The Players Theatre Group Presents The Rainmaker
On a scorching mid-August morning, in a western state plagued by drought, we meet the Currys, an affluent cattle-ranching family in the midst of two crises-the dwindling of their herd due to the lack of rain, and the impending spinsterhood of only-daughter Lizzie. Enter The Rainmaker.
Bill Starbuck, the titular character, swoops into town just as futility begins to settle into the Curry family, bringing with him the promise of rain, the reigniting of hope, and the challenge of believing in something, anything, which may be the hardest truth Lizzie will ever have to face.
Returning to The Players is Sarah Berry, née Steindl, as Lizzie, the only female Curry, who is being summarily pushed into potential relationships just to ease the consciences of her father and two brothers. Berry has appeared on both the Owen and Crighton stages, most recently in Elf with Stage Right and most memorably as Annelle in Steel Magnolias with The Players. Sarah is excited and honored that she has been entrusted with bringing Lizzie to life. Although the story of The Rainmaker takes place in only one day, the audience will watch Berry’s Lizzie blossom into the realization that, as Starbuck tells her, all women are beautiful. Berry connects deeply with this belief and is thrilled to represent Lizzie’s growth on stage.
Brian Heaton, an actor who has worked consistently throughout Houston and Conroe, breathes Starbuck into life with his own charm, charisma, and acting prowess. Starbuck may be seen as a swindler or a con-man, but he seems sincere in his desire to bring people hope in the midst of their hopelessness, and Heaton has the acting chops to play both sides of the rainmaker sincerely. Rainmaker marks Heaton’s third time working with director Joe Viser. Among Heaton’s credits with The Players are roles in Biloxi Blues, Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, Bus Stop, and The Three Musketeers, and he most recently portrayed Claudius in Hamlet with Shakespeare in the Shade.
Jeff Featherston is making his debut with The Players, though this is not his first time working with Joe Viser. Viser directed Featherston about 15 years ago in Glengarry Glen Ross, and Featherston has never forgotten Viser’s mentorship during that show process. Last seen as Dasher in the Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. production of The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, Featherston is no stranger to the stage, having appeared throughout Houston in productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cabaret, and Deathtrap, to name a small few. Portraying the level-headed yet unempathetic older brother, Noah, comes easily to the talented, highly experienced Featherston. Audience members will be thrilled to see this new-to-the-Owen actor in The Rainmaker, and we hope Featherston will find a home with The Players.
Another recognizable face in the cast is John Kaiser, who seems to be an actor who rarely takes a moment to breathe. Kaiser appeared in Stage Right’s WhoDunnit? this fall shortly after
he was seen in The Players’ The Foreigner in the early summer, and had previously hopped back and forth between companies acting in shows such as Arsenic and Old Lace and Lend Me a
Tenor with The Players, and Stage Right’s Annie, 42nd Street, Into the Woods, and more! Kaiser is thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work with director Joe Viser.
Taking the helm of The Rainmaker is longtime actor and director, Joe Viser, who is also The Players Theatre Company’s Artistic Director. Viser has directed innumerable plays in the Houston and Conroe areas over the past 30 years. He has also performed on stage himself many times over the last several decades so he understands the importance of the nuances of facial expression and body language, and he works diligently with his actors to help them hone and perfect their characters. Viser also brings his directorial expertise to creating an appealing and full-bodied set for his audience to enjoy and for his actors to utilize in supporting their characters. Most recently, Viser performed on stage in 2020 in Sunshine Boys directed by fellow longtime Player, Terry Lynn Hale, and he directed the sell-out production Steel Magnolias in 2018.
Rounding out the seven-person cast are Tanner Moore as younger brother Jim, and John Thompson as father HC Curry. Kailey Johnson (stage manager) and Rebecca McDowell (assistant director), both coming off production roles with A Christmas Story the Musical and Matilda with The Players, complete Viser’s artistic team.
Come enjoy this romantic dramedy at the Owen Theatre in beautiful downtown Conroe
January 21-February 5, 2022