Our Current 2015-2016 Season:

Our Current 2015-2016 Season:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gary Weinstein Plays It Straight In Crazy Comedy Boeing Boeing

Gary Weinstein (Robert) is looking for love in all the wrong places
Anyone who has ever seen Gary Weinstein perform on the Barn stage knows that he is a real “character.”   Whether he is playing a masochistic dental patient in Little Shop of Horrors, the deranged Renfield in Dracula, or the creepy Doctor Einstein in Arsenic & Old Lace, Gary’s roles are larger than life and he always steals the show.  By contrast, in Boeing Boeing, Gary plays mild-mannered Robert Lambert, a Wisconsinite looking for love while visiting his old school friend Bernard in Paris.

For Gary, “the most challenging thing about the role is playing it 'not as a character'.  This is the first role I've had where I play it pretty straight. My mantra is 'how would Gary play it.'”  Even though the role may be straight, the romantically charged show ventures far from the straight-and-narrow and the pace is as fast as the new Boeing jet airliners.   Gary says, “I really wanted this part because I've never had the opportunity to be in a fast-paced comedy like this, and I consider it a real challenge to keep up the energy. I think people will enjoy the show because the theme of love is ancient and here nothing gets lost in translation.”

I asked Gary his favorite part of playing Robert.  His reply: “Being overly animated when things start to unravel.  And of course, getting to kiss the pretty girls!”    Given the manic pace, was Gary concerned about whether his fellow actors and directors could really pull off what's demanded of them?   Not a chance!  Gary exclaimed that, “In this show I am delighted with my fellow actor and actresses and what they're able to bring to this performance. Their power and energy is something that I've never had the privilege before of performing next to, and the vision and the timing that our directors are demanding of us will make the show a real joy to witness.”

Gary is an avid golfer, having played in all 50 states (twice) and in 35 countries in the past seven years with a goal of reaching 100 countries in 20 years. Since losing his wife and two children into 2005, he has collaborated with two local directors in creating documentaries entitled: Project Forgive and Transforming Loss. Gary says, “Although I will always wrestle with the grief of losing my family, I live a blessed life. My mission is to inspire people to create a powerful future built on the foundation of forgiveness.”

Boeing Boeing has three final performances:  October 8, 9 and 10.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel, including special prizes for 50/50 raffle winners and a chance to win a $500 travel voucher on closing night.   Tickets are still available at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the Farmington Players box office at 248-553-2955.  Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players Barn Theater".

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kristin Heitmeier Makes Barn Debut as Fetchin’ Gretchen in Boeing Boeing

Kristin Heitmeier as Gretchen, the German flight attendant
It’s the Sixties, and swinging bachelor Bernard couldn’t be happier: a flat in Paris and three gorgeous stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other … Until a faster Boeing jet plane throws off his careful planning, and all three women arrive in town simultaneously!  Such is the plot of Boeing Boeing, a fun-filled farce coming soon to the Farmington Players Barn Theater.

One of the three fiancées is Gretchen, a German air hostess for Lufthansa, played by Kristin Heitmeier.  Kristin’s German heritage appears to make her a perfect fit for the part, but she points out that despite her married name of Heitmeier and maiden name of Gritzmacher, she’s “only 25 percent German…and actually 50 percent Scottish.”  Kristen describes Gretchen as “very passionate, intelligent, strong-willed and she resorts to brusqueness when challenged. She’s dramatic, but actually a romantic, honest person at heart with a strong moral compass.  Gretchen’s bark is definitely worse than her bite…at her core, she just wants love!”  Kristin thinks that everyone can relate to these overarching themes of honesty and love because “we all want honesty, trust and loyalty from our loved ones … with lots of laughs and romance mixed in.  I think people always enjoy watching a show that’s intentionally humorous and where one can watch foibles and fumbles from afar. That’s timeless … as is love: falling in, falling out.”

Boeing Boeing is Kristin’s Farmington Players debut and she auditioned because “the pacing and comedic plot reminded me of one of my favorite shows and roles: Rosalind in Moon Over Buffalo. It’s a clever, fast-paced farce that will make people laugh aloud.”  While she’s a newcomer to the Barn, Kristin is no stranger to the stage and loves acting, directing and theatre in general.   She resides in Northville and also enjoys writing and “travel, especially to any beach, New York or Italy.”  She holds a dual degree in Business and Communications with a minor in Industrial Psychology and works as a communications writer, editor and project manager in the health insurance industry.

Just like it takes a whole flight crew to fly a plane, Kristin knows that Boeing Boeing will take off at the Barn due to the cohesive cast and crew:  “Our Boeing cast and crew is a true ensemble and if you only knew how happy I am to be a part of it and to make my debut at the Barn! Just like our pilots, our fearless directing team wrangles a holistic map to get us to our destination. And our cast has such defined and individualistic characters that it’s a joy to watch them take flight.  Combined, it makes Boeing Boeing a delightful romp for all involved.”

Boeing Boeing opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on September 25 and runs through October 10.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Thanks to Cadillac, 50/50 raffle winners will also receive a special prize – a carry-on bag valued at $99 – and become eligible for the grand prize drawing – a $500 travel voucher – on closing night!  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Laurel Stroud Plays Berthe Proud in Madcap Boeing Boeing

Laurel Stoud runs a tight ship as Berthe
I often find that song lyrics are a great way to succinctly describe situations.  So if you asked me, “What is Boeing Boeing about?” I’d be inclined to tell you that it’s a cross between these Beatles lyrics: “All you need is love” and “I am he as you are he as you are me … and we are all together.”   If that seems a bit nonsensical, then you’re getting the picture.  Boeing Boeing is a madcap farce where anything can happen and often does.  People mistake one another’s identity and affections.  The play is set in Paris in the Swinging Sixties, baby, and disaster looms behind every swinging door. 

In the Farmington Players’ production of Boeing Boeing, Laurel Stroud plays the dour Berthe, Bernard's maid.  Laurel describes Berthe as “a fatalist.  She has been living and working at this apartment for years and she's seen it all.  Although she claims to be ‘a cheerful person at heart,’ keeping up with her latest boss and his three fiancés (and the changing menu) is proving to be too much.”  Laurel said that she relates to Berthe and her fatalism:  “I've been told I'm an adapter - I figure out how to make the situation work.”  But she can also “relate to Robert striking out and looking for adventure, and not being sure he can deal with what he finds.”  It’s this combination of playing the hand you are dealt, but remaining optimistic about the future that makes Laurel a great fit for Boeing Boeing.  Laurel “fell in love with the show when I saw it in London in 2007.  I thought it was a smart farce, as opposed to slapstick or lowbrow humor.  Berthe is a great part, and I'm very fortunate to have it.” 

While Berthe can be a bit of a Debbie Downer at times, her acerbic wit and sarcasm adds punch to the rollicking hijinks going on all around her.  As Laurel says, “the challenge is to represent the ‘these people are crazy’ side of the roller coaster ride we want the audience to go on, while keeping Berthe a sympathetic character.”  Laurel knows that audiences will love Boeing Boeing because “we will take them on a ride through a ridiculous situation.  They will go back and forth between ‘this is crazy’ and ‘this might work!’  I think people like to see if characters can ‘get away with it’ because it's a departure from real life.  I think Love Conquers All is the main theme of the show.  It certainly doesn't go out of style.”  

Laurel is a long-time Barn member who enjoys cooking, baking, gardening and doing home improvement projects (“I just put in a patio in my backyard!”).  She teaches Sunday school at Christ Church in Redford, and works as a clipsheet editor for Lone Buffalo.

Boeing Boeing opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on September 25 and runs through October 10.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel.  Thanks to Cadillac, 50/50 raffle winners will also receive a special prize – a carry-on bag valued at $99 – and become eligible for the grand prize drawing – a $500 travel voucher – on closing night!  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

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.