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Empty Nesters Play-Out Their Midlife Woes

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By Linda White-Francis

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It is said growing older is not for sissies!  This fun play of which many will identify, says it all about aging gracefully-or NOT, but in an endearing, entertaining thought-provoking way!  Carol Caplan-Lonner, now deceased, wrote her bestselling yarn “The Kids Left, The Dog Died, Now What” in 2010.  Ironically the comedic title, a humorous depiction indeed, is definitely meant to stir-up memories of one’s empty-nester days, and just when one thought life would be easier, it turns out life over fifty is not always a bowl of cherries. The side-splitting storyline ironically captures a whole host of midlife crises Caplan-Lonner obviously had experienced herself, because the heartfelt calamities she portrays are just too true to be made-up. Eventually, Caplan-Lonner’s bestseller became a stage musical-also penned and scored by Caplan-Lonner. What a talented, ingenious woman! 

Happily, you can now see this wonderful play right here in Hernando County at our own Stage West Community Playhouse: 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd. Spring Hill, Florida, and to be presented this month on Thursday, October 15th at 7:30 PM, Friday, October 16th at 7:30, Saturday, October 17th at 7:30, Sunday, October 18th at 2 PM, and Friday, October 23rd at 7:30 PM, Saturday, October 24rd at 2 PM, and Sunday, October 25th at 2 PM.  Please get your tickets at the box office Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 10 AM-2 PM or one hour before curtain. Prices are very reasonable: Adults $20 and Students $15.

The director of this hilarious play is Linda Willding, originally from Riverside Illinois. A talented lady herself, Willding has been involved with the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, Palette Mask and Wig Theatre in Illinois, and owns Theatre Mask Productions, a murder mystery dinner traveling show. This is her second directorship here at Stage West.  “I have had a wonderful time with the fabulous cast in the production of “The Kids Left, The Dog Died, Now What?” She said. The cast includes Lynda Benson (also President of Stage One Players Group), Dalton Benson, Kathy Capelle, Michelle Root, Ernie Rowland, Georgia Kosloski, Linda Hougland, Bill Dimmitt, and Sam Petricone. “I have had the support of a great team including the stage manager, sound and lights production team, costumes and props master, choreographer, and a cast that once again have brought an enjoyable production to the stage for everyone’s entertainment,” Willding beamed. The Production Team of the show includes Joy Whitaker, Carol Ballard, Linda Hougland, Sandy Logsted, Jim Potter, and Rachel DeVuoho. “It has been a pleasure directing this fabulous and conscientious cast and crew.”

Willding, in the business since 1997 started out as an actress and singer. “I began directing seven years ago.” She said.  Her first play was The Best Little Whore House in Texas. “I love the theatre!  Theatre brings enrichment into our lives, makes us think, brings back memories, helps us to be more understanding, and overall make us better people.”

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Willding sums up the play perfectly by saying, “It’s a play with 24 vignettes of music and dance and thoughtful moments about life.  It’s an ensemble cast performing together telling the stories.  There are no real stars in the cast per se-they are all stars living and breathing the songs and the true to life imagery of this delightful musical comedy.” 

“The Kids Left, The Dog Died, and Now What?” could be anybody’s story in time. In fact, it’s as old as time. It’s about people facing the gravity and uncertainties of old age in a humorously valiant and melodious way. 

Go see it!  You won’t be disappointed! 

www.stagewestflorida.com, or call 352-683-5113

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