Program for
Tansy McGinnisMichele Guisti
Axel HammondDave Hibler
Willum CubbertRick Shirer
Warnock WaldgraveJohnn O. Rand
Clelia WaldgraveLeslie Drew
Thor WaldgraveJoshua Drew
Rick SteadmanJim Payton

Michele Guisti
Rick Shirer
Leslie Drew
Joshua Drew
Jim Payton
Dave Hibler


Cox directs audience-friendly 'Nerd' at PowPAC


POWAY - When she accepted the task of directing "The Nerd" for the Poway Performing Arts Company, Anisa Shamis Cox set a goal to bring out the personalities of each of the characters in the Larry Shue comedy.

"You'll walk away from here not just remembering Jim (Payton as the Nerd), you'll remember the whole cast," she said. "I've tried to make each one of them as important as the Nerd in their own right."

She has reached her goal.

"The Nerd" opened last weekend, playing to full houses at every performance. So full, in fact, extra seats had to be added along the aisle.

Shue wowed Broadway audiences ,with "The Nerd" after his successful run of "The Foreigner" set records at New York's Astor Place Theatre. Both of these comedies are now among the most popular being produced throughout the country.

Shue was killed in a plane accident in 1985, ending his amazing contributions to the world of theater.

"The Nerd" deals with a stressed-out architect wanting to honor his commitment to the soldier who saved his life in Vietnam.

Circumstances during the war prevented Willum Cubbert from ever having met his hero, Rick Steadman, so when a nerdy guy shows up on his doorstep in Terre Haute, Ind., claiming to be Rick, Willum welcomes him with open arms.

Confusion runs amok when Rick bursts into the middle of Willum's birthday party. It's one hilarious moment after another as the uninvited guest moves in and takes over the celebration.

"Everyone of us has met a nerd somewhere along the line" Cox said. Payton is colossal as Rick Steachnan. It's one of his greatest roles, and that covers quite a few performances he's done at theaters around the county. This is his 15th appearance at PowPAC.

Payton's antics keep the audience in an uproar, nearly breaking up his fellow actors on stage at times. It's obvious he's enjoying this role and milking it for all it's worth.

Rick Shirer brings an exuberance of energy to his PowPAC debut as Willum, who comes across being as casual as he is overwrought. Johnn 0. Rand is at his best in an outstanding performance as the crusty businessman Ticky Waldgrave, who has hired Willum to design a new hotel. Rand sputters and fumes as he attempts to cope with the nerdy antics of Rick Steachnan.

And with a name like Ticky, you can imagine what fun transpires in mixing it up. Dave Hibler has mastered the character of the sarcastic drama critic Axel Hammond, who is Willum's best friend.

Michele Guisti plays Tansy McGinnis, the TV weather girl who has captured Willum's heart. Guisti has a knack with body language that comes across well to the audience.

Leslie Drew is good as Mrs. Waldgrave. She takes out her aggressions by smashing plates ,with a hammer she conveniently carries in her purse.

Her son, Joshua Drew, is well cast as the obnoxious Waldgrave son, Thor. A husky second-grader, this is Drew's second appearance at PowPAC, having recently performed in "A Christmas Carol."

Bill Cox designed a charming apartment setting for his wife's production, complemented by M. Scott Grabau's lighting design and Lou Alliano's sound design.

Costume consultant Sandra Lynn Kraus chose appropriate outfits.

Delightfully funny, "The Nerd" is a must-see for anyone who enjoys a good laugh.