Our Current 2016-2017 Season:

Our Current 2016-2017 Season:

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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

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


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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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