What people are saying about
Standing O
Praise for Tracers
"Tracers compelled the audience to share some disquieting , thought-provoking moments.  
The uniformly fine cast consisted of veteran actors and Standing O newcomers.  Edd Miller's
sensitive direction retained the power in quiet, affecting scenes with one or two actors, that  
revealed truth to the audience.  He created believable battle scenes packed with action and
wrenching scenes where the servicemen search for body parts of their dead compatriots for
shipment home.  

Praise for Mr. Marmalade
"Anyone who appreciates stellar performances in cutting-edge theater should not miss Mr.
Marmalade
for an experience not likely to be duplicated on any other local stage.  Standing O
lives up to its growing reputation for excellence in direction and brilliant acting by a growing
repertory stable of incredible actors.  

"Standing O's current production of
Mr. Marmalade is the edgiest and most complex in its two-
year history.  Founder and artistic director Ron Giddings offers audiences this black comedy,
which enters unknown theatrical territory to provide an entertaining and disturbing evening.

"Required to be nearly always on stage as a precocious 4-year-old, Enoch summons a core
of innocent childlike openness from which she projects neglected Lucy's excitement,
frustration and anger, which often dissolves into abject loneliness and aching vulnerability.  
In her stage interactions, Enoch distinguishes real from imaginary characters for the
audience and even compels the audience to feel her emotions.

"Thurston Cobb plays Mr. Marmalade as a multifaceted despicable character who is often
witty, deftly delivering his sardonic barbs.

"Alicia Sweeney proves her dazzling versatility in roles ranging from Lucy's conflicted,
neglectful mother to her free-spirited, distracted babysitter to cameos as a waitress and
sunflower.

"Always reliable Ronnie Schronce evokes his share of laughs as the impatient and foul-
mouthed boyfriend, and as an imaginary...and comical cactus.

"John Halmi brings needed warmth and kindess to the imaginary Bradley, providing a lovely
moment when he sings "La Vie en Rose" at a romantic dinner party.

"Jason Vellon is excellent as Larry, who has attempted suicide after being rebuffed by
potential preschool playmates.  Vellon's Larry shares his feelings of isolation and loneliness
with Lucy to bring an element of hope and to provide a happy ending."
                                                                                                     - The Baltimore Sun


Praise for The Musical of Musicals:  The Musical
"The Musical of Musicals: The Musical is a demanding show requiring actors who can move
seamlessly from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim to Andrew Lloyd Webber to Jerry
Herman to Kander and Ebb - comfortable enough in each musical genre to parody all with
panache.  It seemed miraculous that this dream cast was waiting in the wings for this gem of
a show to come along.  This genuine 21st century musical comedy marks another triumph to
Standing O's growing list."  
                                                                                   - The Baltimore Sun

Praise for 52 Pick Up
"Standing O director Kris Valerio keeps the chaos under control and the spontaneity alive as
she maintains clarity in the couple's developing relationship.

"Diane Hood proves capable of quicksilver mood changes as "A Woman" who had
immersed herself in the cultures of distant lands, where she lived for extended periods.

"She then reveals an eagerness to share with her partner her knowledge of foreign
languages, her enchantment with astrology and her determination to improve his image by
outfitting him in designer sweaters.

"Duncan Hood plays "A Man" comfortable with the familiar, resistant to change, who good-
naturedly deflects his partner's attempts to change him, thus projecting a familiar kind of
Everyman.

"Together the Hoods skillfully reveal a spontaneous and constantly changing relationship
with pitfalls and rewards that was ultimately destined to fail."

                                                              - The Baltimore Sun

Praise for The Retreat from Moscow

"Standing O Productions offers this well-acted, ingeniously staged drama. [Mary] Watko is
especially effective with Alice's theatrical flair as she quotes from her favorite poems. As
Edward, Mr. Reiter is most believable as his character gains strength after leaving Alice. Mr.
Carr's Jamie is endearing as he finds himself in the unwanted position of friend and
messenger rather than son.

"Ron Giddings' staging and direction is clever and creative. No furniture is moved. Instead,
the lighting directs us to each scene and the actors move in and out naturally. The set gives
equal time to Edward and Alice's interests by painting a map of the world on the floor and
using the back wall to quote from "Ozymandias," a famous Shelley sonnet about the ruined
statue of a mighty king.

"Standing O has provided another stimulating work which invites discourse and discovery.
After the performance I was eager to discuss it; at home, I went straight to the Internet to
research Mr. Nicholson's references."

                                                                      - The Capital Newspaper

"With this play, Standing O founder and artistic director Ron Giddings continues the mission
of Anne Arundel County's newest theater company to offer little-known recent theater gems to
local audiences.

"Giddings directs this production and reinforces his ability to recruit some of the best actors
in the area [and] to choose an ideal cast. Each actor is dedicated to maintaining Standing O's
professional reputation. Giddings also serves as set designer, creating a wall embellished
with fragments of poems quoted throughout the play.

"Splendid acting performances are given by Jim Reiter...Mary Watko...and Ben Carr.  Act 1
leads up to the marriage breakup. Reiter initially creates an Edward who is remote and
reticent, painfully incapable of giving Alice the "real marriage" she demands, slowly
distancing himself until he announces that he wants to leave. Here he creates a liberating
moment with the exhilaration of his newfound and overdue freedom as he breaks free of his
feelings of inadequacy. In later scenes, Reiter's Edward gradually reveals an ordinary man
with ability to feel admiration and affection for new partner Isabel and for Alice.

"Watko, in a tour de force performance as Alice, goes from an aggressive confrontational
nag, determined to impose her religiosity on her husband, and belittling him for his
inadequacy, to a fearful desperate woman clinging to her 33-year marriage. Watko inhabits
Alice, annoying us when she needles both her husband and son about their insufficient
religious convictions and aching at her raw anguish at being abandoned. Watko's Alice
compels us to rejoice for her when she volunteers counseling AIDS victims, humorously
revealing a generous, unsuspected dimension. She can be mercurial, as she exasperates
the audience while ordering her recently acquired dog named "Edward" to stay and heel.

"Carr's role as Jamie might not be as flashy, but it is as demanding as he is called upon to
remain the stoical only child of parents he continues to love as he absorbs their pain. Carr's
Jamie reflects the troubling characteristics of both parents, and he becomes so real to us
that one is caught up wondering along with his probing mother about his private life.

"Nicholson's play is filled with familiar life situations that make us think, his characters as
created by this gifted acting trio continue to intrigue us long after we leave the theater."  

                                                                              - The Baltimore Sun

Praise for Standing O Productions' john & jen

"Ron Giddings...plays two different Johns, of two different generations.  He portrays his
characters as youngsters superbly.  Then you watch his shoulders square and you would
swear you hear his voice crack and deepen...until suddenly his character is a teenager.  And
you believe.

"Sheri Kuznicki portrays Jen as she evolves through three stages:  older sister protective of
her new little brother, escaping college-bound student, mother of her own child.  Her
fierceness in attempting to protect John from all the harms of the world is palpable.  When
she ultimately fails, as she must, her anguish is wrenching.

"Guided by Debbie Barber-Eaton's sure directorial hand, no movement or gesture is
irrelevant or unintended.  With a bare stage and only three storage cubes from which bits of
clothing and props are pulled to suggest the ages of the characters or the location of the
scene, Barber-Eaton compels your mind's eye to fill in the blanks.

"As played by musical director Marsha Goldsmith, [the piano] provides the heartbeat of this
dramatic musical, but Buzz Stillinger's evocative cello is the show's soul.

"Both Giddings and Kuznicki carry their vocals superbly, and they are well-partnered,
balancing each other.

"For a new company in its inaugural season to give the familiar theme [of family
relationships] a novel presentation is an auspicious and bold beginning."
                                                                                      - Bay Weekly

"As Jen, skilled singer-actor Sheri Kuznicki is up to every vocal challenge as she delivers a
portrait of an adolescent girl's growth to womanhood.  Her portrayal is believable at every
juncture, from lively teen to independent college student to concerned mother, expressing
her nurturing love for her brother and son as well as her fierce protectiveness of both against
her abusive father.

"Ron Giddings - first as Jen's brother, John, and later as her son, must be convincing as a 5-
year-old, a frustrated adolescent, a rebellious teenager and, finally, a young man.  He
succeeds brilliantly on each level, summoning a believable little boy with legs kicking and
arms twitching in exuberance at Santa's impending visit, and later as a teasing brother and
son at ball games, then the indignant young military man.

"Giddings and Kuznicki are well-paired in their every transition and are always in perfect vocal
harmony.

"It's a rare treat to discover a show with so much to offer that is brilliantly performed.  This is a
gift from Standing O that should be enjoyed by capacity audiences."
                                                                             - The Baltimore Sun

Praise for Standing O Productions' Inaugural Production,
On the Twentieth Century

"Lending substance to his directorial efforts is Giddings' ability to draw out actors'
unsuspected strengths. Subsequently the audience gets the bonus of discovering a favorite
actor's comic talents or unsuspected dancing and singing ability.

"[Christina] Enoch handles the role [of Lily] as if she were born to play it.  Enoch has a gift for
comedy and possesses an impressive singing voice. Enoch's Lily combines vocal artistry
and comic flair in her renditions of "Veronique," "Never" and "Babette."

"[Tom] Newbrough's Oscar Jaffe is alternatively sweet and scheming and always funny.

"Local favorite Sue Centurelli seems destined to play wacky Letitia Primrose. She delivers
Letitia's hilarious number, "Repent," while performing nifty footwork and stealing every scene.

"A surprise for me was usual leading man Judson Davis taking a turn at comedy playing vain
dim-witted Bruce Granit - Lily's sometime boyfriend and movie co-star. Posing in front of the
mirror in his glistening bronze pajamas, Davis becomes a comedian - and he also takes a
few turns on the dance floor, exhibiting smooth moves...

"As O'Malley and Webb, Ronnie Schronce and John Halmi deliver 100 percent in their
polished song and dance routines and comedy performances.

"All ensemble work, whether in singing or dancing, is polished. Deserving mention is the
harmonizing quartet of Greg Bosworth, [Ron] Giddings, John Halmi and David Thompson,
who deliver a humorous "Life is Like a Train" [opening]."  
                                                                           - The Baltimore Sun

"The stars collide in a supernova of emotion.  In a dream cast where even the chorus
members are virtuosos, [Tom] Newbrough is a comic genius, [Christina] Enoch exudes diva
quality and [Judson] Davis’ voice and physical conceit conjure Kline at his best. A Will Ferrell
double — [John] Halmi — plays a fitting sidekick to [Ronnie] Schronce’s darker accomplice,
both excellent singers with presence. [Greg] Bosworth is so good he seems neglected, and
Alicia Sweeney manages to sing badly beautifully as the hilarious past-her-prime prima
donna, Imelda Thornton. Other musical highlights include...a barbershop quartet of
conductors (Giddings, Halmi, Bosworth and David Thompson) singing the opening
announcements, which were composed by Musical Director Marsha Goldsmith."
                                                                                   - Bay Weekly
Reviews
THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW PHOTOS
Retreat #1
Retreat #2
Retreat #3