Olathe Civic Theatre Association | PASS OVER to Play at Olathe Civic Theatre Association
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PASS OVER to Play at Olathe Civic Theatre Association

01 Apr PASS OVER to Play at Olathe Civic Theatre Association

PASS OVER to Play at Olathe Civic Theatre Association

Michelle Tyrene Johnson’s Drama Highlights Family Secrets and Moving On

The fourth main stage show at OCTA brings the Washington family’s secrets to the forefront in PASS OVER. Michelle Tyrene Johnson’s original play describes siblings Angelique and Paul Washington dealing with the fallout of the passing of their grandmother, Maggie. The Washingtons, an African-American family, have lived next door to the Levy family in a Philadelphia neighborhood for a few generations, complete with past relationships, betrayal, and secrets. When the Washington’s find old stock in their attic, in the Levy family business, the revelation of reckonings threatens to destroy more than one life.

Director Teresa Leggard returns to OCTA after having directed a New Works Playwright Competition teaser and subsequent Winner Workshop during the inaugural year. Now, she directs her first OCTA season show with PASS OVER. “Even though it’s a family drama, it’s perfectly okay—encouraged even—to laugh at the funny moments.” Leggard describes the reasoning behind the title PASS OVER and how it doesn’t necessarily pertain to the religious Passover: “To pass something over could certainly be interpreted as passing it on or bequeathing it. Which makes sense in this play because we open with a brother and sister preparing to bury their grandmother. We explore what the grandmother has left behind, literally and metaphorically. But in addition to that, every character in this play passes over someone or gets passed over by someone. Within the context of their relationships, the pass over means to be overlooked, ignored, underestimated, or flat out rejected.”

With five cast members, it was hard for Leggard to pick just one favorite character. “Angelique and Paul Washington are siblings, the kind who probably wouldn’t be friends if they weren’t related. Gloria Washington, Paul’s wife, is warm and domestic, but she’s strong too. Jake Levy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and that is perhaps his greatest blessing and curse. We don’t see his wife, Dianna, as much, but when we do the dynamic between them makes it clear who the power player is.”

Looking at the cast, OCTA audiences will remember Larissa Briley from VIOLET. Laura Schwartz reprises her role at Gloria, a role she portrayed for the PASS OVER staged reading at Westport Center for the Arts in 2018. Ebonee Grace, who read stage directions for the reading, returns as leading lady, Angelique. Leggard was thrilled to get to work with Robert Coppage, Larissa Briley, and Jonathan Sachsman, all new to PASS OVER. As for the playwright, she’s collaborated with Michelle Tyrene Johnson before, so there is “…trust, honesty, creativity, flexibility, and a lot of laughing.”

The PASS OVER world doesn’t handle subject matter that audiences wouldn’t see in a PG-13 rated film, however: “The reveals are pretty surprising, so not only will people get it – they won’t forget it,” Leggard teases. 

Audiences get the chance to hear from the cast, director, and playwright during a talkback following the Saturday, April 6th performance. The story was inspired by an actual stock certificate found in Johnson’s home that seemed to appear out of nowhere as the story goes. So, make plans to see the show and hear the truth behind the process.

The PASS OVER cast and creative team includes: Ebonee Grace (Angelique Washington), Robert E. Coppage III (Paul Washington), Laura Schwartz (Gloria Washington), Jonathan Sachsman (Jake Levy), Larissa Briley (Dianna Levy), Teresa Leggard (Director), Alexa Cioffi-Abt (Stage Manager), Theresa Kelly (Set and Lighting Designer), Camille Lerch ( Sound Designer). 

Special Dates:

Opening Night, April 5th: Guests are treated to a post-show celebration with the cast and crew.

Saturday, April 6th: Guests are invited to a post-show talkback with playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson. 

OCTA’s Remaining 2018-2019 Season At a Glance:


Apr 5 – Apr 21, 2019

By Kansas City playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson*

Directed by Teresa Leggard

The Washingtons, an African-American family, have lived next door to the Levy family in a Philadelphia neighborhood for a few generations. In the wake of the death of the Washington family matriarch, a brother and sister come together to bury their beloved grandmother. The finding of old stock, by the Washington family, in the Levy family business, triggers the revelation of secrets, tensions, and reckonings.


May 31 – June 16, 2019

A new version of Georges Feydeau’s farce

By David Ives

Directed by David Martin

As Raymonde suspects her suddenly uninterested husband is having an affair, she cooks up a trap to catch him in the act. Hilarity ensues as everything inevitably goes horribly wrong triggering laughs galore. Touted as the “greatest of French farces”, this dazzling comedy, and winner of the 2006 Jefferson Award for best adaptation, David Ives’ version of Georges Feydeau’s masterpiece achieves levels of glorious ridiculousness only an absurdist of Ives’ caliber can bring.

SPECIAL EVENT – New Works Playwright Competition Winner Workshop – July 12 & 13, 2019

The full-length staged-reading of this year’s winner: The Giver – A Musical, by Nathan Christensen. 



Inspired By A True Story

Music, Book and Story  by Steve Martin | Music, Lyrics, and Story by Edie Brickell

Directed by Julie Ewing | Music Directed by Ashley Jones

August 30 – September 15, 2019

Inspired by a real event and featuring the Grammy-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1920s and ’40s. When Alice Murphy, the brilliant editor of a southern literary journal, meets Billy Cane, a soldier just home from World War II, they discover a powerful secret that alters their lives. An uplifting theatrical journey that holds you tight in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.



Inspiration for the hit Netflix Original Series!

Adapted for the stage by F. Andrew Leslie from the novel by Shirley Jackson

Directed by Derrick Freeman

October 25 – November 10, 2019

Four “psychically receptive” visitors arrive at the notoriously unfriendly Hill House in order to explore and draw forth the mysterious powers it is alleged to possess. Their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena, but Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. Get ready to scream out loud at this classic psychological horror story that has both wit and thrills.



By William Shakespeare | Directed by David Martin

February 14 – March 1, 2020

Double-meanings, disguises, and dirty laundry abound as Sir John Falstaff sets about improving his financial situation by wooing Mistress Page and Mistress Ford. But the ‘Merry Wives’ quickly catch on to his tricks and decide to have a bit of fun of their own at Falstaff’s expense. A rollicking farce by the great Bard himself!



By Mark St. Germain | Directed by Nino Casisi

April 3 – 19, 2020

Medicine, money, and morality clash when the heart transplant selection committee of St. Patrick’s Hospital has only minutes to decide which of four patients will receive a heart that has suddenly become available. A cross between Twelve Angry Men and ER, The God Committee takes us into the inner workings of a transplant program and a decision, for both their candidates and their program, which is a matter of life and death.



Book by John August | Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Motion Picture written by John August

Directed by Jessica Franz | Music Directed by Baker Purdon

May 29 – June 14, 2020

Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish tells the story of Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to become a father himself, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. …an extraordinary musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre.



In loving memory of The Jan Conner Christmas Show

Written by Shelly Stewart Banks and Peter Leondedis

Directed by Shelly Stewart Banks

December 6, 7, 13, 14, 2020

 Peter Leondedis and Shelly Stewart Banks are back with an ever-changing cast of talented local performers as they come together to wait for the Spirit of Christmas to arrive and bring a little holiday magic to OCTA!  Each night will include something new and different and you won’t want to miss a thing.  A fun, musical variety show for the whole family!



March 6 & 7, 2020

 Which of the five finalists of OCTA’s fourth annual New Works Playwright Competition will get a full-length workshop for their script? You’ll see short teasers of each script, then vote for the winner. Make your voice count and support the local playwriting community at the same time!


Summer 2020

 Join us for the full-length stage reading of the 2020 New Works Playwright Competition winner. The NWPC Winner Workshop provides a unique opportunity for the winning playwright to workshop their production on the OCTA stage and get feedback from a live audience.

About Olathe Civic Theatre Association

Olathe Civic Theatre Association (OCTA) is an all volunteer 501c3 organization producing theatre in Olathe since 1974. Performing in the Buddy Rogers Family Playhouse, OCTA produces five high-quality, engaging, and thought-provoking theatre productions a year. Through the generosity of volunteers, season ticket holders, donors, city, and community, in addition to a dedicated Board of Directors, OCTA has grown into one of the most progressive community theaters in the Kansas City metropolitan area. For more information, please visit www.olathetheatre.org. OCTA is a proud member of the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, Nonprofit Connect, and Olathe Arts Alliance.

Social and Digital Media

Receive daily updates by ‘liking’ OCTA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/olathecivictheatre and follow OCTA on Twitter at @OCTATheatre.


Please direct all media inquiries to:  Charlotte Gilman at 913-484-1651 (cell) or asgcroc@aol.com.

For further information or tickets, please visit our Web site at www.olathetheatre.org.

Reservations can be made by calling the reservation hotline at 913-782-2990 or by writing tickets@olathetheatre.org.

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