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When the Show Ends, The Talk Begins at Croton Falls' Schoolhouse Theater

CROTON FALLS, N.Y. – The first weekend’s presentation of JP Miller’s “Days of Wine and Roses” concluded after Sunday’s matinee with a Talk-Back session, featuring the entire cast, artistic director Pamela Moller Kareman and guest Annah Perch, executive director of Stepping Stones.

Stepping Stones is the Katonah home of Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Miller’s play, originally a 1958 presentation on TV’s Playhouse 90 and later an award-winning movie, is the story of an alcoholic couple and their relationship over roughly a decade.

At the Talk-Back, an audience member asked the cast if they felt emotionally drained after each performance. Lorenzo Scott, cast in the role of AA mentor Jim Hungerford said, “I’m not emotionally drained because my role is very uplifting.”

Leading lady Quinn Cassavale responded, “It’s emotionally draining from the character’s standpoint, but it’s joyous from an actor’s standpoint. It’s fulfilling.”

Annah Perch answered several questions about alcoholism and the birth of AA. “In the early days there were a lot of AA couples,” she said. Bill Wilson’s wife, Lois, was not an alcoholic, she continued. “She tried to drink with him and once he gave it up she needed to practice the spiritual principles of AA to keep the marriage together.”

She said that today, many times only one person is involved in AA. “That’s why Lois started AL-Anon in 1951, to help the family recover.”

When audience members speculated about the benefits of rehab programs versus AA, Perch replied, “AA is not a rehab program. There is no medication, no therapy. Bill Wilson said there’s a line you cross in drinking, where you can’t go back. According to AA, if alcoholics don’t give up drinking completely, there are only three ways to end up – in jail, in an institution or dead.”

Is alcohol like other addictions? “Each member of AA has a different opinion about the source of his or her illness,” said Perch.

Cast members contributed their own thoughts about the problem. Rich Orlow, cast as the leading man, said his own father died of alcoholism at the age of 49, his grandfather at 53. “The only time my father was ever sober was when he was going to AA.”

Stepping Stones is open for guided tours by reservation Monday through Saturday at 1 p.m. and also by appointment. The suggested donation is $10 per person. Call 914-232-4822 or email info@steppingstones.org .

Performances of “Days of Wine and Roses” at the Croton Falls Schoolhouse Theater continue on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until March 25. Future Talk-Back guests include co-producer Tony Fusco and award-winning playwright/screenwriter Loring Mandel. Tickets are $33-$35. Call 914-277-8477 or go to the Schoolhouse website .

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