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Madison Actress Sarah Maslin Dazzles in “Bus Stop”

January 15, 2009

Mid-way through the Madison Repertory Theatre’s  production of “Bus Stop” on Wednesday night I thought something that has never struck me before about a young performer.  At some point in the future I will see or read about Sarah Maslin and recall that ‘I saw her when’, and recall the frigid January night in Madison when she took the stage and wowed the audience.

There are many good reasons to see the latest play at the Madison Rep, but perhaps topping that list is Sarah Maslin.  Her assuredness on stage, along with her immersion into the role of Elma was nothing short of superb.

The play is set at Grace’s Diner in Kansas in 1955 during a blizzard.  The audience could relate to the basic feelings and needs of the small group of people stranded for a few hours while the storm raged outside. 

Having a front seat James and I had the ability to see the facial moods of the cast quite clearly.  Even when Maslin was wiping the diner tables and looking down while listening to others talk, she had expressions on her face that spoke to the audience.  It was as if Elma had taken over the mind and body of  Sarah Maslin.  Never once did I see her slip even remotely out of character.

The presence that she has on stage is quite remarkable when one considers that she is now a junior at Madison West High School.  Trust me, the naturalness that she brings to the stage is worth the price of admission all by itself.  Though she has been acting since age 8 still does not settle in my mind how polished and professional she was on the stage.

In addition to Maslin’s truly fine performance,  Colin Woolston and D.J. Howard made the stage alive with energy and believability.  The last minutes of Howard on stage were most moving, and I think many in the audience wanted to pull him from the stage and drag him off for coffee and a reading of the local employment needs in the newspaper.

We are indeed blessed in Madison to have the Repertory Theatre, now in its 40th season, to lift our spirits, and broaden our perspectives.  At this time of national economic tumult it is time to show support for the local arts in numbers that will keep this treasure alive and vibrant in our community for many more years to come.

“Bus Stop” can be seen in The Playhouse at the Overture Center from January 16th-February 1st.

You will love it!!

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