Leaving Evelyn

Why do we need to live to the bitter end, especially when that end threatens to be so bitter?

By Kathy H. Kafer
Directed by Linda Selman

LEAVING EVELYN is a humorous and poignant journey of a family facing difficult issues of aging. As the matriarch arrives with her second husband for a family barbecue, sparks flyway beyond the grill.  The elder couple struggles as the children react with shock, denial and surrender to the news of Mom’s Alzheimer’s. We are all left with the question: Why do we need to live to the bitter end, especially when that end threatens to be so bitter?

Charles E. Gerber is a 46 year veteran of Broadway: Hamlet (Osric), Oh! Calcutta! Off-Broadway: The Balcony, Manhattan Punchline Festival, The Jazz Singer (Metropolitan Playhouse). National Tours: Torch Song Trilogy (starring as Arnold), Disney’s Beauty And The Beast (Co-Starring as Maurice). Off-Off-Broadway/NY Indie Theater: too numerous to mention here. Film: Vote And Die (dual role), Fever, The Dutch Master (Oscar Nomination), Rain Without Thunder, The Birthday Fish (Leading role and featured at Sundance Festival). Television: “Blue Bloods”, “Royal Pains” “Third Watch”, “Law And Order(s)” ,“Hothouse”, and the Emmy Award winning Children’s show on CBS in Chicago, “The Magic Door” on which Gerber starred, wrote scripts, songs, and was musical director for seven years. Radio: Guest on Joe Franklin, Gil Gross, Norman Mark and WBAI. Webisodes: “BN4REAL.TV (starring role). Charles has portrayed in NY over a dozen major roles of Shakespeare & Moliere mostly directed by his late wife, Carol Bennett Gerber with The Workshop Theater in midtown Manhattan which they helped to co-found More (if you wish): www.charlesegerber.com

Mary Lauren (Susan) is thrilled to be a part of Leaving Evelyn and working with Me and You Productions once again. Off-Broadway: Sarah Sarah Was Mine (Cherry Lane), Sophia Sophia (June Havoc), Donna in the world premiere of Believers (WorkShop Theater), Trixie Jackie Mason Musical (The Davenport Theater) Sally Honestly Abe and Elizabeth Yankee Peddler (The Actors Temple), Choreographer/Tribe Hair (Secret Theatre), Choreographer/ Betty Fabulous (Times Square Arts). Regional: Gertrude Hamlet (Compass Rose) Helena Midsummer (Mysterium), Ruth Thoroughly Modern Millie and Rita White Christmas (Sierra Repertory), Liesl The Sound of Music (Curtain Call Dinner Theatre), Celeste Sunday in the Park with George (The Chance), Natalie Wood and Ginger Rogers Home (St George Productions) and Polly The Boyfriend (Greer Garson Theatre). Mary is a proud AEA member. Thank you Galen and to my family. This one is for your Grandma.

Galen Murphy-Hoffman (Nate) is honored to be a part of this project.  New York:  The Dishonorable Discharge of Private Pitts (IATI), Film Noix (New York Fringe Festival), Cookin’ With Oil (Gotham Comedy Club).  Regional: Titus Andronicus (California Shakespeare Theater), Romeo and Juliet Short Shakespeare (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Cymbeline (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival), Hamlet (Compass Rose Theater), Assassins (Shotgun Players), Mame (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Reefer Madness (San Jose Stage Company), Hedda Gabler (Vintage Theatre Collective), The Rose Tattoo (A.C.T.).  B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program.  American Conservatory Theater’s Young Conservatory alumnus.  Thank you to Mary. Charles, and Linda for the opportunity.  For Raymond, your easy smile and joyous spirit will be missed.

Stephanie Schwartz (Evelyn) is happy to reprise this role.  Recent performances include Calendar Girls in Stamford, Inherit the Wind in Harrison, The Vagina Monologues in The Broadway Comedy Club, Family Matters in ATA, Holey Swiss in MRT, Rescue the Perishing and While You Were Out at The Producers Club.  Other favorite performances have been in Deathtrap, The Passion of Dracula, The Odd Couple (female version) Steel Magnolias and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And in indie films, one of which was shown in the Cannes Film Festival.  She studied speech and theater education at Hunter College and acting at T. Schreiber Studio.  Member of F.A.C.T., The Supporting Characters, Love Creek Productions, SAG-AFTRA. actorstephanieschwartz@gmail.com

Kathy H. Kafer (Author) is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been performed on regional and festival stages. I’m Not Nothing won first prize in the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Award. The Lincoln Continental was premiered in the Midtown International Theatre Festival, where it received the Producer’s Award for Best Commercial Production. The Chosen Wife, one of two finalists for the Stanley Drama Award, went on to receive recognition in the Dorothy Silver and Writer’s Digest competitions. A former journalist, Kathy is a founding member of the Supporting Characters and teaches at the SAR Academy. She’d like to thank Linda, Joan and Gayle for making this production possible and to Stephanie, Charles, Mary and Galen for bring Leaving Evelyn to life. Love to Jeff, Josh, Joe and my amazing mishpachah.

Linda Selman (Director) has developed, directed and written plays Off-Broadway, including Bunner Sisters (Metropolitan Playhouse, Gilded Age Festival), Tallulah Hallelujah! (Starring Tovah Feldshuh; Chosen one of the ten best plays of the season by USA Today), the two Emmy Award-winning Bubbe Meises/Bubbe Stories; From My Lady’s Diary: Marie Antoinette (Vineyard Theatre). Regionally: Works at the Helen Hays; Eugene O’Neil Center; White Barn; Queens Theatre In The Park; Hartford Theatre Works. Theater Festivals: A LimanAde Life (Semifinalist); Testosterone (Starring James Naughton) and A Crooked Man both winners of TRU New Play Reading Series. Her stage adaptation and direction of Edith Wharton’s Bunner Sisters was performed at the National Arts Club, New York Society Library, Salmagundi Club, excerpts at the Players Club. Her book, The Inadvertent Researcher, A New York Story, based on the play, is sold at The Mount, Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts. She is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild, and Co-Chairs the Theatre Committee at the National Arts Club.

Me and You Productions (Producer) is a theater company dedicated to raising the public’s awareness of contemporary health-related topics and medical challenges. By using the performing arts as a mirror to reflect these issues, we empower audience members to examine them in ways that are meaningful and relevant when held up against the reality of their own lives.

NewYorkRep (Producer) produces new plays and musicals that inspire and compel social change by telling stories that expose the travesty and beauty of our humanity. By illuminating social and ethical questions through art, we strive to create provocative theater that promotes empathy, compassion and inclusion. NewYorkRep is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. www.newyorkrep.org

LEAVING EVELYN is an honest portrayal of families facing the spectra of Alzheimer’s for the first time. The story and intimacy of theater is a perfect way to heighten awareness and shed light on its life altering consequences.”
– Jonelle Ward, Director of Community Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association of Westchester County.

LEAVING EVELYN tackles the difficult issue of aging parents which confronts many baby boomers today.  The play explores the subject from the perspective of one family over a summer evening.  Beautifully written, acted and directed, it is a frank, humorous and ultimately haunting tale, sure to touch every audience member in some way. I highly recommend the show and encourage using it to begin a conversation on this sensitive topic within your own family. “
– Felicia Kobylanski, whose mother had Alzheimers