“MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET” HITS HEART AND FUNNY BONE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Even if you’re a cook who likes to experiment with mixed ethnicities, you are unlikely to prepare an appetizer of gefilte fish followed by a main course of potato pirogues or pepperoni pizza.  But if you’re a member of the Nowak family of Buffalo, New York, with a firm footing in the Polish community and a fierce loyalty to your family history, this might be a tasty menu to try.

Playwright Tom Dudzick invites you to be a witness to a “Miracle on South Division Street,” a new comedy enjoying its Connecticut premiere at Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre until Sunday, May 2.

The Nowak clan members, led by Clara the matriarch, portrayed by a firmly focused and feisty Peggy Cosgrove, are sure of two things:  that they will remain in Buffalo despite the business closings, depressed economy and families leaving and that they have been blessed by a miraculous occurrence.

Decades before grandpa had been visited in his barbershop by a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to mark the incredible event he had a sculptor erect a fifteen- foot statue of her, encased in glass.  People have been to see her and left prayers for healing and donations and Clara even created a miracle soup that she gives away happily in her soup kitchen next door.

Suddenly Ruthie (Andrea Maulella), the wannabe actress, has an announcement that will impact the family’s conviction that they had been specifically chosen by God.  Son Jimmy (Ethan Paulini) has news of his own he is not so anxious to share while daughter Bev (Liz Zazzi) just doesn’t want to be late for her bowling game.  The solid foundation of faith that has kept the Nowak family together is about to suffer an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.6 on the Richter scale.  Joe Brancato directs this delightful tale for maximum enjoyment.

For tickets ($29-37.50), call Seven Angels Theatre, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.sevenangelstheatre.org.  Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Until June 30, $100 gift certificates are only $75, in honor of the theatre’s twentieth anniversary.  The Children’s Theatre will present “The Velveteen Rabbit” ($8-10), today, Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. as well as Thursday, April 29, Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1 at 10 a.m.  An All Women Comedy Show will celebrate Mother’s Day on Saturday, May 8 at 8 p.m. ($24-29) and on Saturday, May 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 16 at 2 p.m. “Barbra and Frank:  The Concert That Never Was” will feature the music of Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra (tickets $30 until April 30).

Come hear a few family secrets and revelations and stay for a cup of Clara’s good-for-what-ails-you miracle soup.  You’ll laugh all the way to the stove and the statue.

 

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