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BWW Review: H2O at 59E59 is Riveting and Revealing

"I need help and you seem addicted to helping." -H2O

The New York premiere of H2O is currently on stage at 59E59 Theatres through December 13th. Presented by Ground Up Productions, it is an emotionally charged play with exceptional writing by Jane Martin and superb direction by West Hyler. This two hander stars Diane Mair and Alex Podulke.

H2O tells the story of Jake whose fame in a popular movie role catapults him to star on Broadway in Hamlet. Given full casting approval, he goes to New York City to search for an actress to play the role of Ophelia. There he encounters Deborah, a young evangelical Christian who captures both the role and Jake's romantic attentions. But Jake is a hard drinking, self-destructive sort and Deborah's ideals about purity and salvation put their relationship at great odds. As the plot unfolds, Deborah's deep desire to be a Shakespearean actress and a Christian redeemer is in sharp contrast with Jake's reckless behavior. This clash of cultures leads them down a complex and dangerous path.

Alex Podulke masters the role of Jake, ruggedly attractive and charismatic yet emotionally tortured. Diane Mair performs an excellent portrayal of Deborah whose piety is paramount in her life. Even with these sharply contrasting characters, the couple maintains a real onstage chemistry. Rounding out the cast are the "Essential" players that enable fast-moving scene changes. They include Anna Schovaers, Colin Wulff, Annie Winneg and Charlie Munn.

The design team brings H2O to life with lighting design by Travis McHale, set design by David Arsenault, costume design by Amanda Jenks, and sound design by Toby Algya. Ron Piretti is the Fight Director. The production stage manager is Devan Elise Hibbard.

H2O is a poignant piece of theater, a revealing view of stardom, temptation and reverence. You will return to this play in your mind again and again. See it while it is on a limited engagement at 59E59 theatres.

The running time of H2O is 1 hour and 20 minutes without an intermission. The performance schedule is Tuesday to Thursday at 7:15 PM; Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM & 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to

Photo Credit: David Arsenault

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