A look at generation gaps, immigration

“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go,” an old song says. The character Nick Cristano is an Italian-American guy in New Jersey who dutifully does go to Grandma’s; in fact, he goes to both grandparents’ homes every Sunday.

But in “Over the River and Through the Woods,” a play by Joe DiPietro, Cristano tries to stray from that expected path.

The Mouse River Players Community Theatre production deals with the intimate but loving look at generation gaps in the play, which will be performed May 8-11 at The Arlene.

Cristano, played by Topher Hodgson, has parents who live in Florida, but he shares dinner every Sunday with his four annoying, but beloved, grandparents: Frank and Aida Gianelli, portrayed by Conrad Davidson and Mary Beth Palmer, and Nunzio and Emma Cristano, played by Thomas Rakness and Karen Anderson.

Then Nick is offered his dream job as a marketing director – but the job is in Seattle.

His grandparents erupt in a frenzy of fear, which leads to a series of hilarious schemes of manipulation, including inviting another guest to dinner. The lovely and single Caitlin O’Hare, played by Kayla Boys, is used as bait to keep their beloved grandson where he belongs.

“‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ is a poignant but hilarious look at families,” director Carlen Gilseth said, “especially immigrant families.”

Gilseth noted the playwright also wrote the Tony Award-winning musical “Memphis.”

The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. for the Thursday through Saturday shows, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are $10 at the door. “Over the River” is one of the Mouse River Players season ticket offerings.

Call 1-866-667-1977 to make reservations, which Gilseth strongly recommends.

The Arlene Theater is located at 115-1st St. SE, in Minot.