Be assured, to write a musical, which includes a script and music, is no small task. For that reason “Eubank,” currently on stage at Dover Players, is a major accomplishment for the creators and the theater group. The North Olmsted-based Dover Players have been a mainstay with their mission, which is different from that of all other local theaters. They place a high value on the social community formed by the creative people who put on a play or musical. While they could do the things many other theaters do, they have found a special niche by producing Sherlock Holmes-type mysteries, and have delved into shows that other theater just won’t produce.
The last time I attended the Dover Players was about 1986, for a production of the turgid melodrama “The Cat and the Canary,” written around 1920 and seldom performed. More recently, the theater has had productions of “Hedda Gabler,” a naturalistic drama by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and “R.U.R.” by Karl Kapek, a Russian playwright. (R.U.R. stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots.) This is the play that introduced the word “robot” into our vocabulary. This theater has a special mission.
“Eubank” is a musical by local writers Jeff Campbell and Bill Royse. It is the story of brothers Bud and Spud, who plan to rob a bank because the bank tends to leave its doors unlocked. In parallel plots, the bank is planning a major giveaway of a toaster to customers who deposit $25 during a weekend, and a hostile takeover of the bank is being planned by a larger “big city” Chicago bank. “Eubank” has some gentle humor, some romance and a lot of small-town flavor, which works well in North Olmsted Town Hall, where the production is staged.
“Eubank” exudes a sort of quiet charm. It is set in 1951, a simpler time, in Eubank, Iowa, the heart of the Midwest. I was reminded of “The Andy Griffith Show” as I watched it. I saw “Eubank” at a preview performance through the courtesy of director Jeff Campbell. It runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., through Sept. 29, at North Olmsted Town Hall on Dover Center Road, just south of Lorain Avenue.
This is not professional theater. The cast and crew are a congenial, social group who work to the best of their ability to entertain the audience with the show. Campbell is also the writer and the composer. He also appears in the show as one of the misguided bank robbers who intends to use a banana as a substitute for a gun so that no one gets hurt. His son Adam plays his smarter brother in the show. Bill Graham, who is the representative of the evil bank that intends to take over the Eubank Bank of Eubank, works with his son Chris as the prop master of the production.
I am amazed that the Dover Players do not charge for tickets. That’s right. Tickets are free for the musical “Eubank.” In fact, the seats are better than free. How can that be? At intermission, the friendly theater serves lemonade (referred to in the play) and pretzels. If you want to be guaranteed a good seat for the show, you can call 440-779-1284 to reserve seats under your name for only $5 each. Even with a large number of reservations, Dover Players still makes some seats for every performance available for free for walk-ups. It’s amazing.