Our Current 2016-2017 Season:

Our Current 2016-2017 Season:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bob Cox Sings Becky's Praises in his First Non-Musical Role

Bob Cox as Chris with his stage mom (Erin Osgood as Becky)
Do you have to be middle-aged to have a mid-life crisis?  In Becky’s New Car – playing at the Farmington Players Barn Theater through February 25 – all of the characters are approaching a crossroads in their lives.  And even the youngest among them undergoes a transformation.  

In the Farmington Players’ production, Bob Cox plays Chris, Becky’s 24 year-old son that she sees as a freeloader who needs to get his act together and move out.  Yet Chris is a psychology student who is adept at turning the tables on his mother.  Bob describes his character as follows:  “Chris often uses his book-smarts to talk his way out of conversations that he doesn't want to have. He even uses some vocabulary terms from psychology class to describe what Becky does.  Chris is a little bit of a know-it-all, and can even come off as a snob, but he actually has a great sense of humor. Most importantly, despite being secretive and somewhat insensitive towards his parents, he really loves them a lot.”   Bob has a lot of self-awareness about Chris, saying, “He's at an awkward age where he thinks he's smart because he's so much smarter than he was five years ago, but doesn't yet realize that he'll eventually be looking back at his current self and shaking his head at how stupid he was.”  If only we could all see ourselves with the benefit of hindsight!

At age 28, Bob has 10 years of musical credits under his belt, but this is his first non-musical role.  He planned only to be assistant director for the show, but when no young men showed up at auditions, he filled in as Chris.  Director Cynthia Tupper was so impressed with his impromptu readings that she persuaded Bob to take the role.  Despite not knowing what to expect, Bob has truly enjoyed the experience, saying, “I'm sincerely happy things worked out this way because I didn't realize how much fun a non-musical actually is.  I'm surrounded by extraordinary actors and directors. The experience of Becky's New Car from the beginning has been a collaborative effort. The cast and crew have provided so much laughter and so many smiles through the course of our time together that I highly anticipate being out of sorts for a while when it's all said and done. Luckily, I know I'll see many if not most of them at the Barn again.”  

Becky’s New Car has three performances remaining at Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 23, 24 and 25.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sue Rogers Spices Things Up As Ginger in Becky’s New Car

Sue Rogers (back seat) revels in the role of Ginger, a wealthy socialite that dishes witty barbs in Becky's New Car
Shifting gears.  Changing lanes.  Taking the high road.  Choosing the path not taken.  Automotive analogies abound in Becky’s New Car – playing at the Farmington Players Barn Theater through February 25 – as protagonist Becky Foster sells cars for a living, but has to navigate a mid-life crisis that takes her in an unexpected direction.

Sue Rogers is a key member in Becky’s seven-person ensemble cast.  Sue plays Ginger, who she describes as a “wealthy socialite who gets her come-uppance—and actually enjoys careening into ‘downward mobility.’”  Since Sue describes herself as a “social worker and unabashed bleeding heart liberal,” her portrayal of the class-conscious Ginger is ironic: “What could be more fun than dressing up and rubbing elbows with the wealthy elite, while throwing out witty barbs and social criticism?”  Sue describes the show as “a modern-day comedy of manners.  We enjoy these characters because, just like our real friends, they have their goofy—and their wicked—sides. And like all good theater, this is a play with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but it also makes us think. What do we need to let go of? What do we hold most dear?”

One thing that Sue holds dear is the opportunity to reunite with long-time pal Cynthia Tupper, who is directing Sue for the seventh time – most recently in Rumors (2014) and Noises Off! (2004).  As Sue says, “Cynthia knows funny—and audiences will have a blast going along for the ride in Becky’s New Car.”  For her part, Cynthia says, “All of the characters are somehow stuck in their lives and desiring a big change.  How they go about getting themselves unstuck is an interesting process that not only makes you laugh but think.”  In addition to Cynthia, Sue is also happy to reconnect with Erin Osgood and Bob Hotchkiss, and to work with other Barn members she’s previously admired on stage. Sue loves the structure of the play – especially the audience interaction – about which she says, “You never know what can happen in live theater and this brings an added element of surprise each night. The audience really becomes a part in the play, rooting for the characters, not just from afar, but in the living room, in the office, and cruising along in the car.”


Becky’s New Car opened at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 10 with nine performances through February 25.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Erin Osgood Drives Down the Road Less Traveled in Becky’s New Car


Chris (Bob Cox) has some advice for his mother Becky (Erin Osgood)
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
Everybody loves that new car smell!  Especially in Detroit – the Motor City – a new car is celebrated almost as much as the arrival of a baby.  A new car is sort of a rebirth, a fresh start, a new lease on life.  In Becky’s New Car – which opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 10 – Becky Foster sells cars for a living.  But when an eccentric millionaire offers her more than just another sales opportunity, Becky decides that it might be more exciting to journey down the road less traveled.

Erin Osgood plays Becky, and audiences might not be sure whether they love her or hate her.  As Erin says, “I love the character of Becky because she is so relatable.  She makes big mistakes as she tries to climb out of the emotional hole she is in.  I love playing characters that are flawed or that audiences may hate because there are so many ways to interpret them.  Sure, Becky has made big mistakes, but she’s just trying to find true happiness again.”

While Becky’s happiness starts at home, her 25-year marriage to Joe (Bob Hotchkiss) and her adult son Chris (Bob Cox) no longer fulfill her.  Erin says, “She loves her family, but she has come to a point in her life where she feels empty.  Something is missing.  Her son is in grad school and makes her feel like he doesn’t need her anymore.  He is very intelligent and uses that throughout the play to make her feel defeated.  I think all mothers can relate to Becky.  She raised her wonderful boy to be more intelligent and more successful than she is, but now feels like she is being left behind and unimportant.  Becky just wants to still be a part of his life but she is only allowed the little morsels of information he chooses to give her.”   Similarly, Becky’s husband Joe is a very good man, but Becky “feels her marriage is on autopilot and is just going through the usual motions of her mundane life.  She misses the spontaneity and excitement.  She wants to feel beautiful and important again.  And as she says in the play, she wants ‘to be seen’ again.”

Erin finds the emotional and physical demands of the show challenging, saying, “I could definitely NOT be able to do it without the rest of the cast.  They really drive the show.  Without them entering when they do, Becky would just be on stage twiddling her thumbs.  Each of the other cast members are wonderful - Dorne, Bob, Sue, Bob Jr., Nancy, Steve!  They bring humor to rehearsals and lots of energy. I am so happy to be treading the boards with them.  And Cynthia Tupper has always been one of my favorite directors.  I trust her judgment completely and she allows actors to experiment.”


Becky’s New Car opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 10 with nine performances through February 25.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dorne Lefere’s Drive-by Interview for Becky’s New Car

Walter Flood (Dorne Lefere) has his eye on Becky (Erin Osgood), as Kenni (Nancy Boyd) and Ginger (Sue Rogers) look on.
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
Trying to interview Dorne Lefere is like the proverbial “box of chocolates” – sometimes sweet, sometimes salty, and you never quite know what you are going to get.  In the Farmington Players production of Becky’s New Car, Dorne plays Walter Flood, a wealthy widower that Backy meets late one night at the car dealership.  Walter arrives after business hours, but when he wants to buy nine cars as gifts for his employees, he grabs Becky’s attention.  Becky makes the sale, but in the process, she gets more than she bargained for.  
Here is the text of my interview with Dorne, or at least those portions that are fit to print!

TT:   Dorne, how would you describe your character, and how do you relate to him?
DL:  I play Walter, a rich widower, a status I often dream about when I look at my wife Ginny’s life insurance policies (which I keep under my pillow and look at often).

TT:   What experiences have helped you prepare for your role? What themes can you relate to personally?​ 
DL:   I owned my own business for many years, and still rely on my wife to attend to gift purchases for family members.

TT:   Why did you want to be in Becky's New Car?
DL:  I wanted to be in Becky's New Car because I’ve always loved the smell of a new car.

TT:  Why do you think audiences will enjoy this show?​
DL:  Audiences always enjoy mistaken identities, and this show raises the stakes a little with the addition of a widower, and the second mistaken identity involving a death.

TT:  What motivates Walter Flood?  He’s a man that seems to have everything, or can buy anything he desires.
DL:  Walter desperately wants to get [CENSORED] and even up to the last page of dialogue he still holds out hope that he will maintain [CENSORED] with Becky.

TT:   Now that you’re retired, how do you spend your time?
DL:  We recently purchased a house in Texas where my eight grandchildren live.  I was in a show down there already!  I wanted to get my oldest granddaughter Ava into a show with me, and it became a big family affair when the director also cast Ava’s brothers and mom in the show as well.


Becky’s New Car opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 10 with nine performances through February 25.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Quirky Co-Worker Steve Helps Navigate Midlife Crisis in Becky’s New Car

Steven R. White as Becky's quirky co-worker Steve
Webster’s Dictionary defines “midlife crisis” as “a period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized especially by a strong desire for change.”  The classic example is a 50-ish guy buying a shiny new (usually red) sports car.   Women can also experience a midlife crisis, and in the case of Becky – the protagonist in Becky’s New Car – she is actually in the business of selling cars.  When Walter, an eccentric older millionaire, wanders into her dealership offering to buy several new cars, he offers Becky the opportunity to embark on a journey that brings her own midlife crisis into stark focus.

In the Farmington Players’ production, Steven White plays Becky’s co-worker Steve, who is going through his own midlife crisis.   Steven describes Steve as “a restless, jumpy character who talks a lot, as if everything was about him. His insecurity and obsession extends to the recent loss of his wife, who he often refers to in the play.”  Steven draws on his own experiences with people at work or in social situations to develop his character: “The challenge for me is to find that neurotic energy that the character possesses and to apply it to the role.  My past work environment and experience has given me some ideas. Many years ago, I worked with a guy who always made the coffee and who was the first one in the parking lot after work. Sort of manic meets control freak. I have borrowed some of his mannerisms for this part.”   

Steven also thinks that having life experience and being middle-aged himself helps him understand the role better, saying, “I wouldn’t have understood what a midlife crisis was when I was 20. Playing a man in his 50’s helps me to empathize with Becky and attempt for me to inhabit the role of her co-worker more fully.”  Without giving too much away, Becky’s midlife crisis focuses on her choice between her married, maternal life and the expensive, exotic alternative that Walter offers.  Becky faces a moral dilemma and while we root for her, she is not your typical protagonist. Steven says that Steve “likes Becky but is trying to get her to consider the risks.  She is facing a real challenge and Steve knows she can’t really pull it off. However, I think the audience (especially the women) will identify with Becky and her dilemma.”

Steven grew up in Inkster and has had a long teaching career including stops in Alaska, at the University of Arizona, the University of Texas-El Paso, Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing in the U.P., anywhere quiet, and Americana music.

Becky’s New Car opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 10 with nine performances through February 25.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Monday, November 28, 2016

No More Miss Nice Girl: Maryanna Lauter Gets Mean In “Christmas Pageant”

Maryanna Lauter is no angel as Alice Wendleken in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By her own recollection, Maryanna Lauter “practically grew up here at the Barn,” and has always played the “quiet and nice young girl” in such roles as a 5 year-old in A Wonderful Life, Olive in Spelling Bee, Velda in The Amish Project, and the title role in Annie.  Maryanna’s natural sweetness made her a great fit for those good-girl roles, and while she relishes those past experiences, now she’s singing a different tune:  No more miss nice girl! 

In the Farmington Players production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Maryanna plays Alice Wendleken, who she describes as “a stuck up, know-it-all who loves to be in the spotlight. I love getting to be the mean girl for once. Alice is self-absorbed, self-righteous and thinks she's the perfect Christian girl, but in truth, she is nasty and inconsiderate.”   Alice looks down on the Herdman children, who are newcomers to church and first-timers in the annual Christmas pageant.  So how did Maryanna learn how to get so mean?  “I prepared for my role by basing Alice off of real people I've come across in life as much as possible, and even trying to mirror mean girls I see in TV shows and movies.” 

Besides the fun challenge of playing her opposite, Maryanna wanted to be in Christmas Pageant because her mother Amy “was in this show when she was around my age. She played Gladys and I've always heard her saying it was one of her favorite shows she'd ever been in and I thought that I could pay homage to her by doing this show!”  Maryanna also credits director Terie Spencer for inspiring her to do her best work as an actor:  “Every show I've done with her has always been so memorable. I've grown not only as an actor, but as a person whenever she directs me in a show.”  Plus, it is especially fun to do a show with other kids from Warner Middle School (where she is in 8th grade), including Madi LaJoice, Hannah Weinraub, Michael Soverinsky and Ben Rakolta.

Beyond the fun and frivolity, Maryanna thinks audiences will enjoy this show because “not only is it a hilarious play for people of all ages, it has such a beautiful meaning that no matter how old you are, what your religion is, or what your past is, you can change for the better.”  In preparing for this role, Maryanna drew on some of her own earliest memories at church:  “I had heard the Christmas story countless times when I was younger. I went to Vacation Bible School every summer from ages 5-8. I remember hearing about God and Jesus and the Bible but never truly understood what those meant. … Flash forward to when I was 10 years old and I had to go with my dad because he had an organ gig at a church in Royal Oak. I didn't plan on really listening to the service but I did. I experienced a feeling I'd never felt before. It was the first time in a long time I had felt happy, as I was having a rough couple of years.  I wanted to cry because I felt so close with the Lord and I finally realized I had someone and something to turn to in times of hopelessness, anxiety and sadness.”  

Maryanna equates her own revelation with the children’s realization of the true meaning of Christmas in the play.  As she says, “I think that's what happens to the Herdmans, especially Imogene in our show. I'm lucky enough that something like that happened to me pretty early in life. On the other hand, I also relate to the church kids in our show from that story. They are raised hearing all about the Christian faith and what it means but probably don't get to experience the true meaning of religion until later in life, but like I said before, I was lucky enough to learn the true meaning at a young age.” Maryanna shows a level of maturity well beyond her 13 years, and to develop such a depth of understanding at her young age is no mean feat!

The Farmington Players production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is proudly sponsored by The Life Chest. The 12 performances run from December 2 - 18, 2016. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pastor Drex Morton Plays Baffled Reverend in “Christmas Pageant”

Bringing Order to Chaos:  Rehearsal for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sometimes actors complain of being type cast, but in the case of Drex Morton, he considers it a compliment. In the Farmington Players production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Drex plays Reverend Hopkins, and as he says, “I am a pastor, so playing the part of a ‘baffled’ one is certainly fun.”  Drex has been a pastor for 30 years, so the role must come naturally to him.  He and his wife Mary reside in Canton and he currently serves a church in Bridgewater, Michigan.

Even though Christmas Pageant is a holiday play, its message is nondenominational.  Director Terie Spencer says, “I hope audiences will see the connection we all have as people regardless of religious belief.  It's been a wonderful experience finding common ground as we prepare to present this charming story.”   Drex says, “I wanted to receive direction from Terie once again, because she is an excellent director and mentor for actors of all ages.”

Christmas Pageant truly has something for everyone, and while the play doesn’t attempt to convert anyone, it may transform you!   Drex knows that “audiences will love the mix of comedy and nostalgia, the talented children, and the introduction of a universal truth, as Terie stated it, that all the characters grow through the challenges presented.   Also, the kindnesses expressed toward those who are considered outcasts in the play within the play will bring out the very best in them, inspire generosity, and transform all who are involved, including the audience.”  

Like Reverend Holmes, Pastor Morton has a passion for helping folks.  In Drex’s case, he especially seeks to help those who are bereaved, and officiates about three funerals weekly.  In his few spare moments, he enjoys distance running, community theater, and choral singing.

The Farmington Players production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is proudly sponsored by The Life Chest. The 12 performances run from December 2 - 18, 2016. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or 248-553-2955.

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