Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Multi-Faceted Kimme Suchyta Sparkles in Bees

You talkin' to me?  Kimme Suchyta (far left) plays multiple roles in this crazy cast of characters.
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright

In the fast-paced caper As Bees in Honey Drown, modern society’s thirst for fame is in the spotlight.  As a reviewer of the original 1997 Off-Broadway production wrote in Variety, Bees is a “smart and very funny vivisection of the greed for fame, glamour and the good life (or at least a new life)…. [The] ultramodern morality tale charts the rise and fall of first-time novelist Evan Wyler, the literary world’s latest up-and-comer,” who gets duped by the glamorous Alexa Vere de Vere.  Alexa promises to make him famous if he’ll write her life story, and whisks him away to observe her outrageous lifestyle. But when Evan realizes that he’s been had, he rounds up Alexa’s many victims to execute the ultimate revenge.

In the Farmington Players production (February 8 – 23 at the Barn Theater), Kimme Suchyta plays five distinct characters, including Amber, Secretary, Bethany Vance, Ginny, and a singer.  Kimme believes that “only 10% of communication is verbal, and the same can be said for acting.” She distinguishes her characters in a number of ways: “from the way you walk on stage, carry yourself, to speaking your lines. My favorite character is the spacey, air-headed, ditzy 'dancer,' Amber in the very first scene, which sets the tone for the entire show.”

Kimme describes her Secretary character as “the patriarchal southern-transplanted secretary and right hand woman of the high-powered executive Morris Kaden. The Secretary delivers the difficult news to Evan Wyler about his financial misfortune brought on by Alexa.”

Kimme calls Bethany Vance “a street-wise New Yorker; the most intense character I play in the show.  Bethany is alluded to be one Alexa's first marks and has a few interesting hobbies.”   Kimme also enjoys playing Ginny, “the innocent up and coming violinist,” and a back-up singer for “one of Alexa's (unknowing) marks, ready to party straight from London.”

Bees raises some interesting questions:  What is the price of distraction in modern society? How many scams could be prevented if people just paid more attention?  As Kimme observes, “plays are written to convey a story, enhance understanding and communicate themes to an audience. The theme I relate to is communication and its importance in life. Perhaps with more engaging listening and clear communication, individuals like Evan Wyler would be less common.”   Alexa takes advantage of her marks’ penchant for passive listening.  As Kimme says, “although Alexa is a gifted con-artist constantly spinning a new story to catch new prey in her web of lies, I believe a few of these discrepancies can be attributed to passively acknowledging and barely getting to know a person.”

Kimme says that being a part of this “unique production truly excited me.  Although not a traditional comedy, there is plenty to make you smile and even more to make you think about.”  Kimme is geologist who lives in downtown Detroit. She returns to the Barn stage after making her debut as a Laker Girl in Monty Python’s Spamalot.

As Bees in Honey Drown has nine performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 8 – 23.  The show is proudly sponsored by Ameritax Plus.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Shayla Curran Grows Through Motherhood Roles

Shayla Curran excels in dual roles.  Expectant mothers face different fears, whether birth mother (red-headed Lizzie) ...

... or adoptive mother Allie (with Jason Wilhoite as Kevin)
PHOTOS by Jim Kelly

If “necessity is the mother of invention,” then one actor inventing two very different mothers is a performance that needs to be seen. In Let Nothing You Dismay at the Farmington Players, (November 30 – December 15), Shayla Curran plays the dual roles of Allie, the adoptive mother, and Lizzie, the birth mother.  Shayla reflects on the challenges of playing these two opposite women:  “I realized that though they live very different lives, they would share similar fears about having a baby. Allie is a wife, a rocket scientist, has a high-achieving family, but unfortunately, can’t have children. Lizzie is young, poor, and got ‘knocked up by her Jet’s delivery man boyfriend.’ Adoption is very emotional for everyone involved; everyone feels some kind of fear. Is the birth mother going to change her mind? What if I wasn’t mean to be a parent? What if I regret giving this baby up? What if they don’t raise this baby the right way? Putting myself in the shoes of these two women, I wanted those different fears and emotions to tell them apart rather than their looks or lifestyles. It’s been challenging to flip between emotional mindsets rather than character traits, but it’s what makes them more relatable.” 

Growth is a major theme of Let Nothing You Dismay. Shayla observes, “Allie and Kevin are literally about to grow as a family while Lizzie and Leonard are about to grow emotionally as two people making a huge decision to give their baby up for adoption. Life is a road full of uncertainty, big decisions, and realizations that you might find from the most unexpected people.”  Shayla relates this to her own path to personal growth: “I see myself surrounded by my own set of kooky family members and friends that have stood by my side, even when I was being the biggest pain in the butt. Life will toss some hard situations at you, but you are never alone and growth is the doorway to happiness.” Shayla also equates leaping into her first-ever Farmington Players experience with her own growth as an actor: “Even though I’ve been involved in the theater community for most of my life, I actually had never set foot in the Barn before auditioning for this show. I was feeling an itch to try something new and meet people. I read the script and loved the challenge of playing multiple characters. I knew that this would be a fun opportunity to try something new.”  From the first day of auditions, Shayla knew she had made the right choice: “I remember being at auditions and thinking to myself ‘I’m having so much fun auditioning with these people, I could do this all day!’ I think that right there says it all.”

Even though Let Nothing You Dismay is not well known (the Barn is staging its Midwest premiere), Shayla knows that audiences will love this show as much as she does: “Let Nothing You Dismay is hilarious. It’s warm and fuzzy. It’s relatable. Everyone in the show has put so much thought into the characters and relationships that the audience is going to be able to relate to one or more situations and get a good laugh in.” 

Michigan born and raised, Shayla describes herself as an “outdoor, animal loving girl who also enjoys working and exploring in Detroit.”  She recently bought and renovated her first house and has performed in theater since she was 10 years old, first playing Woodstock in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

Let Nothing You Dismay has 3 remaining performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from December 13, 14, 15.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tristan Seaver Is Seriously Silly in Warm-Hearted Holiday Farce

Tristan Seaver plays three diverse roles:  DENNIS, the banker (with Kristi Schwartz as Tawny) ...

JERRY, a merry and gay old soul (with Shayla Curran as Allie) ...

... and RICH (upper right), the brow-beaten husband of Angie (in scrubs, played by Ansley Barnard)
PHOTOS by Jim Kelly

In Let Nothing You Dismay at the Farmington Players (November 30 – December 15), 10 actors play 25 characters in a fast-paced yet sophisticated farce centering on the birth of a child on Christmas Day.  As adoptive parents await their baby’s arrival, their entire extended families descend on the hospital.  The stakes are raised when the birth mother flees after having second thoughts about giving up her baby.  Amid constant costume changes and hilarious one-liners, the action is fast and furious. And yet, despite all the hilarity, the play’s messages about family and forgiveness are heartfelt and sincere.   As Tristan Seaver says, Let Nothing You Dismay is “the perfect mix of silly and serious.”
Tristan plays three very distinct characters and he enjoys the challenge in their “variety, their different backgrounds, manners of speaking, slouching, relationships, and world views. Each character has their own voice, posture, and hairstyle.”  Dennis is a thrice-divorced banker who only understands financial motivations.  Tristan calls him “a somewhat emotionally stunted individual. He does have feelings, desires, dreams, and goals, but he often can't express them well with other people, and he's gotten far too used to using money to fix his problems. It takes a little while for him to get into the swing of regular family interaction.”
Tim and Jerry are a gay married couple that arrive in ugly Christmas sweaters and matching Santa hats.  Tristan plays Jerry, who he describes as “a very interested observer. He's along for the ride and loves every minute he can be a part of it. Whether it's the hide-and-seek of finding the birth mother Lizzie, the relationship talk and distraction he has with adoptive mother Allie, or the bit of drinking he attempts with Tawny, he's mildly intoxicated with the whirlwind experience he's involved with.”
Rich is the browbeaten husband of Angie, a successful neurosurgeon.  Tristan imagines an inventive back-story for him:  “Rich has been beaten by life. With no stated accomplishments of his own, I assume that he's a househusband. He'd thought he'd gotten a winner with a Jewish wife that's intelligent, determined, and accomplished, but such a woman easily took the reins on his life and has never let go. He can't even control his kids, because they know that he doesn't have the final word in anything. He's similar to Jerry in that he's along for the ride, but he's a VERY unwilling participant.”
I asked Tristan if he can relate personally to the crazy families portrayed in Let Nothing You Dismay.  His response: “On several occasions I know for certain that I've ruined family meetings. Or at least made them far more interesting for all involved parties. But every time it happened I believe I was trying to follow through on the maxim of providing my family with what I decided they needed.”
Tristan was drawn to Let Nothing You Dismay because “it hit a lot of positives for me. I like doing community theater, I like meeting new people, I like farces, and I like playing multiple characters in the same show. This is my first show at the Barn, but everyone has been warm, welcoming, and wonderful.”  Tristan was born and raised in the Detroit area, and he recently returned from China.  He has worked as a teacher, missionary, line worker, and plastic factory worker, and currently drives for Lyft.  As for hobbies, he says, “When I'm not involved in theater, I enjoy other forms of pretending, like playing video games, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and weight lifting.”
Let Nothing You Dismay has 10 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from November 30 – December 15.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Rick Mickley Magically Ages 35 Years in 35 Seconds in Holiday Farce

The many faces of Rick Mickley:  Mr. Yarmowich (up left); 
Paul Gordon (right, with Ansley Barnard as wife Kaitlyn);
and Dr. Tim (down left, with Tristan Seaver as husband Jerry)
PHOTOS by Jim Kelly
In Let Nothing You Dismay, adoptive parents Allie and Kevin await the ultimate Christmas present – the birth of their child on Christmas Day!   But against their wishes, their entire extended family descends on the hospital while they wait.  Ten actors play 25 roles in this crazy holiday farce at the Farmington Players Barn Theater, which runs November 30 – December 15.   Barn veteran Rick Mickley plays three diverse roles:  Kevin’s father, Paul, a 55 year-old New York politician with a 30 year-old trophy wife; Doctor Tim, age 53, a gay married veterinarian; and Mr. Victor Yarmowich, a spritely 88 year-old Jewish man.  Of all the actors in this play, Rick’s characters have the widest age range which presents some interesting challenges.  As he says, “Aging 35 years in a quick change play means my acting will have to sell my age and character. I have to distinguish the characters by voice changes, costumes and delivery. Luckily, they are very distinct characters and present individual challenges, but it’s easier to get into character because they are so different:  Paul – the politician – is the exact opposite of me. A fun challenge to be egocentric. He’s a tough character because it’s all about him. Dr. Tim is happy, caring, and generous, just like me. And Mr. Yarmowich is just fun. A happy caring man.”

The main theme of Let Nothing You Dismay is family, and being there for each other in times of need.   Rick can definitely relate to this because, as he says, “I recently lost a very close loved one, and my family and friends stepped up big time to be there for me. Even when I thought I just wanted to be alone, they stayed by my side to get me through a tough time. (That’s why I keep them around!)”  And Rick knows that “as we get older, we surround ourselves with the people we choose to be around, the family and friends we love. Those people help us make life just a little more enjoyable. Our family isn’t chosen but they love us unconditionally, and are there for us, sometimes whether we want them or not, and most often, it’s for the better.”  This show brings these messages home by reinforcing the “great lesson and reminder that family and love is unconditional, and we need to surround ourselves with that love always, but especially during the holidays.” 

Rick sees Let Nothing You Dismay as “the perfect holiday show!  It’s got everything!  New life, death of a loved one, old love, new love, humor, politics, food, animals and cultural diversity, to name a few. The one liners are hilarious, and the depth of the characters happens so fast in the great dialogue the author has put together.”   Rick has also been impressed by “the challenge from director Tony Targan to find our characters and bring out their personality in the short times they are on the stage. He has made it very comfortable for us to dig into our own past to bring out the people we want the audience to see. That is the sign of a great director!”   

Let Nothing You Dismay has 10 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from November 30 – December 15.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Multiple Roles Do Not Dismay Kristi Schwartz As She Excels in Holiday Farce

Kristi Schwartz (center) as Linda, who is mom
to a rocket scientist Allie (Shay Curran, left) and a brain surgeon Angie (Ansley Barnard, right)
PHOTO by Jim Kelly

In Let Nothing You Dismay, adoptive parents-to-be await their baby’s birth on Christmas Day.  Against their wishes, their entire extended family descends on the hospital.  Ten actors play 25 roles in this crazy holiday farce at the Farmington Players Barn Theater, which runs from November 30 – December 15.   Like most actors in this show, Kristi Schwartz plays three very different characters.   As Kristi says, “Being in this show has been on my ‘bucket list’ because of the challenge of playing so many different roles.  When I am in a show, I put so much effort into my character, even making up a backstory that helps me with playing my character more effectively.” 
Kristi describes her three larger-than-life characters as follows: 
Tawny is a very shallow, vain, trashy kind of girl!  She is overly concerned with her appearance and drinks vodka to ease the pain of her loneliness.  She just lost her cat, who may have been her best friend.  She is very proud of her daughter, Kaitlyn, and tries to live through her.  She was a ‘pageant’ mom who feels that outer beauty is the way to be successful in life.  Deep down, she is a very lonely character and she craves family, no matter how crazy the family may be!”  Tawny was a former model, and while Kristi has very little in common with Tawny, Kristi does hold the title of "Miss Saline 1992"!
Deb from Upstairs is a very open, hippie-sort, who is not afraid to insert herself into any conversation or situation.  She is able to read people's auras and uses crystals to help guide her through her day at the hospital.  Deep down, she wants to help and guide the expectant parents through this childbirth process.  She acts like she is just another member of the family and truly wants to support everyone while she is there, whether they ask for help or not!”  While Kristi herself is not as assertive as Deb, she enjoys the challenge of playing Deb because “it teaches me that sometimes it is okay to be open, especially when you are helping others.”
Linda is a very selfish, arrogant, controlling person.  She has her own opinion about things and does not mince words to convey that to others.  She loves her daughters Allie and Angela very much, but does not want them living their lives in a way that is not parallel with her plan for them.  For me, the most difficult challenge in playing Linda is trying to balance the short, curt, domineering side with her loving side.  Linda needs to remain in control at all times, which to her means to boss everyone around.  I find it fun to play Linda because she can be the character that people love to hate.” 
Despite her characters’ differences, Kristi finds that “the one thread that binds them together is the fact that they all crave family.  In one way or another, they want to belong.”  Family is the main theme of Let Nothing You Dismay, and Kristi can relate to “how crazy, different, and loving a family can be at times.  I come from a very large immediate and extended family with many different personalities.  We often find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue, but at the end of the day, this family is there for me no matter what!”  Kristi feels that audiences will connect with the families in this play because “Life is about our interconnectedness and this show exemplifies that.  It also may make some feel thankful for what they do have.  I love that it is set during the holiday-time for a funny, feel-good experience.  The entire cast and crew is like another family to me and I am blessed to be part of this!” 
Kristi works as an instructional coach for the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools and lives in Canton with her husband, Keith, and three children, Colin, Allie, and Drew. 
Let Nothing You Dismay has 10 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from November 30 – December 15.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jason Wilhoite Loves the Family Dynamic of Let Nothing You Dismay

Jason Wilhoite as Leonard, a Jet's Pizza delivery guy who is the "baby daddy" in Let Nothing You Dismay
PHOTO by Jim Kelly

Let Nothing You Dismay truly puts the “fun” in a dysfunctional family!  The Gordon and Saperstein families collide over the expected birth of a baby on Christmas Day.  At the center of the chaos are adoptive parents Allie and Kevin, whose plans for a “cozy couple’s Christmas” are derailed when their extended families show up uninvited at the hospital.  In the Farmington Players production, Jason Wilhoite plays adoptive father Kevin. As Jason says, “Kevin and Allie are forced to balance the stresses of becoming parents in somewhat uncommon fashion and that balance is at the center of the story. I love the well-crafted dialog of the show’s open and getting the chance to collaborate with another actor back and forth as we set the stage for what’s about to unfold. It’s so important to create the chemistry between Kevin and Allie from the very first look.”
Like all actors in this crazy farce, Jason plays multiple roles.  In addition to Kevin, Jason says, “I also play Leonard, who is ‘the baby daddy!’ But I really love that he is so much more than that. While Leonard and Lizzie face an all too common situation of an unexpected baby before they are truly ready, the couple makes the brave and loving choice of adoption. I really want to share the love and connection Leonard and Lizzie have for each other and the great gift they give to this very appreciative pair who will welcome their baby boy into a crazy and loving family.”

Jason enumerates the themes of this show as “family, imperfection, forgiveness, admiration, second chance, and renewed hope. The fabric of this show is extremely complex. Much like the relationships of any family, we see the multidimensional and changing-on-dime emotions that come from a group who call themselves a family. What I truly love about the story is that it is not a family based on traditional blood connections alone, but extended to those we choose to make part of our family. It’s really beautiful to be reminded that a family is greater than just siblings and parents; it’s about those who support you, those who inspire you and care for you, no matter what the situation. I’m blessed to be part of this kind of family off stage and I’m honored to share this onstage family with our patrons.”

Jason knows this show will resonate with audiences because “we all have families. However you personally choose to interpret a ‘family’ is your choice, but we have people we love and respect and who make the world bearable just having them around you. The holidays always seen to remind me of that truth and this show beautifully brings that message to life. The complexity of family and the dynamics we share with people who have lived with us through those life moments of triumph and sadness is an immeasurable gift. This show celebrates those gifts and brings us a truthful modern American family in a loving, personal and accessible way. I’m sure our audiences will leave the theatre in laughter and gladness and perhaps even with a warm tear welling in their eyes.”

Jason feels a special connection to Let Nothing You Dismay because he was part of the team who selected this show for the Barn’s season.  And, on a personal note, he says, “Ironically, my little sister is pregnant and expecting her first baby. She’s due in December and I look forward to being on the other side of the story in real life.”

Let Nothing You Dismay has 10 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from November 30 – December 15.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Gary Weinstein Shines Like a Diamond in Let Nothing You Dismay

Gary Weinstein as the befuddled Milford Gordon
PHOTO by Laurie Smalis

Let Nothing You Dismay is the story of two families that collide – then unite – over the adoption of a baby born on Christmas Day.  Adoptive parents Kevin and Allie plan to have a “cozy couple’s Christmas” while they await the birth of their child, but their plans unravel when the hospital is overrun by their extended families, who just couldn’t stay away.  Family takes on many forms in today’s modern society, and for Gary Weinstein, his Farmington Players “family” has an important place in his life.  As Gary says, “the level of talent and quality of performance that this theater brings to their stage has the feeling of family which is superior to any other. This show in particular has brought out some true thespians that are willing to take on this unknown theatrical work, which requires the highest level of discipline for the different characters that each actor will portray.”

Ten actors play 25 roles in this crazy farce, and the characters and costumes change ever more rapidly as the play progresses.  Like most actors, Gary plays three different roles, which he describes as follows: “Milford is 80 years old, a man in pursuit of his own unspoken tasks.  He’s a crotchety, gruff old man who wants to be left alone to do his own thing. …  Ivan is Bulgarian with a comedic use of the English language.  I play Ivan as a strong ‘bouncer type’ with wide shoulders, arms folded, and mostly with a scowl on my face. … Oscar is married to Linda and the loving father of Allie. He’s Jewish with his own comedic Jewish inflections.”

In addition to acting in this show, Gary’s Weinstein Jewelers is also the proud sponsor of the play.  In his usual fashion, Gary has a special promotion planned for patrons who attend the show.  Each winner of the 50/50 raffle drawing will also receive a $50 gift card to Weinstein Jewelers!  In addition, on closing night, all 10 prior 50/50 winners will be entered into a drawing for an additional gift card worth $1,000.00!!!   With performances scheduled from November 30 – December 15, these gift cards come just in time for holiday shopping.

Gary knows audiences will love this show because it’s “a laugh a minute, yet touches many of life’s daily experiences and challenges as it relates to family. The themes of this show are best described as life’s simplest lessons:  Family unity, life longevity and having children in the modern family.”  When Gary first read this script, “I found myself laughing out loud. As I got into it further into it, I was intrigued and excited for the possibilities and challenges of portraying three distinct characters in the same show.” Gary thanks director Tony Targan and assistant director Michel Noble for their “clear-headed communication and commitment to detail of each character for this production.”

Gary’s most recent roles at the barn have included William Blore in And Then There Were None, Ed Noonan in The Vast Difference, Tony in The Full Monty, Mr. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, Robert in Boeing Boeing, and Dr. Einstein in Arsenic & Old Lace.

Let Nothing You Dismay has 10 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from November 30 – December 15.  The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.