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Small cast to deliver big laughs

Marcy Watzl, left, Min Martin Oakes and Tim Bowes star as three dysfunctional siblings in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." (Photos by Samantha Bengs)1 / 4
John O'Sullivan as Spike (left) and Brittany Westerberg as Nina (right) join the siblings. 2 / 4
Sara Shannon plays Cassandra, a cleaning woman who can see the future, similar to the Greek tragedy character of the same name.3 / 4
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Red Wing's long-running community theatre, Phoenix Theatre, proudly presents a local cast production of Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." Nominated for six Tony Awards, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" is one of the most lauded and beloved Broadway plays of recent years.

The play follows Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia, who live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up. Their peace is disturbed when their movie-star sister Masha returns unannounced with her 20-something-year-old boy toy, Spike. A weekend of rivalry, regret and raucousness begins. The comedic play is directed by Julie Martin.

"The sticky family dynamics are universal. Audience members can relate to the thorny sibling relationships, but somehow it is easier to laugh when it isn't your own family. Call up your bossy sister and your brother who has power of attorney, and bring them to see Phoenix Theatre's production of 'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike'," Martin said.

In his author's notes of the production, Tony Award-winner Durang said the names of the sibling leads — Vanya, Sonia and Masha — are characters of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. In Durang's words, the modern name of Spike is "meant to be jarring."

The cast includes some favorite local veteran performers with Tim Bowes as Vanya, Min Martin Oakes as Sonia, Marcy Watzl as Masha, John O'Sullivan as Spike, Sara Shannon as Cassandra, and Brittany Westerberg as Nina. Angelica Dimock and Jamie Johnholtz are stage managers, with Charlie Woodruff managing lighting, and Chelsea Indrehus hair and makeup.

This event is part of the Sheldon Theatre's Homegrown Series, which strives to enrich the local community, shaping lifelong memories through participation and the pride of watching friends, family and neighbors find and share their talents and passions on stage.

"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" will run Thursday, March 23 through Sunday, March 26. Tickets range from $10-$18 and are available online at www.sheldontheatre.org or by calling 651-388-8700.

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