[Performers include Jaime Sandoval (top row from left), Jay Fontanetta and Mina Dillard-Gits; in the bottom row are Brian Centers, Katie Hedrich and Rob Nardini. On the cover are Nardini and Hedrich.]
“It’s such a thrill to finally have the opportunity to work with the Theatre of Western Springs, and especially on a show this hilarious and fun,” Theis of Chicago said in announcing the production. “I think TWS’s audiences are going to love this play which has stood the test of time, hasn’t aged a day, and has become a new American classic."
Portraying Willum is Rob Nardini of Naperville.
"Willum is a nice guy and he basically has let life just happen to him," Nardini said. "He finds himself in a place having to take control of his own life."
He's pushed to the point of realizing the guy who saved his life is a little obnoxious and is pretty much the guest that doesn't want to leave, Nardini said, describing it as a precarious situation for Willum.
"He saved my life, but he needs to go," he said of Willum's eventual realization. "What do you do? Nice people don't know how to handle situations like that. He owes him."
Nardini said it's been fun working with Fontanetta, whose character is so unpredictable and whose acting keeps him on his toes in a play filled with humor and physical comedy. It's been 20 years since Nardini saw "The Nerd" performed at Theatre of Western Springs, one of the first productions he attended there.
There's more to "The Nerd" than straightforward comedy, according to Eddie Sugarman of Western Springs, the company's executive artistic director.
"There are some [comedies] that are cotton candy, which are delightful, [but] this has a touch more heart to it," Sugarman said. "This one is really about good friends and doing good things for each other. That also is a pretty wonderful sentiment."