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home : art & life : art & life May 2, 2016

4/10/2013 5:03:00 PM
New Evanston Theatre Company Debuts Original Work April 13

On April 13, newly formed Evanston 2nd Act Players will stage original one-act play “New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House,” by John N. Frank. It is the story of an Italian-American family on the eve of the turbulent 1960s. Veteran film and stage actor and teacher Ryan Kitley directs.

Long-time Evanston resident Mr. Frank and his wife, Carolyn Calzavara, formed the theater company after taking acting classes at the Actors Training Center in Wilmette and the Piven Theatre in Evanston where they met most of the actors who comprise the company.

“The story of New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House is one I’ve been waiting to tell for more than 50 years,” says Mr. Frank, a native New Yorker who has lived most of his adult life in Evanston. The story is a personal one, the playwright says, based on his mother’s side of his extended Italian family, but he says he hopes audience members will see parallels with their own families. More information can be found at

Experienced and fledgling film and stage actors make up the core of the multi-generational Evanston 2nd Act Players, including April Cowgur, Chris Johnson, Rinat Urman, Colleen McDermott, Loren Seidner, Patrick Thornton, Melissa Mok, and introducing ETHS junior Natalie Jacobson as Julianna. Claire Shavzin is stage manager for the production.

The 2nd Act Players will stage two performances of “New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House” on April 13,
at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes, Evanston (Piven is not involved in this production). Tickets are $10 for both open-seating performances and by email at or at the show’s website,

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