Jeanna Sager | Democrat
CAROL SCANNELL MACADAM of Mongaup Valley, left, will join John Klemeyer and Sally Minich onstage Off Broadway this week in “Negatives.” The show will have a two-week run beginning tonight.
Off Broadway has local connection
By Jeanne Sager
NEW YORK CITY In theatre speak, “break a leg” has long been tied to good luck.
But for the cast of “Negatives,” perhaps “break a foot” is more appropriate.
It was that appendage, after all, that caused playwright John Klemeyer to create the cast that’s slated to open Off-Broadway this evening.
Already slated to play the brother, Edward, in his own show in Milford, Pa., Klemeyer had lost both the actresses playing his “sisters.” One to personal reasons, the second to that broken foot.
Then came the second bit of luck the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop needed a play. It all depended on Klemeyer finding two women to stand in as Sheila and Barbara, the sisters to Edward. His shifting through their late father’s personal effects prompts the discovery of something mysterious that may or may not link to the Kennedy assassination and kicks off a family crisis.
He heard them speak, and within 10 words, Klemeyer pointed to Carol Scannell MacAdam and Sally Minich.
“I want you, and you,” Minich recalls Klemeyer saying.
He had his family.
That was over a year ago, and the trio went on to introduce “Negatives,” the third play penned by Klemeyer to be produced onstage not only at the Rivoli in South Fallsburg for the Dramatic Workshop, but at Susquehanna University and the Theater Association of New York State convention in Glens Falls.
It was at Susquehanna in the late spring that the trio learned their opportunity to take their act to Theater Row. The Clurman Theatre, one of a collection of renovated historic theatres just off Broadway, will be home to “Negatives” for a two-week run.
It’s a major coup for a group whose roots in theater date back 100 years when combined.
MacAdam, who lives in Mongaup Valley, has been working with the Delaware Valley Opera, Forestburgh Playhouse and Dramatic Workshop since the early ‘80s. Retired from the postal service, MacAdam saw the ad go out for a mature actress and jumped at the chance to get back into theater.
“You don’t get that very often,” MacAdam said with a laugh of the call for a woman her age to play the role.
Her “sister,” Minich, is a nursery school teacher in Ellenville who has been in theater for some 40 years. She studied the craft at SUNY New Paltz, but this was her first foray into Sullivan County acting she’d gotten the call via a friend who used to act in the county and had since moved cross country.
Together, the two women who had never met prior to the audition have melded in a true mini family with Klemeyer, a Milford, PA lawyer who dabbles in writing plays on the sides. He’s written six, had three performed. And this is his first to make it to the heart of theater New York City, and just Off Broadway to boot.
“None of us wanted to let the characters get away from us,” Klemeyer said of the group’s decision to sink not only time but money into the big time. “It’s exciting and intimidating simultaneously.”
Not least of all is the knowledge that he’ll take over a dressing room that’s just been used by acclaimed novelist, actor and choreographer Andre DeSheilds.
It’s not just the brush with fame that makes the Clurman a perfect home for “Negatives”. It’s a small theater 99 seats and set up to create intimacy. No one will be farther from the actors than the seventh row as they watch the family interact in Edward’s East Village apartment.
“I just hope we can do the play great justice,” Minich noted. “Entertain those who come… and hopefully they will come!
“These are roles that have no end in developing,” she continued. “They’re such real people, they have such complexities and such complexities in their relationships.”
With each performance, the trio has found new facets to the roles, and they say the intimate venues have brought out the most in them as actors. Based in real life, within the context of family, “Negatives” has the makings of a play that audiences fall into as they see their own family dynamics playing out on stage.
“It’s a good plot, it’s a good story,” MacAdam noted. “We laughed at the beginning is it a comedy? Is it a drama? It’s a play.”
“It’s life,” Minich added.
And it’s playing at 410 West 42nd Street, just Off Broadway through August 16.
Tickets are available at www.ticketcentral.com or by calling 212-279-4200. Shows are Tuesdays at 7 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Wednesdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.