SCRANTON — Community theater group Actors Circle will present “Mary, Mary,” written by Scranton native Jean Kerr and directed by Peckville resident Art Walsh throughout two weekends, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 and Dec. 7 through 10 at at Providence Playhouse, 1256 Providence Road. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. Thursday, Nov. 30 admission is discounted at $8 for general and seniors and $6 for students. For reservations call 570-342-9707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cast includes Kevin Anthony Duricko, a native of Cork, Ireland, who recently moved to America and will perform for the first time in the country; Chris Eibach, of Dunmore; K. K. Gordon, of Scranton; and Courtney McCreary, of Clarks Summit.
In the play, nine months after they split up, Bob and Mary meet at his New York apartment to sort out some tax matters. A snowstorm forces Mary to spend the night. The following morning, when mutual friend and lawyer Oscar, Hollywood heartthrob, neighbor Dirk Winston and Bob’s considerably younger fiancée Tiffany arrive on the scene, comedy ensues.
Kerr was born in Scranton on July 10, 1922. She attended Marywood Seminary and Marywood College, where she acquired a taste for theater. She was serving as stage manager of a college production of “Romeo and Juliet” when she met her husband, drama critic Walter Kerr, who was a professor of drama at Catholic University in Washington at the time.
In 1945, shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree at Marywood, she married and received a master’s degree from Catholic University.
Being well acquainted with the glamour, grit and egocentric follies of life in the theater, Kerr capitalized on that experience and wrote often about show business. But she also had a gift for finding the comedy in the commonplace anxieties of suburbia and married life.
This became evident with her first big success outside the theater, “Please Don’t Eat the Dasies.” It was a best-seller, then a movie and eventually a sit-com on NBC.
Other collections of humerus essays include “The Snake Has All the Lines,” “Penny Candy” and “How I Got to Be Perfect.” Some of her plays for which she is best known include “Touch and Go,” written with her husband; “Poor Richard,” “Finishing Touches,” “Lunch Hour” and, of course, “Mary Mary.” Audiences packed the theater nightly on Broadway during and after the release of its 1963 screen adaptation, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, making it one of the longest-running productions of the decade with more than 1,500 performances in all.
For all her experience and success in the theater, Kerr never stopped worrying how her work would be received and regarded opening night as “a public hanging, and you’re the hanged.” She never took herself too seriously and was once quoted as saying, “I’m not a natural playwright at all. I write what I know.”
In January of 2003, Kerr passed away at 80 years of age from pneumonia in White Plains Hospital, N.Y. She left behind a grand legacy in her six children, `11 grandchildren and all of her witty, heartwarming and comedic tales.