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March 21 - March 31

Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End

Erma Bombeck, one of our country’s most beloved humorists, captured the frustrations of her generation by asking, “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?”  Starring “Suburban Outlaw” and columnist Pam Sherman, this is the story behind America’s favorite average housewife who championed the lives of women with an incomparable wit that sprang from the most unexpected place of all — the truth.

By Margaret Engel and Allison Engel
Directed by Mark Cuddy
Starring Pam Sherman as Erma Bombeck

Run Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes with no intermission

 

Suitable for ages 13 and up

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PAM SHERMAN | Erma Bombeck

PAM SHERMAN returns to the role of Erma after a sold out and twice extended run last season. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, actor, recovering lawyer and leadership consultant who was profiled in People Magazine about her career transition from attorney to actor. Pam began her career as an attorney in Washington, D.C. Upon becoming an actor she appeared in numerous productions in D.C. Most notably Pam performed in To Kill a Mockingbird at Ford’s Theatre and as Mrs. Shubert in the long-running show, Shear Madness, at the Kennedy Center. Her film and television appearances include “Homicide” and “Unsolved Mysteries” and her favorite, the “Shocked Mom” in The Replacements – a part she now plays in real life. Her own one-woman show, Pumping Josey: Life and Death in Suburbia, co-written with award-winning playwright Caleen Sinette Jennings, premiered at Horizons Theatre and played to great acclaim to audiences around the country. Today Sherman conducts programs and coaches leaders all over the world in leadership communications and how to present themselves and their stories with passion through her company, The ShermanEDGE. She is a keynote speaker and a highly-rated global resource for a variety of leadership groups, including, EO, Vistage Worldwide and the Young Presidents’ Organization. Pam has been an adjunct professor and guest lecturer at American University and RIT among others. Her nationally-syndicated column, The Suburban Outlaw, can be read in Gannett publications, including the Democrat & Chronicle and USA Today. Her best-selling book, The Suburban Outlaw: Tales from the EDGE is sold on Amazon. Wegmans now carries her Suburban Outlaw bracelets made in South Africa by Relate to benefit youth programs in Rochester. She has been recognized for her work and contributions by Young Women’s College Prep, as a W Award nominee, an Athena Award Finalist and most recently, as a Woman to Watch by JWI. Pam studied at American University, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the Neighborhood Playhouse and the British American Drama Academy at Oxford. She is a member of the bars of New York; Washington, D.C.; Actors’ Equity and the Screen Actors Guild. She lives in Pittsford, N.Y. with her husband Neal, children Zach, Eliza and their dogs, Curley and Moe. www.shermanedge.com and www.suburbanoutlaw.com

ALLISON ENGEL | Playwright

ALLISON ENGEL has been a reporter for the Des Moines Tribune, San Jose Mercury and Pacific News Service, and was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. She and her twin Margaret wrote the play Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. She also has been a speechwriter and aide for former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack and lieutenant governor Sally Pederson. In Iowa, she was active in the Des Moines Playhouse, serving as president and head of play selection. She recently spent five years as director of communications at the University of Southern California before becoming the associate director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University. She received an M.A. in screenwriting from USC in 2009. She is married to Scott Kirkpatrick, and they have two children, Miles and Nora.

MARGARET ENGEL | Playwright

MARGARET ENGEL directs the Alicia Patterson Journalism Foundation and was the managing editor of the Newseum. She was a reporter for the Washington Post, Des Moines Register and Lorain Journal and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard. She and her twin sister, Allison, wrote Red Hot Patriot, a play about journalist Molly Ivins that starred Kathleen Turner in its 2010 premiere at Philadelphia Theatre Company. They also wrote the play, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, which had its premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. in 2015. She and her twin co-wrote Food Finds: America’s Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Them and helped turn the book into a show for the Food Network, where it ran for seven years. The show now runs on The Travel Channel. She serves on the Helen Hayes Awards board, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and chairs the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism awards board. She and her husband, Bruce Adams, wrote three editions of a travel guide to America’s baseball parks (Baseball Vacations) with the help of their children, Emily and Hugh.

MARK CUDDY | Director

MARK CUDDY is in his twenty-fourth season as Artistic Director of Geva Theatre Center. This season, in addition to Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, he directed A Christmas Carol and The Humans. Last season, he directed A Christmas Carol and Erma Bombeck at Wit’s End and appeared in the world premiere of Heartland. Mr. Cuddy is well known for his staging of premieres, contemporary comedies and musical theatre. Among his Geva Theatre Center productions have been  Private Lives, Sylvia, To Kill a Mockingbird, Good People, The Road to Where (world premiere), Clybourne Park, Pump Boys and Dinettes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, You Can’t Take It With You, Company, Superior Donuts, The Music ManFive Course Love, Fences, Sweeney Todd, A Christmas Story, Pride and Prejudice (which he also co-adapted), Bad Dates, Our Town, Tuesdays With Morrie, Urinetown, Splitting Infinity, Vigil, A Chorus Line, Hamlet, That Was Then (American premiere), Convenience (world premiere musical); 1776, Proof; the world premiere of Thornton Wilder’s Theophilus North which was also seen at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., The Miser, the East Coast premieres of both House and Garden, Quilters, Art, Famous Orpheus (world premiere musical) with Garth Fagan Dance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour with the RPO, Golf With Alan Shepard, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and State of the Union. Prior to his tenure at Geva Theatre Center, Mr. Cuddy directed a number of world and American classics while Artistic Director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Sacramento Theatre Company.

SAM HODERLEIN | Scenic Designer

SAM HODERLEIN is excited to be starting his fourth season as the Scenic Charge Artist at Geva Theatre Center. At Wit’s End is the third show he has designed for Geva, having made his debut in 2016 with The Marvelous Wonderettes and designed the second show in the series, The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns last season. He graduated from Allegheny College in May 2015 where he received a B.A. in Theatre. He spends his summers painting for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and does freelance work as a Scenic Artist for The University of Rochester.

CASEY McNAMARA | Costume Designer

CASEY McNAMARA is a Rochester- based theatrical designer and costume shop manager.  He received a B.F.A. in Theatrical Design and Technologies from Avila University and a M.F.A. in Scenography from the University of Kansas.  His credits include Costume Design for Thurgood, Million Dollar Quartet and Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End at Geva, Assassins at the Polsky Theatre (2017), Associate Costume Design for the SALT-nominated production of Parade at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse (2017), Lighting and Scenic Design for Reckless at the William Inge Theatre (2016), Co-Costume Design for Evil Dead: The Musical for Egadz! (2016), Lighting Design for A Raisin in the Sun at the Crafton-Pryor Theatre (2015), and Lighting Design for A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline at Canterbury Theatre (2015).

 

DEREK MADONIA | Lighting Designer

DEREK MADONIA has designed numerous shows at Geva Theatre Center including Hard Cell, Steel Magnolias, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, Private Lives, Mother (and me), Miracle on South Division Street, the world premiere of The Road to Where, The Mountaintop, Stranded on Earth, Freud’s Last Session, The Tribute to Sir Elton John and Billy Joel, Perfect Wedding, Underneath the Lintel, Evie’s Waltz, The Underpants, Shear Madness, That was Then, All is Well in the Kingdom of Nice, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, Meet Me Incognito, Tomato Plant Girl, the Portrait the Wind the Chair, This is Not a Pipe Dream and Women Who Steal. He received his B.A. from the University at Albany. Mr. Madonia came to Geva in 1992 as a lighting apprentice and he is currently in his 24th season as Lighting Supervisor. He would like to thank his family and his talented band of electricians for all their help and support.

DAN ROACH | Sound Designer

DAN ROACH has, since 1988, worked on sound for numerous productions at Geva Theatre Center, NTID’s Theatre for the Deaf, SUNY Brockport, and Keuka College. Most recent productions at Geva include Hard Cell, Steel Magnolias, The Diary of Anne Frank, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, Private Lives; To Kill a Mockingbird; Miracle on South Division Street; Red; The Mountaintop; Katherine’s Colored Lieutenant; The Odd Couple; Stranded on Earth; Last Gas; The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs; Freud’s Last Session; You Can’t Take It With You; Perfect Wedding; On Golden Pond; Over the Tavern; Almost, Maine; Dracula; the Shape of Evil with PUSH Physical Theatre; Evie’s Waltz; Dial M for Murder; The Underpants; Nine Parts of Desire; Doubt and A Christmas Story. He studied sound at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been applying that knowledge to theatre over the past 30 years. He is a resident of Brighton where he lives with his beautiful wife Jing.

JENNI WERNER | Literary Director/Resident Dramaturg

JENNI WERNER is in her eighth season as Literary Director and Resident Dramaturg at Geva. In that role, she has served as dramaturg on 24 productions at Geva, including classics and world premieres by Brent Askari, Lila Rose Kaplan, Wendy MacLeod, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Cass Morgan, Nora Cole, Jamie Pachino, Mat Smart and Gabriel Jason Dean. In 2015, she co-produced Geva’s blues festival celebrating the life and legacy of musician Son House, Journey to the Son. Jenni also produces Geva’s new play programming, and has led the development of over 40 new plays during her tenure at Geva. She directs Geva’s commissioning of new plays through the Rochester Stories program. Previously, Jenni served as the Director of Programming at Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the non-profit theatre field. From 2005-2011, she produced TCG’s annual National Conference, curating the content and organizing the logistics for the largest national gathering of professionals in the non-profit theatre field. For six years, she was an adjunct instructor at New York University, and is now an adjunct instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Jenni has an M.F.A. in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a B.A. in theatre and history from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She serves on the board of ImageOut, Rochester’s LGBT film festival, and the National New Play Network.

DAN PARKER | Stage Manager

DANIEL PARKER is excited to be returning for his second season at Geva Theatre Center. At Geva, he was previously the assistant stage manager for The Magician’s DaughterA Christmas Carol, Fortune, One House Over and the production assistant for Heartland, Erma Bombeck: At Wits End, Smart People, and The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps & Gowns. Other recent credits include as stage manager and assistant stage manager at Bristol Valley Theatre in Naples, NY. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester.