Sparta resident directs ‘The Cemetery Club’ at Dover Little Theatre

| 23 May 2022 | 01:48

North Star Theater Company will be presenting what has been described as “a timeless story of friendship, love and loss,” with Ivan Menchell’s play, “The Cemetery Club.” Directed by Allison Ognibene, of Sparta, “The Cemetery Club” will be performed at Dover Little Theatre (69 Elliott Street, Dover, NJ), on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in June.

The scheduled dates are: Friday, June 3 and 10, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 4 and 11, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, June 5 & 12, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors 65 and older; tickets can be purchased at

The story takes place in Queens. Every month three friends — Ida, Lucille, and Doris — get together, not to visit the park or to go out to dinner, but to visit their husbands’ graves. Ida, the sweet-tempered widow (played by Cindy Rea, of West Milford); Lucille, the outgoing and flirtatious friend (played by Krysia Dour, of Lake Hopatcong); and Doris, the no-nonsense, priggish friend (played by Kim Knabb, of Vernon) are all at different stages of grieving. Their Cemetery Club gets ruffled by Sam, the butcher (played by Paul Diverio, of Ringwood), who they encounter during one of their monthly grave visits. A friendship sparks. Weeks later, another mutual friend, Mildred (played by Lillian Ryan Farrell, of Sparta), joins them to attend a wedding.

The loyalty of their friendships is tested as a new relationship flourishes. From belly laughs to tears, the characters bring the audience on an emotionally engaging evening.

“We are extremely fortunate to finally put on this beautifully written play after waiting two years to do so,” remarked Ognibene. “The timing of this play is perfect, especially how much we as a community have grieved and need a good laugh! I could not be prouder of my cast, who, during the pandemic, would get together on Zoom and read the script. To finally put it up on stage in front of a live audience is fulfilling!”

The production team of “The Cemetery Club” includes producer Phil Cocilovo, of Montague; stage manager Mary Clifford, of West Milford; Madisyn Rojas, of Mount Arlington; set designer Nathan Simmons, of Sparta; and technical director Scott Rogoff, also of Sparta.

“The Cemetery Club” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

North Star Theater Company will be doing “Shrek, The Musical” at Sparta High School, July 22-24. The theater company caters to northwest New Jersey and the surrounding communities through the production of various dramas, comedies and musicals, while training and fostering the talents of all participants at any age and level of experience. For more information or to keep up on performances, follow the theater on Instagram @NorthStarTheater and Facebook at “North Star Theater Company.”