(12-5-22) On December 11 and 12 at 7:00 pm, Van Wert Civic Theater will be holding auditions for Lion In Winter. 2 women and 5 men will be required. The play will be directed by Sarah Glover and performed February 9-12 and 16-19.

The Lion in Winter: Set in Castle Chinon, Christmas 1183. King Henry is planning to announce his successor from among his three sons. First however he must outwit his brilliant but rebellious wife Queen Eleanor, whom he has let out of jail “just for the holidays.” Henry wants John. Eleanor wants Richard. But what about Geoffrey? And now the King of France has arrived, demanding his sister’s wedding to the heir or war. His sister – who is Henry’s mistress.

“Well. What family doesn’t have its ups and downs?”

It has been 50 years since VWCT has performed Lion In Winter on stage.  The names of the cast from then invoke many sweet memories.  Jack Paullus was Henry II, Genevieve Foltz was Eleanor with Bob Thomas, Jan Swank, Mike Warden, Sharon Gabet, and Tom Warden filling out the cast.  Lee Stangland was the director.  Even the supporting crew held some memorable people – Jane Diller, Pat Victor, Betty Miller, Pat Ryan and Rondalee Derry.  

Mike Warden, who is retired and lives in Van Wert, remembers being John in the play.  He was 17 at the time with no theater experience but was encouraged by his brother, Tom, to try out.  Tom had done several shows with VWCT and was playing Richard in the show.  Mike remembers the experience with fond memories even though it was quite scary to be on stage.   He had a lot of fun sharing the experience with his brother.  When asked what he remembers about Jack Pallus, Mike  reflected on how helpful Jack was to him as a first time actor making sure he was comfortable on the stage. 

Bob Thomas, now a resident of Durham, N.C, 50 years ago was Geoffrey in Lion in Winter.  He was active in VWCT from 1969-1979.  He had many memories from the play including the clear vision that the director, Lee Stangland, had for the play and how he directed them.  He remembers the cast as getting along together quite well.  The cast knew what their jobs were when they were on stage.  He also commented on how the Warden brothers were quite a bit taller than Jack Pallus but Jack had no trouble being a strong, though shorter, father and king.  He also mentioned that Sharon Gabet, who played the young Alais, was a wonderful actress and beautiful!  Sharon went on to a professional acting career that included roles in the soap operas The Edge of Night, Another world, and One Life to Live.  

Many memories were made 50 years ago and more will be made in February of 2023 as VWCT brings Lion in Winter back to the stage. Auditions will be held on December 11 and 12 at 7:00 at the theater. If you have any questions or would like to make a reservation for the show please call 419-238-9689 and leave a message.