Highlights: Veteran Actor Finds a New Role as Her Children Take Center Stage

  • Grant Neale, of New York City, as the dad, Chet, tries to get his son Rudy, played by Kyle Hines, 12, of Plainfield, N.H., to say grace before dinner while rehearsing a scene from "Over the Tavern" at Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield, N.H. on Tuesday, Nov.27,2018. The play focuses on how Kyle's character is unsure of his family's religious views. (Valley News - Rick Russell) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kyle Hines,12, of Plainfield, N.H., as Rudy, fumbles the words while saying Grace before dinner, with his dad Chet, played by Grant Neale, of New York City, and his sister Annie, played by his real sister, Keira, 15 during rehearsal for "Over the Tavern," at Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield, N.H. on Tuesday, Nov.27,2018. (Valley News - Rick Russell) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Stage manager Jeannie Hines of Plainfield, N.H., left, helps her daughter Keira, 15, with a scene from "Over the Tavern" during a rehearsal at Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield, N.H. on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2018. (Valley News - Rick Russell) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • LeeAnne Hutchison, of New York City, plays Ellen Pazinski as she scolds her daughter Annie, played by Keira Hines, 15, of Plainfield, N.H., for spending too much money on Twinkies and tells her to pray about it in "Over the Tavern," a play in rehearsal at Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield, N.H. on Tuesday, Nov.27,2018.(Valley News - Rick Russell) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2018

After more than a decade of playing plummy roles at Shaker Bridge Theatre, how did Plainfield’s Jeannie Hines resist auditioning for Ellen Pazinski, the mother of four trying children in the company’s upcoming production of Over The Tavern?

“I knew it would be fun to play the mom,” Hines said with a laugh after stage-managing Monday night’s rehearsal of the Tom Dudzick comedy at Enfield’s Whitney Hall, “but I thought the kids would rise to the task better if someone else was telling their characters what to do.”

Hines wasn’t talking about just any kids: 15-year-old Keira Hines plays 16-year-old, food-obsessed Annie Pazinski, while Kyle Hines, 12, portrays 12-year-old Rudy, whose crisis of faith in Catholicism exasperates his teacher, Sister Clarissa, at his parochial school in late-1950s Buffalo. Starting next Thursday night and running through Dec. 23, Equity actor LeeAnne Hutchison, as Ellen, will hover over the Hines siblings as well as Plainfielder Will Sandmann and Grantham resident Jonathan Eylander as Eddie and Georgie Pazinski, respectively.

“Jeannie was smart enough to realize that the dynamics wouldn’t have worked,” Shaker Bridge founder and director Bill Coons said after Tuesday’s rehearsal. “When I suggested LeeAnne (for Ellen), she loved the idea. Then she asked if I thought she could be the stage manager.”

In that role Hines gets to watch her kids navigate scenes like this one early in Act One, which finds Annie setting the family table for supper after hastily hanging up the phone when Ellen arrives in the kitchen.

Ellen: How’s Tina?

Annie: I know you don’t like her.

Ellen: I didn’t say anything.

Annie: She’s nice.

Ellen: I hardly know the girl. I just know how she presents herself. I hope you’re not thinking of teasing your hair like that.

Annie: I think she looks pretty.

Ellen: You know what I read about a girl who had one of those beehives? She wondered why her head kept itching. A spider got in there and made a nest. Laid eggs. They were biting her. Ended up going to the hospital. Is that what you want?

“These flaws that come out in the family, they’re so real,” Kyle Hines said.

“There are scenes and lines where it’s really hard to keep a straight face sometimes,” Keira added.

The real-life siblings have plenty of practice: At less than two months of age, Kyle co-starred with his twin sister, Laura, as Mary and Joseph’s twin babies — a one-time twist on the Nativity story — during the Christmas pageants at the Congregational churches in Meriden and West Lebanon.

While Laura these days “likes more to be an audience member or backstage,” Jeannie Hines said, Kyle and Keira went on to perform many times at Plainfield Elementary School in Meriden.

“Those experiences helped me to find that spark that made me want to continue,” Keira said. “It wasn’t any one role or play. I just knew that I loved the environment and the people.”

Keira went on to several roles at bigger venues, including the title character in Shaker Bridge’s production of Joe Egg in 2014. The same year, Kyle hit his stride at Northern Stage, asking God to bless everyone in A Christmas Carol.

“I didn’t even know this Gordon Clapp guy,” Kyle said of the Emmy-winning actor and Norwich resident who played Scrooge in that production. “He was just a regular guy.”

While considering, several years ago, when and whether to stage Over the Tavern, Coons asked Hines if she thought Kyle would be able to handle the role when he was a bit older. “I knew he had the charm and spirit for it, but she’d know if he was capable of taking on a part this big. It’s usually played by someone who’s 16 or 17 playing a 12-year-old,” Coons said.

Kyle removed all lingering doubts during a staged reading of the play in the Hineses’ kitchen earlier this year, while Coons was settling on which plays to produce at Shaker Bridge this season.

“It really is a challenge in a lot of ways,” Kyle said. “There are a lot of big scenes to do, but I get to say a lot of funny things, too.”

For Keira, the “immense challenge” is playing a character who’s “my opposite.

“Annie’s always acting out, ranting, making a production of things,” she said. “That’s not what I do in real life. I had to channel that inner drama queen.”

Now it’s her stage manager’s turn to resist laughing.

”At home,” Jeannie Hines said, “that’s all we ever see.”

Shaker Bridge Theatre unveils its production of Over the Tavern next Thursday night at 7:30. Through Dec. 23, performances are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and on Sunday afternoons at 2:30. For tickets ($16 to $28 plus $2 for online purchases) and more information, visit shakerbridgetheatre.org or call 603-448-3750.

Best Bets

Swing Noire channels Django Reinhardt, The Quintet of the Hot Club of France and other masters of Gypsy jazz on Friday night at 7:30, at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret. For tickets ($20), visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

■If you missed Joan Osborne’s performance of Bob Dylan songs at the Lebanon Opera House last winter, or left thirsty for more, the roots diva is bringing her “Dylanology” tour to the Flying Monkey Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H., on Friday night at 7:30. For tickets ($49 to $59) and more information, visit flyingmonkeynh.com or call 603-536-2551.

■A busy weekend of entertainment at the Engine Room in White River Junction begins on Friday night at 9, with performances by Windsor’s Pariah Beat and by the up-and-coming Vermont band Kelly Ravin & The Welterweights. Admission is $5.

And on Saturday night at 9, DJ Camillo hosts a “Fire and Ice” dance party, playing recordings of hip-hop and pop hits and projecting music videos. To request favorite videos, visit The Engine Room’s Facebook page and leave a comment.

■The cast and crew from the Stratford Festival’s production of Coriolanus stage four performances of the Shakespeare tragedy this weekend in the Hopkins Center’s Moore Theater: Friday night at 8, Saturday afternoon at 2, Saturday night at 8 and Sunday afternoon at 2. For tickets ($25 to $80) and more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

■On the theme of “Home for the Holidays: A Very Barnie Christmas,” alumni of the New London Barn’s summer musicals perform two shows, cabaret-style, on Saturday evening at Colby-Sawyer College. Proceeds from the inaugural celebration go toward improvements to the Barn’s sound system. Receptions with the performers, and announcements of the 2019 season lineup of musicals, follow the 4 and at 7:30 performances at the college’s Center for Art and Design. To reserve tickets ($75), visit nlbarn.org or call 603-526-6710.

■Singer Linda Boudreault leads her Barncats into Tunbridge Town Hall on Saturday night at 7:30, to play the monthly Shindigs dance party. To learn more, visit shindigsvt.org.

Looking Ahead

Cirque Mechanics will return to Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center, starting next Thursday night at 7, to perform on the theme of “42FT — A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels.” For tickets ($13 to $40), visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Theater/Performance Art

Northern Stage continues its production of Matilda the Musical over the coming week, starting with a matinee at 2 this afternoon (call ahead, as tickets were going fast at press time) and a performance at 7:30 tonight at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. The musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book runs through Jan. 1. For tickets and more information, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.


Roots singer-guitarist Scott Ainslie plays the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse on Friday night at 7, in the basement of the Methodist church in Sunapee Harbor. Admission is by donation.

■Lebanon pianist Elizabeth Borowsky and Classicopia pianist Daniel Weiser share the keyboard for three Upper Valley concerts on the theme of “Spanish Serenade” this weekend, starting Friday night at 7:30 at Windsor’s Old South Church.

On Saturday night, the duo plays a house concert in Hanover. The mini-tour ends on Sunday afternoon, starting at 2 with a performance at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. For tickets ($18 for the performances at the churches, $40 for the house concert, for which seating is limited), visit classicopia.org.

■Four-time Country Music Association award-winner Lorrie Morgan performs at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Saturday night at 7:30. For tickets ($40 to $75), visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Yuletide Extravaganzas

The Thetford Chamber Singers perform their wintry mix of secular and sacred music three times this weekend, starting Friday night at 7:30 at the United Church of Strafford. On the theme of “Beginnings,” the ensemble also sings at the First Congregational Church of Thetford on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 and on Saturday night at 7:30. Tickets cost $8 to $12 in advance (visit thetfordchambersingers.org) and $15 at the door.

■New London pianist William Ogmundson plays holiday favorites on Friday night at 7:30, at the CedarHouse Sound and Mastering Studio in North Sutton, N.H. For tickets and directions, call 603-927-6363.

■The Freelance Family Singers perform their annual holiday concerts at the First Congregational Church of Woodstock on Saturday night at 7 and on Sunday afternoon at 3. Admission is by donation of a non-perishable item of food for the Community Food Shelf.

■The Boston Children’s Chorus sings yuletide-seasonal favorites on Saturday afternoon at Court Street Arts in Haverhill. Admission to the concert, which starts at 2, is $20 to $22. To reserve tickets, visit courtstreetarts.org or call 603-989-5500.

■Newport’s Stardancer Studio stages Clara’s Cracked Christmas, a tongue-in-cheek re-interpretation of the Clara’s Dream sequence of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet at Claremont Opera House, on Saturday night at 6 and on Sunday afternoon at 1. To reserve tickets ($17), visit the box office in Claremont City Hall or call 603-542-0064, 603-865-5626 or 603-542-9413.


The Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon has postponed Saturday night’s benefit concert by folk singer-songwriter Bill Staines, who is recovering from a car accident. Buyers of advance tickets can secure refunds by calling 802-763-2334.

Bar and Club Circuit

Saxophonist Michael Parker and guitarist Norm Wolfe play jazz at Peyton Place Restaurant in Orford tonight at 6, and reunite on Wednesday night at 6 at the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

■Maine-based roots singer Dave Mallett performs tonight at 8 at the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille in New London. To reserve tickets ($25), visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

■The Conniption Fits shake up the Sumner House in Charlestown on Friday night from 8 to 11.

■ Frydaddy cranks out soul, R&B and its own music at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

■Turner Round plays danceable rock at Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9. On Saturday night at 9, Flew-Z frontman Alec Currier plays songs from the 1990s and the first decade of the new century.

■Toby Moore rocks Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Friday night at 9. GrooveSum singer-songwriter-guitarist Joe Mitchell plays a solo set on Saturday night at 9.

■ Flew-Z frontman Alec Currier performs at Salt hill Pub in Hanover on Friday night at 9, followed on Saturday night at 9 by the folk duo of Mark and Deb Bond.

■About Gladys performs a set of rock at Newport’s Salt hill Pub on Friday night at 9, and Doug Lantz plays ukelele and tells stories there on Saturday night at 9.

■Green Mountain Roots pulls into Windsor Station on Friday night at 9:30.

■Sonny Saul plays jazz at the On the River Inn in Woodstock on Saturday and Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 9.

■ Moxley Union performs at SILO Distillery in Windsor on Sunday afternoon starting at 1.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker, bassist Peter Concilio and guitarist Draa Hobbs play jazz on Tuesday night at 6, at Carpenter and Main in Norwich.

Open Mics

String players of all ages and abilities are welcome at the weekly acoustic jam session at South Royalton’s BALE Commons on Friday night from 6:30 to 10.

■Joe Stallsmith leads his weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass on Monday night at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach leads an acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music on Tuesday nights at 7 at The Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

■Tom Masterson hosts an open mic at Colatina Exit in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday nights at 8.

■Woodstock musician Jim Yeager hosts an open mic on Wednesday night at 8 at the Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304. Entertainment news also can be sent to highlights@vnews.com.