The Summit Playhouse’s first production of its 2014-2015 season is “Good People.” This play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, lyricist and librettist David Lindsay-Abaire, “Good People” is a stark, yet frequently humorous depiction of people with insecurities driven by limited means and education. Set in South Boston, Lindsay-Abaire’s birthplace, the play juxtaposes two contemporaries – one held captive by her roots, another who “got out,” but can’t seem to reconcile who he is now with who he once was.
Victoria Steele of West Caldwell plays the lead role, Margie (with a hard “g”) Walsh, whose life has never been under her own control. She is rough around the edges, struggles to be optimistic, and yet is eternally working-class. A single mom, her mission in life is taking care of her adult daughter with disabilities – a mission that has made it difficult for her to hold a job or have any life of her own. She is at once desperate and determined. Her boss, Stevie, played by Daniel Hilt of Jersey City, manages the local Dollar Store, and also tries to make the best of a downtrodden existence.
Debbie Bernstein of Maplewood portrays Margie’s best friend, Jean. Jean doesn’t mince words, and could throw a good punch if pushed. She has a catering job at a banquet hall. Terri Sturtevant of Hillsborough is Dottie, Margie’s landlady, who lives upstairs and unreliably sits with Margie’s daughter Joyce when Margie is at work.
The stark differences of lives that start out the same yet end so differently are brilliantly rendered by the introduction of Mike (Mikey) Dillon and his wife, Kate, played by Frank Blauer of Hewitt and Montclair’s Wendy A.Tiburcio. Mike never looked back when he left South Boston to become a doctor, and settled in the upper-class suburb of Chestnut Hill with Kate, part of an elite family from Georgetown. Mike has worked hard to refine himself, but he has a dangerous edge and lots of anger that he fights to keep hidden. When confronted with Margie, he battles to hold the different parts of himself together.
Produced by Arnold Buchaine and directed by Frank Licato, “Good People” will make you laugh, think, and tug at your heart.
Since its founding in 1918, the Summit Playhouse has produced over 300 productions, making it one of the oldest continuously operating community theaters in the United States. The historic institution is devoted to maintaining the practice of theatre arts and encouraging those interested in all aspects of the performing arts and its operations.