The Last Night of Ballyhoo

By Alfred Uhry

Directed by Gavin Hawk

Presented in part by the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation

Sep. 3 – 28, 2014

Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm

Tickets: $28

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Special Events Media Cast & Crew Patron Reviews Season

2014 BroadwayWorld Tampa Regional Award

  • Best Featured Actress in a Play – Emily Belvo

Creative Loafing Best of the Bay

  • Best Actress – Ami Sallee

WINNER: 1997 Tony Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play.

Atllanta, GA, December, 1939. Gone with the Wind is about to premiere on the big screen and Hitler is marching on Poland. Adolph Freitag, his sister Boo, and nieces Lala and Sunny – a Jewish family so highly assimilated they have a Christmas tree in the front parlor – are obsessed with preparing for Ballyhoo, a lavish cotillion ball sponsored by their elite country club.

(L-R) Katie Castonguay and Emily Belvo in Jobsite's The Last Night of Ballyhoo. (Photo by Crawford Long.)Adolph’s employee, Joe Farkas, is an eligible bachelor and an Eastern European Jew down from Brooklyn, familiar with prejudice but unable to fathom its existence within his own religious community. His presence prompts college student Sunny to examine intra-ethnic bias, her Jewish identity (or lack thereof), and the beliefs with which she’s been raised. The family gets pulled apart and mended back together with plenty of comedy, romance, and unexpected revelations along the way.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo was commissioned for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and was subsequently produced on Broadway. Its author, Alfred Uhry, previously won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Driving Miss Daisy, as well as an Academy Award for the screenplay – the only playwright ever to win all three awards.

“… a delightful comedy freighted with an uncomfortable message.” — New York Post

The JCC & Jobsite

This is the second collaboration between the JCC and Jobsite; the two organizations previously partnered on the spring 2013 performance of Wendy Graf’s Behind the Gates.

As part of this partnership, a series of public forums will be held to discuss themes within and inspired by the play, not limited to Tampa’s Jewish community, but inclusive of the greater community at large. Information on those forums as well as the private grand opening night performance hosted by the JCC will be made available soon.

“Under Gavin Hawk’s fine direction, Jobsite Theater does [Uhry] justice with a production that is accomplished, swiftly moving and nimble enough to keep pace with all the members of a wealthy Jewish family in 1939 Atlanta.” – Tampa Tribune

“Lala is jealous of her cousin Sunny, a smart, blond Wellesley student. Sunny has captured the affections of Joe Farkas [an] Eastern European Jew from New York. He doesn’t understand the family’s self-denial, or how Jews in the town can hate themselves and each other. Nathan Jokela plays Joe with an understated coolness, ushering in some more poignant story development. He has super chemistry with Emily Belvo, who plays Sunny. Belvo, last seen in a chilling independent production of Oleanna in St. Petersburg, is one to watch.” – Tampa Bay Times

… it rang true to me. Even though I am not Jewish, I saw some of my Georgia relatives on that stage … The Jobsite cast of seven are all strong … Belvo’s scenes with Jokela are the highlights of the show–a respite from the wackiness surrounding them. We fall for them as they fall for each other. These are two young actors in top form, and they are the heart and soul of The Last Night of Ballyhoo … Jobsite’s first play of the season is a winner …” –

“… there’s nothing but unity in the strong cast. Nathan Jokela as Joe Farkas has to take the honors as first among equals … But Ami Sallee as Boo Levy is also terrific … Emily Belvo as Sunny is winningly radiant … Then there’s the hilariously spot-on performance of Jordan Foote as Peachy Weil … Ned Averill-Snell continues his decades-long campaign of winning Bay area hearts and minds as the lovable Adolph Freitag, and Katie Castonguay capably runs the gamut of brattish emotions as she strives gamely for satisfaction in a Tara all her own. Finally, Suzy Devore does a fine job in the somewhat underwritten part of Sunny’s mother Reba. Gavin Hawk’s direction is impeccable … I’m glad to have seen it.” – Creative Loafing

Special Events

Private Performance

Normally reserved for our final preview, the Sep. 4 performance is a private opening night performance for our partners, the JCC.


We are hosting a talkback after the Sun., Sep. 21 matinee performance with members of the cast and crew, as well as our community, to discuss the production, its themes and their relevance today. Please join us for a lively post-show discussion!


Cast & Crew

  • Gavin Hawk – Director
  • Amy E. Gray – Asst. Director


  • Ned Averill-Snell – Adolph Freitag
  • Emily Belvo – Sunny Freitag
  • Katie Castonguay – Lala Levy
  • Suzy Devore – Reba Freitag
  • Jordan Foote – Peachy Weil
  • Nathan Jokela – Joe Farkas
  • Ami Sallee – Boo Levy
  • Matthew Ray – Stage Manager


  • Kaylin Gess – Lighting Designer
  • Brian Smallheer – Scenic Designer
  • David Steinweg – Properties and Scenic Dressing
  • Beth Tepe-Robertson – Costume Designer

Patron Reviews

Saw Ballyhoo last night.  Thought it was great. Everyone was good but I was really drawn to the “Sunny” character (Emily Belvo). She seemed so natural and well cast in the role. – Deborah Kobritz

Ballyhoo is a hoot! What a great show. Congratulations! A really fine evening. Please let the cast and crew know!

Laughs all along the way, and a touching ending …  Well done. – Andrea Graham

Saw The Last Night of Ballyhoo yesterday – great performances by ALL! – Linda Brandt

Via Facebook

Great show, very funny, outstanding performances and wonderful evening if that’s the sort of thing you are looking for. – Sanford Betz

Congrats to the cast and crew of Last Night of Ballyhoo. A lovely, funny piece that had me laughing and “Awww-ing” out loud. A beautiful home, fabulous clothes and a great group! – Katrina Stevenson

Just saw this beautiful show today, well done to all!! Proud to be a member of this ensemble. Come see Ballyhoo, you just can’t miss what it’s all about. – Owen Robertson

Huge congrats to the cast and crew of Ballyhoo for a remarkable achievement last night! Last minute cast replacement was seamless and a real testament to the talent and commitment of this cast. Get well soon Katie!! The show must go on and it did with real panache. Impressive work everyone! – Elizabeth Fendrick

Loved it! – Laura Kashkina

Bethany Cable Fisher, John E. Kennedy and I just finished watching “The Last Night of Ballyhoo.” It was a wonderful show. If you have a chance, I highly recommend it. Congratulations to Nathan Jokela, Jordan Foote, Ned Averill-Snell, Emily Belvo, Ami Sallee, Katie Castonguay, and Suzy Devore! Great performances! – Steve Fisher

We saw “Last Night of Ballyhoo” last night and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed every minute! Each actor was perfect in his role, the staging was clever, the set design was spot on, the directing was superb, the costumes were lovely and the comic timing was impeccable! Way to go Jobsite!! – Melodie Oleson

Via Twitter

It was an awesome show! You all are so talented! – @kristinolinski

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