WA’s newest treat: The Gingerbread Lady

WA's newest treat: The Gingerbread Lady

Mahi Kandage, Author

Westford Academy Theater Arts’s newest production, The Gingerbread Lady, opens on March 22, at 3:00 PM. Although it is a Black Box show, it takes place on the mainstage in the WA performing arts center. The Gingerbread Lady will perform 6 times, on three different dates, March 22, 23, and 24th. Show times are 3:00 and 7:00 PM on all three days.

The play is written by renowned playwright Neil Simon, and was written specially for Maureen Stapleton, an actress who won two awards for her original performance. It first opened on Broadway on December 13th, 1970.

Set in New York City, The Gingerbread Lady contrasts Simon’s other noted works for its dark and dramatic plot.  The story centers around Evy Meara, whose life has been destroyed in all aspects by her addiction to alcohol. A former cabaret singer, she goes to rehab to turn around her life. Having successfully completed the ten-week process, she returns home to her loving friends and family. However, they must overcome the problems they face concerning sexuality, love, and vanity.

Directed by senior Gillian Limbert, the cast began rehearsing in early January, and almost three months later,  the show is almost set to hit the stage at WA. Supporting Gill Limbert as assistant director is sophomore Danny Kelly and sophomore Nolan Hart, stage manager. Freshman Amelia Cohen is in charge of lighting, with Ronan Lovely, another freshman, working the props. The Gingerbread Lady is Lucy Xiao’s first theater production doing costumes, as well as her first year at WA. Xiao, Cohen, and Lovely worked together while the actors were rehearsing their lines to bring the set to life.

“For costumes, props, and lights, we analyzed the script and did research on the time period to get a feel of what we were looking for” said Xiao. “This is my first time doing costumes, so I learned about the characters more and what their personalities are like in order for me to be able to portray the characters better and using costumes to bring the characters to life.”

The mainly freshman cast stars Sami Killian as Evelyn Meara. Poly Meara, Evelyn’s daughter, is played by freshman Eva Plankey and sophomore Carolyn Crimmins. Additionally, character Toby is played by Caroline Burke, and Lou Tanner and Manuel are played by Conor Bellone, both freshman. Another freshman, Ben Holahan, plays the character of Jimmy, a failing actor who tries to support Evy through her hardships.

The production process was one full of new experiences and techniques for the young cast. Regarding the involvement in The Gingerbread Lady, Holahan’s third WATA show, he reflects upon a positive and enriching experience.

“It was really fun to spend time with an amazing cast who genuinely supports each other,” Holahan said.