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Issue Date: October 2007 Issue

Bingo Lingo

Tori Woods
Grab your daubers, because the church ladies, numbered balls and a professional bingo caller are coming to town, and everyone gets to play. “We Gotta Bingo” opens at Playhouse Square’s 14th Street Theatre Oct. 26 and is produced by the same creative team as the immensely popular “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding.”

Like “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding,” which opened in 2000 and ran for a Cleveland-record two years and three months in the Hanna Theatre, “We Gotta Bingo” is interactive. Audience members become part of the play.

“I think the appeal of interactive theater is that people get to go to a space where they can participate in the fun,” says director Ross Young. “It gives people a chance to play."
Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 5 and 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. For more information or tickets, call (216) 241-6000 or visit
B - Bingo. (Of course!) “We Gotta Bingo” is centered on a bingo game in a German beer hall, Der Brew Ha Ha. It’s a fundraiser for the untimely merging of two Catholic parishes — one Irish, one Italian.

I - Interactive. While half the show is scripted, the other half is determined by spontaneous factors — such as which bingo numbers get called and how much the audience joins in.

N - Nuns. (Yes, we said nuns.) The zany cast of characters includes a professional bingo caller, the brew hall proprietor and his three-piece polka band, a motorized-wheelchair bound bingo zealot and a dauber-wielding nun, as well as parishioners from both churches.

G - Gulick. Lissy Gulick, a local actor who has been seen in “A Christmas Carol” and “Shear Madness,” will play Helga Voekel. “It’s going to leave people coming away lighthearted and unstressed,” she says of the show.

O - On the Spot. “We’ll let you be as involved in this as you want,” Ross says.  “If you want to play bingo, you can play bingo. If you want to get up and dance during a polka number, you can do that. We’ll put you in the show.”

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