story and photos by Christine Coester, special to The City Wire
For the past few months, the Rogers Little Theater has been hard at work preparing for the World Premiere of Oren Safdie's play, 'Checks & Balances.' On Friday (Nov. 2), guests arrived for the once in a lifetime world premiere gala.
The affair was decadent.
A red carpet and photographers awaited guests as they as they made their way to the theater. Inside, caterers weaved through the crowd with hors d'oeuvres and glasses of red and white wine.
The theater hummed with anticipation as guests mingled and the directors, Safdie, Fritz Michel and Ed McClure moved among those in attendance, sharing in the excitement.
All but two of the actors, Kristen Begneaud as Katherine Kaufman Leitner and Kris Preutt as Gregory Zaslavsky, were flown in from New York.
Gameela Wright plays Victoria Winston, Joan Porter as Eleanor Kaufman and Nick Abeel as Jonathon Segal. The troupe is small, only five actors, but the performers are dynamic and the characters evolve beautifully on stage.
The story itself is thought provoking, with subtle undertones that challenge societal ideas of family, the elderly and entitlement. These undertones, in combination with Safdie's sophisticated yet clever dialogue, make the show is simply spectacular.
At the Sunday matinee, Moshe Safdie, Oren's father and the man behind the architectural marvel The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art made an appearance, as did Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton.
After the performance, the Safdie family spoke with Walton, who beamingly said, “The performance was great, just great.”
Performances of Safdie's 'Checks & Balances' will continue next weekend, Nov. 8-11.Tickets can be purchased on the RLT website or by calling (479) 631-8988.
RLT is already underway preparing for their next performance, 'A Christmas Carol Today.'