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BWW Review: THE WIDOW OF TOMS HILL at 59E59 is Intriguing Drama


"They'll say a person like that never lived, but we'll know better."

-The Widow of Tom's Hill

The New York Premiere of The Widow of Tom's Hill is now at 59E59 Theaters through November 15th. Written by Aleks Merilo and directed by Rachel Black Spaulding, this two-hander is a haunting play that is wonderfully staged and features excellent acting. It is truly a distinctive piece of theatre, perfect for the intimate setting of the Upper East Side stage.

Set in the year 1918, the small coastal town of Tom's Hill, on the coast of Washington state, is in military quarantine due to the worst plague in American history. A young sailor must communicate information from his superiors to a representative from the town, a 19 year-old widow, Aideen who has a newborn daughter. The two meet frequently as Aideen is responsible for making the health reports about the townspeople as she receives their much needed rations. The meetings become tense and complicated as the two begin to share an unusual bond, one that is created by fear, isolation and even deception.

Lucy Lavely is exceptional in the role of Aideen, a provincial young woman with a confrontational nature whose responsibilities seem overwhelming in the face of disaster. Derek Grabner completely captures the role of The Sailor, a young man whose military responsibilities are at odds with his yearnings. The Sailor has a sensitive nature, one that makes the story dynamic. Lavely and Grabner have an onstage chemistry that makes their curious relationship captivating.

The Widow of Tom's Hill is not a "historical play." Yet it mirrors some of the tragic pandemics have devastated communities including the "Spanish Flu" of 1918 and the recent Ebola Outbreak. The show provides a humanistic view of people affected by deadly disease as well as the mishandling of government and the medical community. See this intriguing play. It is a cautionary tale that you will think about long after the curtain call.

The design team that has brought a sense of the waterfront of Tom's Hill to life including set design by Miguel Urbino, lighting design by Jane Chen, costume design by Ari Fulton and sound design by Jordan Pankin. T.O. Sterrett is the composer. The Production Stage Manager is Sarah Devon Ford.

The Widow of Tom's Hill is produced by Scripts Up!, David Spaulding and Janet McCall. It will be onstage at 59E59 Theatres through November 15th. The theatre is located at 59 East 59th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues) New York, NY 10022. Tickets are $18 ($12.60 for 59E59 Members). To purchase, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

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