Prince George’s Little Theatre Opens ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ at the Bowie Playhouse Tonight

Prince George’s Little Theatre will produce Christopher Durang’s award-winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Bowie Playhouse from January 8 – 23. All Friday performances and Saturday performances on January 9th and 16th are at 8 p.m. The Sunday performances January 10th and 17th and the closing performance Saturday January 23rd are 2 pm. matinees.

The cast of 'Vanya, Masha, and Spike.' Photo courtesy of Prince George's Little Theatre.
The cast: L to R Debbie Samek as Sonia, Jo Sullivan as Masha, Josh Huff-Edsall as Spike, Scott Beadle as Vanya, Nicole Musho as Nina, and Sandra True as Cassandra in rehearsal. Photo by Andrew Culhane.

If you want to know what is in a name, you could ask the title characters in this sunny play about gloomy people made up of scattered bits of Chekhov run through a contemporary plot processor. Vanya and Sonia and Masha – three siblings but not three sisters — were named after Chekhov creations by their theater-loving, academic parents. Spike is the wild card who lets us know the tone and the setting will definitely be contemporary America.

Playwright Christopher Durang starts with Chekhov but runs every which way from there, moving from Greek tragedy to Walt Disney in a warm-hearted play that doesn’t require any knowledge of the Russian playwright to get the jokes and understand the conflicts in the lives of its six characters.

Middle-aged siblings Vanya (Scott Beadle) and Sonia (Debbie Samek) share a home in Bucks County, PA, trapped in mundane lives at their family’s cottage caring for their ailing and now deceased parents. They are supported by their movie-star sister Masha (Jo Sullivan), who leads a glamorous life travelling the world in decadent style. After the soothsayer/cleaning woman Cassandra (Sandra True) warns of impending doom, Masha shows up accompanied by her much younger boy-toy Spike (Josh Huff). The final character in the play is a dewy young neighbor who burns to become an actress and who is named Nina, naturally (Nicole Musho).

Debbie Samek, Scott Beadle, and Photo courtesy of Prince George's Little Theatre.
Debbie Samek, Scott Beadle, and Nicole Musho. Photo by Andrew Culhane.

Following Masha’s unannounced arrival with plans that will up-end the family, long-repressed resentments bubble over in a week-end of wild costume parties, voodoo dolls, and surprise romance. The gay Vanya lusts after the muscle-bound, clothes optional Spike, who is naturally drawn to young Nina, who in turn hero-worships Masha, whose jealousy erupts.

The play is directed by Estelle Miller and produced by Roy Peterson. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, among other awards. This production of Durang’s play is a premiere for the Washington metropolitan area’s community theaters.

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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays through January 23, 2016 at Prince George’s Little Theatre performing at the Bowie Playhouse – 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, in Bowie, Maryland. For tickets, call (301) 937-7458, buy them at the box office, or purchase them online. Regular-priced tickets are $22 for adults and $17 for students and seniors. Groups of ten or more can purchase tickets in advance for $15 a ticket.

Here are directions to The Bowie Playhouse.