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3:58 PM Mon, Sept. 24th

On Stage: Bringing the rain, and a dose of self-esteem, to Stage Too

The Rainmaker

Photo by Scott Orr.

The Rainmaker

If you’ve ever been so desperate for help that you’d try anything, meet the Currys.

The forecast is not good for this ranching family in “The Rainmaker” as the play opens: it’s dry. Very dry. There’s no relief in sight, and the cattle are dying.

But the men of the family are more worried about what to do with daughter Lizzie (Kelsey Claire), who at 28, has yet to find a husband – or even a prospect.

If you go...

PCA’s Summer Repertory series presents The Rainmaker, directed by Catherine Miller Hahn.

Playing at Stage Too, accessible from the alley behind the Prescott Center for the Arts at the corner of Marina and Willis Streets.

The Rainmaker runs July 15, 23, Aug. 5 and 13 at 7:30 p.m.: July 10 and 31 at 2 p.m.

All tickets are $15 plus a $2 handling fee. Buy all three shows and get $5 off. They’re available at the PCA Gallery, by phone at 928-445-3286, or online at www.PCA-AZ.net.

This is the opening of N. Richard Nash’s 1954 play, “The Rainmaker,” one of three plays in Prescott Center for the Arts’ Summer Repertory series.

The family’s fortunes begin to change when con man Bill Starbuck (Paul Epoch, with his trademark long hair clipped short for the role) arrives, promising that, for $100, he can make it rain.

That promise becomes a subplot, though, when he meets Lizzie and finds that a big part of her problem with men is a serious lack of self-confidence. He witnesses the reason when brother Noah (Ron Lunt), in an effort to be realistic, tells her she’s “plain” and other assorted self-esteem breakers.

What sets the writing of this play apart from stories you might see in Hollywood movies is Nash’s refusal to give in to the expected clichés.

Director Catherine Miller Hahn hits all the right notes, giving her powerful cast a beautifully-dressed set and subtle lighting.

Claire is simply outstanding as Lizzie, giving a wonderful performance as the girl who hides insecurity well until Starbuck drags it out of her and shows her a different view of herself.

Starbuck is, to coin a phrase, the role Epoch was born to play. He has just the right amount of haminess to play a cocksure con artist with a heart.

“Working with Cathy is always an exploration of not only the character, but yourself,” Epoch said, “and finding those depths in yourself helps you find the depths of a three-dimensional Starbuck.”

His character, as well as the story itself, will captivate you and draw you into a world where a fraud can lead to redemption.

Even if the scammer doesn’t realize he needs it.