From the Press

Go back in time at the local theatre
By Karen Meister

How refreshing is it when you find a theatrical production based solely on wholesome, clean fun?

Well, such a production is available for a few weeks at the Spring Lake Theatre and introduces its audiences to an old-fashioned form of entertainment known as the melodrama.

Melodramas were very popular back in the 19th Century, way before the advent of radio, television or movies. This venue presented the concept of good versus evil, with good always prevailing in the end.

The melodrama, Dirty Work at the Crossroads tells the tearful story of an innocent country girl named Nellie Lovelace and villain, Munro Murgatroyd and his co-conspirator, Ida Rhinegold, who will stop at nothing to achieve their ultimate goal — becoming wealthy.

The play begins with some instructions for audience participation. Hissing and booing at the villain, and cheering the hero are expected from the crowd, when appropriate.

The audience really gets into their part by vigorously cheering and hissing throughout the entire production.

Another aspect of audience participation was the musical numbers, or “Olios,” where the cast leads the viewers in song. Such favorites, such as “Oh Susanna” and “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” were enthusiastically sung by all.

The set, props, and costumes lend a realistic portrayal of the 1800s melodrama genre. A strong team of actors bring the play alive with their consistent foolery and professional strengths.

You’ll fall in love with the character of Mookie, played by the talented Nick Foster, who demonstrates the concept of good overcoming evil, while the opposite is true of Monroe Murgatroyd, adeptly portrayed by Douglas Moore and Ida Rhinegold, played by Bre Code. Nellie Lovelace is the naïve sweet country girl, perfectly portrayed by Kerry Baglivia, and Douglas Moore Jr. gives a fine performance as Adam Oakhart.

Even with all the twists and turns, all ends well and kudos go to producer Pat Barry and director Alan Foster, who guide this play to success.

Mary Lough is the one- woman band who can play the piano with ease and total proficiency.

The cooperative team effort and dedication of the Spring Lake Theatre staff and cast makes each production a memorable and very enjoyable evening for all.

Dirty Work at the Crossroads will be at the theatre on Feb. 24 and 25 and March 2, 3, 9, 10 at 8 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the box office, by calling 732-449-4530 or by visiting the website,