An evening with George Ade to debut this week

An evening with George Ade to debut this week

Drew Martin (left) and Isaac Wellsand (right) rehearse the play, Nettie.

The Carnegie Players will be celebrating three of George Ade’s plays: Mrs. Peckham’s Carouse, The Mayor and the Manicure, and Nettie, June 20 through the 22. George Ade was born in Kentland, Indiana, a 33 minute drive from Rensselaer.

Isaac Wellsand, Carnegie Players president, said that it was by chance they got introduced to George Ade and his work, through a Jasper Newton Foundation dinner, where they were connected with members of the Hazelden Estate, a project focused on tourism through Newton County. The Hazelden’s Estate vision is to “create a one-of-a-kind landmark and unique historical tourism destination in Newton County, Indiana,” according to its website. That destination would include a George Ade museum. Once the group started reading some of his work, they knew they needed to highlight it: and what better year than the eightieth anniversary of his death in 1944? 

 Phil Nagel, who plays George Ade, has been a part of the Carnegie Players since the very first play was on stage. He said he got into acting because he could be somebody else, this time being the playwright, George Ade. He presents storytelling and narration throughout the three comedic plays. 

George Ade was a playwright and humorist. A graduate of Purdue University, he went on to work at the Chicago Record Newspaper, where he wrote an editorial-page column.

George Ade should be as alive to us today as Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, or Gilbert & Sullivan. Even more so, as we are all walking amongst his stomping grounds. He was a successful author, reporter, and playwright, with a string of popular pieces that are as relevant today as when they were written,” Wellsand said. 

Multiple individuals from the crew and cast want viewers to know that the comedy presented in these three acts is very subtle. 

“It’s not here to make you slap your knee,” said Dave Bohne, the play’s director. He’s been involved in acting for 50 years, yet was director at the Carnegie Players for about six months. He said directing has been the greatest joy.

Elizabeth Gray (center) prepares the set between plays.

Peter Schulenberg is the assistant director, and assists with lines during rehearsal for those who need it.

Elizabeth Gray is the stage manager, who lets people know when and where they are supposed to be. She’s been a part of the Carnegie Players since she was 15, and she enjoys the creative side of stage managing. She said what’s unique about this play is that it’s from a local playwright, and everyone might not realize that when buying their tickets. They also might not realize that Ross-Ade Stadium, at Purdue, is also in-part dedicated to George Ade.

Chrissy and Lily Martin are a mother-daughter duo who both play roles in The Mayor and the Manicure. Chrissy has seen her kids act in plays for years, and this is now her second play. Chrissy plays Genevive, and Lily plays Ruth.

Angel Zenner plays the secretary, Hermoine. The character was originally Henry, but the role got changed to fit her. She loves getting the chance to act out more characters, which is why she enjoys her role of Hermoine.

Some individuals even play two roles in a different act, Wellsand being one of them. He plays Barrett and Donelson, and has been a part of the Carnegie Players for five years. He enjoys character acting.

Wellsand said people should of course expect family fun, but they may also feel like they’re seeing a mirror on stage.
The characters may be exaggerated even to the point of grotesque[ness]. But at heart, everyone knows someone who is a little too shrewd like Otis the mayor, a little too young, and gullible like Nichols, or a little too suspicious like Mrs. Barrett, overlooking the obvious faults, while trying to find a specific flaw.”

An Evening With George Ade will premiere on June 20, 21, and 22 at 7:00 p.m. in St. Augustine Catholic Church. Tickets are $8 at the door. Those interested can find more out on their website or on their Facebook page

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