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Review

Cheaper by the Dozen
by Mt. Carmel's Theatre at the Mount
 

THE SHOW:  

Adapted by Christopher Sergel from the 1948 autobiographical book by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth.  

Narrated by the two children who wrote the book the play is based upon, Cheaper by the Dozen tells the story of growing up in the 1920s in a household of a dozen siblings. At the center of it is a tribute to their father, Mr. Gilbreth (when people asked him about having so many kids, his standing joke was that they were cheaper by the dozen). The story takes us through the kind of stories many families can relate to including quite a bit on the frustrations of the girls trying to date with an overprotective father, as well as the humorous quirks caused by this particular fatherís obsession with logistics and efficiency. Vigorous dishwashing training involves cutting out all unnecessary movements. The kids have a record player in the bathroom so that they can get their foreign language lessons while brushing their teeth so no time is wasted. But itís not until later that the kids learn that all this is caused by more than their fatherís career, and the more personal reason why he feels each second is so precious. In the end, itís a charming story about family.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Director Diane Jones begins her last of many seasons at Mt. Carmel High School with this genuine and heartfelt production of Cheaper by the Dozen. The professional-looking quaint, clean, and orderly house set by Bob Lindwall frames it nicely. Debbie Waldschmidtís 1920s-era clothing helps complete the transportation to an earlier time. The attention to detail goes beyond whatís clearly visible to the audience member. They created a wood checkerboard and pieces as a prop just to help the actors on stage feel more in the moment of the 1920s through all they see and touch on stage.  

That cast includes Gabi Zepeda as Ernestine and Isaac Lopez as Frank getting us going and taking us through the story as the narrators. They both dive into telling embarrassing or funny family stories just like any siblings eager to tell embarrassing or funny family stories. They also combine for a great skit in the living room as they imitate their parents, much to the amusement of their siblings and parents. Those parents include Winter Sherrod in a great performance as the kind and more easygoing mother. Reed Wagner is the father and focal point of the story, and he gives a remarkably realistic, nuanced portrayal as he tries to run a tight ship, tries to deal with dating daughters and changing ways, all while hoping to maintain a warm, loving family.  

There are many strong performances a few of which include Claire Keefer as the frustrated Anne fighting for the right to silk stockings and dating without her brother as chaperone, Jason Goldfarb as brother Bill the chaperone, and Zachary Crook as would-be date Joe Scales who walks into the house with confidence, humor and charisma, but changes his tune as Mr. Gilbreth makes demands like a brother as a chaperone. Overall itís an ensemble production, and itís the easy and natural interaction between all the many siblings and their parents that makes this production relatable, humorous, and ultimately very touching.

Performed October 9-18, 2014
To submit candids for possible inclusion in Yearbook, attach in email to rob@nationalyoutharts.com

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts


~ Cast ~ 


  Add Artist Page
Mr. Gilbreth: Reed Wagner
Mrs. Gilbreth: Winter Sherrod
Ernestine: Gabi Zepeda
Frank: Isaac Lopez
Jackie: Christian Wildey
Dan: Alex Fomenkov
Bill: Jason Goldfarb
Fred: Marcus Rzonca
Anne: Claire Keefer
Lillian: Mary Myers
Martha: Carina Kenny
Mrs. Fitzgerald: Madeline Armosino
Joe Scales: Zachary Crook
Miss Brill: Lindsay Beatty
Larry: Ben Reany
Dr. Burton/Mr. Fitzgerald: Niko Patrico
Jane: Sahana Cletus
$5 Dog: Maddy

Director: Diane Jones
Set Design: Bob Lindwall
Costume Design: Debbie Waldschmidt
Lighting Design: Mike Hinchman
Sound Design: David Lopez
Hair and Makeup Design: Pam Stompoly
Props Design: Susan Simmons
Program Design: Susie McGowan
Production Manager: Jackiie Tinga
Stage Manager: Hailey Barry
Technical Director: Lisa Porter
Costume Head: Haley Messervy
Hair & Makeup Head: Emily Hilburn
Lighting Head: Sierra Ferrugia
Props Head: Antonia Wolner
Sound Head: Haley Young



   

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