Don’t ‘Wait Until Dark’ to see this play

Kristen Russo

Kent State grads perform in play at Weathervane in Akron

Mattie Kranz, 12, and Susan Lucier star in the play “Wait Until Dark” which opened last night at the Weathervane Playhouse in Akron. Kranz plays Gloria, who helps a blind woman, Susy, played by Lucier. JESSICA NAPLES | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Two Kent State graduates will be performing in “Wait Until Dark” at Weathervane Playhouse in Akron.

Jeff Kostko, who plays a police officer, graduated from Kent State in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies. While he was a student, Kostko performed in two Kent State theater productions: “Finding the Sun” and “Wall of Water,” he said.

Although “Wait Until Dark” is Kostko’s first play since graduation, he said he’s been involved in theater since he was young. His first role was Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol” in 1987.

Barry Wakser, who plays Sergeant Carlino, graduated from Kent State in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

Wakser said he does a lot of work with community theatre, including The Players Guild and the Kent State Stark Campus Theater.

“Wait Until Dark” is the second play he’s done at the Weathervane Playhouse. He performed in “Wit” in 2002, he said.

“I enjoyed (“Wit”), and I’ve wanted to come back to Weathervane for a long time,” he said.

Frederick Knott wrote “Wait Until Dark,” and it appeared on Broadway in 1966. It is a thriller that takes place in a small apartment in Greenwich Village, New York. The plot centers around three drug hustlers, a blind woman named Susy Hendrix and her husband Sam.

“Wait Until Dark”

Playing at Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane Akron, OH 44313

When? April 27, May 4, 11: 7:30 p.m.

April 28, 29, May 5,6,12,13: 8 p.m.

May 7, 14: 2:30 p.m.

How much? Preview performance (tonight) $14

Remaining performances $20

College students $18 on Tuesdays and Thursdays – and don’t forget about Student Rush Tickets!

For tickets and other information call (330) 836-2626 Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Susy and Sam get tangled up in murder and drugs after Sam agrees to deliver a doll for a woman he met at the airport. He doesn’t know the doll is stuffed with heroin.

The hustlers end up paying Susy a visit while Sam is at work, and they try to con her into giving one of them the doll. Susy soon catches on to their game, and things get violent when she refuses.

Susy discovers how dangerous these men are, and, in an effort to save her life, she decides to level the playing field. She breaks all the lights in the apartment, making the men as blind as she is.

Susan Lucier plays Susy Hendrix in “Wait Until Dark.” This is her first performance for Weathervane, but she has performed in many other plays.

“I can’t even count them all,” she said.

Lucier said the role was appealing to her because it is action-oriented.

“It is a challenging role in many ways, and not just because the character is blind,” she said.

Sarah May is the director for “Wait Until Dark.” May also directed Neil Simon’s “The Dinner Party” at Weathervane in 2004. May received the Northern Ohio Live Award of Achievement in Theatre for her work in “A Piece of My Heart,” among her many other achievements.

May said she is happy to be directing another show at Weathervane. This play will be a change for her because she mostly directs “heavier” plays that center on social issues, but she is welcoming the change, she said.

Twelve-year-old Mattie Kranz is the youngest cast member. Kranz, like May, is also taking a step outside of her usual genre. Kranz mostly does musicals; this will be her first thriller.

The change from musicals to thrillers didn’t come without its challenges.

“It is hard to portray exactly what (my character) is feeling because I don’t feel that way in real life,” Kranz said.

Kranz plays Gloria, who lives in the apartment above Susy and Sam.

Kranz said she was looking forward to working with more experienced actors. One of these actors, Kostko, said he enjoys acting because it helps him stay young.

Contact ALL Correspondent Kristen Russo at [email protected].

Weathervane Playhouse History

Weathervane Playhouse is a volunteer-based community theater that got its start in Akron in 1935. The theatre was first housed in a barn on Marshall Avenue until the barn was sold in 1951. The playhouse then moved to Copley Road until Weathervane Lane was built in the late 1960s.

Weathervane offers college students an opportunity to purchase tickets at half-price with a student ID. These tickets, called Student Rush Tickets, are available at the box office 30 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin.

No reservations are taken.

Jan Harcar, director of marketing and development for Weathervane Playhouse, said a committee selects all of the shows that will be performed at the playhouse. The committee devotes five to six months, on average, to picking the shows for each season, Harcar said.

The committee “likes a well rounded balance of comedies and dramas, and they have to have a certain number of educational plays and things of that nature each season,” Harcar said.

Weathervane also houses an education program, which offers a full range of theatre classes that run year-round. The classes are mostly geared toward children and teens, but some adult classes are offered, Harcar said.

Weathervane also offers Project STAGE, which stands for Students Through Acting Gain Education, Harcar said. Project STAGE offers educational fieldtrip opportunities to area schools.

Weathervane Playhouse is in its 71st year, and “Wait Until Dark” is its 519th Mainstage Production.

– Kristen Russo