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Family comedy set for Sterling High School Theatre
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STERLING – The three “Fs:” family, faith, and food plus loads of laughs and a whole lot of heart are the chief ingredients of the contemporary comedy “Over the River and Through the Woods,” which will be presented by Sterling High School Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 22, and 23. 

“I can guarantee everyone will love this play,” said Betsy Dutton, Sterling High School Theatre director. “I feel so strongly about the story and the cast.” The characters are played by an experienced six-person cast, including four seniors and two juniors. 

Playwright Joe DiPietro wrote the play over 20 years ago and it has been a popular title since. He has also written the musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It” and the revue “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and many others. “Over the River” has never been staged in Sterling.

In “Over the River and Through the Woods,” 20-something Nick Cristano, played by senior Bryce Wilson, has dinner every Sunday at the home of his maternal grandparents, Frank and Aida Gianellis, played by junior Bryson Brownlee and senior Sarah Walker. Also present at this weekly gathering are Nick’s paternal grandparents who live just down the street, Nunzio and Emma Cristano, played by seniors Jacob Pipelow and Morgan Anderson. 

As the only member of the family who has stayed near his grandparents in New Jersey, Nick finds it particularly difficult to announce that he has been offered a promotion in Seattle. When Nick’s grandparents conclude that Seattle is in the far away Washington (not the close one), the four old friends work together to persuade Nick to turn down the job including introducing him to a single female, Caitlin O’Hare, played by junior Alaina Madden.

“Everyone who is a part of a family will relate to this story. You might see yourself in any one of these characters,” Dutton. “It’s a very lighthearted show with a lot of humor but yet there is deep meaning and emotion behind it.” 

Speaking about the characters in his play, DiPietro says, “The biggest difference between these generations is their concept of family and home. Our grandparents believed that the family was central, and work is something you do just to provide for them. For our generation it is a lot more complicated.”

Tickets for Over the River and Through the Woods are $5 for adults and $4 for students and will be available at the door before each performance.