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The Guiding Light Meets Eastern Shore Theater

Written on:July 18, 2016
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Lower Shore Performing Art Company
July 2016

It is no secret soap opera fans develop a bond with their favorite characters. Almost anyone who has watched daytime television can tell you which character pulled at his or her heartstrings or which soap stars resulted in gritted teeth or clenched jaws.

Grant Aleksander & Michael O’Leary - Contributed Photo

Grant Aleksander & Michael O’Leary – Contributed Photo

So when the fan favorite Guiding Light ended after a record-breaking 57-year run, some felt they lost longtime friends. Now, thanks to the Lower Shore Performing Art Company, fans will have the opportunity to meet some of the Guiding Light leads they loved, hated and sympathized with in a new setting. In August, the company will present “Breathing Under Dirt,” a stage play written by and starring Guiding Light’s Michael O’Leary.

“Breathing Under Dirt“ stars familiar faces from television and the big screen. Heading the all-star cast is Emmy winner Cynthia Watros, who played Libby on the popular ABC television show and cult favorite “Lost.“

She has starred in a host of other shows and movies, including House MD, The Drew Carey Show, The Young and the Restless and Guiding Light.

Watros will join other Guiding Light alum O’Leary, Tina Sloan, who also is a playwright (her play “Changing Shoes“ is gracing stages across the United States) and Grant Aleksander.

The award-winning “Breathing Under Dirt” is set against the backdrop of the 1950s South and details the generational effects of an unforgiving family.

O’Leary writes, “We bear witness with a mother and daughter as they grapple with their deep resentments toward each other. The ultimate message and hope of ‘Breathing Under Dirt’ is that we can reach reconciliation and forgiveness with loved ones while we still have life.”

Cynthia Watros, Tina Sloan and Grant Aleksander in rehearsal. Contribited Photo.

Cynthia Watros, Tina Sloan and Grant Aleksander in rehearsal. Contribited Photo.


Breathing Under Dirt is the winner of the Manhattan Repertory Theatre competition held in March this year.

The play will feature local actors and will make its world premiere on Aug. 13-14 at the Ella Fitzgerald Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
For more information and to purchase tickets for Breathing Under Dirt, visit www.lowershorepac.org or call (443) 614-0830/ (757) 894-0833

This event will mark the inauguration of the Lower Shore Performing Arts Company. Founded by theater veterans and based on the principles of artistic responsibility and stewardship to the community, the group is “committed to expanding the arts on the Eastern Shore through advocacy, education, leadership, and financial support of the arts.”

The company is a nonprofit organization. More information about its upcoming schedule of live performances and theater academies can be found at www.lowershorepac.org

Editor’s Note:
Also in the production is local actor Robert Forester who through a friendship with Michael O’Leary assisted in bringing the show to the Lower Eastern Shore.

 Aleksander, Robert Forester and Michael O'Leary. Contributed Photo

Grant Aleksander, Robert Forester and Michael O’Leary. Contributed Photo

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One Comment add one

  1. Stephen Levene says:

    Did you know that Dr. Robert Adkins’ daughter, Cathy, of Star Search Fame ( she won in Acting Category in 1985 ) appeared many times on Guiding Light. Her longest role was as Amber Novack, a Medical Student! in the accelerated program who tried to save Rick from his drug problem. Cathy was appearing on Broadway in A Chorus Line at that time. Earlier, she had played a nurse, a call girl, a babysitter, and other roles before playing Amber for about a year. She and her hubby live on the ESVA now. One of our very own!!! She was Betty Webster’s student before going off to The Academy of The Washington Ballet and then studying theatre at Salisbury University under Dr. Leland Starnes. Then off to NYC and the rest is history!!! I guess they didn’t know she was local and one of our very own star makers! Go, Cathy! Her Dad is/was Dr. Adkins of the Robert T. Adkins, MD ER/Trauma Center at PRMC in Salisbury. A man who saved so many lives and was a “guiding light” in his own right. I think her brother Hal is the Director of Public Works for the City of Ocean City. Right here on the Shore! We may have a lot of dirt on the Shore in our fields but we have our bonafide stars, too.

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