Loveland Stage Company “Cabaret Style”

show opens Friday, December 3

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (December 1, 2021) – Local playwright Joe D’Amato’s “Christmas with Anton” will open at the Loveland Stage Company Theater for three performances beginning this Friday, December 3.

The Cast of Christmas with Anton: Larry Press, Deb Giehl, Steve Link, Steve Geary, Denise Schneiders, Natalie Press, Landon Fleherty, Samantha Stewart, Baylee the dog, and not pictured Angie Gardner (Photo Nancy Downing)

This will be the first performance by a community theater group outside of D’Amato’s local theater company in Glendale, Ohio where he resides. The play was also performed with the playwrights group at the Aronoff small theater in Downtown Cincinnati. The show is being presented cabaret style featuring Montgomery Inn appetizer food and choice of white or red wine, soft drinks and water included in the $20 admission price. Tables for six have been arranged on the floor level (orchestra pit area) as well as a table arrangement for those seated in the first row of theater seating. Accommodations for the food and drink have been arranged for those seated throughout the rest of the theater seating.  

Deb Giehl (Mary) and Steve Link (Frank DeRosa) rehearse a scene where they are disagreeing on an issue (Photo Nancy Downing)

The show tells the tale of a couple, Frank (Steve Link) & Mary DeRosa (Deb Giehl) from New York City, recently retired and moved to Tampa, Florida. He’s a Yankee fan, a proud Italian, and a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon. His routine of golf, channel surfing on satellite TV and complaining about the commercialization of Christmas takes an unexpected turn. His wife Mary, volunteers them for after-school childcare. He reluctantly agrees – just to keep peace in the family – but somehow blossoms into a warm and touching friendship between generations. The transformation brings a new realization of the true meaning of Christmas.

The LSC production is directed by Glenna Knapp with a small cast including the experienced tandem of Steve Link and Deb Giehl leading the way as the DeRosa’s.

“Hopefully we’re going to get some laughs,” said Giehl. “But, you know, there’s some touching things in the story. It’s a cute little show.”

The kids decorate the Christmas tree in this scene during rehearsal (Photo Nancy Downing)

Giehl says the table seating up front and the front row table set-up allows for comfortable seating of about 45 people and has sold pretty fast. As noted earlier in this story, there are additional accommodations being made for patrons to eat and drink in the theater seating as well. Knapp says this will be the first performance the playwright Joe D’Amato will be able to personally view. He is expected to attend the opening night performance Friday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. There will be two additional performances by the Loveland Stage Company with one on Saturday evening, December 4, also at 7:30 and then the finale matinee performance on Sunday afternoon, December 5, at 2:30 p.m. D’Amato has written a second play, Heaven Can Wait expected to premier on stage in Glendale in February 2022.  LSC originally planned to perform “Christmas with Anton” last December -2020, but was postponed due to COVID.

Larry Press and Steve Geary rehearse a gold scene (PHoto Nancy Downing)

“More than anything, this is a heartwarming explanation for adoption,” Giehl said.

Aside from Giehl and Link as the DeRosa’s, the lead character is the little boy, Billy (Landon Flaherty) who does not understand why kids are put up for adoption.

“In the show, he has a tougher time because he was adopted,” explained Giehl. “In the end, it’s a good Christmas time story that helps explain adoption.”

Loveland Stage Company presents:

“Christmas with Anton”

Friday-Sunday, December 3-5

Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday evening – 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon

Tickets $20 ea. – information/purchase: http://lovelandstagecompany.org/tickets/

Cabaret Style with food and beverages included with ticket price

At Loveland Stage Company Performing Arts Theater – 111 S. Second St., Loveland, OH 45140 – www.lovelandstagecompany.org