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Family comedy begins a 3-weekend run tonight at the Garza Theatre.

Family Comedy at the Garza Theatre

Opening night July 15

Published July 15, 2011 @ 1:25 p.m.

Sometimes a family bond can feel more like bondage.

But Italian-American Nick Cristano soon finds out the power of love and “famiglia” in Joe DiPietro’s “Over the River and Through the Woods,” which opens at 7:30 Friday (July 15) at The Garza Theatre in Post.

The show stars Carla McCollum Brantley, David W. Brantley, Janet Duke, Bill Gelber, Patrick Jones and Desi Taupin.

“This is one of the funniest and most touching scripts I’ve read in a long while,” said John Davis, who directs the show. “It stands as a beautiful testament to the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. I remember when the cast and I were sitting in my living room reading it for the first time, we were laughing, we were crying – sometimes we were doing both at the same time.”

Set in 1988 in Hoboken, N.J., Nick makes a point to eat Sunday dinner with his grandparents every week, though he’s had to give himself some space by living and working as a marketing executive in New York City.

As the only grandchild left in the area, Nick has become a life raft to Aida and Frank as well as Emma and Nunzio, whose age now makes everyday tasks such as driving, working a VCR or remembering anything more difficult. Roles have started to reverse, and Nick must care more for his grandparents.

After Nick’s parents fled to Florida and his sister to California to escape the grandparents’ European ideal of centralized family values, the elders have magnified their meddling in Nick’s life with constant unsolicited advice.

Always meaning well, the two couples want only the best for their only grandson. But they can’t fathom why the 29-year-old executive isn’t married yet or why he’s seeing a therapist. The gap between generations makes for hilarious misunderstandings between grandparents and grandson.

Ideal Cast
“My cast does an amazing job of portraying this family,” Davis said. “I knew in the audition that I got really lucky. I didn’t even have to think about who was going to play what. It just happened. My family came ready-made.”

The tight-knit family’s routine derails when Nick is offered a better job in Seattle, Wash. Shocked, hurt and frightened by the revelation, the grandparents hatch a plan to keep Nick firmly planted and maybe even married off in the bargain.

“You don’t have to be Italian or from the East Coast to understand this show,” Davis said. “There’s an immediate recognition with the family dynamic that just about everyone will get. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents. Their involvement in my life was so instrumental in making me who I am today. We had the same centralized family values and dealt with many of the same issues. Even though they’re gone now, this show has helped to bring them back to life for me – for just a little bit, anyway.”

The show runs at 7:30 p.m. July 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. It will feature a 2:30 p.m. matinee on July 31.

Individual ticket price is still $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, students and active military with proper ID, and $8 for children. Call (806) 495-4005 or visit www.garzatheatre.com to make reservations.

Great Deals
Patron PikPaks featuring four shows and the musical cost $54.50 for general admission, $45 for seniors, students and military, and $38 for children.

Dinner and Drama Package: Two tickets to the show and a home-cooked dinner for two at the Hotel Garza for only $59. Make these reservations by calling the Hotel Garza at (806) 495- 3962.

Play and Staycation Package: Two tickets to the show, home-cooked dinner and one night's stay in a standard room at the Hotel Garza starting at $139. Make these reservations by calling the Hotel Garza at (806) 495-3962.

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