Our Upcoming 2014-2015 Season:

Our Upcoming 2014-2015 Season:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Busy June is Boon for Barn

Maryanna Lauter and Madison Krumins play sisters in The Amish Project
You might assume that the Farmington Players Barn Theater is a quiet place during the summer months now that the 2014-15 season is over.  But as soon as the calendar turned from May to June, activities started heating up again at the Barn.  Whether you’re a member, a patron, or just looking for something fun to do, here are some upcoming dates to put on your calendar.

The Amish Project. Friday June 12 8PM and Saturday June 13 8PM. Complete with its own symbolic Barn raising, The Amish Project is coming home for a command performance after wowing audiences at the Michigan AACTFest competition in Owosso, where Maryanna Lauter received the “Rising Actor” award and Steve White received the “Featured Actor” award. This heartfelt portrayal of events surrounding an Amish schoolhouse shooting is really about the power of forgiveness.  Tickets available online at farmingtonplayers.org

Stage Manager Workshop. Sunday June 14 1:00 – 5:00 PM.  Dave Reinke will be holding a Stage Manager Workshop to demonstrate techniques for how to call a show "The Barn Way.”  FREE to all members and $10 for non-members. Email Dave with any questions at dreinke472@aol.com

Barbeque and Annual Membership Meeting. Saturday June 20 6:00PM.  Come at 6:00 for a BBQ with hot dogs, hamburgers and all the fixin’s and please bring a dish to pass.  At 7:00, we will have an important meeting including the election of the Board of Directors, a preview of Bylaws changes, and fun presentations by committee chairs.  Board candidates include:  Pat Doman, Dave Gilkes, Kandi Krumins, Kristi Schwartz [incumbent], Tony Targan [incumbent], and Tim Timmer.  Voting instructions are in the May Barnstorms, including absentee voting by email by 6/19 to vote@farmingtonplayers.org.  List the names of up to 4 selected candidates in the body of your email and sign the message with your own name. Maureen Mansfield will review email votes, which shall remain confidential.

Boeing Boeing auditions.  Sunday June 28 (12:30 registration).  This hilarious farce directed by Anne Craft (Rick Mickley, A.D.) is sure to please Barn audiences, so please come audition for the first show of our 2015-16 season, which runs September 25 – October 10.  This six-person ensemble cast includes two men and four women ranging in age from 28-60.  Audition notice on the Barn webpage and at http://farmingtonplayers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/AuditionNoticeBoeingBoeing.pdf

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amy Poirier Rocks the House in Brotherhood of Man

Amy Poirier sets the tone as Miss Jones in the show-stopping number, Brotherhood of Man
PHOTO: Brigid Blaschak
It is often said, “behind every great man there's a great woman.”  In the case of World Wide Wicket company president J.B. Biggley, that great woman is his secretary, Miss Jones, played by Amy Poirier in the Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  Miss Jones is Mr. Biggley’s “right hand,” and she knows just how to handle her temperamental boss.  Miss Jones is also an ally of J. Pierrepont Finch, the protagonist whose rise through the company ranks is aided by Miss Jones’ inside information.   As Amy describes her character, Miss Jones “enjoys her position and working for Mr. ‘B’, and she is charmed by Finch and looks after him. Sharing all my scenes with these two extremely funny and talented actors (Dorne Lefere and Jason Wilhoite) has been so much fun.”

For Amy, the fun factor in this show is off the charts: “I’ve always loved the music in this show, especially the hilarious Coffee Break, I Believe in You, and my very favorite, Brotherhood of Man. I also love shows set in the 1960’s – the costumes and hairdos are a lot of fun!   The audience will love all the inside business jokes, the amazing costumes, and big dance numbers. The caliber of the cast is so incredibly strong; every single member brings a tremendous amount of talent to the stage. Just when you think the show can’t get any better or the numbers more impressive, they do!” 

But to make this show look easy has actually taken a lot of hard work.  Amy describes the “biggest challenge, but most rewarding part, of the role of Miss Jones is in the show-stopping number Brotherhood of Man. It’s a high demand number both vocally and especially in the choreography. Our choreographer Mary Murphy actually went to a workshop to learn the exact same choreography that was used on Broadway and brought that back for us to learn for our show. It took a while before we could dance and sing at the same time! Miss Jones is the only female in that number and surprises the audience in a way that nobody expects.”

While there is no substitute for hard work, Amy knows from working in the corporate world that “being in the right place at the right time with the right people can play a big role in what opportunities are available and where and how you end up in that company. Hard work, diligence, and working well with others are what then turns those opportunities into success.”  Amy has been an engineer at GM for 21 years and now calls Farmington Hills home after growing up in the Chicago area.  How to Succeed is her fifth show at the Barn. A majority of her “spare” time is spent with her three very active kids, who are 10, 13, and 15.

Amy echoes a common sentiment among her fellow cast mates:  “This cast and crew has been a ‘dream’ to work with – everyone is so kind and talented and hardworking and fun. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the directors – they wore multiple hats not only doing an amazing job directing the show but being so integrally involved with the creation of costumes and building of the sets.  And they were always supportive, encouraging, and spot on with their direction and feedback throughout the rehearsal process.”

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show’s three final performances are May 14, 15, and 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bob Cox Excels as Loveable Villain Bud Frump

Bob Cox as Frump (left) tells
Jason Wilhoite as Finch who's the boss
Photo courtesy of Brigid Blaschak
Bob Cox shows that nice guys can finish first, too.  Bob is delightfully devious as Bud Frump, the villain in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Bob describes Bud as “an arrogant, petty, jealous, pretentious yet loveable snob. Bud is always the first to know what's going on at World Wide Wickets, that is, until J. Pierrepont Finch [played by Jason Wilhoite] shows up on the scene. Bud sees Finch plotting and planning to rise and so he decides he'll do the same; all the while trying to get Finch to fall flat on his face.”

Bob’s greatest joy and biggest challenge in playing Bud is to counteract his own natural tendency to be “pretty nice in real life, so Bud is a new take on my personality. If I were as mean as Bud Frump that I'd be walking around with a guilty conscience a lot of the time. There is a particular moment in the show where Finch realizes that Bud has double crossed him -- one of the first times we did this scene without scripts, I saw Jason give me this look of pure disappointment and I just felt absolutely awful!  Aside from that situation, however, I find playing someone rude to be quite fun!”

While audiences will revel in Finch’s rise and Frump’s demise, Bob feels that “people will enjoy How To Succeed because this musical wasn't made to teach you a lesson or make you think. The only thing our audience needs to do after they sit down in their seats is relax and let us entertain them. There is a ton of cute jokes, fun songs, awesome dances and clever lines to keep the audience fully involved in the show.”  Bob also likes that the show “succeeds in being funny without relying on being dirty. The sexual jokes are only implied.  It's just good clean entertainment that is appropriate for any age. Nowadays you don't see that too often, and it's nice to take a step back to a time period that was much more wholesome.”

Bob is no stranger to How to Succeed, having played Mr. Bratt in a high school production nine years ago.  In typical self-deprecating fashion, Bob says, “If I do say so myself, I did an absolutely horrible job, but it was only my first show. After doing terribly in that show, I started doing more and more shows, gaining more singing, dancing and acting experience, all of which led up to who I am now. Those experiences have prepared me to do the best I can in this show, and it's great to be re-experiencing this show as a more mature actor and person.”

So how does Bob define “success” in life?  He says, “I measure success in happiness. Make all the money you want, but if you don't start and end your day with a smile, then there is really no point to it. Get enough done to keep yourself satisfied, work hard enough to be able to live comfortably, but enjoy a nice lazy day here or there. Bud Frump seriously needs to get that memo because he seems to find happiness in other peoples' misery; not a good role model to follow.”   Bob works at Schoolcraft College in Disability Support Services assisting students with disabilities in getting accommodations for their classes.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing video games with friends, playing the piano or going on bike rides/hikes with his boyfriend.

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show includes 13 performances from April 24 – May 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“How to Succeed” Actors Draw on Business Experience

Jared Kovach (far left) and Katie Walker (fifth from right) are World Wide Wicket workers experiencing caffeine withdrawal
"There are no small parts, only small actors.”  So said renowned theater director Constantin Stanislavski of the Moscow Art Theatre, meaning that all roles are important and must be performed well.  Stanislavski’s system or method requires actors to utilize their emotional memory, based on a recollection of past experiences and emotions.  So when it comes to playing in the Farmington Players production of the classic corporate comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, it certainly helps that Jared Kovach and Katie Walker are experienced business workers.

Jared plays several parts, including vice president of advertising Benjamin Burton Daniel Ovington (“B.B.D.O.”), a security guard, and an office worker in “Coffee Break.”  B.B.D.O is Jared’s primary role:  his initials are an acronym for a prominent New York advertising agency.  Jared describes B.B.D.O. as “your typically Ivy Leaguer.  He’s a little full of himself and kind of pretentious, but can also be down to earth.  He’s the ‘new kid on the block’ so he’s got to be tough from the get-go.”  Jared relates How to Succeed to his own experience climbing the corporate ladder:  “I started out working in a fast food restaurant in high school and took a job waiting tables in college, and in less than two years I was traveling around the country opening new restaurants and training managers on the day-to-day operations.”  Today, Jared is a catering sales manager for a luxury hotel in Rochester. His personal experiences have helped him prepare for his businessman role: “Working in a professional role has taught me proper posture, clear speaking and a lot of hard work.  B.B.O.D doesn’t mess around, and he’s straight to the point. Success is really what you make of it; you really can’t measure it.  It’s a personal goal that you make for yourself.”   

Similarly, Katie Walker knows her way around the office environment.  As an ensemble member, Katie plays a secretary that she has named Gladys, as well as a cleaning lady and various other chorus parts. Katie explains her connection to Gladys:  “Not only do I play a secretary on stage, I play one in real life too!  I work in a small office, but I can understand the sense of urgency one may have working in the hustle and bustle of a large corporate company.”  In addition to sharing a “desperate need for caffeinated beverages,” Katie draws on her secretarial experience to shape Gladys’ character:  “My daily responsibilities include answering multi-line phones, which I imagine a large corporation like World Wide Wickets would have many phone lines... I work in a doctor’s office and the majority of my responsibilities are assisting patients. I imagine my character Gladys is a very social person and is always happy to help the company's customers, and is an irreplaceable asset to her department head.”  Like a good multitasking secretary, in addition to her day job, Katie also aspires to become a hula hoop instructor and is busy planning her own wedding. 

Jared is also a relative newcomer to the Farmington Players, but his experience echoes the sentiments of many longtime Barn members: “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know different people and have had a lot of fun in the process. It truly is like a family.  I always feel like I’ve learned something after a show closes, either personally or in my acting career that helps me the next time around, and I look forward to many shows at the Barn.”

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show includes 13 performances from April 24 – May 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

You’ll Love Sarah Lovy as Bodacious Hedy LaRue

Sarah Lovy as Hedy LaRue, perched on the lap of J.B. Biggley (Dorne Lefere)
Photo by Jan Cartwright
Fresh on the heels of her Barn debut as the adorable Audrey in Leading Ladies, Sarah Lovy is back as the femme fatale in another Farmington Players production.  This time Sarah portrays the vivacious and curvaceous Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.   Like Audrey, Hedy’s vocabulary is full of humorous malapropisms and both characters strive to improve their lot in life.  But while 1950’s Audrey is an innocent small-town girl, 1960’s Hedy is fully aware of her sexuality and is not ashamed of flaunting her assets to get ahead in the big city.  In that way, she is clearly as ambitious as protagonist J. Pierrepont Finch (played by Jason Wilhoite);  It’s just that Hedy takes a different path to the top of the World Wide Wicket Company.

As the mistress of company president J.B. Biggley (Dorne Lefere), Hedy first uses her relationship to get hired as a secretary. But she is clearly willing to hitch her caboose to any train that can advance her career faster. Sarah has always wanted to play a character like Hedy, saying, “It’s easy to write her off as a funny, sexy character, but there is so much more to her. She wants to be a businesswoman. She wants to be independent and not to have to always rely on her looks to get what she wants (but it doesn’t hurt!). She can be spoiled and brainless, but she’s also so witty, spunky, and most of all, kind. She isn’t the vixen that’s gonna come in and steal all the men just because she can. Hedy honestly wants to try and make something of herself.”

Sarah appears very extroverted backstage and confident onstage, so it might surprise you to hear her say: “I’m a very self-conscious and self-aware person, so playing a character that’s so overtly bodacious was definitely something I had to work on. But, in the end, I think the role has actually helped me a bit with my confidence. I walk a little taller and my head’s held high a little more. If Hedy can walk like that, so can I!”  And while Hedy is definitely a material girl, Sarah knows that money can’t buy you love, saying, “I measure success by happiness. I have seen people with all the money and things in the world who are absolutely miserable. I didn’t grow up with lots of money but I was taught to value the happiness of you and your loved ones. When I see a couple who love each other together or am surrounded by my friends I think, ‘What success!’”

Sarah has been in love with How to Succeed since age 16 when she saw it on Broadway during a class trip (“Me and my friends were singing ‘Coffee Break’ the rest of the trip.”)  She thinks How to Succeed’s appeal is universal: “I think people will enjoy the most zaniest parts and the most heartfelt parts. You get to see a guy move through an entire company. From the mailroom to almost being president! It’s the everyman’s fantasy.”  But beyond the fantasy, the theme of Brotherhood resonates even more strongly with Sarah: “In my opinion, that is the most important theme (and song) of the show. It doesn’t matter where you are. Whether in a company or life. In the grand scheme of things, we are all a community of people that need to rely on each other more. Whether you’re fighting a corporate battle or personal, you are not alone in this world. The membership is free!”

Sarah is from Berkley, MI and currently works for the Murder Mystery Improv Troupe. In addition to theater, she enjoys reading, writing, and her dog.

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show includes 13 performances from April 24 – May 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nancy Boyd Lives Her Dream as Witty Smitty

The irrepressible Nancy Boyd (center) as Smitty, who fixes up Finch (Jason Wilhoite) and Rosemary (Emilie Tole)
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
For Nancy Boyd, it happened when the curtain went up on her very first Broadway show.  That moment when your dreams unfold before your eyes and the possibility of your own onstage success becomes tangible.  The show was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Nancy was hooked: “As cheesy as it sounds, when that curtain rose in the first number, there were tears in my eyes. How to Succeed will always have a special place in my heart because it will always remind me of why I love what I do and encourage me to work hard at my craft.​ So actually having the opportunity to be in a production of the show is so exciting!”

In the Farmington Players production, Nancy plays Smitty, who “says it like it is, and is not one to sugarcoat the truth. Because of this, she gets a lot of one witty one-liners! I think that Smitty is someone who doesn't care about how other people in the office view her as much as she cares about getting her job done, whether it be getting new tax withholding blanks or setting up her best friend on a date! Although she is skeptical of people's intentions, she believes that Rosemary deserves the ideal fairy tale romance that everyone wants, and she will encourage her and Finch to live out this dream.”

Nancy’s natural inclination is to be “a cockeyed optimist” and “too trusting of people.”  By contrast, Smitty is bold, cynical and honest to a fault.  So Nancy decided to model Smitty on two “very strong women in my life: my best friend Meghan Griesbeck and my mother Suzanne Boyd!”  Nancy defines success as “’effort. If someone is always trying to improve themselves and the world around them, they will always be moving forward and will make changes and have ideas that no one could ever imagine!”  She sees How to Succeed as “timeless” because all “people can relate to the struggle of climbing the ladder in their career and their love life. We all have goals that we want to achieve, and this musical brings to life how we strive for them every day (including when things go comically wrong!). People will be able to relate to it, and laugh along whenever something doesn't go quite as a character planned!”  (Such as when Smitty loses her cool after discovering that there’s no coffee!)

Nancy hails from Highland, Michigan and is currently double majoring in Music and Broadcast and Cinema Arts at Madonna University. She enjoys photography, unicycling, playing with her three-legged cat, and “making videos that for some reason usually involve pastries!”

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show includes 13 performances from April 24 – May 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Laurel Stroud Succeeds as Not “Just” a Secretary

Laurel Stroud plays "Peggy" -- one of the secretaries that make "How To" succeed!
While the Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying just happens to open during Administrative Professionals Week, it’s not a coincidence that much of this show’s success rests on the secretaries in the chorus.  Laurel Stroud plays one of the office “girls” and she has named her character “Peggy.”  As Laurel says, “While Peggy is ‘just’ a secretary, she has a vital job at a big company in an exciting city, and for the 1960's, that's significant for a woman.”   In the song A Secretary Is Not a Toy, a secretary is described as “a highly specialized key component of operational unity.  A fine and sensitive mechanism to serve the office community.”  Just as Sixties’ secretaries supported their executives and helped them shine, Laurel loves being in the chorus “because it adds dimension to the show, and puts the leads in context.”

Given the show’s theme of accomplishment, I asked Laurel how she measures success, personally and professionally.  She answered, “I can relate to people getting ahead based on things other than what they do for a living. I can relate to people seeing women as extraneous. I think professional success is when you have reached the point where your job enables you to live your vocation, or ‘purpose.’ Personal success, for me, is becoming more and more the person God intended me to be.”  Laurel knows How to Succeed will be successful with Barn audiences because “this show is so relatable. Everyone knows a Finch, a Frump, a Biggley. Everyone has had a Coffee Break moment. Plus, there are amazing voices that are worth the price of admission all by themselves.”  Also, given that Laurel has shared the stage with so many of same Barn alumni before, she “knew it would be a fun show with fun people. There's nothing like putting on a great show for patrons with a bunch of great friends.”

Laurel grew up and still lives in Redford.  She lists cooking, baking and gardening among her hobbies.  She works for Lone Buffalo in Ann Arbor, but goes to Ford Motor Company every day to create the "clipsheet," a compilation of media mentions about Ford and the industry.  Laurel has been a Barn member for over 10 years and recently won the prestigious Torchbearer award.  She is currently on the Board as Director of Communications.  Some of her favorite roles include Becca in Rabbit Hole, Jennie in Chapter Two, Mom in Leaving Iowa, Essie in You Can't Take It With You and Laura in Whose Wives are they Anyway?

The Farmington Players production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors.  The show includes 13 performances from April 24 – May 16 and tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.