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SummerStage Presents ‘A Day for Grace’

Featuring Sam Llanas, formerly of the BoDeans

Sep. 1, 2015
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Photo by Gary Dineen/Winning Image

Doug Vincent’s autobiographical play A Day for Grace was inspired by the tragedy of his father’s suicide and the birth of his daughter, Grace, whose circumstances paralleled that of his dad’s death. Though ultimately a play of hope, healing and perseverance, A Day for Grace covers topics of alcoholism, bullying, drug addiction, dysfunctional families, mental illness and, centrally, suicide in a series of interconnected monologues performed by Vincent.

The show includes live music by former BoDeans member Sam Llanas, whose 1998 album A Good Day to Die, written in response to his brother’s suicide, is featured heavily. “My stories and Sam’s music fit together like we had written the material for each other,” says Vincent. “In a tight turnaround, we put it all together with [Director] Gary Tanin’s awesome musical direction and debuted the show together back in 2012. We’ve been doing it together since.” Coincidentally, Tanin and former SummerStage of Delafield Executive Director Delia Sava, who helped secure funding for the production, have also lost family members to suicide. The timing of the play is deliberate, aligning with National Suicide Prevention Month.

“I earnestly believe folks are ready for some new ways to talk about all these difficult issues we never talk about,” says Vincent. “Perhaps the deepest power of presenting these things in a play is it allows us to show instead of tell. It’s just me showing my story, along with Sam and his musical story, with no claim to the answers. Maybe the specificity of our performed story helps open up the universal about these difficult issues, cracking the door a smidge for folks to speak of it.” Llanas adds, “The one message I hope all who see the play will take with them is the simple fact that you are not alone. Many, many people are dealing with the same issue(s) that you are and there is hope.”

“Doug is an incredibly gifted, charming and creative writer and performer,” says Tanin. “The play would not have been possible without our being able to work through the struggles and share in the joys associated with being able to present this work. A Day for Grace has been a labor of love by all those involved.”

The production of A Day for Grace will be held at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St. Tickets are $10. A discussion will follow the show, featuring an expert panel of cognitive behavioral, mental health, addiction, social services and therapy specialists. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit summerstageofdelafield.org.  

Theater Happenings:

■ Renaissance Theaterworks’ 2015 Br!nk New Works Festival features Katherine Glover’s The Sweeter the Crime and Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos’ The Hall of Final Ruin Sept. 8-14 at touring locations and the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabaret Stage, 158 N. Broadway. For more information and tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit r-t-w.com/br!nk-playwrights.html.

■ Splinter Group Theatre presents Bug, described as “a love story disguised as a psychological thriller fueled by drugs, paranoia and a healthy dose of conspiracy theory,” Sept. 10-20 at the Marian Center for Nonprofits, 3211 S. Lake Drive. For tickets, visit splintergroup.brownpapertickets.com.

■ Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure hits the stage at Sunset Playhouse (800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove), Sept. 10-27. For more information and tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

■ All In Productions presents the Wisconsin premiere of Dogfight: The Musical at Next Act Theatre (255 S. Water St.), Sept.11-19 and includes performers Rachael Zientek and Liz Faraglia. For more information and tickets, visit allin-mke.com.

■ Tim Firth’s comedy Calendar Girls is based on the true story of 11 women who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund. Show runs Sept 11-27 at Racine Theatre Guild, 2519 Northwestern Ave., Racine. For more information and tickets, call 262-633-4218 or visit racinetheatre.org.

■ The Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents the world premiere of Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver, Sept. 11-Nov. 8 at the Stackner Cabaret, 108 E. Wells St. For more information and tickets, call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.


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