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home : news : local   April 29, 2016

10/13/2012 1:01:00 PM
Hundreds of laughs in 'A Thousand Clowns'


Bob Kinsella (left) as Murray Burns and Reid Tomasson as Nick Burns mull over how to resolve an imminent domestic crisis in “A Thousand Clowns,” Stage 212’s comedy about a frustrated New York writer and his precocious nephew. “A Thousand Clowns” runs Oct. 19-21 and 26-28 at Stage 212, 700 First St., La Salle.NewsTribune photo/Matthew Baker
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Bob Kinsella (left) as Murray Burns and Reid Tomasson as Nick Burns mull over how to resolve an imminent domestic crisis in “A Thousand Clowns,” Stage 212’s comedy about a frustrated New York writer and his precocious nephew. “A Thousand Clowns” runs Oct. 19-21 and 26-28 at Stage 212, 700 First St., La Salle.
NewsTribune photo/Matthew Baker
Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter



Murray Burns had eked out a modest living writing juvenile comedy for a children’s TV show — until the one day he simply had enough.

When a bartender asked if he wants a cocktail onion in his martini, Murray answered, “Golly gee, sure!” In desperate need of a new job, he throws in the towel.

Unfortunately for Murray, he picked a bad time to file for unemployment. Two nosy school officials show up unannounced at his door to check on where Murray’s nephew, the precocious Nick, has been living. Murray’s unkempt bachelor pad isn’t going to pass muster and, frankly, neither is he.

That’s the premise for “A Thousand Clowns,” the comedy being presented at Stage 212 starting Oct. 19.

Bob Kinsella plays Murray, the droll, seen-it-all writer who loves his nephew but has rather relaxed notions of successful parenting. Kinsella said he drove his son to the auditions for Nick, read through the script to pass the time and decided to try for the lead part.

“I’d done comic relief before, but in smaller parts,” he said. “It’s a challenge to get that comic timing and get the words to fall where they should.”

Reid Tomasson plays Nick, the wisecracking, 12-year-old savant who doesn’t make the surprise inspection easier for his uncle or the flustered social workers.
“This is one of my most challenging roles,” said Reid, who’s making his 10th appearance on stage. “Bob is wonderful, the cast is really great and I really enjoy it.”

Director Dave Roden said he dusted off this Herb Gardner comedy, which was made into a 1965 film starring Jason Robards as Murray, because he felt the seriocomic themes were timely in today’s bad economy when people find themselves faced with tough choices.

“The lead is unemployed,” Roden explained, “and thinks, ‘What sacrifices can I make to care for the people I care about?’”

Joining Kinsella and Reid on stage are Zoe Clover as Sandra Markowitz, Joe Peshel as Albert Amundson, Joe Baima as Arnold Burns and Ken Schroeder as Leo Herman.

Production staff includes producer Ellen Marincic, assistant to the producer Rob Mellen, stage manager Carol Hartenbower, light operator Dixie Schroeder, sound operator Noah Gillespie, choreographer Meridith Donahue, costumer Phil Grant, properties Maryhelen Bidasio, Joan Eiberger and Marybeth Brantner, set construction Paul Marincic, Joe Donahue, Todd Hartzheim and Chris Martyn.

“A Thousand Clowns” runs Oct. 19-21 and 26-28 at Stage 212, 700 First St., La Salle. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $14 each and are available at the Stage 212 box office (hours: 4-6 p.m. Monday, 1-4 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday) or by calling (815) 224-3025. Visa, MasterCard and Discover all are accepted.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












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