Preview: The Wolves at Open Stage

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Open Stage’s production of The Wolves runs through March 3.

I first heard of the show during Open Stage’s cabaret brunch last April, where they introduced the 2018-2019 lineup, and I remember thinking (I actually likely said it out loud to myself and my mimosa), “I cannot wait to see that show.”

So, I am stoked that showtime is finally here and I scored a seat for the show’s opening night. I’ve come to love Open Stage (its shows, its casts, its staff, its personality), and I’m excited to have the Theatre as one of my long weekend plans.

For some pre-show fun, I spoke with Director Rachel Landon to get the scoop on what to expect this time around.

HF: Open Stage’s current theme is “coming of age,” and it seems like The Wolves is the perfect fit. Any reasons why you chose to bring it to Harrisburg?

RL: Open Stage has a tradition of bringing new plays that are fresh from Broadway or Off-Broadway runs. The Wolves, a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize, is a prime example of the kind of exciting work that we like to bring in from New York – it’s a modern masterpiece and a triumph for the world of theatre.  It’s got a stirring story that faces a lot of modern issues. Sarah DeLappe has created a team of incredible female characters and a slice of life reality in a tight, fast-paced, hilarious and heartbreaking show. The story surrounds nine teenage girls on an indoor soccer team and the interchanges that happen in the minutes leading up to their games on consecutive Saturday mornings. An event occurs that causes the team to have to grow up very fast – I don’t want to give away anything specific for fear of spoiling the ending, but the things that lead up to that huge event seem like normal, every day occurences – but for these young characters these small moments will help define them for the rest of their lives.  It’s like we’re seeing their formative years on fast forward.

Carrie showcased “coming of age” in high school. How is The Wolves different?

I would say that these high-school aged characters live closer to to reality.  All of the nine girls on the team could have been people you knew when you were seventeen. They are all archetypes, but are so well written there’s nothing that rings caricature about the people you are watching onstage. There’s also a lot less singing and dancing. And blood (there may still be be singing and blood).

What should audiences expect?

This show is an emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re laughing, the other minute you’re holding your breath. The dramas that plays out between the young women of the story seem both small and relatable yet hugely profound. Some of the words exchanged between the characters could have been conversations or fights I had with my friends in high school – I think everyone who sees it will have the same experience. You start to care about the characters right away – you can’t help it. So every triumph they feel, every loss, every inside joke – you feel like you’re a part of it. Plus the artists involved are just phenomenal. The audience can expect some incredible acting from this cast, along with a tight and simple design that they may not be used to seeing on our stage. I think audiences will be blown away by their experience with this story.

Last season was Open Stage’s best season yet, how has this year followed in those footsteps? How has Open Stage developed?

Wow! We had such a financially and artistically successful season last year. I run the daytime box office, so dealing with the demand for tickets was overwhelming at times, and it was truly humbling hearing the feedback from the audience about their experiences with the shows. And there’s no doubt about it-  Fun Home is a far cry from Carrie the Musical in so many ways, but in the end its apples and oranges. Art is subjective, but as long as people are transformed in some way by the art they see, that’s really the goal. The theatre was founded on the idea that we should strive to present challenging, thought provoking theatre that supports a company of artists. And we will continue to do that – make the experience of the artist and the experience of the audience be as fulfilling as possible. If we continue to do that, I believe the seats will continue to fill up. And even if they don’t – if three people show up on a Friday night to see a show, I want them to leave the theatre feeling that they were changed and inspired by the story they saw that night. So I think success has given us perspective – having butts in the seats helps pay the bills, but being inspired by good theatre is what will always drive us.
As for development, there’s a lot on the horizon. We have a ton of work that is being poured into our 30/30 campaign. (Psst.  You can go to to learn more!)

I’m so excited for this show! What should I expect?

If you like new plays, you will love this show.  If you like comedies, you will love this show. If you like drama, you will love this show.  If you like sports, you will love this show. If you like well-written, powerful female characters, you will be over the moon about this show. If you don’t like any of those things, come see the show anyway, I still think it has a little something for everyone.
The Wolves runs through March 3. Grab your tickets here.
Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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