OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Hoosier actor 'in the money' with new stage role

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-08-27T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Hoosier actor 'in the money' with new stage roleBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Actor Ben Werling is very familiar with the Northwest Indiana landscape.

Werling, who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, still does frequent treks from Chicago though the Region to visit his 89-year-old father back home.

And when he's not eying his driving terrain, he's the narrative guiding voice identifying the stars during his "day job" as the host of the live shows about the celestial heavens at Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

The Adler is also where he met his wife, Amy Hutchings, while she was attending an event, and the couple were married on March 17.

Werling is returning to his stage roots next week at Shattered Globe Theatre to help kick off the 2013-14 stage season with "Other People's Money" by Jerry Sterner, directed by Dennis Zacek and playing Sept. 5 to Oct. 19 in its new artistic home as a resident theater company at Chicago's Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

"Other People's Money" also features other Shattered Globe ensemble members Doug McDade, Linda Reiter and Joe Wiens with Artistic Associate Abbey Smith.

This dollar-driven story delves into the seedy and deceptive world of business, as a small company faces a hostile takeover at the hands of a ruthless businessman. Slimy, immoral and strangely likeable, "takeover artist" Lawrence Garfinkle stops at nothing to gain control of New England Wire and Cable. Equal parts corporate critique and romantic comedy, I'm told "Other People's Money" mines the manipulation, greed and unexpected humanity in the world of business.

The playwright Sterner was an American businessman-turned-playwright whose other plays include "Tit for Tat," "Be Happy for Me," the musical "Top 40" with Jerry Bock, with his biggest success being "Other People's Money," opening in New York in 1989 to acclaim and running for years. In 1991, Norman Jewison directed a film version of "Other People's Money" starring Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck.

Werling said he was attracted to the play project not only because of the subject, but also working with the cast.

"I'm thrilled to be working with Dennis Zacek, and old friends Doug McDade and Linda Reiter," Werling said.

"I play a pretty straight-forward venture capitalist. He's all about making money."

He first appeared with Shattered Globe in their first smash hit, "Talk Radio," back in 1992, winning a Jeff Award for lead actor for playing abusive talk show host Barry Champlain.

Werling said he is also impressed with the production team for "Other People's Money," which includes Andrew Hildner's scenic design, Charles Cooper's lighting design, Vivian Knouse with props design, Amanda Rozmiarek serving as technical director and master carpenter and Jeffrey Clark Stokes as stage manager with Judy Anderson as production manager and Rosie Chevalier as producer.

Tickets are $20 for the previews and beginning Sept. 12, tickets for the regular run are $30 available at theaterwit.org, shatteredglobe.org or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or call (773) 975-8150.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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