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Curtain Rises: Civic Theatre back on stage with two shows

Civic Theatre of Allentown returns productions to its stages with a virtual production in June and an in-person musical in July.

The one-person show is “Buyer & Cellar,” live-stream, 7:30 p.m. June 18 and 19, Civic Theatre514, 514 N. 19th St., Allentown.

Neil Simon’s “They’re Playing Our Song” is July 23 - 31, Main Stage, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown.

“Buyer & Cellar” is an encore of Civic’s 2019 production of the off-Broadway comedy hit.

Timothy Janovsky recreates his performance for two shows, directed by Civic Theatre Artistic Director William Sanders.

In the absurdest comedy written by Jonathan Tolins, Janovsky plays six different characters, including iconic star Barbra Streisand.

New Jersey native Janovsky says he discovered the play, in which an out-of-work actor takes a job curating the contents of the mall-like basement in Streisand’s Malibu, Calif., mansion, when he was looking for a monologue to audition for Muhlenberg College.

In the show, Alex More, a struggling actor recently fired from Disneyland, is hired to work in the private basement mall in Streisand’s house.

Tolins was inspired to write the comedic play after reading Streisand’s architecture book, which details the setup of her own private mall, complete with a dress shop, doll shop, and working yogurt machine, in her home’s basement.

During the course of the play, Streisand eventually comes down to the basement and she and More strike up a friendly relationship, which becomes the source of admiration and frustration for More.

Janovsky says he finds it rewarding to change his voice and physicality to play six different characters. He spent a lot of time studying Streisand’s mannerisms and especially focused on how she laughs.

Janovsky graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2019 with a degree in theater and dance. At Muhlenberg, he acted in musical theater productions, including “How to Succeed in Business,” “Gypsy” and “Chicago;” and performed with the comedy troupe, the Underground Improv Project.

Since then, he has appeared in plays, readings, and musicals at PlayPenn Philadelphia, The Lark NYC, The Holmdel Theatre Company and Rail Events Inc.

He produced his own stand-up comedy special, “Live from the Living Room,” in 2019, and writes comedy for online outlets.

The show is not recommended for children under 17.

Performances are free with online registration: www.civictheatre.com

“Pride and Prejudice”:

Players of the Stage, an Allentown theater troupe, will perform Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” in-person, 7 p.m. June 17 and 18, and 2 and 7 p.m. June 19, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Allentown.

The production based on Austen’s 1813 romantic novel of manners was adapted by Anna Barshinger Lauffer, and is directed by Marian Barshinger.

The story follows the lives of the Bennet family, particularly of Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters, as they navigate their place in society, difficult financial prospects, and discover what true love looks like.

The theater troupe is made up mostly of Christian home-school students, and performs shows to raise money for local causes.

Players of the Stage has raised more than $208,000 for charities that serve the Lehigh Valley.

“Pride and Prejudice” will benefit Bloom, formerly Truth for Women, which operates three homes in the Lehigh Valley for women who are survivors of sex trafficking.

Tickets are free. Patrons are asked to make a donation. Reservations required: potstickets@gmail.com

“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Timothy Janovsky, “Buyer & Cellar,” live-stream, 7:30 p.m. June 18 and 19, Civic Theatre514, Allentown.