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The Cemetery Club 

By Ivan Menchell

Directed by Becky Niccum

Sponsored by The Ron Venderly Foundation

November 25, 26, 
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 11*, 16, 17, 2016

(*2:00PM Sunday matinee)

Three Jewish widows meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husband's graves. Ida is sweet tempered and ready to begin a new life, Lucille is a feisty embodiment of the girl who just wants to have fun, and Doris is priggish and judgmental, particularly when Sam the butcher enters the scene. He meets the widows while visiting his wife's grave. Doris and Lucille squash the budding romance between Sam and Ida. They are guilt stricken when this nearly breaks Ida's heart.

"Funny, sweet tempered, moving." – Boston Globe

 "Very touching and humorous. An evening of pure pleasure that will make you glad you went to the theatre." – Washington Journal Newspapers

 Produced through special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.



Actor Bios

Hazel Stream (Ida)- Hazel is thrilled to be making her Fort Wayne Debut at the Arena Dinner Theatre.

She holds a degree in Theater Arts and worked several years backstage at the Academy and Grammy awards shows in Los Angeles until relocating to northern California where she was the Executive Director for The Alternative Arts Collective (TAAC) a theater company in Sacramento. Her productions at TAAC included, among others, Hamlet, Lear, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, BUG, Quills, Mr. Marmalade, A Doll's House. Spring's Awakening and Angels in America. Her most recent on-stage roles include: Dora in Equus, Kimberly in Kimberly Akimbo, Hippolyta inMidsummer Night's Dream and Clairee in Steel Magnolias.

She would like to thank Becky Niccum for taking a chance on the new kid in town and her daughter Shawna and son-in-law Roger for encouraging here to move to this wonderful city. She dedicates this performance with love to her talented, brilliant children: Shawna, Glenn and Grant.

Carol Howell-Wasson (Lucille); Carol was last seen on the Arena stage as Dolly in The Kitchen Witches. Other roles include Ethel in Barefoot in the Park (Arena Award); Maxine in Stepping Out; an ensemble member in A Christmas Survival Guide; Mrs. Stancliffe in Sex Please, We’re Sixty (Arena Award); Mildred Sloan in Squabbles; and she won Arena Awards for the roles of Mama Rose in Gypsy; Mother Superior in Nuncrackers; Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman; Rosemary in Picnic; and Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. At the Civic Theatre, she last appeared as Martha in White Christmas (Anthony Award); and as Yente in Fiddler on the Roof. Regional credits include numerous performances at the Black Hills Playhouse, Chicago Light Opera Works; and the Theatre of the Stars, and the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Carol is thrilled to be working with director Becky Niccum again; and with this talented cast. She dedicates her performance to her best friend and love of her life – Jim; and to her Mom, who is her biggest fan up in heaven. Happy holidays to all!!

DONNA FREY – ( Doris ) Donna is excited to be on stage again following last year’s Christmas Show, Exit Laughing, in the role of Leona. She has received numerous awards for performances on stage as well behind the scenes as an Assistant Director, Stage Manager and Dresser. Additional Arena roles include: Charmaine Beauregard in Sex Please, We’re Sixty, Elizabeth Crossland in True Life Christmas Disasters, Jessie in The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue, Delilah in Father of the Bride, Emma Dean in James Dean: The Boy from Fairmont and as Edith Chiles in Death by Chocolate.


Bruce Hancock (Sam) -Bruce is honored to be a part of this talented cast and crew as they present this wonderful story.  He has spent over 25 years in the theatres of Fort Wayne doing a variety of things. Most recently he has stayed behind the scenes as stage manager for productions mostly with the Civic Theatre.  His last major role was as Lazer Wolf, in Fiddler on the Roof at Civic and played opposite to Carol Howell-Wasson.  He is once again playing a butcher. He was the recent recipient of the George H. Keogel Award for Lifetime Achievement in theatre. He is grateful to Becky for taking a chance on this rusty, aging actor.  Bruce is the Arts Coordinator for Weisser Park Arts Magnet School for Fort Wayne Community Schools.  He dedicates this performance to Karen Hancock who will always have a piece of his heart.

Judy Whitney (Mildred) - Judy is happy to return to the Arena stage after appearing in "See Jane Quit". Judy has appeared in "On Golden Pond" and "It's a Wonderful Life" at 1st Presbyterian Theatre and "The Ladies in Cabin 10" at the Civic Theatre. Judy designs, makes and sells neck ware. She is a merchandiser and loves to travel. Judy is happy to work for Becky for the 1st time because she is a fun and encouraging director.

Becky Niccum (Director) Becky is thrilled to be directing such a wonderful cast in this beautiful piece of theater. She was last seen on stage in Arena’s season opener, They Came from Mars… where she had a delightful time with that non-sensical, crazy, mixed up show. This past July she received an Arena Award for her performance as Millie in Exit Laughing from last season. She kept busy after Exit Laughing by Directing Avenue Q for the Civic Theatre this past spring. Last season she directed The Kitchen Witches here at Arena. Becky is no stranger to the theatre in this town, both on and off stage. Some of her favorite shows have been The Curious Savage, The Butler Did It, Auntie Mame, Scapino, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Picnic. The list could go on and on. Let’s just say, the smell of the greasepaint is in her soul.


Brock Eastom (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be stage managing another show at Arena. His first time stage managing was with Exit Laughing last year, and he was also on stage last season as Rob the Camera Guy in The Kitchen Witches. 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. By day, Brock loves working as an Administrative Assistant for the Fort Wayne Youtheatre. Brock would like to thank Becky for asking him to stage manage, and the entire cast for such a fun experience. He dedicates this show to his grandma for teaching him to live life to the fullest, because it’s too short.


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