Our Current 2017-2018 Season:

Our Current 2017-2018 Season:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ties That Bind: Maureen Mansfield Tests Her Faith in Greetings!

Maureen Mansfield as Emily Gorski (seated, center) seeks divine intervention to restore peace in her home.
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
Interfaith marriage pulls on family ties in a way that tests a couple’s commitment to one another.  Sometimes the knot gets pulled even tighter as the couple’s bond is strengthened.  And sometimes the ties are strained to the point of breaking.  In Greetings!, when Andy brings his Jewish atheist fiancé to meet his traditional Catholic family on Christmas Eve, it’s a recipe for disaster … with hilarious and poignant consequences.
In the Farmington Players production of Greetings!, Maureen Mansfield plays Emily Gorski, Andy’s mother.  Maureen can definitely relate to the show’s theme of “marrying outside of your religion.  I did this.  In my family, it wasn't as big of a deal as it is in the show, probably because I had previously dated outside my faith, but I can certainly relate.”  Maureen describes her character Emily as “a deeply religious wife and mother.  She's not the brightest log in the fire, but often has surprising insight. I really enjoy the comedy that comes from the naivety of my character.”  Maureen also enjoys the “challenge of playing the submissive Catholic wife, a far stretch from who I am. It's also a challenge for me to respond to my characters' family in ways that I personally would not.  For instance, if my real life child was hurt, I would run to him, while my character retreats.”

Maureen recalls watching another production of Greetings! and thinking she “had it all figured out in the middle of the first act. It was going to be your typical, lovely holiday show.  At the end of the act, all of a sudden I sat up and thought, ‘Wait, what just happened?’  I couldn't wait for intermission to be over so I could see how it turned out!  So it's a lovely holiday show … with a twist!”
Maureen is originally from northwest Detroit and has lived in Farmington HIlls for almost 30 years, including about 20 years as a member of the Farmington Players.  She calls the Greetings! cast “one of the most talented and thoughtful casts I have worked with.  The amount of work each person is putting into their character is awesome.  And it's all because of our incredible directorial team who is pushing us to be better than we ever thought we could be!”

Greetings! has 10 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from December 1 – 17, 2017.  The show is proudly sponsored by Jill Jones and Cadillac Travel.  Author Tom Dudzick also penned our successful production of Miracle on South Division Street.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Usually Droll Jim Moll Plays it Straight in Calendar Girls

Jim Moll as John (seated) is fighting a battle that inspires the women of Calendar Girls
Jim Moll is used to being the center of attention onstage. His grand stature, booming voice, and larger than life personality make Jim hard to miss.  The former principal knows how to command attention and respect.  He often portrays over-the-top characters like Roger DeBris in The Producers and Big Julie in Guys & Dolls, and he’s even played God onstage.  But in the Farmington Player's production of Calendar Girls, Jim is fine with giving the ladies the limelight.

Jim plays John Clarke, the husband one of the “Girls.” Jim describes his character as “a wonderful guy who provides motivation for the women of the WI to take their clothes off.”  Without giving too much away, the women’s calendar is a fundraiser to fight cancer, which afflicts John in the play.  Jim says that Calendar Girls’ “reminder that cancer is an insidious disease that needs to be fought hits home for me. The underlying theme of fighting cancer is one that many will have experienced.”

Jim notes that other themes of the show include “recognizing the potential that ‘middle-aged’ women have, often not validated, to be empowered to confidently affect change and be seen as people who can exert themselves in society.  Given our political climate right now, these ideas are especially important.”  While these ideas are important, most patrons will probably be wondering, “Yes, but what about the nudity?”  Jim assures audiences that the “nudity is really very tame and is handled thoughtfully and with care.  Having been on the Barn stage as a member of The Full Monty cast that bares it all in a much more raucous manner, I can relate to the feelings this provokes among my current cast mates. They're handling it well, and our directors are ensuring that nobody will feel exploited or ... overexposed.”

Jim is glad to be playing a supporting role to these bold and empowered women, and he knows audiences “will love seeing the relationships between the characters and will be able to relate to their situation. And, the cast is made up of fun and energetic actors who are fearlessly portraying their characters.” 

Calendar Girls has six performances remaining at Farmington Players Barn Theater, but this weekend is virtually sold out. Get your tickets now for the final three shows: October 12, 13, 14. The show is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney.  Tickets are available online at 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mary Ann Tweedie is the Life of the Party in Calendar Girls

Mary Ann Tweedie as Chris (far left) leads the girls with a bit of liquid courage before their photo shoot
Sometimes art echoes life in a way that warms the heart. Calendar Girls – which opens TONIGHT (Friday September 22) at the Farmington Player's Barn Theater – is based on the true story of middle-aged British women who posed nude in a calendar to raise money to fight cancer.  The story of the real-life “Girls” inspired a movie and then a stage play.  And just like their British counterparts, Barn cast and crew members have created their own risqué calendar!  Proceeds from calendar sales and opening night’s 50/50 raffle will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Mary Ann Tweedie, who plays Chris, admits that “the nudity was a bit intimidating at first but I think it will be fine.  The phrase ‘the art of the play’s nudity lies in what is withheld,’ sums it up entirely!”  Mary Ann describes Chris as “the leader of the calendar project and the instigator of many of the other nontraditional events that they do in the WI and she is basically the life of the party. She makes her friend Annie’s life more fun and lively.  She loves holding court and being the center of attention. … She certainly doesn’t fit in with the image of a traditional WI member, baking cakes, knitting, making plum jam etc.  She likes to have fun, drinking, laughing and being the center of attention.  This need to be the center of attention is what eventually affects her and Annie’s relationship.” 

Mary Ann relates well to the longtime friendships in Calendar Girls because “I have been a barn member for 27 years and have made many longtime friends at the Barn.  It shows the ups and downs of friendships and what it takes to make an enduring friendship work. This cast has been one of the nicest groups of people to work with.  The ladies have been a lot of fun and working as an ensemble has been a pleasure.  Nancy Cooper has been a great director and her insights have helped us all understand our characters.”  (In fact, Nancy played Chris in St. Dunstan’s performance of this show last year.)

Mary Ann is confident that audiences will absolutely love this show.  In addition to being “loaded with great older women parts,” Calendar Girls “has something for everyone.  I have seen it live twice and each time the audience reactions were amazing.”  Plus, the fund-raising aspect of the calendar sales will enable patrons to connect with the cause of fighting cancer – a disease that impacts almost every family.


Calendar Girls has 11 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from September 22 – October 14.  The show is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Healing By Rebelling: Laurel Stroud Breaks Taboos in Calendar Girls

Annie (Laurel Stroud, left) has her doubts about her best friend Chris (Mary Ann Tweedie, right) 
We live in a virtual society.  People experience much of life remotely or vicariously, through the lens of traditional or social media. While many of these “channels” can simulate real life, sometimes there’s just no substitute for being there in person.  Such is the case with Calendar Girls, which opens at the Farmington Player's Barn Theater on Friday September 22.  While many people know and love the 2003 movie, you really need to experience the play in person to understand the characters’ vulnerability, particularly when it comes to baring more than their souls on stage.

Laurel Stroud plays Annie, one of the play’s protagonists.  Laurel describes Annie as “a normal woman, happily moving through life when it hands her a tragedy. Life as she knows it is turned upside-down.”  Seeking to make something positive out of a bad situation, Annie and several other middle-aged women raise money for a local hospital by posing nude for a calendar.  As Laurel says of Annie, “At first she is distracted by the calendar, but eventually she has to deal with it. My challenge is portraying a woman going through grief in an unusual way.  She thinks her best friend is in her corner, but then starts to doubt.”

Like Annie, Laurel overcame her own doubts to become a Calendar Girl: “I felt it would be a personal stretch for me, getting out of my comfort zone. This show celebrates woman in her most glorious phase. It takes a taboo and says: Beating cancer is more important, and shows how breaking a taboo can give relief and growth in the process.  Seeing it onstage makes it more personal than watching a movie.  There will be more of a connection.”

So is Calendar Girls just a female version of The Full Monty?  No, not at all.  Laurel explains how the use of nudity is just a vehicle to illustrate the broader themes that run through this show, including: “Dealing with grief, the power of friendship, personal awakening and growth, and the beauty of ‘women of a certain age.’ That beauty, we discover has a lot, maybe more, to do with the inside as well as the outside.  The nudity has been handled with professionalism and humor, so it has not been an issue for me.  I think in the show, it's a type of rebellion leading to some healing. Maybe that's true in real life too.”

When Laurel is not onstage or backstage at the Barn, she works by day editing the clip sheet for Ford Motor Company. Her interests include cooking, baking, bike riding, and “sitting out on the patio with some coffee.”

Calendar Girls has 11 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from September 22 – October 14.  The show is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First Time’s A Charm for Suzy DuCharme in Calendar Girls

Suzy DuCharme (far right) plays Cora, one of the Calendar Girls that grins and bares it.
Suzy DuCharme is making her Barn debut as Cora in the Farmington Player's production of Calendar Girls. As those familiar with the 2003 movie know, this show is based on the true story of a British Women's Institute (WI) chapter that raises money for a local hospital by posing nude for a WI calendar.  As director Nancy Cooper says, “These women touched by grief, used the strength of their friendship to do the unthinkable… they literally took their community, and in fact the world by storm, and raised thousands of dollars in the process.”

Suzy enjoys playing Cora because “she is like me in many ways. Has a past that was not the easiest, but still enjoys life and has built trust with the other women (characters).”   Suzy works as a hospice nurse for Kindred Hospice, so she deals with mortality every day. Her own mother passed from cancer a few years ago.  These experiences prepared Suzy for Calendar Girls because, as she says, “I believe the themes are finding the good in tragedy and learning how to lean on others. Audiences will enjoy this show because there are a lot of times to laugh. Even the sad moments don't last long before there is some comic relief. A lot of people will be able to relate to the relationships in this show.”

The relationships between the female actors also provides a strong bond.  Suzy says, “The nudity is a little scary, as I am self-conscious, but also a little liberating. These women are non-judgmental and I feel very secure in this.  I wanted to be in Calendar Girls because it is a show that praises the middle aged woman – that does not always happen in other shows. There is beauty in aging!”

Suzy resides in Clarkston with her husband, Ben and they have two children in college. She enjoys karaoke, dancing, Zumba, yoga, and theatre, which is an interest she share with her mother. 

Calendar Girls has 11 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from September 22 – October 14.  The show is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

From Belfast to the Barn: Sharon Baynard Returns to the Stage in Calendar Girls

Sharon Baynard as Calendar Girl Celia
As the song goes, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."   And it’s even longer to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where Sharon Baynard studied acting many calendars ago at the Lyric Theater.   Sharon grew up in Belfast during the Irish Civil War in the 1970s before coming to America.  Sharon is making her long-awaited return to the stage as Celia in Calendar Girls at the Farmington Players.   The play is based on the 2003 movie Calendar Girls, which depicts the true story of a British Women's Institute (WI) chapter that raises money for a local hospital by posing nude for a WI calendar … a becomes a media sensation in the process.

Sharon describes her character Celia as follows:  “Celia has money; shopping is her favorite past-time, and she likes to play golf. She indulges in the finer things in life and drives a Porsche (what else?). However, don't be fooled: she is more at home with the women of the WI than with her golf girls. The women of the WI are down to earth and Celia doesn't feel the need to put on any airs or graces with them.”   Sharon loves Celia because “she has a lot of spunk to her. The challenge is showing her rebel side as well as her insecurities.”

Sharon describes the play as “a journey of women recognizing their worth outside of the knitting, cooking and gardening projects of the WI. I wanted to be in Calendar Girls as I had the seen the film and knew it was based on a true story of courageous women supporting each other. The play brings a sense of reality to the story that you can't feel as much by watching the film. Audiences will enjoy this show as they can see themselves in the many women it represents.”

Celia is one of the Calendar Girls that poses nude for the WI calendar. How does Sharon feel about baring more than her soul on stage?  “Regarding the nudity, it is Art! I have gone on a diet and have been hitting the gym, need I say more!” 

Sharon loves acting and recently appeared in the Cinetopia International Film Festival in a short film called Task Force, playing the part of the Mother. Her goal one day is to be on Broadway!  When she is not pursuing acting, Sharon is learning to play the saxophone and likes to practice hot yoga.

Calendar Girls has 11 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from September 22 – October 14.  The show is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Noah Babala and Forrest Gabel Break the Mold in Mid-Winter Break

Forrest Gabel as Ben (left front) and Noah Babala as Auggie (right front) play it for laughs in Mid-Winter Break
One of the joys of theater is pretending to be someone else.  Whether that is a slightly exaggerated version of your usual self, or the complete opposite of your own personality, trying on another persona is something that all actors enjoy.  In Mid-Winter Break, a family friendly musical comedy coming to the Farmington Players Barn Theater on June 2 – 4, 2017, two young men take different approaches to this common conundrum. 

Noah Andrew Babala plays the dual roles of Auggie Sommers and Mike the Waiter.  As Noah explains, “both of these roles are both extremely comedic. With these roles you MUST step out of yourself and be the most outgoing you have ever been!”  Playing for laughs is not a stretch for Noah, a self-described “class clown,” who has had many other comedic roles ranging from Gingy in Shrek to Teddy Brewster in Arsenic & Old Lace.  Noah says that making people laugh is “the best thing ever.”

Forrest Gabel is small for his age, so he “usually plays the innocent younger kid. This role challenges me a little to be more hardened. I play Ben who is a middle school kid who is a little bit of an outcast and gives everyone in school a hard time, jokingly.”   Forrest is excited to be in Mid-Winter Break because “it is an all original musical, written by our director Kandi Krumins, and I think the music is cool and has a lot of energy and variety of styles. I really think the audience will enjoy it because it's new music and you don't get a chance to see original musicals very often.  I am really enjoying singing and dancing and can't wait to get in front of an audience with this show.”  Noah also wants to “experience the perks of being in an original show. Because it's not only an outgoing, plot twisting performance, but this cast is hilarious and so energetic. Definitely one of the best casts I’ve worked with out of all 17 productions I’ve performed in!”

Noah attends Waterford Mott High School. He enjoys “making my own bedroom under my stage name, Noahandrew, on soundcloud and youtube! I plan to make a living in theatre and music.”   Forrest is from Walled Lake and some of his favorite roles include Nathan in The Full Monty at the Barn and Morton Jr. in Enemy of The People at The Hilberry Theatre. His passions include acting, drawing, music and Minecraft.


Reserved seats for Mid-Winter Break are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.  All tickets are only $12 and show times are as follows: Friday, June 2, 8pm;  Saturday, June 3, 8pm; and Sunday, June 4, 2pm.  One weekend only!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Aryn Hillman Blossoms as Beth in Mid-Winter Break

Aryn Hillman (right) as Beth, discussing boys with Madison Krumins as Juniper (middle) and Jurze Egres as Eve (left)
When you are in the “middle” of something, it always has great potential for transformation.  Whether you’re talking about a mid-life crisis, middle school, or mid-winter, the “mid” is what makes it interesting:  the transition from here to there is fraught with uncertainty, and the outcome still hangs in the balance.  Such is the case with Mid-Winter Break, a family friendly musical comedy coming to the Farmington Players Barn Theater on June 2 – 4, 2017. 

Just as middle school students grow up quickly as they make the transition from childhood to young adulthood, several cast members have blossomed in the two years since Mid-Winter Break was first performed in Waterford in 2015.  Aryn Hillman, who plays Beth, had just turned eleven about a month before the show originally went up.  Now 13, Aryn says, “I was interested in doing the show again because I was excited to see the revisions that had been made and see if any other returning cast had changed as much as I had. This is now my eighth performance and I know that in just the past two years, I have matured a lot. I was excited to come be a part of the show with new skills and a new perspective.”   Ayrn describes her character Beth as being “quite similar to me. She can be sassy when she wants to be, but can also be a little … blank from time to time.  Like Beth, I'm in 8th grade, and my friends have become kind of boy crazy. I’ve had to give a lot of advice to friends in the same or similar situations as Juniper.  Though the responses Beth and I would give when asked for advice about guys are vastly different.”  

Aryn knows audiences will enjoy Mid-Winter Break for multiple reasons:  “One reason is the humor. It's all family friendly, but can still make people of all ages crack up. Another reason would be the familiar frustration with middle school. I don't know about everyone, but I’m in 8th grade, and I could not be more excited to get out of middle school and head to high school. Finally, the show is just fun in general. From the absurdity of the dreams, to the musical numbers, I think it should leave everyone with big smiles. Everyone in the cast is very talented, and once you combine that with amazing directors like Kandi [Krumins] and Dave [Reinke] who are doing everything they can to make this show great, I think there's no way you can't enjoy the performance!”

Aryn is from Waterford and among her favorite things are music, theater, creative writing, drawing, singing, and linguistics. And you might not know this about Aryn:  “If I could have any superpower, I would want teleportation. If I got stuck on a deserted island I would bring my phone, a portable charger, and cooler packed with drinks and ice cream. If I could visit any country for two weeks, I would pick South Korea.”


Reserved seats for Mid-Winter Break are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.  All tickets are only $12 and show times are as follows: Friday, June 2, 8pm;  Saturday, June 3, 8pm; and Sunday, June 4, 2pm.  One weekend only!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Madison Krumins Gets Unstuck in Mid-Winter Break

Madison Krumins (far left) plays older sister Juniper to her real-life brother Carter Krumins (a/k/a Norman Parks)
Whether you are stuck in a rut, stuck in the middle, or just plain stuck in life, sometimes seeing things from a different perspective is what it takes to restore order to your world. In Mid-Winter Break, a family friendly musical comedy coming to the Farmington Players Barn Theater on June 2 – 4, 2017, Madison Krumins learns how to get unstuck.  Madison plays Juniper Parks, older sister of Norman (played by her brother Carter), the Parks’ family’s middle child around whom the play revolves.  As Madison says, Juniper is “a normal high school girl. She and her two best friends, Beth and Eve, are brainiacs in everything but the boy department. My favorite part about the role is the many different characters I get to portray in different dream scenes.” And while Madison is not a middle child, “I have definitely been in Norman's position of feeling ‘stuck.’ I think everyone can relate to that in some way or another. Sometimes, we all go through rough patches, and we don't realize how many blessings we actually have until we go through those tough times.”

Mid-Winter Break is truly a family affair, as it is written and directed by Madison and Carter’s mom, Kandi Krumins.  Both kids appeared in the original 2015 production (when in middle school) and have grown up considerably since then. Madison says that “one of the benefits of having your mom as a writer is that she can write a song to fit your range. She was able to write the song “Divinity” to fit the highest notes I could hit back in 2015. It's a very fun song to sing.  I've been able to watch the whole progression of Mid-Winter Break, from the first original ideas, to the first official revision, to the final production we're just organizing now. It's amazing how much work goes into creating and producing a full-length musical. I definitely wanted to be in the show to support my mom in her big project. She's a great writer and I'm so glad that she's able to do this at the Barn!”

Madison knows audiences will enjoy Mid-Winter Break “because it's unpredictable. It's different. Every scene is new and whimsical. It has stage fighting, tangos, princesses with cell phones, cross-dressing, an ex-Navy SEAL grandpa, cupcakes, and anaphylaxis all in 90 minutes. There are comedic moments, there are touching moments. Overall, it's just a well-rounded show.”

Madison attends Kettering High School, plays classical and jazz saxophone and is a drum major in marching band. Favorite recent theater credits include Christine in Phantom of the Opera at Kettering and Margot Frank in the Barn's Diary of Anne Frank last year.

Reserved seats for Mid-Winter Break are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.  All tickets are only $12 and show times are as follows: Friday, June 2, 8pm;  Saturday, June 3, 8pm; and Sunday, June 4, 2pm.  One weekend only!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wanna Get Away? Alec Manoian Makes His Escape in Mid-Winter Break

Alec Manoian (second from right) can easily relate
to playing a middle school student in Mid-Winter Break
As the airline commercial goes, “Wanna Get Away?” Do you ever feel like you need a break from your own life?  Do you sometimes feel like you are stuck in the middle?   Such is the fate of middle school students in Mid-Winter Break, a family friendly musical comedy coming to the Farmington Players Barn Theater on June 2 – 4, 2017. 

Mid-Winter Break is written and directed by Waterford resident and Barn member Kandi Krumins.  A former public middle school teacher, Kandi knows the trials and tribulations of teenagers all too well.  Her own children, Carter and Madison Krumins, are in their teens; both appeared in the original 2015 production (when in middle school) and they are also in the updated 2017 production.  Carter plays Norman.  Being in the middle ALL the time has taken its toll on Norman.  But having a best friend (Noah Babala) that LOVES being in the middle makes things even worse.  Throughout a series of dreams, Norman and his classmates, teachers, and family take a fantastic journey to glimpse what life is like "on the other side of the fence."

One of Norman’s classmates in Mid-Winter Break is ensemble cast member Alec Manoian.  Alec describes his roles as including a “servant who remains loyal to King Norman, and a dad and a high school student that can hardly wait for the bell to ring so he can finally relax.”  At age 14 and a junior high school student, Alec “feels likes I've been preparing for this show all school year. I mean, what student doesn't wish mid-winter break would come sooner. The fact that this show is about kids my age just made it all the better!”  Alec loves acting and enjoys the fact that Mid-Winter Break is “completely original! Nobody will know the story walking in, which means nobody will have any preconceived ideas about the roles and how they should be performed and compare you to anybody else that they have seen perform the roles.”  Audiences of all ages are sure to love this family friendly show.  As Alec says, “I think the songs are great! They are very catchy and stick in your head. I find that I even sing them throughout the day at school.”

Alec is currently in 8th grade at St. Michael School in Livonia and will be a freshman this fall in the Creative And Performing Arts (CAPA) program at the Churchill High School in Livonia.   Alec got his feet wet at the Barn working with the tech crew on Spamalot, where he met Kandi and several other cast and crew members who also ended up being involved in Mid-Winter Break.
Reserved seats for Mid-Winter Break are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.  All tickets are only $12 and show times are as follows: Friday, June 2, 8pm;  Saturday, June 3, 8pm; and Sunday, June 4, 2pm.  One weekend only!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Eric Nogas Makes Sound Decision to Join Spamalot Cast

Eric Nogas (above left, with raised hands) is one of the Knights of the Round Table in Spamalot's Camelot scene.
PHOTO by Jim Kelly
Eric is also pictured below as one of the Finlanders in the Fisch Schlapping Dance.

As English philosopher John Locke once wrote, “A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this world.”   If that’s the case, Eric Nogas must be one happy guy.  Eric not only plays an ensemble member in Monty Python’s Spamalot, but as sound designer, he has played an instrumental role in shaping the Farmington Players’ production. Eric has assembled a cacophony of sound effects from thunderclaps and explosions, to farm animals to flatulence.  Not to mention pre-show announcements and music, and even the “voice of God” (pre-recorded by the Python’s Eric Idle).

After designing sound for the past five shows at the Barn, Eric decided it was time to venture onstage as an ensemble member.   Eric likes that he gets to play “many roles including a Finlander, a dead body, a British knight, a French guard, and a Monk.  We have our hands full with all of the dancing we have to do including learning how to tap dance.  In addition to the dancing, we have to change costumes so many times we don’t know if we are coming or going.”   Despite not being a Monty Python fan, Eric had heard so many great things about Spamalot that he “wanted to be part of that fun and I have not been disappointed.”   Only after putting together the preshow music, Eric says, “did I truly understand that Python was very much ahead of their time and on the cutting edge of comedy.  If you like to laugh, you will love this show. It has fast-paced, clever writing, and of course Monty Python is not afraid to be controversial.”

Eric grew up in Livonia and lives in Farmington with his wife Christa and kids Jack (14) and Sydney (8).  He has worked at Snelling Staffing Service’s for the last 17 years as a Branch Manager of the Southfield office.  Eric remarks that “everyone at the Barn has been very welcoming and I am amazed by all the hard work and passion that everyone brings to each show.  I have not worked with many of our cast before but they make coming to rehearsal fun and we are always laughing.”


Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  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 26, 2017

Renaissance Man Jim Snideman is Spamalot’s Royal Inventor

Jim Snideman (far right) as Sir Bedevere, explaining his prototype Trojan Rabbit

Jim Snideman is a Renaissance Man. Not only does he have many years of experience as a Michigan Renaissance Festival actor, Jim is also a jack-of-all-trades and a self-proclaimed “inventor/tinkerer.”  Jim brings his comedy toolkit to create several crazy characters in Monty Python’s Spamalot, and he employs his tinkerer talents both onstage and off at the Farmington Players Barn Theater.

In Spamalot, Jim’s primary role is Sir Bedevere, who is “The Royal Inventor”.  Bedevere is the brains behind the knights’ secret weapon, the Trojan Rabbit.  As Jim says, “I am the ‘inventor/tinkerer/actor’ playing the part of the ‘inventor/tinkerer.’”  (Behind the scenes, Jim developed a removable head for one of the knights to wear when she gets “decapitated.”)   Jim’s model for Bedevere comes from his Ren Fest days: a character called Leonardo K’tel de Popiel, who was coincidentally known as “The Royal Inventor.”  As Jim says, “I needed to construct devices that could be made of (somewhat) period technology.  I towed a cylindrical grindstone on a string about the shire as a pet called ‘Nozetew’. A slingshotish Y-shaped stick and a strap of leather became a ‘Frog Strangler’.  A leftover bathroom tissue core became the show closing ‘Der Der Tube’.  (Place it to your lips and shout “DER-DER-DER…DER-DERRRRR!”).”   Jim aptly describes Spamalot as “essentially a Ren Fest show, without the dust and blotto audience members.”

Jim’s secondary roles in Spamalot include Mother Galahad, who he calls “a delightfully crusty old crone who revives another of my Ren Fest characters, Lady Uglita OhDyumme” and Concorde, the faithful and trusty companion / horse of Sir Lancelot.  While Jim finds Spamalot’s choreography challenging (“I played offensive line in high school. No fancy footwork. Just move directly forward and bulldoze ‘em out of the way”), he has taken up the dancing gauntlet with grace and good humor.  Jim knows that Monty Python fans will enjoy Spamalot as a silly “wooden rabbit era escape from the realities of 21st century life.  Dedicated Python fans will be quoting lines from the many references, singing along, nudge-nudging, wink-winking and saying no more.”

Jim lives in Commerce Township and his offstage interests include “tinkering with scale models, a love of all things scientific, and theatre and film production, from both sides of the stage/camera."

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  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 18, 2017

Not Dead Yet, Lively Tom Arwady Masters Multiple Roles in Spamalot

Tom Arwady (right) leads a band of minstrels serenading not-so-brave Sir Robin
[PHOTO by David Reinke]
In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the movie upon which Spamalot is based, the six members of the Python troupe each played about six roles!  So when Eric Idle wrote Spamalot, it is not surprising that the male leads each play multiple parts.  As director of the Farmington Players production of Spamalot, I also tried to cast comedic actors who had the versatility to play many roles. 

One such actor is Tom Arwady, a community theater chameleon who easily adapts to his surroundings.  Tom has performed or directed at eight local community theaters, now counting the Barn.  But Tom is no “gypsy” – a term for actors who bounce between theaters without ever lifting a hand to help backstage.  In fact, upon being cast in Spamalot, Tom jumped right in to help with props, and even recruited his mother Janie Arwady to help sew costumes!

Tom describes his four Spamalot characters as follows:  (1) Not Dead Fred:  is “an elderly peasant with mud and shit all over him who lives in Plague Village.  Lancelot tries to put him on the dead cart, but he's full of pep and piss and vinegar; and is not dead yet!”  (2) French Guard is “the French Taunter's pompous buddy who also enjoys insulting the British.  He is known for his extremely rude hand gestures.”  (3) Head Minstrel to Sir Robin:  “He is silly and happy.  Probably likes to do community theatre. When he composes ballads about Robin, he either likes to insult him for his cowardice, OR is innocently trying to compliment Robin and is oblivious with how the lyrics are coming across.” and (4)  Prince Herbert:  “Herbert is a sensitive, sheltered young gay lad whose father is King of Swamp Castle.  He is intimidated by his bullying father who gives him no love or support. Herbert loves to sing about his emotions, but his father suppresses his talent and makes him lose his confidence.”

Tom knows these characters intimately because this is the third time he has been in Spamalot, and the second time playing these exact roles.  Tom says, “I enjoy making them four distinct personalities with different voices and mannerisms.  But mostly, I like making the audience laugh.  The challenges in playing these roles are the very high tenor notes Herbert has to sing, the athletic dancing for Fred, and balancing the grail on my hat for the dance as the Minstrel.”

Like many cast members, Tom is a big Monty Python fan, but he thinks Spamalot “is still very funny and entertaining even if you don't know Python movies or the TV show.  It skewers musical theatre conventions, ethnic stereotypes, organized religions, politics, class struggles, and gender roles.  It has hilarious word play and puns, double entendre, and lots of plain old silly nonsense!”

Tom lives in Harrison Township and has been an elementary school teacher for 20 years.  He currently teaches 4th grade at Grosse Pointe Public Schools.  In addition to community theatre, he enjoys pub trivia, karaoke, reading, hiking, traveling, and swing dancing.  Tom says, “I've enjoyed getting to know the rest of the talented cast and creative, dedicated production staff and crew.  I'm proud to be a new member at Farmington Players and hope to return next season!”


Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  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 11, 2017

A Noble Woman, Michelle Makes Her Mark As the Black Knight

NONE SHALL PASS!  Michelle Noble stands her ground as the Black Knight
PHOTO by Tony Targan
The Black Knight is one of the most iconic figures in Monty Python’s SPAMALOT and the Holy Grail movie upon which it is based. The Black Knight is brave, tenacious, and stubborn to a fault, maintaining his invincibility despite mounting evidence to the contrary.  Although a man traditionally plays the Black Knight, Michelle Noble has assumed the role in the Farmington Players production of Spamalot, and she couldn’t be better suited to the part. Michelle is an eternal optimist, and her enthusiasm and versatility as an actor makes her a valued cast member.  In fact, Michelle plays three traditionally male roles – the Black Knight, Sir Bors, and Kevin the carter – plus a French chef, a Finlander, and a bridesmaid as an ensemble member.

Michelle says, “my favorite thing about my characters are being dismembered (multiple times), and getting to toss Tom Arwady (Not Dead Fred) over my shoulder like a sack of flour. The whole thing is a lot of fun.”  Michelle wanted to be in Spamalot “because I love Monty Python. I grew up watching Flying Circus and the Holy Grail is one of my favorite movies. Also, I love acting. Especially in musicals. It was my favorite part of high school and helped me make a lot of friends and have more confidence in myself.”  Michelle credits high school marching band and theatre in preparing her well:  “I was lucky to be able to be part of a performing arts program like the one at Walled Lake Central high school. We strived for professionalism and we put on great shows.”  Michelle has played male roles before, and her willingness to try any part at auditions and rehearsals has helped to expand her involvement in the show. 

Michelle knows that people will “love this show because it's hilarious. It truly embodies the spirit of Python, while also poking a lot of fun at musical theatre in general. There are a lot of nods to the original material and a lot of theatre jokes. It's a beautiful balance.” Michelle was born and raised in West Bloomfield. She has an associate degree in culinary arts from Schoolcraft College and is currently working on her bachelors degree.  Her hobbies include video games, reading, baking, jewelry making, and swimming.


Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  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 4, 2017

As Spamalot’s Arthur, Kirk Krekeler Knows “It’s Good to be the King”

Kirk Krekeler as King Arthur (in gold) and his knights warm themselves by the fire.
PHOTO by Jim Kelly
Monty Python’s brand of humor is known for taking a silly concept to its absurd extreme.  The Pythons also have a healthy disrespect for authority and they love taking authority figures down a notch or two.  So it comes as no surprise that King Arthur, the protagonist in Monty Python’s Spamalot, is the ultimate straight man.  Even though he is king, his constituents are able to run logic circles around him when discussing politics or the air-speed velocity of swallows.  Poor Arthur is easily flummoxed and is not very good at mathematics, or even counting to three.

In the Farmington Players production of Spamalot, Kirk Krekeler plays King Arthur.  As Kirk explains, “King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table encounter insane people in his quest to find the Holy Grail. Of course, the fact that Arthur rides an invisible horse doesn’t make him exactly normal.”  Kirk models his character after the late Graham Chapman, who played a befuddled Arthur in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, on which Spamalot is based. Kirk says, “I’ve seen the movie a million times and liked the way Graham Chapman played it. I think one of the reasons the movie is so good is that Graham Chapman is convincing as Arthur, so the film has an ‘anchor’ that makes the humor happening around him even funnier.” 

As a huge Python fan, Kirk enjoys that “I get to be part of just about every famous scene from the movie on which the musical is based. One of the challenges I have as King Arthur is not laughing when the Knights and I meet up with different characters,” such as the French Taunter, the Knights of Ni, and Tim the Enchanter … all played by Jason Dilly, a master of outrageous accents. Kirk knows that not only will Python fans appreciate the sheer silliness, including “the references to the TV show and to the film, but Spamalot also adds a new dimension with its satire on musical theater, which Broadway fans will love.”  

This is Kirk’s first show with Farmington Players and he is “very impressed with the talent of my fellow actors and directorial team.”  Kirk lives in Livonia with his wife Sue and dog Daisy. He works as an Instructional Designer with the automotive companies. He and his wife have been in many shows together over the past 30 years and have played opposite each other in Music Man (Harold Hill, Marian the Librarian), The King and I (King of Siam, Anna), and Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour, Audrey).

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  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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