A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
Wrong Turn at Lungfish
a Comedy/Drama
by Garry marshall and Lowell Ganz

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 2254

SHOWING : May 17, 2007 - June 10, 2007



It is the story of a blind and bitter college professor and his encounter with a saucy, street wise young woman who volunteers to read to him in the hospital. The clash of intellect and wit takes the two from animosity and fear to friendship and understanding. Both come to their relationship with questions, hers dealing with her station in life and her handsome boyfriend and his about past life choices. Both leave with hopeful answers.


Artistic Director Robert Egizio
Director Adriana Warner
Sound Design Dan Bauman
Production/Stage Manager Courtney Loner
Scenic Design Chuck Welcome
Lighting Design John David Williams
Anita Merendino Kara Cantrell
Nurse Courtney Foy
Ravenswaal Brink Miller
Dominic Mark Russ
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Wrong Turn? Not Hardly!
by line!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
OK, so its Friday night and my wife and I are off to go see Stage Door Players’ current production of “Wrong Turn at Lungfish”. I have been looking forward to seeing this one for several reasons. It’s being directed by one of my favorite people in the whole wide world: Adriana Warner. It’s being produced by Stage Door Players in Dunwoody (known around town for their quality, consistency and professionalism). The script is really extraordinary (but quirky) and I wanted to see how it played in front of an audience. I was also anxious to see how the final casting choices worked out (I was privileged to have attended auditions for this show and, although I wasn’t cast, I got to read with some pretty impressive actors).

Before I get to the particulars, let me simply state:

“Wrong Turn at Lungfish” is the best show I’ve seen at a community theater in years!

It is solid from top to bottom! The script, the direction, the acting, the set, the costumes, and the venue all are first rate! You don’t want to miss this one. It is an extraordinary theatrical experience!

I’ll start with the script written by Garry Marshall and Lowell Ganz. Both are veteran writers with much TV and movie experience and numerous awards. The story is about a former college professor who has recently gone blind due to an illness which will eventually kill him. He is hospitalized and has become bitter and cantankerous due to his health situation, but he has pledged to spend his last days filled with the beauty of man’s literary and musical masterpieces. To that end, he listens to Beethoven and has his favorite literary classics read to him by a volunteer who reads to the blind. This volunteer unintentionally brings some of the ugliness, unpleasantness and ignorance of the real world into his life at a time when he would rather not deal with it. While these are actually some very dark and serious concepts, they are handled with a magnificent comedic flair as the two characters interact. Both learn from each other, grow, and become better people because of their time together. The best kind of comedy always has a layer of seriousness and truth as its foundation. This is a prime example of the best kind of comedy.

Next, I’ll move on to the direction. If you have read any of my past posts, you know Adriana Warner holds a special place in my heart. She is a gifted artist whose talent, kindness and love of theatre are legendary (and infectious). The woman knows how to get the absolute best out of her actors and how to make a show the best it can possibly be with the resources she has to work with. I’ve seen her make lemonade out of a whole lot of lemons! But when she has so many strong resources at her disposal, like she does in this production, the results are pure ambrosia for the audience.

There isn’t a single misstep in the blocking, staging or pacing. The casting of this ensemble of actors is balanced and full of good chemistry. Movement, delivery and character interaction are pitch perfect and create magical moments onstage in complete harmony with the dialogue. There are little actions and bits of business that are so perfectly natural, that you accept them as honest, not acting. This show is an example of Adriana at her best. And her best is damn good.

Now for the actors…What a wonderful ensemble this is!

Courtney Foy sets the comic tone for the evening with her sassy student nurse. She is the one who is forced to deal with the most disagreeable patient in the hospital, and she does so with a firm demeanor and numerous funny asides. She brought some bits of the “sassy young black woman” stereotype to her portrayal, but just for comedic familiarity. She also layered in a wonderful sense of her character’s pride in her work and sense of accomplishment and confidence.

Brink Miller, who plays Peter Ravenswaal, is a veteran of Atlanta’s stages. He is a talented actor with a great voice and strong stage presence. I have seen Brink in quite a number of good, but not always challenging, roles over the years. He is always dependably professional and enjoyable to watch (no matter the quality of the production). So it was quite a treat to see him rise to the challenges offered by this role. His sincerity totally won the audience over. He made an unlikable character into one the audience truly cared for. When his character’s time finally came, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house (including mine – you S.O.B.!) Bravo sir!

Kara Cantrell took a character that could have been played as a blatant stereotype of the brassy, dumb, New York/New Jersey, Italian-American, beaten wife/girlfriend and brought her totally to life as a real human with a beautifully honest and exquisitely nuanced performance. Her vocal inflections and pacing brought a truth to her character that was so much more than what was written on the page. Kara added so many tasteful touches of subtlety she totally transformed into Anita Merendino. This level of character development is way beyond what you’d normally expect to see in a comedy, and way above what you get to see in most community theatre productions.

As Anita’s abusively criminal (and criminally stupid) boyfriend Dominic de Ceaser, Mark Rush is a force of nature on stage! He brings a truly impressive energy that takes an already excellent show and blasts it into the stratosphere! It is great fun to watch as he tries not to be stupid, and not to be abusive, but can’t help himself. His delivery, timing, character development, body language, movement and stage presence were all magnificent! I am really excited to see what he does next. He is a first rate actor with some great comic skills

OK, now to the things that don’t deserve a lot of praise because they were not MAGNIFICENT or WONDERFUL! They were simply perfect. That would be the costumes and the set. Totally character appropriate and in tune with the show.

Since I seem to be going through a phase these days where I’m fixated on the set… IMHO it was a bit sterile. I know it’s a hospital room, but Chuck, would it have killed you to put a little bit of color somewhere? Maybe a fern or something? A picture on the wall? Or perhaps an interesting colorful stain on the sheets? Of course you know I’m just kidding. The damn set was perfect, as usual.

There is so much more I could say about this show, but I think I’ve blathered on long enough. It runs for two more weeks. If you enjoy good theatre, go see “Wrong Turn at Lungfish”. The title is obtuse, but the show is sublime.

Caveats: In the interest of full disclosure (and an attempt at humor in writing): I have been in a show at Stage Door Players. I know Brink Miller, but have never been in a show with him. I have been in two shows directed by Adriana Warner. Kara Cantrell is in the next show I will be in at Theater in the Square, but I have never met her before. I auditioned for this show but wasn’t cast. I am very, very bitter about that and could snap at any minute. I do not own any sharp objects or weapons of any kind, so the last sentence was an idle threat. No. An outright lie. Which, if combined, would make it an idle lie. (I’ve really got to stop writing these things at 1:00 in the morning, don’t I?)


Blood at the Root
by Dominique Morisseau
University of West Georgia Theatre Company
by Sharon Mathis
Academy Theatre
Murder Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
by E. Xavier Wheeler
Laughing Matters
Almost, Maine
by John Cariani
Centerstage North Theatre
BattleActs! Comedy Improv Competition
Laughing Matters
by Sharon Mathis
Academy Theatre
Daddy Long Legs
by John Caird (book) and Paul Gordon (songs)
The Legacy Theatre
Laughing Matters Winter Wonder Laughs
Laughing Matters
Midnight at the Masquerade
by The Murder Mystery Company
The Murder Mystery Company in Atlanta
Murder Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
by E. Xavier Wheeler
Laughing Matters
Stories on the Strand
Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
The Bachelor! A Double Date of Death!
by Marc Farley
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery

©2012 All rights reserved.