Go and do
WHAT: “The Last Mass at St. Casimir’s”
WHEN: at 8 p.m. May 1-2 and 8-9; at 7 p.m. May 7; and at 2 p.m. May 3 and 10
WHERE: The Public Theatre, Maple and Lisbon streets, Lewiston
TICKETS: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students; group rate $14 for 10 or more. Call 782-3200.

LEWISTON – Winter is over for us here, but out in Buffalo, N.Y., the Pazinski family is getting clobbered by the blizzard of the century.
It’s all taking place on The Public Theatre stage, which ends its current season with a nostalgic comedy called “The Last Mass at St. Casimir’s.” The show opens May 1.
“The Last Mass is very poignant, serious and at the same time it’s very funny,” said Janet Mitchko, who directs this heartwarming play by Tom Dudzick.
The story, which deals lovingly with issues of family and faith, should kindle plenty of familiar feelings for audiences from the Twin Cities and nearby communities, Mitchko said. The play deals with a working-class family in a city where the old and comfortable downtown is in decline.
Members of the Pazinski family are gathering to say their final goodbyes to their recently sold childhood home, which the new owners will soon convert into a Vietnamese restaurant. The reunion coincides with the closing and last mass at their Catholic church, but the real reason for the get-together is to resolve what should become of the mother and a developmentally challenged brother whose mental condition is worsening.
“When you go home, you’re 9 years old again,” Mitchko said. That’s where the comedy comes in as the bickering siblings revive the habits of their youth. It’s a reminder, Mitchko said, that families may grow older, but they rarely grow up.
Mitchko has four cast members who have appeared in other productions at The Public Theatre, and one actor with local ties who makes his TPT debut.
Andrew Cruse was last seen at TPT as Eugene in Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues,” about 10 years ago. He portrays youngest brother Rudy, the former Catholic school class clown who is now a New York comedy writer.
His older sister, Annie, is played by Sara Schabach, who starred as Lisa Kron in last season’s TPT production of “Well.”
Maura O’Brien, who was one of the soccer moms in this season’s opener, “Secrets of a Soccer Mom,” will play Ellen, the mother of the Pazinski brood. O’Brien has a role that’s completely different from that earlier outing; she plays a much older character. David Mason, who played several comic roles in TPT’s “Almost, Maine,” plays Georgie, the mentally challenged brother.
Making his debut at TPT is local actor Matt Delamater, playing the eldest brother, Eddie. Delamater has appeared in productions of other area theater groups in recent years. Mitchko said it’s the first time he has experienced the routine of all-day, every day rehearsal and preparation of a play at a professional theater.
“The Last Mass at St. Casimir’s” is the third play in the autobiographical trilogy written by Dudzick, who has been called “the Catholic Neil Simon.”
The first of his plays, “Over the Tavern,” has been performed in recent months by theater organizations in Portland and Waterville.
Mitchko said each of the plays about the Palinskis stands on its own, and it doesn’t matter if audiences have seen the others.
She also noted that this play has a lot in common with the style of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” by Joe DiPietro, a popular TPT production last year.
Audiences will find many items up for bid in The Public Theatre’s 16th annual silent auction fundraiser happening in the lobby during the run of this production.

 


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