BWW Review: HALFTIME WITH DON is a Timely and Outstanding Theatrical Experience
"Your greatest moment is yet to come."
-Halftime with Don
New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) is now presenting the World Premiere of Halftime with Don through July 30. Written by Ken Weitzman and directed by Kent Nicholson, this captivating show features excellent staging and an outstanding cast. The play portrays a serious subject with just the right touches of humor and heart.
In Halftime with Don, Don Devers was a well-respected NFL player who became a practicing attorney after retiring from the game. But the years have taken a harsh toll on his body and mind. Hardly able to walk after multiple surgeries and suffering from traumatic brain damage, Don has become reclusive, spending most of his time in his barcalounger, eating Pringles, popping pills and making notes on post-its. Don adamantly rejects having visitors including his pregnant daughter, Lori. Enter Ed Ryan, a longtime fan, who is down on his luck and expecting his first child with his wife, Sarah. The meeting of the men was arranged between Lori and Sarah as a gift for Ed's birthday. But Ed doesn't find the inspiration from his childhood hero that he hoped for. Don is moody and at times, threatening. While Lori hopes that Ed will have a positive effect on her father, it becomes clear that Don Devers is suffering even more than anyone realizes. This topical story portrays people who deal with some of life's most critical issues. Yet it shows how hope, love and determination can define and even create a family.
The cast includes Malachy Cleary as Don Devers; Dan McVey as Ed Ryan; Lori Vega as Stephanie Devers; and Susan Maris as Sarah Ryan. These four thespians seamlessly deliver the superbly crafted dialogue and capture the personalities of each of the characters. They bring this riveting story to life before your eyes.
The Creative Team has done a great job of bringing Halftime with Don to the stage with scenic design by Jessica Parks, lighting design by Jill Nagle; costume design by Patricia E. Doherty; sound design by Merek Royce Press. The Productions Stage Manager is Kristin Pfeifer; Assistant Stage Manager is Adam von Pier; Casting by Judy Bowman; Webmaster is Merek Royce Press; Technical Director, Brian P. Snyder.
Bravo to NJ Rep's Executive Producer Gabor Barabas and Artistic Director Suzanne Barabas for making another exciting play available to metro area audiences. Make a day of it in the Long Branch area. Plan a trip to the shore, have dinner and top it off with Halftime with Don. It is a theatrical experience you will truly relish.
Halftime with Don runs for two hours with one intermission. The show will be performed at New Jersey Repertory Company through July 30th. The theater is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are available by calling 732-229-3166 or online at www.njrep.org.
Photo credit: Suzanne Barabas