Driftwood Players

"Biloxi Blues" July 1989

By Neil Simon, Directed by John Carlberg

Standing From Left: Robin McPherson: (Daisy Hannigan) Mary Perron: (USO Girl) Peggy Leavenworth: (USO Girl) Shannon Black: (USO Girl) Beverly Fish: (USO Girl) Carol McPherson: (Props) Jack McPherson: (Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey) Unknown: (Unknown) Jane Hansen: (Rowena) Margaret Tingwall: (Hairstyling and Make-up) Ann McCabe: (Sister Marisa) Chuck Jones: (Stage Manager) John Carlberg: (Director)
Front: John McCabe: (Joseph Wykowski) Jim Bakotich: (James Hennesey) Rob Slater: (Roy Selridge) Joe E. Kruft: (Eugene Morris Jerome) Dan Baxter: (Arnold Epstein) Greg Ballew: (Don Carney)

Pictures by:
Alan Stamwitz

Margaret Tingwall and Rick Lockhart giving the cast a military haircut for their part in Biloxi Blues

From The Daily World Thursday, July 13, 1989

'Biloxi' offers an ambitious comedy

By Micki Colwell
Daily World correspondent

    As with many young men, Eugene Morris Jerome has ambitions. He wants to become a writer and he wants to fall in love.

    But driving him even more as he becomes one of a new group of recruits entering basic training in Biloxi, Miss., in 1943 is that he doesn't want to get killed.

    Thus the stage is set for the opening of the Driftwood Players summer production of "Biloxi Blues," which continues Friday and Saturday nights at 8:15 through July 29.

    Tickets at 6$ are available at Harbor Drug in Hoquiam, City Drug and Captain's Cove in Aberdeen, and Sagen's Monte Drug in Montesano.

    Neil Simon's comedy, a sequel to his "Brighten Beach Memoirs," is about Eugene's trials and tribulations at boot camp.

    Simon's talent for making us laugh continues throughout this show from the beginning to the final curtain.

    Because of the subject matter, language and a few explicit scenes, the show is geared for adult audiences.

    John Carlberg, the founder of Nomah Productions, is the talented director and actor. He was most recently seen as Geoffrey in "Lion In Winter." In his spare time he operates a gardening business.

    Carlberg has taken six relatively young men and challenged them all with this fast-moving performance. He even had them cut their long hair.

    The director uses innovative stage designs to accomplish the numerous scene changes seemingly without effort.

    The six young recruits work extremely well as a team, and contrast each others characters. Many of their scenes take a great deal of timing and they are up for the job.

    Joe E. Kruft has been a familiar name around the Harbor since he was a very young boy and audiences have watched his talent grow.

    With an intensity well beyond his years, he brings Eugene alive, much as he did in " Brighten Beach." It was if this part was written for him.

    A June graduate of Weatherwax High School, Kruft has his sights set toward New York, where he will be entering the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in the fall.

    Dan Baxter is appearing for the first time on Driftwood's stage as Arnold Epstein, the young Jewish recruit who is picked on by his fellow recruits as well as the sergeant.

    Baxter demonstrates a great deal of talent in not only delivering his lines but with his subtle body language. He is working as a shipwright on the Lady Washington and sings with the sea chantey group "Donkey's Breakfast."

    Rob Slater, a veteran Driftwood child actor, was last seen as the youngest son in "Lion In Winter".

    Slater does an excellent job as one of the young recruits and helps to keep the action moving. He has three children, works at Radio Shack and attends to school.

    John McCabe, plays the very physical Wykowski, and is also a newcomer to the stage. He is believable in his role and seems at ease on  stage. He is a college student and works in the gardening business.

    Greg Ballew, a Hoquiam High School graduate, has appeared in high school productions, Grays Harbor College and Driftwood.

    Ballew as Don Carney, brings energy and believable facial expressions to his role. He is employed in the powerhouse at ITT Rayonier.

    Jim Bakotich makes his second appearance on the Driftwood stage but is in his first speaking role. Although his role is small, he is convincing. He is a manager of the Hoquiam Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    Jack McPherson appears as the dreaded Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey in his first Driftwood production. Much at ease in this difficult role, the sergeant keeps the recruits jumping with his constant barking of orders.

    Jane Hansen recently played King Henry's girlfriend in "Lion In Winter" and plays Rowena, a woman of the night, in this production.

    In one of the funniest scenes in the show, Hansen handles the situation with a maturity, timing and enough tact to keep the scene in good taste.

    Robin Mcpherson appears for the first time on stage and plays Eugene's girl-friend, Daisy with confidence and ease. Her father plays the sergeant to make this a family affair.

    Bit parts are played be Ann McCabe, Peggy Leavenworth, Shannon Black, Mary Perron and Beverly Fish.

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