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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: ‘Miracle on South Division Street’ set in Tisch Mills


The Forst Inn Arts Collective

TISCH MILLS, Wis. (WFRV) – The Forst Inn Arts Collective will present Tom Dudzick’s “Miracle on South Division Street” in six performances starting next week in the troupe’s cabaret theater.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 (preview), 11-12 and 18-19 and 2 p.m. Sept. 20. Info:

Restrictions due to the coronavirus COVID-19 apply, including mask requirement, social distancing and limit on audience size.

The story takes place in Buffalo, New York. Things happen around the table of Clara Nowack (Ann Wolf) and her three children that speak of sibling teasing and rivalries, along with baiting Mother so she pitches little fits.

Much that unfolds in “Miracle on South Division Street” is by surprise doled out by playwright Dudzick, who also is known for “Greetings!” and “Over the Tavern.”

There’s the matter of the shrine just outside the kitchen window. Grandpa Nowack said a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary came to him in 1942 with a message of world peace, and he erected a shrine with a statue as a reminder. Over the years, strangers have come to the shrine to take comfort and drop a few coins in a box.

The Nowacks’ identity is “the family with the shrine.” Much turns around that revered spot and its statue.

The audience knows early on that Ruthie (Corrie Skubal) has called a family meeting. Things keep getting in the way of Ruthie dropping her shoe, one notably being the late arrival of Beverly (Kate Koubaddy), who is busy with her form of spiritual satisfaction – bowling.

Meantime, affable brother Jimmy (Jake Jacquart) and his mother banter about the ancient toaster that Jimmy is fixing and the importance of getting the narration about the shrine to have more feeling than rote.

Directing the production is Claran LaViolette. Ed Nitro Barta is stage manager, and scenic design is by Roger Bennin.

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