2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Friday, April 27, 2012

It Ain’t Easy Being Mean, But Tim Timmer Hopes You’ll Hate Him

Tim Timmer plays the despicable dentist, Orin Scrivello

Personally, I hate going to the dentist.  But after seeing Orin Scrivello, the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, I’ll never ever complain about mine again!  Tim Timmer plays Orin, who he says “chose to be a Dentist because as his mother put it, ‘it was the only career that people will pay you to be inhumane’.”  Tim describes his character as someone who is “evil and enjoys hurting people, especially his girlfriend, the ingénue of the show, Audrey. She doesn’t think she is good enough to leave him because of who she is, so she endures the violence that Orin dishes out to her on a regular basis. He is also known to indulge in a little Nitrous Oxide whenever he feels he needs a pick-me-up to help him enjoy the pain and suffering he administers to others.”  

Anyone who knows Tim knows that he would give a total stranger the shirt off his own back.  By contrast, Tim says, “Now I have to basically rip the shirt off of the total stranger’s back, and enjoy doing it. Also, it is tough to be so cruel and violent to Audrey. Here is this sweet, young, innocent woman who has never said a bad thing about anyone or hurt a fly, and yet I have to act like I enjoy beating her just to derive some weird sadistic pleasures.”  While it is out of character for Tim to play the bad guy, he realizes that to bring his character to life (or death, as the case may be), “my goal is to get the audience to hate me as well. That way I know that I would have done a good job with the role.”

Tim wasn’t sure that he’d be right for the part of Orin until he discussed the role with director Rachael Rose.   Tim learned that Rachael didn’t want the Dentist to be portrayed like the “campy, rock & roll” character played by Steve Martin in the movie version:  “She wanted him to be as dark and sinister as the actor could be. So, that really caused me to think about the challenge it would take to really pull something like that off.”  I think audiences will agree that Tim has discovered his dark side in the Dentist.

Tim met Rachael seven years ago in Rochester while was she the musical director of A New Brain. Tim really appreciates the opportunity to work again with Rachael, saying, “Watching her work and put 1000% effort in this production of Little Shop has been a joy. She brings fresh ideas and never fails to surprise me on what other talents she has up her sleeve.”  Tim has been a Farmington Player for over 10 years and has been involved in some capacity with every show put on by at the Barn since he joined in 2001.   His most recent performance on the Barn stage was as the Old Man in A Christmas Story

Little Shop of Horrors opens tonight (Friday April 27) and runs through May 19.  Get your tickets at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the Farmington Players box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taylor Alfano Is In Tune With Audrey

Taylor Alfano Debuts at the Barn as Audrey

At auditions for Little Shop of Horrors, over 20 women stood nervously on stage, all awaiting their chance to sing for the lead role of Audrey.  After director Rachael Rose expressed her vision for the role, she asked, “Who wants to be first?”   Without hesitation, Taylor Alfano stepped forward.  Later, she recalled, “this was the first audition I had gone to since I graduated from Central Michigan so it was pretty nerve-wracking for me, but so exciting at the same time.”  She certainly hid her nerves well.  As soon as Taylor started singing, I knew that she had set the bar high for all those who followed her. Taylor was soon cast as Audrey, her first role in her very first audition with the Farmington Players.

Ironically, the same sense of self-confidence that served her well at auditions created a challenge for her character development. As Taylor says, “Audrey is one of the most difficult characters I’ve had to play. Audrey is a very abused woman, and probably always has been, whether emotionally or physically. Obviously, this would be difficult for anyone to portray if they hadn’t experienced any kind of abuse, which I haven’t. However, I think it is even more difficult for me because I am a pretty confident person. Even though I am small, I have a big personality and voice to match, so having to play a character with little self-esteem is harder than I expected. It’s difficult for me to be in that vulnerable place for an extended period of time.”

Despite Audrey’s vulnerability, Taylor is definitely in tune with who she is: “She’s sweet, loyal and so supportive of those she loves. She’s never known what it feels like to be unconditionally loved; yet she still has the imagination and capacity to envision a place where she could have her happy ending. Because she never really had a family as a child, she creates one out of the group of people she meets on Skid Row, like Seymour, Mr. Mushnik, and Chiffon, Ronnette and Crystal.”  Taylor sees the song “Somewhere That’s Green” as Audrey’s “landscape of her entire dream.  She fantasizes about a life she wishes she could have and it all surrounds the idea of a beautiful green lawn. She lives on Skid Row, where there is absolutely no grass, nothing really grows, and it’s actually pretty depressing. So, for Audrey to be happy she really just wants growth and beauty and she sees that in the plants and flowers she works with in Mushnik’s flower shop.”

Taylor has wanted to be in Little Shop since she did the lighting for her high school’s performance of the show when she was a freshman.  Taylor graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree of fine Arts in 2011.  While there, she portrayed Cecile in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the wicked stepmother in Into The Woods, and Sally in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!  Although she is a newcomer to the Barn, Taylor calls her cast mates “the most welcoming and loving cast of people I have ever worked with, and I truly enjoy going to rehearsal everyday. Family and friends are very important to me personally, and the people I have met through the Barn have become like a family to me.”

Little Shop of Horrors opens Friday April 27 and runs through May 19.  Get your tickets at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the Farmington Players box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finally, After 20 Years, Jason Wilhoite Is Suddenly Seymour

Jason Wilhoite plays Seymour Krelborn

Have you ever seen a show and thought, “That actor was born to play that part!”   Although Jason Wilhoite and Seymour Krelborn may not have been separated at birth, Jason admits that “playing Seymour has honestly been a goal and dream of mine since I was about 15 years old.”  Jason has obviously given a lot of thought to Little Shop of Horrors and Seymour over the past 20 years:  “I love the story, the music and complexity Seymour brings. He comes across as naïve and unsure at first, but grows with Audrey II in his confidence while still keeping his boyish charms. I love the counterpoint of a hero the audience grows to love and support, yet at the same time in a completely premeditated fashion this hero allows people to be eaten by Audrey II for his own gain.”

Jason was last on the Barn stage a year ago, wowing audiences with his singing talents as Leo Bloom in The Producers, so it will come as no surprise that he finds it “so much fun to sing this show.  It has an amazing mix of musical theatre feel, blues, rock, 60’s do-op. I have had a blast learning the music [including “Suddenly Seymour,” “Feed Me,” and “Grow for Me”] and I hope our audience enjoys it half as much as I have.” 

So if singing is in Jason’s sweet spot, what’s his biggest challenge about playing Seymour?  “Seymour runs all the bases emotionally and provides me with a huge challenge.  Making him believable and earnest as he ranges in emotion from naïve botanical ‘genius’, terrified, unsure, elated happiness, passionate and caring, calculated murdering accomplice, anger, deepest of sorrow in losing the only thing he ever loved to final desperation in trying to put an end to the road he has traveled. It’s really is an outstanding journey and I hope I can bring that all to life.”

Although he’s wanted to do Little Shop for 20 years, Jason feels “lucky to be doing the show now with the amount of experience I have in the rear view mirror. Both from a life perspective as well as my acting and singing training and experience. It's been a real joy to do the show at this time with so many people I care deeply about and some new additions to my world who I have grown to love.  I feel blessed that our paths have crossed.”  Jason has been a member of the Farmington Players for seven years and this is his third show involving director Rachael Rose, of whom he says, “We make a great team and I have truly valued the chance to have her direct me in this show.”  Some of Jason’s favorite Barn credits include: The Producers  (Leo Bloom),  You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Charlie),  Guys and Dolls (Nicely Nicely Johnson), John & Jen (John), Sweet Charity (Musical Director) and Gypsy (Director). 

Get your tickets to Little Shop of Horrors at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the Farmington Players box office at 248-553-2955.  The show opens Friday April 27 and runs through May 19.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Barry Cutler is a Cut-Up as Money-Loving Mr. Mushnik

"OY VEY!"  Barry Cutler IS Mr. Mushnik!
He’s kvetchy and cranky, sprinkles in Yiddish and is skittish about his neighborhood, but the bottom line is that Mr. Mushnik is a pragmatist:  If there’s money to be made for his little flower shop, all bets are off.   Barry Cutler plays Mr. Mushnik, the owner of the flower shop for which Little Shop of Horrors is named.  It is a role that Barry was born to play.  As he says: “I am constantly accused of playing "Jewish" even when its not required for a role.  Well this time the character is hard-wired for it! I get to say "Oy Vey", wave my arms, rattle off some Yiddish and flail around the stage flashing various expressions honed from years of watching my Jewish relatives, "Seinfeld" episodes, and Woody Allen films.” 

Barry’s favorite part of the show is performing “shtick” in Mushnik & Son, his duet with Seymour, played by Jason Wilhoite. Barry recalls that he and Jason  “previously sang hilarious tunes in Guys -N- Dolls and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, but I think Mushnik & Son may just top them both.”  While the singing comes naturally, Barry’s biggest challenge has been dancing the Tango:  “I'm not a graceful dancer…. Luckily my dear friend Allison Boufford (choreographer, also Chiffon) is kind enough to have the patience of Job, and experienced enough to be a terrific teacher.  Hats off to Jason for enduring my kicks, stepping on his feet and clutching his shoulders for dear life!”

Barry speaks glowingly of the Little Shop directors:  “Rachael Rose (Director/Music Director) and Jose Reyes (Asst. Music Director) are a perfect team to teach us the tricky harmonies. They are longtime friends who seem to be in sync on everything.  I'm particularly pleased to see our young Assistant Director Allie Shapiro progress at the Barn. She also doubles as stage manager. Allie came to the Farmington Players when she was 12 and now she's about to graduate high school. She has shined both on and off stage and it's refreshing to see how she's handled more responsibility with every show.”

He is equally complimentary of his cast mates: “Taylor Alfano is astounding as Audrey. I love listening to her sing.  Gary Weinstein is hilarious in his roles as the masochist dentist's patient and a skid row wino.  Maggie Gilkes and Walter Middlebrook put me in stitches with their performances as Mrs. Luce and Bernstein.  Additionally, Blythe Philp and Laurel Stroud are excellent in their parts as customers and winos. … Allison Boufford, Amy Poirier and Katie Aumann are excellent playing the Greek Chorus. They sing numerous songs in perfect harmony and don't miss a dance step.  Jason is always a pleasure to work with. His singing is captivating and I love seeing him create Seymour's character. I also get a kick out of Tim Timmer's take on the sadistic dentist.”

Last but not least, Barry is amazed by the two guys who play the plant, Jarrod Henderson (Voice) and Michael Rose (puppeteer): “It's an incredibly difficult job to operate the beast and stay in sync, but those two manage to pull it off and provide marvelous entertainment.”

Barry has been a barn member since Guy -N-Dolls in 2006 when he played Benny Southstreet. He last appeared on the Barn stage playing 13 characters in
Leaving Iowa.  He’s been handling publicity for the Barn since 2008, and his next project is Producer of "Avenue Q" this summer.