MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET Opens Chenango River Theatre's Season, 5/24


It's a family legend: Way back in 1942, the Virgin Mary herself appeared in the Nowak family's barbershop in Buffalo, N.Y. And the Nowaks responded by building a 20-foot-high statue next door and opening a soup kitchen that serves miracle soup that heals the sick.

The Nowaks have been living with that story for almost six decades now. They're proud of that statue (the neighbors call her "Our Lady of South Division Street"). It makes them feel special. They're the chosen ones.

But now Ruth Nowak, granddaughter of the barber who started it all, has called a mysterious family meeting in the Nowak kitchen. And what she has to say could change the family forever. But during the course of the meeting, the entire family's faith is shaken when a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel. The results are hilarious.

Chenango River Theatre is opening their 2013 season May 24 with Tom Dudzick's Miracle on South Division Street (co-produced by NBT Bank and The Daniels Family). A long 2012 off-Broadway run established this new hit comedy about a Catholic family living in a fading working class neighborhood of Buffalo, still tending the family heirloom - a 20' shrine to the Blessed Mother that commemorates the day in 1942 that the Blessed Virgin Mary materialized in their grandfather's barbershop.

Chenango River Theatre's production features Suzan Perry in the key role of the family matriarch (Clara), committed to preserving both her family and its heritage. Suzan has been a guest artist numerous times in this area at Cider Mill Playhouse and Cortland Rep and will be making her first appearance with Chenango River Theatre.

Returning for her 3rd show with CRT is Laurel Casillo (previously seen in A Shayna Maidel and The Diary of Anne Frank) in the pivotal role of Ruth, the middle sibling who wants to turn the family story into a work of art on stage. Her older bowling-mad sister is played by Mikaela Kafka, who recently earned a nomination for best actress in NJ for her role in The Maids. Rounding out the cast is younger brother Jimmy (portrayed by Daniel Mian), a garbageman with a secret of his own who loves to tweak his two older sisters. Dan is a former graduate of BU's Theatre Department now working out of NYC.

Performances run from May 24 through June 16, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., plus Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at Chenango River Theatre, 991 State Highway 12, Greene NY (15-20 minutes from Binghamton).

Season tickets start as low as $60 for all 4 shows and are on sale now at www.chenangorivertheatre.org. The entire 2013 season is sponsored by Empire Toyota of Oneonta. Individual tickets are $20 Thursday, $22 Friday, $23 Saturday and $21Sunday.

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