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CASTING RECALL

Lorraine O'Donnell Gray, prominently featured in Alleyway Theatre's premiere production of "Pan-Ambitions," is no longer with the cast of the Neal Radice musical.

On Curtain Up! night last Friday, Joyce Stilson stepped in, permanently taking over a role that was revised for the casting change.

"It's one of those interpersonal things that fall into that big category called 'artistic differences.' It was by mutual agreement that (O'Donnell Gray's departure) was best for everybody," Radice said, adding her performance was not the difficulty. "It wasn't so much the interpretation as other issues, such as rehearsal scheduling."

Reached at her St. Catharines, Ont., home, O'Donnell Gray characterized the departure this way: "Neal and I have a different opinion about the actor/director working relationship. I am disappointed. I've always enjoyed working at Alleyway. Whether it will be a permanent or temporary break, I don't know."

She will not be joining the Alleyway cast of "Over the Falls," another new Radice musical, opening Oct. 24. Nor will she appear in "Road to Bethlehem," the Christmas musical by Radice that she had been part of for four years.

Now available for new roles, O'Donnell Gray said that in mid-October she will take over for Lisa Ludwig in MusicalFare Theatre's extension of "My Way."

Tony Lewis, contributing reviewer for The News, singled out O'Donnell Gray's rendition of the song "The Money Machine" in his review of "Pan-Ambitions." With her departure, what Lewis called "a complex tune rendered with great feeling" had to be cut.

Radice said such cuts -- along with extensive revisions and cast changes -- are common at Alleyway because the theater presents only plays never before performed. "Things are always changing," Radice said. "That's what we're in business to do. It's rare that audiences get the same play."

e-mail: rhuntington@buffnews.com

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