top-notch casting. Cherry Creek Theatre has another winner, it would seem. One will probably want to reserve seats in advance to avoid a sell-out.

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