Dakota cast gears up for 'Lips Together, Teeth Apart'

The Dakota Organization is presenting Terrence McNally's "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," a play about two couples celebrating the Fourth of July, July 14-16 at the CVIC Hall in Minden. Performances are 7 p.m. July 14, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 15, and 2 p.m. July 16. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors 65 or older. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Alzheimer's Association. For tickets, call 450-1186.

The Dakota Organization is a non-profit theater company that formed at the end of last year, with its first production, "Same Time, Next Year," performed in February.

"Lips Together, Teeth Apart," first performed on stage in 1991, is a study of the irrational fears that many people harbor towards homosexuals and victims of AIDS. In the play, two married couples spend the Fourth of July weekend at a summer house on Fire Island. The house has been willed to Sally Truman by her brother who has just died of AIDS.

"McNally takes the strained marriages, difficult and uncomfortable situations and masterfully weaves them into a humorous and poignant adult comedy," says a Dakota Organization flier.

About the playwright:

McNally's first play was produced in 1964 at the age of 25. Although several early comedies such as "Next" (1969) and "The Ritz" (1975) won McNally quite a bit of praise, it was not until later in his career that he would become truly successful with works such as "Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune" (1987) for which he wrote the screen adaptation which starred Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.

In 1990, McNally won an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Miniseries or Special for "Andre's Mother." A year later, he returned to the stage with "Lips Together, Teeth Apart." Throughout the 1990s, McNally wrote several more plays, including "Master Class" (1995), a character study of legendary opera soprano Maria Callas which won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Play.

In addition to four Tony Awards, McNally has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Hull-Warriner Award, and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been a member of the Dramatists Guild Council since 1970 and has served as vice president since 1981.

"He is considered one of the leading American dramatists still writing today," states the Web site www.imagi-nation.com.

About the actors:

n Teri Lynn plays Sally Truman in "Lips Together, Teeth Apart." Lynn has been in a variety of roles and venues in Northern Nevada. She most recently finished The Dakota Organization's first show as Doris in "Same Time, Next Year." She appeared as Mrs. Baker in "Butterflies are Free," Mrs. Banks in "Barefoot in the Park," Sharon Bates in "Book of Days," Edith in "You Know I Can't Hear You When The Water's Running," April and Lisa in "The Heidi Chronicles," Dr. Helen Arbaugh in "Emma's Child" and in Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company's productions of "Camelot" and "The Wizard of Oz." Her TV credits include the History Channel's "Breaking Vegas."

n Julie Franklin plays Chloe Haddock. This is Franklin's first production with The Dakota Organization. Previous acting experiences include "Jesus Christ Superstar," "House of Blue Leaves" and "Ten Little Indians" at Lake Tahoe Community College. She has also appeared in "The Cemetery Club" at The Brewery Arts Center and "Guys and Dolls" with Tahoe Mountain Musicals outdoor theatre, Lake Tahoe. Franklin directed and produced plays, taught drama, English and speech at Douglas High School for 14 years. Recently she has taken on a new career at The Record-Courier as an advertising sales consultant. Franklin is a member of the concert choir at Western Nevada Community College.

n Three years ago Dave Anderson was minding his own business, taking his daughter to a rehearsal for "The Music Man," when he was caught up in a theatrical tornado. Since that day, he has compressed a lifetime of acting experience into three years, performing in 16 shows with Western Nevada Community College, Brewery Arts Center, Lake Tahoe Community College and, now, The Dakota Organization. Favorite roles have been Jigger in "Carousel," Len in "Book of Days," Victor Velasco in "Barefoot in the Park," Monsieur D'Arque in "Beauty and the Beast," Everett in "Crazy for You," The Constable in "Fiddler on the Roof" and Mr. Thompson in "The Cashier."

n Rod Hearn portrays the role of Sally's husband, Sam Truman. Hearn has enjoyed performing in many Northern Nevada productions over the last few years. Formerly a drama teacher at Douglas High School, Hearn currently teaches drama at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno. Local audiences may have seen Rod in such roles as Captain Hook in "Peter Pan," Charles Guiteau in "Assassins" (both Brewery Arts Center productions); Frank Butler in "Annie Get Your Gun" (both at Western Nevada Musical Theatre and Nevada Shakespeare at Piper's Opera House); Mr. Applegate in "Damn Yankees," Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha" and El Gallo in "The Fantasticks" (all at The Riverfront Theatre); Charlie Baker in "The Foreigner" (Proscenium Players, Inc.); and most recently as Officer Lockstock in "Urinetown: The Musical" (Truckee Meadows Community College). Rod also keeps busy directing and designing for local theaters, including Proscenium Players, Inc., Bruka and Brewery Arts Center, and he looks forward to teaching theater technology at TMCC this fall.

The crew:

The director, Daniel Rosenblatt is an accomplished producer, director and writer. Over the years he has amassed an impressive portfolio of contributions to successful productions nationally and internationally. Dan's broad background includes the position of theater manager for the Wang Center for the Performing Arts in Boston, the Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills, the Poplar Creek Music Theatre in Chicago and the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. He is currently the Executive Director for The Lear Theater in Reno. Rosenblatt has directed in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. He was artistic director of Theatre Northwest in Chicago. Directorial credits among many include "Barnum," "Equus," "After the Fall," "Agnes of God," "Company" and "Christmas in Chechnya." He was a director for the Walt Disney Company and associate producer for "Beauty and the Beast," "King David" and "Aida" on Broadway.

Long before Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, was charted to open, Rosenblatt was asked to produce studio attractions for the theme park, which opened in April 2001. Rosenblatt achieved a bachelor of arts and a master of fine arts for directing from UCLA.

n The producer, Diana R. Jones is new to Carson Valley and finds that local theater groups are a great way to meet people and become a part of the community. Her background includes producing the teen play "Bye Bye Birdie" for the South Valley Civic Theater in Morgan Hill, Calif., and acting in numerous roles in community theaters in the Bay area, the Eastern Sierra and San Diego. Her favorite roles include Olive in the female version of "The Odd Couple," M'Lynn in "Steel Magnolias," Crystal in "Little Shop of Horrors" and Diana in "California Suite."


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