|Frank Markus and Sue Rogers do battle as Lenny and Claire Ganz|
Here’s a simple formula for comedy: Frank + Markus = Funny Man. He excels at comedic roles and last appeared onstage at the Barn in Red, White and Tuna 2011, playing several over-the-top characters. In Rumors, Frank describes his character Lenny Ganz as “a guy who wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and has managed make it to the right side of the tracks by becoming some sort of tax/investment advisor. As such, he doesn't suffer fools lightly and has an acerbic wit that gives him a lot of fun laugh lines in this script.” Frank relates well to Lenny because they are both “car guys”: Lenny just bought a new BMW and knows what kinds of cars everybody drives in the play, while Frank admits to being an “inveterate car-lover from birth.” He now serves as Technical Director for Motor Trend magazine and travels the world reporting on the car business and driving almost every new car and truck made.
Frank was attracted to Rumors because “Neil Simon has a real knack for compelling, engaging dialogue, and he's written non-fiction books about the art of writing farce well.” Unlike many farces that “rely too heavily on lowest-common-denominator sight gags and door-slamming for laughs,” Frank says that “the Rumors script doesn't rely solely on the physical humor, misunderstandings, and shared secrets to get the audience laughing. Rather, the plot and dialogue does that and the gags merely heighten the effect.” Frank also enjoys being reunited with fellow cast-mates Mary Ann Tweedie and Sue Rogers, who all performed under Cynthia Tuppers’s direction in 1994's The Man Who Came to Dinner. As Frank says, “it was impossible to pass up the chance to work once again with Cynthia Tupper. Tupper's facility with the farce genre keeps us actors on our toes so that we maintain the fast-is-funny comic timing on which farce relies. Most of us who were cast have worked with Cynthia and/or with each other onstage before, so the cast began this production already fast friends, intimately aware of each other's numerous capabilities and strengths. We've been having a lot of laughs ever since the first read-through.”
Frank was born in Chicago, but raised mostly in Memphis, Tennessee. To pursue his love of cars, he came north for engineering school to get a job in Detroit's auto industry. After six years as a Chrysler engineer, as he says, “I ran away to join the automotive circus, and have written for and tech-edited car magazines since 1991,” including Motor Trend. His first Farmington Players’ play was Mister Roberts in 1989. Frank and long-time partner Michael Smith recently got married on the Barn stage, with the wedding officiated by fellow Rumors cast-mate Jim Moll.
The Farmington Players' production of Rumors runs from April 25 through May 17 and is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.