Town & Gown Theatre will re-introduce audiences to A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” in February. The Stillwater theatre company has produced “Sylvia” once in the past, but the over 15-year gap means many patrons will be seeing this heartfelt and hilarious show for the first time.
“Sylvia” tells the tale of Greg and Kate, middle-aged empty nesters who have recently moved into Manhattan after raising a family in the suburbs. Greg is increasingly dissatisfied with his position as a financial trader, while Kate finds her career as a public-school English teacher taking off in exciting directions. As Greg sits on a bench during an afternoon of playing hooky from work in Central Park, a dog bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag wanders up and “finds” him. Greg decides on the spot that she should come home to live with him and Kate.
In a surprising twist, Sylvia is played by a young woman who acts decidedly dog-like at times, but also has deep, thoughtful, and often hilarious conversations with both Greg and Kate. Unfortunately, Kate views the immediate and powerful bond between Greg and Sylvia with intense jealousy. The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until Greg and Kate learn to compromise and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives.
The cast of Sylvia includes longtime Town & Gown members Shane O’Mealey as Greg; Bonnie Cain-Wood as Kate; and Jacob Boyd as Tom (a new friend of Greg’s from the dog park), Phyllis (Kate’s college friend and now New York socialite), and Leslie (the couple’s marriage therapist). OSU Theater student Sydney Wehmeyer will delight audiences as the title character in her fourth show at Town & Gown.
Director Paul Weber appeared as Greg in Town & Gown’s original production and is excited to bring the story back to the theater’s stage for a new generation of patrons to enjoy. Weber states that, “Of all the shows I’ve been involved with over the years, this is one of my favorites. Anyone who has ever had a dog will relate to this story. It’s very humorous, but also a warm and touching look at how a pet can mend a relationship. I’m really glad to have the opportunity to bring this special show back to Town and Gown.”
“Sylvia” will run from Feb. 9-12 and 16-19. Thursday through Saturday evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 6 and can be obtained by calling the Town & Gown box office at (405) 372-9122 or visiting the theatre’s Web site at www.townandgown.org. Tickets prices are $14 each. “Sylvia” contains adult language and themes and is not suitable for young children.