Maranatha to Present Neil Simon’s Fools

Published : Friday, February 7, 2014 | 12:44 AM

Front Row (left to right) – Emma Hausler, Jillian Hurte, Holly Campbell, Abby Campbell, Rylie Campione, Theater Director, Jeremiah Blessinger; Second Row (left to right) – Kat Chevalier, Nathaniel Santiago, Hailey Gomez, Elena Santana, Kendra Fitzgerald, Maya Malekian, Irene MacPherson, Emma Moore, Jonathan McCullah, Frank Danna, Cameron Smith; Back Row (left to right) - Christine Crosby, Noah Daniels; Not pictured – Grace Rosema

Neil Simon’s comic fable Fools will come to life on the stage of the Ambassador Auditorium February 27 through March 1, 2014. Maranatha High School’s production of Simon’s famous play is creating great excitement for several reasons. It will be the first production directed by their new Theater Director, Jeremiah Blessinger. Mr. Blessinger recently joined Maranatha as their Theater faculty and Director. He has over 15 years of professional film and theatrical experience working in the Industry as a screenwriter and assistant director of various LA theater companies. MHS students have been enjoying his creativity and strong directing skills.

The unique manner in which this play will be staged is also generating buzz.  Fools is the story of the idyllic Russian village Kulyenchikov at the turn of the last century. For the last 200 years, the village has been cursed with Chronic Stupidity. Leon Tolchinsky, the new teacher for the town, arrives to find the townspeople sweeping dust from their stoops back into their houses and milking cows upside down to get more cream.  It is his job to get rid of the curse, but no one tells him that if he stays in the town for more than twenty-four hours he will be cursed as well. In addition, he has fallen in love with a girl so stupid that she has only recently learned to sit down. The Maranatha Theater Department wants the audience to become part of the village and the hilarity that surrounds it, so they are creating a more intimate atmosphere by placing both the set of the village itself and the audience on the stage of the Ambassador Auditorium. Everyone who attends will become, in a very real sense, residents of the village of Kulyenchikov.

As far as they are aware, this type of staging has never been done at the Ambassador and Maranatha is excited to be the “trail-blazers” of this new approach to theatrical production at this venerable site. This production brings not only the excitement and humor of a Neil Simon play performed by Maranatha’s talented students, but a chance to be part of something new and different at the Ambassador. Tickets are now on sale: $10 for the general public and $8 for students. Performances start nightly at 7:00 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m. Guests can save $1 per ticket by purchasing their tickets in advance online at www.maranatha-hs.org/boxoffice. Because of the unique way this show is being staged, seats are truly limited… so get yours early.

Maranatha School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.

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