2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Julie Yolles Finds Southern Comfort in Dixie

Julie Yolles as Dinah Grayson, Esquire

Julie Yolles may be from Birmingham, Michigan, but she’s been in so many “Southern” plays that you might think she’s from Birmingham, Alabama instead.  As she says, “I guess I’m becoming a ‘Southern’ veteran, having been in Miracle Worker, Steel Magnolias, Last Night of Ballyhoo and now the Dixie Swim Club.” In Dixie, five women -- teammates on their college swim team -- reunite every August at a North Carolina beach house for a girls-only weekend that is always full of fun, fights, and twists of fate.

In her first role with the Farmington Players, Julie plays Dinah Grayson, a fast-talking, wise-cracking, hard-boiled attorney who is never far from her martini glass. Julie contrasts her character with herself: “As Dinah, I am supposed to be a very ‘seasoned’ drinker, shall we say.  In ‘real life,’ I’m a cheap date. I don’t drink at all, except regular Coke, which I’m trying to give up daily.  So, now, I need to find myself a handsome professional bartender to show me how to mix the ultimate martini and screwdriver onstage, while staying in character, with a Southern accent and timing my lines correctly.”

Despite their differences, Julie does have one thing in common with Dinah: “I do have my varsity letter in synchronized swimming from Southfield-Lathrup High School.” Some of her talent must have been passed on to her daughter, Madison, who is a state champion on her synchronized swim team, the Troy Synchro Sharkettes.

Julie says she “hit the jackpot” with the Farmington Players.  “I couldn’t have asked for a nicer, more talented, friendly and welcoming cast and crew.  It’s a pleasure and honor, as our director Tim Timmer and A.D. Rick Mickley always say, to share the stage and backstage with them.” Julie says that Dixie’s all-male directing team makes it “intriguing and fun to get that male perspective on the female psyche.”

One challenge facing all the characters is to age 33 years on stage, but Julie is even incorporating that into her role: “I’m having many a ‘senior moment,’ which could be a good thing for my character as there are so many lines to learn and it doesn’t come as easily as it did in the old—or should I say younger—days.”

Julie’s favorite roles include Sylvie in the Female Odd Couple, Aunt Gert in Lost in Yonkers, Chris in Rumors, Columbia in The Rocky Horror Show, Rita in The Vast Difference, Annelle in Steel Magnolias, Pfeni in Sisters Rosensweig, Electra in Gypsy, Lala in Last Night of Ballyhoo, Minnie Faye in Hello Dolly and Virginia in Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up.  By day, Julie is the Social Scene Columnist for the Observer & Eccentric newspapers, a Features Writer for Styleline magazine and a freelancer.

The Dixie Swim Club runs October 5th – 27th.  Reserved seats for this comedy sponsored by Mall, Malisow & Cooney, P.C. are available now at farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office (248) 553-2955. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Anne Craft is a Natural as a Dixie Chick

Debra Rockey (Vernadette), Anne Craft (Sheree), Julie Yolles (Dinah), Erin Osgood (Lexie), Kandi Krumins (Jeri Neal) are the members of the Dixie Swim Club 

“I'm every woman/It's all in me/Anything you want done baby/I do it naturally”

Like Whitney Houston’s “Every Woman,” Anne Craft sees part of herself in each of the five female characters that make up the Dixie Swim Club:  “Each of the five women is different, and has strengths and weaknesses that I possess.  I could have been any one of these women at one time during her life.  It is rare that a script has so many characters available to five female actors.  We are an ensemble.”  The Dixie Swim Club tells the story of five friends who meet on the college swim team. They reunite one weekend each year at a North Carolina beach house to laugh, love and enjoy life, free from men, children and work.

Anne describes her character Sheree as “a busy body always poking her nose in other's lives.  She feels she can reorganize everyone else to live the perfect life like she has.   Her heart is in the right place but her constant ‘I'm in charge’ attitude can be wearing on her friends.”  Anne can definitely relate to Sheree’s nutritional and organizational skills, saying: “I like that my character is ‘all about good nutrition.’  I pride myself on eating healthfully and it makes me proud that Sheree feels the same way.  She talks about being an athlete and continues with exercise throughout her life.  Sheree is also very organized.  If you saw my house you would see that I am a very organized person.  I have been known to label drawers and cabinet doors so that anyone who uses my kitchen would know where things are and where they are to be returned.”

Like all the characters, Sheree must age on stage from 44 to 77 during the course of the play.  Anne explains how the actors tackle this challenge: “Aging my character ‘down’ to look younger than I am in the first scene is one challenge.  The five characters will not only be wearing period costumes but also costumes that help determine their age.  The other challenge is making the actor's bodies age.  You can add make-up to the face, but everyone loses muscle tone and gravity pulls at everything we women pride ourselves on; top and bottom, front and back.”

Anne has added her own personal touch to the show by being the costumer: “As the costumer for the show, I had the great privilege of working with the Thurston high school girls and watching the process of the passage of time.”

Anne’s numerous Barn stage credits include curious characters such as the soft and chewy dancing pretzel in The Producers, the nameless mute in Gypsy, and the transgender mail carrier in Miracle on 34th Street.  Anne has been with the Farmington Players for four years and serves on the Board as Director of Membership.

The Dixie Swim Club runs October 5th – 27th.  Reserved seats for this comedy sponsored by Mall, Malisow & Cooney, P.C. are available now at farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office (248) 553-2955.  Find us on Facebook under “Farmington Players.”