THEATER REVIEW Cape Rep’s ‘Our Town’ Is Powerful Theater

by Amy F Tagliaferri

The Stage Manager introduces the actors by name, and that’s the last time you see them as that. For the next two hours, they immerse themselves in their roles as the people in a small town in New Hampshire, Grover’s Corners. With minimal sets and very few props, the eight actors in the Cape Rep company became the characters in Thornton Wilder’s classic play “Our Town.”

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this production of a play more often seen in high school drama clubs. I knew it was a classic and written by Thornton Wilder but my memory was foggy on the details.

I soon learned that good literature never gets dated or out of touch. This Pulitzer Prize-winning play is just as fresh as it was when it was first performed in 1938. Each character is relatable, each storyline is ageless and the entire experience is emotional. In three acts we spend snippets of a dozen years in this town, and because of these talented actors and the well-written script we get to know the people in Grover’s Corners well.

Nick Nudler draws the audience in with his brilliant performance as the Stage Manager. Many times during the show, I felt like he was talking to me directly. He looks the audience in the eye and adds texture and layers to each scene with his narration. It’s an amazing performance. He seems to have an endless amount of enthusiastic energy. Each actor seems to respond to the stage manager’s “cues” effortlessly, and many embrace more than one role with the same effortlessness. The talent in this group is palpable.

Grover’s Corners is a small town full of the usual local characters (a doctor, a milkman, a teacher, a constable, a preacher, etc.) but in essence the play focuses on two neighboring families: the Webbs and the Gibbs. Watching Emily Webb (Katherine Paulsen and Kristen Peacock for a few performances) and George Gibbs (Cam Torres) fall in love is entrancing and so cute! But equally enjoyable is seeing the friendship between the two women, Mrs. Gibbs (Denise Page) and Mrs. Webb (Amanda Collins) and the affection between Dr. Gibbs (Lewis D. Wheeler) and his wife and that of Mr. Webb (Brian Lore Evans) with his. Jess Andra and Jared Hagen as multiple characters are standouts. We loved Andra’s Howie Newsome, the milkman, and Hagen’s Simon Stinson, the choir teacher with a drinking problem.

Wilder’s play has many messages, and some of its lines are words to ponder. “Every child born into the world is nature’s attempt to make a perfect human being” is one that we, as a people, should think about more often. And his thoughts on life and death will stay with you for days. “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” The play is simple yet deep, and will make you very emotional.

Maura Hanlon’s fine direction is evident as she masterfully extracts so many spellbinding performances out of her cast. Ryan McGettigan’s set design, Paul Miller’s lighting and Robin McLaughlin’s costumes are all so cleverly simple yet effective in showcasing the play’s overall message and the actor’s performances. Tori Mondello as the show’s actual stage manager does a superb job, too.

“Our Town” is indeed our town. What a great play to kick off the 2024 season.


"Our Town"

At Cape Rep Theatre, Route 6A, Brewster

Through June 2 in the indoor theater; Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.; Saturdays May 25 and June 1 at 2 p.m. No performances May 26 and 29.

Information and reservations: 508-896-1888 or