It’s been an eventful couple of weeks in the rehearsal room! Two days before Christmas, we learned that Peggy Cosgrave, who had been too ill to travel to Rochester for the first day of rehearsal, needed more time to recover and would not be able to join us for Miracle on South Division Street at all. A flurry of phone calls ensued, and within a few hours director Pamela Hunt had settled on a new matriarch for the fictional Nowak family: Toni DiBuono, who appeared at Geva a few months ago as Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Toni traveled to Rochester on Boxing Day, having had just two days to look over the script and pack for 6 weeks away from home. That evening, she read through the play for the first time with the rest of the cast.
During the week before Toni arrived, Pamela and the cast had worked through the whole script, deciding how to handle the props, when to sit, where to stand and how best to time the jokes. Normally when missing an actor, we’d try to work on parts of the play that don’t involve them, but that wasn’t possible this time. Miracle is written almost entirely as one long scene, and Toni’s character, Clara Nowak, is on stage for pretty much the whole play (she enters on page 6).
That leaves Toni with a lot to learn at once, but she seems undaunted. She’s already able to run through large sections of the play without her script handy, and Clara’s Buffalo accent is sounding great. What a relief to have the whole Nowak family together at last!