2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gary Weinstein is a Diamond in the Rough

Gary Weinstein is a wino, an agent, a dental  patient ... and a real gem.

The slogan for his store – Weinstein Jewelers – is: “If you don’t know your gems, know your gemologist.”  But most people don’t realize what a gem of a human being Gary Weinstein is.  Gary is unassuming and humble and doesn’t need the spotlight to shine on stage.   In Little Shop of Horrors, Gary plays three roles:  Wino, a deranged panhandler on Skid Row; a masochistic dental patient; and Skip Snip, whom Gary describes as “a flamboyant, self-aggrandizing, high-energy booking agent.”

Gary says, “I enjoy playing different characters in this show because it gives me a chance to explore different aspects of my personality. … The biggest challenge is in playing the patient.  I don’t have any lines.  My character has to be portrayed through physical actions, such as enjoying the pain inflicted by a sadistic dentist.”

Gary has appeared in several Barn productions including Fiddler on the Roof, Miracle on 34th Street, and most recently as Mr. Marks and the Judge in The Producers. (I first met Gary during The Producers and it was almost scary how “in character” he was backstage before each show.) Weinstein Jewelers has also sponsored several shows at the Barn.

When not working or on stage, Gary is an avid golfer.  He plays in local charity golf tournaments, has golfed in all 50 states, and in 22 countries in the past four years (with a goal of reaching 100 countries in 20 years).  Gary sometimes uses his golf outings to share his own story, which involves the tragic loss of his family to a drunk driver in 2005.   Gary’s story of loss and forgiveness is the subject of an upcoming documentary called Project: Forgive.   As human beings go, Gary really is a diamond in the rough, so you should definitely get to know him as your gemologist, onstage, or otherwise.

Little Shop of Horrors opened 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, May 1, 2012

There’s No Resting on This Laurel!

The multi-talented Laurel Stroud

There’s an old saying that goes, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you just can’t take the country out of the girl.”  And in this case, you just can’t keep her out of the Barn, either.   Try as she might, Laurel Stroud just can’t rest on her laurels.  There’s no keeping her away from the Farmington Players’ stage.

Fresh off her role as Laura Baker in Whose Wives Are They Anyway?, Laurel has jumped right back on the stage in Little Shop of Horrors.  She is in the chorus, plays a Skid Row bum, and a customer in the flower shop.  Her other “role” is gathering all the props.   Laurel sighed in relief when she said, “I'm glad we're renting the plant!”  Laurel came late to Little Shop, stepping up at the director’s request when another actor had to bow out.   As a Skid Row bum, she says, “I had to find my own bum ‘voice.’  We tried putting me on a scooter to roll around, but it took up too much space.  The other bums are great to play off of, so it's all worked out. It's a fun show, the cast is super-talented and I'm having a ball.”

Laurel loves chorus roles in musicals: “I get to dress up, sing, dance, be a couple of different people.  The chorus adds depth to the show.  No matter how great the leads are (and they are fabulous in this show) the entire performance is taken up a notch with the ‘background artists’.” Although she has loved theater since childhood and was back stage in high school and college, “it never occurred to me that being onstage was an option.  A friend invited me to join the Barn about 10 years ago and my first time onstage was in one of our spoofs.  I loved it and haven't looked back.”  In addition to Whose Wives, Laurel has graced the Barn stage as Catherine Dickens in A Christmas Carol, Mom in Leaving Iowa, Essie in You Can't Take It With You, and was a tap-dancing showgirl in The Producers.  Offstage, Laurel is a Board member and serves as Director of Communications and Education. 

Little Shop of Horrors runs from Friday April 27 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".