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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.

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