StageWorks opens with ‘Almost, Maine’
Feb 23, 2014 | 667 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 TWO OF THE ACTORS from StageWorks of Cleveland’s “Almost, Maine” production are ready for opening curtain Feb. 28.
TWO OF THE ACTORS from StageWorks of Cleveland’s “Almost, Maine” production are ready for opening curtain Feb. 28.
StageWorks of Cleveland will soon be performing the first play of its second season and its fourth play since it became an organized community theater group in 2012.

The audience will get to see not just one but several stories of love and loss when the curtain opens on performances of John Cariani’s play “Almost, Maine” on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2, 7 and 8.

On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways.

Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend — almost — in this delightful midwinter night's dream.

The play consists of several different scenes pieced together to show how love impacts people’s lives for better or for worse.

Director Jamie Newberg, who is directing a StageWorks play for the first time, she said she chose “Almost, Maine” because it features characters that have stories that could resonate with many in the audience.

Actress Lora Langford, who plays the character Marci, said she almost did not try out for a role because of what she perceived to be a big age difference between her and the character.

However, she said once she learned more about the play, she liked it so much she had to try for a part.

Actor Jim Veenstra plays the character Phil, He chose to take part in the play in part to practice what he teaches.

A teacher at East Hamilton High School in Ooltewah, he will be taking part in a theater production of his own while he continues to coach students on the art of acting at the school.

He said he believes “Almost, Maine” is not about actors simply acting, but portraying the characters in ways that are as genuine as possible.

“The joy of acting is bringing the truth of a human being’s experiences to life,” Veenstra said.

Acting has also become a family affair for him and his daughter, Joy Veenstra. Each of them are acting in the scenes that make up “Almost, Maine.”

Fellow cast member Dawn Hendrix said she likes that the play covers a lot of different situations related to love.

“It shows all aspects of love,” Newberg said.

She added that audience members who get invested in the characters’ stories may get upset and even cry, but there will also be moments of laughter and happy endings.

It stars Haley Anderson, Colin Castleberry, Megan Castleberry, Dawn Hendrix, Harrison Keely, Lora Langford, Michael Myers, Jacque Payne, Jim Veenstra and Joy Veenstra.

Some of the actors in the StageWorks production of “Almost, Maine” will still be acting in more than one role, assuming the lives of the different characters in different scenes.

The play will be performed in the George R. Johnson Memorial Theater at Cleveland State Community College, which is located at 3535 Adkisson Drive in Cleveland.

Performances are Feb. 28 at 8 pm., March 1 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., March 2 at 3 p.m., March 7 at 8 p.m. and March 8 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students or seniors. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $7.50 each by contacting StageWorks by email or phone and making special arrangements to do so.

For tickets for “Almost, Maine,” visit or the “StageWorks of Cleveland” page on Facebook, email or call 380-8073.