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Failure: A Love Story (Comedy)

By Philip Dawkins

Directed by Gloria Minnich

January 20, 21, 27, 28, February 3, 4, 2017


By the end of 1928, all three Fail sisters will be dead -- expiring in reverse order, youngest to oldest, from blunt object to the head, disappearance, and finally consumption. Tuneful songs, and a whimsical chorus follow the story of Nelly, Jenny June, and Gerty as they live out their lives above the family clock repair shop near the Chicago River, before their time unexpectedly runs out. A magical, musical fable where, in the end, the power of love is far greater than any individual's successes or failures.


"A wholly wonderful show that is profound, yet at the very same time whimsical beyond all imagining -- a show in which time is of the essence, and in which love and death (especially death that comes suddenly and prematurely) conjoin in the strangest yet most beautiful of waltzes." – Hedy Weiss, The Chicago Sun Times


"A Chicago tale full of emotional riches... In particular and most movingly, the play is probing the whole idea of how all of our loves and our happiness are, alas, bound by the confines of time." – Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune

 Produced through special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.


Gloria Minnich (Director) is making her Arena directorial debut with this show.  She fell in love with the script the moment she read it and is so excited to finally get to share this story with Arena audiences.   Gloria’s first love is acting and she has appeared onstage in many shows, including Always A Bridesmaid, Exit LaughingThe Smell of the Kill, Barefoot in the ParkThe Mousetrap, Blithe SpiritLaughing StockSame Time, Next Year, Stepping Out, Plaza Suite, Almost, MaineAny WednesdayLast of the Red Hot LoversVanitiesCrimes of the Heart, and Death By Chocolate at Arena. She appeared in The Road to Mecca , Durang: 5 Comedies in 1, Private Lives and Proof at the Civic Theatre and You Can’t Take It With You, Henry IV, and Eleemosynary at First Pres. Theatre.  When not onstage, she teaches drama and dance classes at area schools.  She is a member of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective Touring Company, which performs in schools across Indiana.  She loves to travel abroad and has studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Drama Resource, and the National Theatre in England. She would like to thank her incredible cast and crew for helping her to bring this story to life and for trusting in her vision for the show.  She would also like to thank Greg, who did so much work behind the scenes. She dedicates this show to everyone that has "gone on their way", especially her mom, Clara, who always read her bedtime stories and taught her to believe in herself and to have courage.

Actor Bios

Emily Caudill (Gerty Fail, Mae the Monk Parakeet, Musician-flute) is delighted to make her second appearance on stage with Arena Dinner Theatre. She has most recently performed as part of the ensemble in the Civic Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol,  Ensign Connie Walewska in Arena Dinner Theatre's South Pacific, and Nurse Flinn in First Presbyterian Theater's production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Emily received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from IPFW. Stage credits at IPFW include Evangeline Harcourt in Anything Goes, and Mrs. Spencer, Ensemble in Merrily We Roll Along. Emily thanks her family for all of their support. She hopes to become a fixture in Fort Wayne's theatre community.

Brian Wagner (Henry Fail, Pal the Dog, December the Monk Parakeet, Mantle Clock, Doctor, Reporter) - Brian is thrilled to return to the Arena stage in this production. He was last seen onstage as the telephone repairman in Barefoot in the ParkHe has kept busy behind the scenes at Arena in recent seasons as the director of They Came From Mars..., Exit LaughingThe Smell of the KillSame Time, Next Yearand See Jane QuitBrian has won many Arena and Civic awards for his work as a performer, director, and technician. During the day, he serves as the Executive Director of Arena.

Rachel Dirig (Jenny June Fail) is happy to be returning to the Arena stage. She performed as Mavis in Stepping Out in 2013, and as Joanne in Vanities in 2007. Rachel works at Bishop Dwenger High School, and Phoenix Associates. She would like to thank her amazing family members for helping to take care of her kids during rehearsals, and for all of their love and support.

Emma Jean Baker is excited to make her Arena Dinner Theatre debut. She recently graduated with her BA in Theatre from Purdue University in West Lafayette. Some of her credits include Eurydice (Loud Stone), Macbeth (Witch), The Crucible (Elizabeth Proctor), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Bennet), The Spoon River Anthology, and Betty’s Diner (Female Understudy). Also, Emma appeared as Shakespeare's Juliet in Love and Death with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra. Emma worked as an Acting Apprentice at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, appearing in workshop productions of The Winter's Tale and Batter The Doom Drum. For more information, please visit:

Brock Eastom (The Front Door,  Grantland Rice,  Johnny Weismuller,  The Window,  Ellis Island Desk Clerk,  Picnicker, Tugboat Captain, Dockworker, the Bust of Ian K. Bonner, Medic, Customer, Comatose Tabby Cat) was on stage at Arena last season as Rob the Camera Guy in The Kitchen Witches. He also just finished stage managing and designing sound for Arena’s previous show, The Cemetery Club. Brock is a Junior at IPFW for Communications, and in his free time, he enjoys writing scripts and novels. He published his debut novel, Too Late, last May, which is available at the Allen County Public Library. By day, Brock loves working as an Administrative Assistant for the Fort Wayne Youtheatre.


Janet K. Piercy (Chorus, Marietta Fail- mother, Gramophone) is an award winning actress (A Christmas Story-Anthony Award, Love, Sex and the IRS-Arena Theatre Award). Busy this season she was seen as Mrs. Mops and Granny Chuzzlewit in A Christmas Carol at Civic Theatre and as Mrs. Armstrong in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Fort Wayne Youtheatre. She was also in last spring’s show here at Arena, Always a Bridesmaid. She has been active in nearly every theatre in town over many years and is enjoying getting to work with new actors in this show. Janet is a music educator at Arlington Elementary School and the Choral Associate at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Jordan Plohr (John N Fail, Musician- Piano and Accordian) is happy to be returning to the Arena stage in this fun, though somewhat somber role. Other recent credits include roles in South Pacific, Coriolanus, and Jane Eyre. He would like to thank Gloria for the opportunity to bring this character to life. He would like to thank his friends and family for their constant love and support. he would like to extend a special thank you to his grandpa, Frank, for the gift (and burden) of the accordion that makes an appearance.

Justin Dirig (Mortimer Mortimer) is excited to make his arena dinner theater debut! His last role was in the box factory. You might also recognize him from a great performance in that bar you once liked.

On a serious note, Justin would like to thank his beautiful wife, Rachel for the encouragement to get back on stage after 14 years and his well-behaved children (Layla, Cordelia and Teddy) that never make a scene anywhere they go! He should also thank his friends and family for all of their love and support. Finally, he would like to thank Gloria for the opportunity to work with this wonderful cast!

Kevin Knuth (Chorus, Grandfather Clock, Captain, Barkeep Dodd, Reporter, Musician- guitar).

Kevin is an award winning actor well known to Arena audiences. He last appeared in Rounding Third. Other shows include Same Time, Next Year, Plaza Suite and Almost, Maine. Kevin also serves on the Arena Board of Directors. He is honored to share the stage with such a talented cast. A special thank you to his friend and director Gloria Minnich for this unique opportunity.
As always, Kevin would like to thank his wife Sharon for her love and support. In his spare time Kevin can often be seen walking his dogs Tucker and Hadley through the Oakdale Neighborhood where he and Sharon reside. Kevin dedicates this show to his Grandson Peter, who joined the family in September!


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