LSM Newswire

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods

The Segal Centre for Performing Arts


Saputo Inc.





April 19 - May 10, 2009

MONTREAL April 2009
The Segal Centre for Performing Arts is delighted to present Joe DiPietro's hilarious and endearing Off-Broadway hit Over The River and Through the Woods.

"The theme of family relationships has been at the heart of our season", said Bryna Wasserman, Artistic and Executive Director of the Segal Centre. "Joe DiPietro's play will make you laugh until you roar and it will wrap its warm arms around you during its more touching moments".

Set in New Jersey in 1994, the play is about Nick, a young, single Italian-American who announces to both sets of grandparents that he has been offered a dream job in Seattle. Devastated by the news, his doting, salt-of-the-earth grandparents, with whom he has dinner every Sunday, cook up a plot to keep him from leaving the nest.

DiPietro, who has been compared to playwright Neil Simon for writing compelling autobiographical plays, says the grandparents he created "Are quite true to life. And if anyone thinks that this play exaggerates them, they would have only had to talk to them. One of them is still alive -- Ida (the inspiration for one of the play's characters, Aida). She gets mad when I reveal her exact age, so let's just say she's comfortably over 90".

Director Steven Schipper says DiPietro's humourous portrait of his grandparents is universal. "He must have sat behind the couch at my house with a tape recorder. There is no other explanation for the accuracy, the word-for-word authenticity of what is on that stage. Sure, my family was Jewish and he's writing about Italians, but you just have to change the pasta to matzo, and you'll see what I mean".

"The arts can create bridges of understanding and respect between cultures and
Over the River and Through the Woods accomplishes this beautifully," adds Bryna Wasserman.

It is in this spirit that the Segal Centre created a 21-day festival called 'A Salute to the Italian Community'.

The 'Salute' will run concurrently with
Over The River and Through the Woods and will feature Italian films, moviemakers and artists. Films showing at the Segal Centre's CinemaSpace include: Italian classics (Estate Violenta, La Traviata, La Resa Dei Conti); modern hits (Cinema Paradiso, Mambo Italiano); movies by Montreal Italian directors; and films about Africa by Italian directors, as part of the 25th annual Vues D'Afrique Festival.

The Lounge, the Segal Centre's increasingly popular downstairs caf, will display select works by photographer Geraldo Pace, sculptor Egidio Vincelli and Italian-born Montreal painters Vito Del Signore and Umberto Bruni.

Finally, Joe DiPietro will be in Montreal to watch Steven Schipper's outstanding cast incarnate his beloved family on the Segal stage. He will also give a lecture about Over the River and Through the Woods and his life as a playwright at Sunday @ the Segal (Sunday, April 19, 11am)

Suzanne Shugar for more information or interview requests.
Tl. (514) 739-2301, ext 8302 or


Doreen Brownstone - Emma Cristano

Well-known in Winnipeg, Doreen has also worked for Drayton Entertainment, Belfry, Sunshine, Citadel, Lunchbox, Globe and Magnus Theatres, plus two northern Manitoba/Ontario winter tours for the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Her resume includes radio, film and TV. In October 2004 she received the National Canadian Actors' Equity Life Membership Award, and in June 2006 a
Life Achievement Award from Manitoba ACTRA. Grateful thanks to director Steven Schipper for this opportunity to appear at the Segal Centre.

Diana Donnelly - Caitlin O'Hare

Diana was born and raised in Montreal. Last time she performed on this stage was with the Montreal Young Company. She recently completed a tour of Tarragon's
East of Berlin in which she originated the role of Sarah. Diana is going into her third season with Soulpepper Theatre after having spent four years with the Shaw Festival. Other Montreal credits include Impromptu on Nun's Island (Centaur); Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Repercussion Theatre). She is married to the wonderful Jeff Meadows.

DeAnn Mears - Aida Gianelli

DeAnn is delighted to be acting in Montreal for the first time with husband Frank Savino. Her
Broadway credits include: Tiny Alice, Abelard and Heloise, Too True To Be Good, Never Live Over A Pretzel Factory and Dear Liar. Ms Mears has performed in major regional theatres throughout the United States and Canada and was a leading actor for seven years at the famed American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. FILM/TV credits include: Presumed Innocent, Petulia, and Justine. She has recurring roles on Law and Order, Beacon Hill, and Another World and was recently seen on Law and Order-Special Victims Unit.
Bernie Passeltiner - Nunzio Cristano

Bernie Passeltiner is thrilled to be back at the Segal where he starred in
Tuesdays with Morrie and Visiting Mr. Green. Broadway appearances: Cafe Crown, Goodbye Fidel, Yentl and The Office. Off-Broadway shows include: Isn't it Romantic, The Dybbuk and The Sunshine Boys. He has toured the U.S., Canada and Japan in West Side Story and Grand Hotel and has played major roles in regional theatres across the U.S. and Canada. Film and TV credits include: Tootsie, 84 Charing Cross Road, What about Bob?, Law and Order, Ed and Kojak.

Frank Savino - Frank Gianelli

Frank has worked many times in Canada. His Canadian credits include: the Canadian Premiere of
Broadway Bound (The Citadel, Edmonton & Royal Alex, Toronto), Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Calgary) and The Royal Hunt of the Sun (O'Keefe Centre, Toronto). Broadway appearances include: Daughter of Silence, Room Service, and Mixed Emotions. Film and TV credits include: Three Days of the Condor, The Race That Won The West, The Trade; Louis Riel and the series Jake and the Kid (CBC), The Sopranos, Law and Order and Hill Street Blues.

Gianpaolo Venuta - Nick Cristano
Over the River and Through the Woods marks Gianpaolo's return to the Segal Centre after more than a year. He was last seen on this stage in The Diary Of Anne Frank in the role of Peter and prior to that starred in Infinitheatre's The Elephant Song. Gianpaolo's film and TV experience includes leading roles in Pure, Il Duce Canadese, Take-Out, as well as a recurring role in Naked Josh. My Claudia, a short film written and directed by Gianpaolo, recently premiered at The Toronto World Short Film Festival and was well-received.


Lighting Design
Sound Design
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The media is invited to photograph and tape an excerpt of
Over the River and Through the Woods

12:30pm for still cameras
1pm for video cameras

Suzanne Shugar for more information or interview requests.
Tl. (514) 739-2301, ext 8302 or


As usual following the play, some of the actors and/or designers will remain on stage to take questions from the audience. Monday Night Talkbacks provides an intimate opportunity for audiences to engage up close and personal with the personalities bringing first class professional English language theatre to Montreal.


Everyone knows the importance of creating and fostering new theatre audiences. To this end, the Segal Centre is offering substantial savings for those under 30, providing an opportunity for full-time college and university students and young professionals to experience high quality theatre at an affordable price.


April 19 - May 10, 2009

April 19 1:30 pm
April 20, 21 8:00 pm

Sunday-@-the Segal:
April 19 11:00 am
Media Opening Night:
Wednesday, April 22 8:00 pm
Monday - Thursday, 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 pm
Sunday 7:00 pm

Wednesdays 1:00 pm
Sundays 2:00 pm

Box Office:
(514) 739-7944

(514) 790-1245

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