Grandparents scheme to keep Jersey grandson close in upcoming Phoenix Players show

What's a nice young guy to do when he's offered a job far away from his four grandparents who serve up love, food and advice at weekly Sunday night dinners?

The answer can be found by attending "Over the River and Through the Woods," presented by the Phoenix Players at the Long Green Valley of the Brethren.

The dinner theater will be held Oct. 27, 28, Nov. 3 and 4. A show with dessert only takes place Nov. 2.

Mark Lane, of Glen Arm, plays Nick Cristano, a single, Italian-American from New Jersey whose parents have retired and moved to Florida. He is offered a job in Seattle and his doting grandparents try to find ways to keep him from going.

"I think everybody will identify with Nick, because we've all had grandparents. We know he loves them, but he wants to move on with his life," Lane said.

John Rowe, of Perry Hal, and Bernadette Gietka, of Phoenix, play one set of grandparents. Jack McCabe, of Hamilton, and Judy Jarava, of Phoenix, play the others.

Regina Rose, of Bel Air, plays Caitlin O'Hare, a single girl invited to dinner by the grandparents in hopes of enticing their grandson to stick around.

"The play reminds me of the movie 'Moonstruck'," Rose said. "There's a lot of bickering, but the family really cares about each other."

Jerry Gietka, of Phoenix, directs the play and is assisted by Liz Chuday, of Homeland.

Gietka has long list of acting and directing credits with theater companies in Timonium, Fells Point, Bowie, Silver Spring, Catonsville and Washington, D.C. He has also appeared in television and radio spots.

This is his first time to direct the Phoenix Players. He got to know the group after joining the cast of "The Butler Did It" last year.

"This is a very poignant show with a lot of funny bits," Gietka said.

Proceeds from the show will go to the nonprofit Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, which provides services to domestic violence victims.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m., with the show starting at 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 27, 28, Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. For the just dessert show on Nov. 2, doors open at 7 p.m., dessert is served at 7:15 p.m. and the show starts at 7:45 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for the dessert show, $30 for dinner shows and $13 for show only. For tickets, call 410-666-2506.

The Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren is located at 4800 Long Green Road, Glen Arm.

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