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Joe DiPietro’s comical off-Broadway classic “Over the River and Through the Woods” was a success last week as laughter filled the Eagle Theatre in downtown Sugar Hill.

Dubbed a love letter to family, “Over the River and Through the Woods” is a heart-warming tribute to DiPietro’s own family as it centers on the three F’s of faith, family and food.

The play follows a young man, Nick, who must choose between his close-knit, Italian-American family in New Jersey and his dream job across the country. The audience laughed along as Nick’s grandparents concocted a plan to keep him close to home.  

The production was directed by Players Guild at Sugar Hill’s founder and current board chair Ane Mulligan.

The day Mulligan saw Mary Martin in “Peter Pan,” she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered — stage fever. Mulligan is a multi-published playwright and award-winning best-selling novelist. Additionally, she has performed in and directed dozens of plays and musicals in community theaters and church drama.

 “As we researched several shows, this one by Joe DiPietro stood out as one of the funniest scripts I’ve read,” Mulligan said. “At the same time, it brought me to tears in some places. Combine that with a phenomenal cast, and we have a blockbuster of a show.”  

The cast for “Over the River and Through the Woods” featured several of the area’s favorite actors, including Donna Chalmers, Barbara Macko, Doug Mills, Steve Silverio, Jackson Trent and Jamilyn Upchurch.

“Throughout the rehearsal process we discovered several of the cast are of Italian descent (second and third generation), so they are borrowing nuances of their own grandparents to bring these characters to life,” Mulligan said. “It has been just as rewarding discovering these ancestral roots as working on the play itself.” 

FEATURED PHOTO: Nick, played by Jackson Trent, center, receives life advice from his Italian grandparents, clockwise from left, portrayed by Donna Chalmers, Steve Silverio, Doug Mills and Barbara Macko in Players Guild at Sugar Hill’s production of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” which was performed Nov. 4-13, 2022, at the Eagle Theatre in downtown Sugar Hill. Photo by Katelyn Zeller.

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