Program for Early One Evening
ShepJonathan Sachs
RoyGary Mutz
WillyJoe Rosanova
BullardJim Clevenger
ShirleyDee Kelley
VirginiaJulie Anderson
JoeTom R. Raftery

Jonathan Sachs
Gary Mutz
Joe Rosanova
Jim Clevenger
Dee Kelley
Julie Anderson
Tom R. Raftery

ProducersJanet Danehy & Nan KatonaSound DesignLou Alliano
DirectorJim PaytonSound TechnicianDavid Taniguchi
Assistant DirectorKathy ParkerCostumesAmanda Lee
Stage ManagerKathy ParkerPropertiesC'Dale Gross
Set DesignJohnn O. RandHouse ManagerKathy McCafferty
Set ConstructionJohnn O. Rand, Chris Robinson, Kathy Parker, Nan Katona, Janet Danehy, Jim Payton, Irene Billingsley, Dan ClarkPhotographyTony Eisenhower
Set DecorationNan KatonaVideo TapingJohn Heinen
Scenic ArtistC'Dale GrossProgram Nan Katona
Window ArtChris Cote of Grafiks to GoPublicityNan Katona
Lighting DesignJim MillardTicketsJim Millard
Lighting TechnicianRoger WilloughbyHospitalityJanet Danehy, Lee Donnelly, Bobbie Goldstein, C'Dale Gross, Annette Huffman, Nan Katona, Chaike Levine, Sheila Miller, Enid Munk, Brenda & Chris Robinson, Barbara Seagren

North County Times, 3/13/98

Poway Performing Arts has crazy fun with 'Early One Evening'

By Bill Fark, Staff Writer

Poway - Faced with the end of the world, what do you do? This is not an entirely hypothetical question. Development of the atomic bomb made it possible, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons increases the likelihood of its happening.

Possiblity has become reality in Bruce Graham's play, "early one evening at the rainbow bar & grille," Poway Performing Arts Company's current show. With the western half of the United States destroyed, a few Midwestern small towners react to impending doom in individual and idiosyncratic ways.

The group is not a true cross-section. The locals who hang out at the Rainbow, as well as visitors, all lean toward the extreme.

Moreover, they are unusually articulate and quick-witted, trading one-liners like characters in a Neil Simon comedy.

Bartender Shep, the nearest-to-normal person in town, who refuses to fight the situation, listens and supports the others.

Roy, the auto mechanic, worries about the grease under his nails and plans to escape to Florida - fast. Virginia, a comely gym teacher who wants her car fixed, is after him with a potentially lethal lug wrench.

Gun-crazy Willie roams the community looking for someone to shoot. Shirley, another bartender, crosses off items on her want list: new car, jewelry, Shep.

The drop-ins do little to improve the situation. Bullard is a womanizing salesman looking for a bomb shelter to share. Joe's conversation and propositions are so far-out that he has to be crazy.

Playwright Graham has nto thought the story through; his play is out of balance. The characters and the banter are such great fun that the introduction of a serious/mysterious note at the end of the first act is out of sync. The second half is heavier, and the ending rushed.

The Poway Performing Arts Company production, while not overcoming the script problems, works fairly well on its own terms. Director Jim Payton emphasizes the comic aspects of a grotesque situation and keeps the show moving, with the help of a capable cast.

Jonathan Sachs (Shep) has the right look and demeanor for the voice of reason representative. His easy interaction with the various stereotypical characters provides a welcome sense of balance.

Julie Anderson's wrench-wielding Virginia is also grounded in near-reality, and she plays beautifully against Sachs in an on-the-brink flirtation. Dee Kelley has fun as the life-seeking Shirley.

Gary Mutz is a hoot as Roy, whose sunny nature is ill-suited to looting and selfish behavior. Joe Rosanova plays Willie to the absurdist hilt, as the role is written. Jim Clevenger, who usually plays nice guys, revels in Bullard's lecherous excesses. Tom Raftery, as the mysterious Joe, fills in some of the character's blank spaces with humor.

Johnn O. Rand's scenic design has the proper seedy look of a small-town tavern and makes good use of the space limitations. Jim Millard lights the proceedings well, and Lou Alliano's sound design with the great post World War II recordings is tops.