'Bus Stop' at Actors' Summit a warm respite from the cold weather

by April Helms Special Products Editor Published:

With the bitter cold that's been prevalent here this winter, it's hard to believe that anything good can come from the surplus of snow, slush and sludge (unless, of course, you are in a business that thrives on a lot of snow, slush or sludge).

But a snowstorm provides the backdrop to a sweet, gently humorous story in "Bus Stop" by William Inge, which is now on stage at Actors' Summit in Akron.

The play seemed a hit with the opening night audience on Feb. 21.

"I think this was beautifully cast," said Robin Selinger of Hudson after the performance that night. "I'm a season subscriber and I've seen everything they've done since we moved here in 2005, and this was one of their best shows."

"Bus Stop," directed by Ric Goodwin, is set in a 1950s diner located on a bus route. The diner is owned by the world-weary Grace (played by Elizabeth Lawson), who is assisted by Elma (played by Rebecca Ribley), a young and naive teen. A snowstorm has blocked the roads, meaning that the two are stuck at the diner, along with the bus driver and bus passengers who have stopped there. The bus driver, Carl, (played by Jim Fippin) and Grace have a very friendly relationship, and are not too inconvenienced by the snowstorm. The other eclectic mix of passengers include Bo (played by Dean Courtris), a brash young cowboy, Virgil (played by Bill Hoffman), who serves as a bit of a father figure to Bo, Cherie (played by Llewie Nunez), a nightclub singer who caught Bo's eye and has been reluctantly dragged along for the bus ride, and Dr. Gerald Lyman (played by Doug Hendel), an alcoholic who seems to be on the run from something (and it doesn't take the audience long to figure out why).

Hendel, who lives in Alliance, said this is the third time he has been involved with a production of "Bus Stop."

"I was in this [play] about 40 years ago, playing Virgil," Hendel said. "Four years ago, I directed this at Mount Vernon. I really enjoyed making my debut here. This is a good group, a good theater."

The show runs without intermission.

Ticket and show information

"Bus Stop" runs through March 9. Performances are given Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., and take place at Greystone Hall, in downtown Akron. The show is appropriate for all ages. Tickets for "Bus Stop" are on sale now through the box office at 330-374-7568 and online at actorssummit.org. Tickets are $33 for adults, $28 for seniors over 65; and $10 for all full-time students under 30.

The theater is on the sixth floor of historic Greystone Hall in downtown Akron.

For details, visit www.actorssummit.org.

Next on stage

Actors' Summit will next produce the regional premiere of "Handle With Care" by Jason Odell Williams which can be seen March 27 through April 13.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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