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Show 2

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                    poster adapted by: slemenille

A mystery-drama

by Milan Stitt

Directed by Steve Lemenille
Produced by Linda Viel
Stage Managed by Taylor Lyons

The Runner Stumbles

Based on a true trial in the early part of the 20th Century in a remote parish in northern Michigan, a young nun has died under mysterious circumstances, and her superior, Father Rivard, has been charged with her murder.  The action alternates between interrogations, testimony and scenes from the past which reveal that Father Rivard, who had been banished to the small, up-country parish, fell in love with Sister Rita; and when circumstances forced her to move into the rectory with him, his anguish became unbearable.  Their relationship, inevitably, spelt tragedy, but not until the explosive and surprising climax of the play is the full extent of their sacrifice made clear and the identity of the murderer revealed.

Although the action of the play involves a priest and a nun, this play is not about Catholicism, but, rather, about issues which confront all religions and all human beings: the struggle of the individual around relationship to God; the nature of God; and the struggle all humans face in decisions and choices they make.

[best Broadway Play of 1978]

[The movie version starred Dick Van Dyke, Kathleen Quinlan, Maureen Stapleton, Ray Bolger, Tammy Grimes, Beau Bridges]

Jan. 11, 18, 24, 25, 2020 @ 8PM
Jan. 19, 2020 @ 2PM - Matinee
Tickets: $22.00; Active Military Personnel & Students: $10.00


Cast and Production Members

The Cast The Production/Crew 
Justin Kemps as Amos (guard)     Steve Lemenille     Director  
Al Contursi as Father Rivard     Linda Viel     Producer
Renee Litwin as Erna Prindle     Taylor Lyons     Stage Manager
David Williams as Toby Felker     JoAnne Lemenille / Jean Lioy    Properties
Dax Lily as Sister Rita     Ed Whitman / Linda Correll    Set Design
Kathy Gordon as Mrs. Shandig     Steve Lemenille    Set Decor
Cris Colicchio as Prosecutor     Pat Conley / Ted Garcia    Backstage Staff
Howard Fischer as Monsignor Nicholson     Ed Whitman    Lighting Design
Emily as Louise     Ed Whitman    Lighting Operator
    Glen Crane    Sound Design
    Josh Jancourtz    Sound Operator
    Steve Lemenille    Publicity
    Katie Engel    Playbill/Marketing
    Steve Lemenille    Webmaster
    Alexandra Byrne    Box Office Director
    Ed Bontempo    Costumer/Hair/Make-Up
    Roberta Fisher / Marilyn Gettinger /
    Don Mokrauer / Kay Macrae
    House Managers
    TBD    Ushers
    Steve Lemenille    Photographer
    Stu Schnitzer    Videography
    George Hiltz    Set Construction
    Sal Villani    Set Construction
    Michael Bieber    Set Construction
    Ed Whitman    Set Construction

The Cast
(Amos - guard) Justin is making his WCP debut with this production. Although it may be his first official play, Justin has been entertainng friends and family since he was a child. But is wasn't until two years ago that through the help and guidance of his cousin Tim Lowe, a professional standup comedian and improv actor, that Justin was able to step on stage. With a few standup and improv shows under his belt, Justin decided to take a leap of faith and try his hand at theater. Ladies and gentlemen, making his theatrical debut, here is Justin Kemps!

(Father Rivard) Al is no stranger to WCP. Al has appeared at Westfield in The Hot L Baltimore and And Then There Were None. Favorite local theatre productions include, “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, “The Miracle Worker”, “The Lion in Winter” and “Art” for which he was nominated for a Perry Award. His work in film includes independent features and short films which have screened and won awards at various festivals. Thanks to Steve and the cast and crew!

(Erna Prindle) Renee is pleased to once again tread the boards here at WCP. Most recent WCP productions she has appeared have been Almost, Maine and The Dixie Swim Club. Welcome back Renee.

(Toby Felker) David is making his WCP debut. David's other acting credits include Grand Hotel (Hermann Preysing); Sticks & Bones (Ozzie); It's a Wonderful Life (Freddie Filmore and Others); Educating Rita (Frank Bryant); Dearly Departed (Reverend Hooker); Whose Life is it Anyway? (Ken Harrison); Betrayal (Robert); The Best Man (Joe Cantwell); The Shadow Box (Brian); The Journey of the 5th Horse (Chulkaturin); and The Country Girl (Bernie Dodd). David would like to thank Steve and Taylor for their guidance, Elaine for her unwavering support, and this great cast for being such a pleasure to work with..

(Sister Rita) Dax Lily is an actress dedicated to giving audiences a lens into the life of another person by using empathy, research, and creativity to truly become that character. She has acted in plays such as The Heidi Chronicles, Loud Whispers and Silent Screams, Vampyre’s Lair, and A Sketch of New York. She is excited to announce that this is her debut as the lead in a theatrical production. Dax Lily has also acted in a few independent films such as Infinity, Scratch, Nine-Ten, and Oreo. Scratch was an Official Selection in the Beverly Hills Film Festival and the Indy Film Fest of Indiana. She also performed in a web series called Some Assembly Required. Her contact information and more details of her career can be found on Daxlily.com.  

(Mrs. Shandig) Kathy is happy to join WCP for the first time. Mother of five and a Special Education Teacher at Clifton High School, Kathy has also been directing at Hillside Ave. school in Cranford for 7 years. With all that going on it has been a very long time since she has been on stage, twenty-two years to be exact, but it feels like she's never left. The 7th child in a theater family, Kathy's favorite shows have been Hello, Dolly!, Equus, The Madwoman of Chaillot and 1776. Kathy is thrilled to show her middle school actors that she can still walk the walk!

(Prosecutor) Cris Colicchio is thrilled to be making his debut with Westfield Community Players. Ever since he played opposite Jason Alexander in Guys and Dolls at Livingston High School, he has had the acting bug! However, his acting pursuits were put on hold to raise his two wonderful children with his wife Jackie. He wouldn't have traded it for the world! He was an elementary vocal music teacher in the Passaic and Kinnellon Public schools for 30 years. Since his retirement 5 years ago he's been very happily acting in theater, commercials, industrials, stand-up comedy and studying drama and improv in New York City. He would like to thank Steve, Taylor and whole cast and crew for all their hard work, talents in putting forth this amazing play! Finally, he wants to thank his wife for her continued support-I Love you honey!

(Monsignor Nicholson) Howard is very happy to be retuning to Westfield Community Players after he made his debut in Black Coffee last season. He has been active in many local theaters over the years. Recent appearances include Jersey Voices, Moon Over Buffalo, and Spamalot at Chatham; Ragtime and Hands on a Hardbody at 4th Wall, and Present Laughter at interACT Productions. Member, Alliance Repertory Theatre Company. Love and thanks to wife Jill for her support, advice, encouragement, and patience. (See what you started, Jen?)

(Louise) Emily is making her WCP debut with this production. Emily is excited to be coming back to the world of theater with this WCP's production of The Runner Stumbles. She has appeared in shows such as Arsenic and Old Lace, A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan, Jack and the Beanstalk, and many others. Emily is very excited to be back on stage along side a wonderful cast and staff.


Production Staff
(Director) Steve has directed WCP's productions of Dial 'M' for Murder, A View from the Bridge, the comedy Squabbles,   {p r o o f}, Barefoot in the Park, A Thousand Clowns, And Then There Were None and last season, Mister Roberts In 2013 Steve was nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for OUSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY for {proof}. He also has appeared in six consecutive productions here at WCP.

Steve has been involved in theatre since his college days at Jersey City State. He is a retired Social Studies teacher and Drama Director of 29 years with the Hackensack Public Schools. Steve was also a MFA candidate at Montclair State. He has acted with Tower Players and the Opera Workshop of Jersey City, StageCrafters (Fairlawn), and Bergen County Players. He has also acted in dinner theatre for Regal Productions.

Some of the roles he portrayed were: Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Tower Players), the Grandfather in The Long Christmas Dinner (Tower Players), Ulysses in Tiger At The Gates (Tower Players), Paul Verrall in Born Yesterday (Bergen County Players), Paul in Barefoot in the Park (Fairlawn), and Michael in Second Time Around and the Inspector Paul Sevigne in A Shot In The Dark (Regal Productions) and the Grandfather in Kurt Wiell's Down in the Valley (Opera Workshop). Steve portrayed Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stanley in Death of a Salesman, The Magistrate in Fools, and Gen. Oscar Fairfax in Little Mary Sunshine and Kilroy in Don't Drink the Water, and most recently as Daniel in Almost, Maine…all for WCP. Steve was nominated for a 2009 NJACT Perry Award for OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE MEMBER for his role as the Magistrate in Fools.

His directorial credits include: You Can't Take It with You, Harvey, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Gramercy Ghost, George Washington Slept Here, L'il Abner, The King & I, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, The Diary of Anne Frank, Our Town, South Pacific, The Music Man, Rehearsal for Death (all for HMS), Dial 'M' for Murder (Stagecrafters/WCP).

Steve was nominated for two (2) 2012 NJACT Perry Awards for OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY (As Producer for Rehearsal for Murder) and as OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY (Rehearsal for Murder). Steve was also nominated for two (2) NJACT 2011 Perry Awards: OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR in a Play for his role as Justice Lawrence Wargrave in Main Street Theatre's production of And Then There Were None, and OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR in a Play for his role as Isaac Cohen in Westfield Community Players production of Abie's Irish Rose.

Steve is the immediate Past-President of WCP, as well as, the webmaster here at WCP. Steve wishes to thank his wife, JoAnne, for getting him back involved with theatre. "Without her support and love, I can accomplish little. Thank you dear!!" Steve also thanks Sherrie Ahlin and Drude Roessler for making his WCP experiences very special. A special note of thanks to Katie, Mike, JoAnne, Glenn, Bill, Ed Whitman and Ed Bontempo for their contributions at WCP. And of course special thanks to this Cast/Crew for their hard work and love of theatre.

Steve has also performed at the Grove Street Theater in Montclair performing in Apricot Productions' 1-act series. Also, he has appeared in a series of monologues entitled Sex, Relationships and Sometimes… Love at The Old Library Theater, Main Street Theater Company; and at the Producer's Club and the Jerry Orbach Theater, both off-Broadway, NYC. Steve also directed Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird and Sharr White's The Other Place at the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC) on the Hamilton Stage, in Rahway, NJ for Fearless Productions.

Most recently, Steve was inducted into NJACT's Hall of Fame for Directing.

(Producer) Linda is elated to be the producer of The Runner Stumbles. Linda not only serves on the WCP Board of Directors, but has also directed for WCP Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike,The Musical of Musicals---the Musical, The Man Who Came to Dinner and On Borrowed Time last season which received two NJACT Pery Award nominations. She is enthusiastic about undertaking the new responsibility. Ms. Viel's other directorial experiences includes, a premier of Striking 12 at EVP, Leader of the Pack, Seussical at Spotlight Players, Rumors, God's Favorite at Villagers, Pinocchio in the KidsVill Series and other various community troupes. She was the stage manager for Plays in the Park for the musical comedy, Company. She has also directed 25 musicals, which include, Hairspray, Wiz, Once On this Island, and …..West Side Story.

During the summer Linda directs and produces a summer theatre cabaret. Besides directing, Linda has performed in Guys and Dolls, 42nd Street, Anything Goes, and various other productions. Linda is also affiliated with NJACT, Paper Mill Rising Star--a Performing Academy, and is in the Who's Who Among Teachers of America. I would like to personally like to thank my new friends for their expertise, kindness and generosity on this production.

(Stage Manager) Taylor is absolutely thrilled to be the stage manager for WCP’s production of The Runner Stumbles and to be making her WCP debut! A theatre kid at heart, Taylor has been involved in theatre since she impulsively decided to audition for her high school’s fall play her freshman year. In college, she was an assistant stage manager for TCNJ Musical Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening, as well as, one of the lighting designers for Little Shop of Horrors and Into the Woods. Additionally, she spent the summer of 2018 interning at George Street Playhouse’s Summer Theatre Academy, an educational arts program for youth aged 5-18. Taylor graduated from The College of New Jersey in the Spring of 2019. This past summer, she lived in Washington D.C., working in pre-school readiness programming. Currently, Taylor works as the Arts and Recreation Coordinator for Visions and Pathways, a residential and outreach program for temporarily displaced youth. Being very new to WCP, Taylor is thankful to Joanne and Steve Lemenille for giving her the opportunity to work in theatre once again. She would also like to thank her cast for their endless patience and dedication to this production.

(VP Productions/ Properties) JoAnne appeared as Mrs. Isaac Cohen in WCP's production of Abie's Irish Rose. She also appeared as Mrs. Lipari in A View from the Bridge. She began her WCP experience with her role as Mildred in WCP's production of The Cemetery Club. Since that time, JoAnne has been the Properties Mistress for our productions and served on WCP's Board of Directors as Director of Performance. JoAnne recently served as President of WCP for three terms; she is now serving as Vice President of Productions and Acting President. JoAnne has been nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for Outstanding Properties in a Play for Rehearsal for Murder. Most recently JoAnne has been nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for Outstanding Properties in a Play for On Borrowed Time.

She has always been involved in theatre since she was a child back in Union with the Teen Stagers. She has also appeared as Polly in The Boyfriend, Anna in New Girl in Town; Eleanor in Second Time Around (for Regal Productions), and Peggy in Front Page. Besides doing props, she has worked on Scenery and Set Design. Her favorite role was Eleanor in Second Time Around because it gave her the chance to play her husband, Steve's, snobbish and self-centered wife.

JoAnne is a retired teacher of music from the Clark School system where she was the vocal, instrumental and music theory teacher for over twenty years and for which she directed and musical directed the plays for Kumpf School. "I make bead flowers - an old French art of using glass beads." Special thanks to my husband Steve and JoAnn Scanlon for giving me the chance to rekindle my love for the stage, and thanks to a wonderful cast and fabulous crew." It's good to have you back on front stage!!!.

(Director of Performances / Properties) Jean is a retired professor of microbiology at Union County College and also Rutgers/UMDNJ. She also has been a consultant with the NJ Office Of Homeland Security in the area of bioterrorism and emergency preparedness.

Being new to WCP, she is very thankful for the opportunity to learn about the backstage world of the theater.

Jean currently serves on the Board of Directors as Director of Performance. Most recently Jean has been nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for Outstanding Properties in a Play for On Borrowed Time.

(Set Decor) Linda has been involved in theater for over 40 years, in and around New Jersey and New York. It is a pleasure working with this talented and funny cast. Thank you to our wonderful Director (I’m biased) and Westfield Community Players for producing Black Coffee. Linda has recently been seen as Abby in Musical of Musicals, the Musical at Nutley Little Theater, the grandmother in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds at UCPAC, Lilliane Le Fleur in Nine! at UCPAC at Hamilton Stage, Carla in Phantom and Marta in Thumbs! at Bergen County Players (World premier). Also a director, Linda directed Play it Again, Sam at WCP earlier this year. Linda designs and builds sets and is proficient in stage pyrotechnics. Her absolute favorite role is John’s “other half”. AML, AML

(Lighting Designer/Operator/Set Design) This is Ed's second year with WCP. Ed has been instrumental in updating and improving our lighting system giving up greater opportunity to enhance our productions. Ed has also been a part of our construction staff.

Ed serves on the Board of Directors as Director of Technical.

Ed was nominated for a 2018 NJACT Perry Award for Lighting Design of a Play for Mister Roberts

(Playbill/Marketing) Katie is WCP's Playbill and Marketing Director having been re-elected last June. Katie made her WCP debut in Tribute portraying Sally Haines. Katie also appeared as Lt. Ann Girard in last season's production of Mister Roberts. She also appeared in WCP's production of Follies last season as Young Phyllis. Katie has also Stage Managed for And Then There Were None here at WCP.

Katie also was the Stage Manager for The Other Place produced by Fearless Productions at UCPAC's Hamilton Stage in Rahway, NJ back in 2015.

(Sound Design) Glen has been nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for Outstanding Sound Design for a Play for Rehearsal for Murder

(Sound Operator) Josh was last seen here on stage at WCP in Black Coffee and The Foreigner last season. He then went on to handle the sound for Follies. Josh is a software developer, musician, and dad. He hasn’t acted in a long, long, long time, but thanks to his son, Ben, he has caught the acting bug again. As his family well knows, one of his favorite shows remains Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, in which he performed as (while not the Pirate King) his lieutenant, Samuel. He would like to thank his family for their love and encouragement, as well as the wonderful folks at WCP for their support and guidance.

(Webmaster / Publicity) see above
(Box Office) Alexandra is our newest Board of Directors member. She is serving as our Box Office Director.

(Costumes) Aside from portraying the role of Beverly Carlton in the production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, Ed has taken on the responsibility of being the costumer, including hair and make-up for this production.

Ed Bontempo in 2018 received two NJACT Perry Award Nominations: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Mister Roberts and Outstanding Costume Design of a Play Mister Roberts. He was the recipient of Outstanding Costume Design.

This past season, 2018-2019, Mr. Bontempo was nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for Outstanding Costuming of a Musical for Follies

(Set Construction Chairman) To be developed

(Set Construction)Michael has played smaller and larger roles at WCP and Westfield’s Troupe of Friends free Shakespeare in the Park series. From 1999-2007 he was one of the lead male vocalists in the Daddy-Os and the Grateful Dads in the McKinley Kapers annual variety show. But he most enjoys working tech behind the scenes. Professionally Michael is Associate Chair of the Information Systems Department at NJIT (which also has a Theater Department and regular productions). Michael also served as sound operator for WCP for many years.

Back to "The Runner Stumbles" page

All Dates subject to change
Photos by: Tchr

The Runner Stumbles is produced under special arrangement with Dramatists Play Serivce, Inc.  

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs  

WCP is a member of New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT). The New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT) is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting local theater around the state. The group's core mission is to celebrate outstanding achievements by artists of all disciplines involved in the performance and production of New Jersey Community Theater.  

WCP is a member of The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT). AACT is the national community theatre organization, whose chief goal is to enable community theatres across the country to become the cornerstones of the creative life of their communities -- to provide quality entertainment, intellectual stimulation, challenge and opportunity, to be worthy contributors to an improved quality of life for the communities which they serve.  

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