The Rialto Theatre to debut play written by local playwright this month

The Beekeeper Caper is a new comedy about phones, woods, bees, bears, and some of the people that love them—or don’t.

Looking to get out of the house and laugh? Then The Beekeeper Caper – happening at The Rialto Theatre May 12, 13, and 14 – may just be exactly what you’re looking for. The new play was written by local author and playwright Paula Apynys – who created and directed her first play in grade school, performed in high school productions, earned a BA in English from The University of Akron, and has completed a variety of fiction and non-fiction writing projects.

With The Beekeeper Caper, Apynys wanted to write something light and fun that would make people laugh.

“Comedy deserves more respect than it gets,” Apynys said. “Getting people to cry is easy – inspiring laughter is hard work! The Beekeeper cast members have thrown themselves into their roles with abandon and it’s been thrilling to see actors take her words and turn them into funny performances.”

The play is a romp about a rebellion against the potential addiction people are experiencing in the digital age to electronic media, computer intelligence, and cellular telephone communication. The setting provides a contrast between city and country life as lived by two brothers—the younger of whom is ordered by his wife to visit the woods to simplify his life and lower his blood pressure. Intruding on this experiment, are two men running from a court appearance concerning the fate of a Russian gangster.

Casting the play was a full-circle journey for Apynys as one of the leads, Bill Vaill, was Apynys’ English teacher, debate coach and humorous interpretation coach in high school. Now she gets to watch Norton High School’s Mr. Vaill interpret her play.

The play also features actor Charlie Shook, who has appeared in four other plays with Vaill at The Rialto.

“Bill and Charlie are a great team in acting terms,” Apynys said, “They know each other’s quirks and styles and complement each other.”

Rounding out the cast are John Hopswood, Paula Maggio, Tony Paparella, and Lisa Valley.

The Beekeeper Caper is produced as part of a series of annual spring productions that raise money for the ongoing renovation of the historic Rialto Theatre building on Kenmore Boulevard and provide continued support for the performing arts in the Kenmore and Akron area. This is the first time The Rialto has been able to host the series since it ran a production was Arsenic and Old Lace in 2019.

“Due to the size of the performances we had to suspend the annual plays during the pandemic,” Rialto Theatre co-owner Seth Vaill explained, “it’s really exciting to welcome this type of programming back to our stage.”

Tickets are $25 and include appetizers and one complimentary drink. For more information or to purchase tickets online visit Tickets are also available at the Houston Pub in Norton.

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