2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Learn from a Master: Seth Rudetsky Brings Broadway to the Barn

Seth Rudetsky bring Broadway to the Barn
This Sunday November 2nd (noon – 3:00) at the Barn Theater, the Farmington Players are hosting a Master Class Workshop with Seth Rudetsky. This unique event begins with an informative lecture from Seth, continues with each of the Master Class students’ performances, and ends with a Q&A session with the audience. Rudetsky is well known for his Sirius/XM Satellite Radio show “Seth’s Big Fat Broadway” and his viral “deconstruction” videos on YouTube where he breaks down the elements of classic musical theater songs and singers, so he is the perfect person to provide this type of critique. Each of the 15 performers will receive personal attention and advice from Seth on how to improve his or her audition and performance skills. Registration is still open to be an audience member for only $25, so whether you are an aspiring singer or just want to listen, get your tickets ASAP at farmingtonplayers.org.

The singers selected for Seth’s Workshop include some of the area’s finest local performers.  At least five of the participants are planning on pursuing theatre, and are currently either already in college in musical theatre programs, or getting ready to audition for musical theatre programs. Several others are local performers who also teach and coach students that are prepping for college auditions and have indicated that they are looking forward to helping their students incorporate some of the techniques used in the Workshop. And some are just doing it for plain old-fashioned fun.

The Workshop students (with hometown and theatre affiliations) are:

Taylor Alfano, age 25 (Livonia), The Farmington Players, Canton Spotlight Players

Tony Battle, age 48 (Royal Oak), Stagecrafters, Birmingham Village Players, Grosse Pointe Theatre, Actors Company
Rachel Biber, age 37 (Huntington Woods), The Farmington Players, Stagecrafters, St. Dunstans, Grosse Pointe Theatre, Canton Spotlight Theater and Birmingham Village Players

Gary Castaneda, age 38 (Warren), Stagecrafters, Birmingham Village Players, St. Dunstan's
Joshua Coates, age 21 (Fraser), Fraser High School, Grosse Pointe Theatre
Katie Dodd, age 18 (Farmington Hills), Harrison High School Theatre Program, Actors Avenue, Sky's The Limit and now CMU Theatre Dept
Elizabeth Heffron, age 22 (Farmington Hills), The Farmington Players, Ladywood High School, Eastern Michigan, Marquis Theater, Sky's the Limit

Joel Hunter, age 22 (Commerce), Starlight Theater, The Farmington Players, Lakeland Players, Pontiac Theatre IV, Fuse Theater Company, Huron Valley Community Theatre, Monster Box Theater, The Ringwald, St. Dunstans, and the Smith Theater
Grace Knoche, age 26 (New Baltimore), Warren Civic Theatre, Grosse Pointe Theatre, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and her band Sharp City

Maryanna Lauter, age 11 (Farmington Hills), The Farmington Players, Community Theatre of Howell, Bloomfield Players, St. Dunstans, Novi Civic Theater and Grosse Pointe Theater. 
Amy Malaney, (Farmington Hills), Meadowbrook Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre and MOT Community Programs and Lake Superior Theatre in Michigan.
Marc Meyers, age 49 (Ferndale), Stagecrafters, St. Dunstans, Birmingham Village Players, Grosse Pointe Theater, Arbor Opera Theatre
Roy Sexton, age 41 (Saline, MI by way of Columbia City, IN), Penny Seats (co-founder), Farmington Players, Spotlight Players, Grosse Point Players, Birmingham Village Players, Cabaret Detroit, and Ford Performing Arts Center

Nina White, age 16 (Grosse Pointe), The Farmington Players, Windsor Light Opera, Stagecrafters, Birmingham Village Players, Grosse Pointe Theatre
Jason Wilhoite, age 36 (Commerce Township), The Farmington Players

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Never a Dull Moment: Rebecca Dull is Sharp in Arsenic

Rebecca Dull (center) as Miss Witherspoon as she is about to imbibe wine offered by the aunties. 
Putting a new twist on a classic tale, the Farmington Players’ production of Arsenic and Old Lace introduces Rebecca Dull in the modified role of Miss Witherspoon.  As Rebecca notes, “this role is usually played by a man so I have had to create her with no examples to follow. Since the play takes place in the 1940s it would have been extremely unusual to have a woman in an executive position, yet here she is, head of Happy Dale. The directors wanted to explore the idea of the aunts changing tactics by choosing to poison a woman when all the other victims were ‘their gentlemen’.”

Rebecca calls Arsenic one of her “all time favorite shows ever since I saw it performed at my high school.  There are so many funny comments and references to things that I always seem to find something new every time I see the show.”  She loves how the murderous aunts become the protagonists, saying, “Audiences are drawn to these endearing ladies so strongly that when it is revealed that they are murdering people, the audience members are in disbelief. People are drawn right into the action as bodies are all over the house and they want the aunts to beat Jonathan Brewster, even though that means committing more murders.”

Rebecca is making her Barn debut after moving to Farmington Hills a year ago, having spent the previous 21 years in Grand Rapids.  She says, “This is a great area and I love the vibrant theatre community at Farmington Players, and even in the whole Detroit metro area. Being a part of this show with such talented actors and directors has been amazing. I am thankful for this opportunity to be on stage at the Barn.” Just before moving here, Rebecca completed her B.A. in Theatre Arts at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. During that time she was involved in many aspects of theatre and “found that I very much enjoy working on props.” She won Cornerstone’s award for Best Technical Award for work on props in 2012, and even spent one semester working with the props master for Opera Grand Rapids.  Her acting credits at Cornerstone include Tuck Everlasting (Elemental, Constable), The Little Princess (Marietta), Sound of Music (Nun), and Taming of the Shrew (Servant).

The Farmington Players' production of Arsenic and Old Lace runs through October 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Mall, Malisow & Cooney, P.C.). Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Off-Beat Officers Moll and Reinke Add Comic Relief to Dark Arsenic

Dave Reinke (Lt. Rooney), Jim Moll (Officer O'Hara), and Jared Kovach (Officer Brophy) Lay Down the Law
In the Farmington Players production of Arsenic and Old Lace, the Brewster sisters literally get away with murder right under the noses of unsuspecting police officers.  Jim Moll (Officer O’Hara) and Dave Reinke (Lt. Rooney) play two of the cops, and this dynamic duo seems more concerned with self-promotion than crime fighting. 

Moll plays the “oh-so-affable and somewhat dim-witted police officer, Officer O'Hara.  He's well intentioned and a long time friend of the Brewster sisters -- especially Martha who likes to cook for him.  Playing him gives me the opportunity to unleash my hokey Irish accent and bumble around the stage in search of an audience for the play that he is writing -- in spite of what is occurring around him.”  Jim calls Arsenic “a classic, and a mainstay of theatre companies.”  In fact, this is the second time it has been performed at the Barn.  As he says, “It's fun to be in such a well known show and add my own twist on the character and to be in a show that has characters that rely so much on one another.”  

One of the characters that he relies on is Lt. Rooney, played by Dave Reinke. Dave describes Rooney as “the man in charge at the local police precinct. Very early on in the show we gain a pretty strong understanding of the caliber of men he has to manage under his watch. As such, he’s forced to run a pretty tight ship. Rooney has very little patience for blunders and mistakes, most of which deems inexcusable. He has a strong, commanding presence. He’s loud, decisive, and clearly in charge of every situation in which he finds himself.  It's a fun role as I have a lot of interaction with many different characters while having a commanding presence.  It's a lot like Stage Managing.”

In a bit of role reversal, Reinke and Moll are switching who’s the boss.  As Dave says, “I was last seen on stage at the Barn in 2012's production of 1940's Radio Hour, where Jim Moll played my boss.  Now I get to play his boss, which has been a lot of fun.”   Regardless of who is in charge, Arsenic is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.  Jim thinks it is “because the twist in plot is so delightful.  This is especially true when the sisters play things straight and earnestly, as our two ladies do.  Seeing the delight that the two little old ladies take in performing their ‘service’ to the lonely old men is great fun if it is believable.  Mary Ann Tweedie and Cynthia Tupper do a great job of conveying this.  And, since they've been onstage quite a bit together at the Barn in other shows, their chemistry together goes a long way to sell the humor.”   Dave also thinks “audiences will enjoy the show because of the chemistry of the cast and the humor.  The show is not your typical farce but a black farce where the humor relies on distasteful ideas, such as death by poisoning, in a way that the audience forgets to be appalled.”

When they’re not busy “policing” the Barn stage, Moll and Reinke each have a very full slate.   Jim recently retired as public school educator after 40 years.  He and his wife Denise celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this summer by going to NY and taking in several Broadway shows.  Jim has been quite busy on the Barn stage lately, appearing in the last three Barn shows (Assassins, Rumors, and now Arsenic).   Dave has either appeared on stage with, or stage-managed, most of his fellow cast members. His stage managing credits at the Barn include Noises Off, State Fair, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Producers, Proof, Dracula, and Rumors. Dave is current 50/50 chair at the Farmington Players and serves on the Board of the Rosedale Community Players.  However, his says his “best role is being Dad to three wonderful children, Adam, Hailey, & Brianna.”

The Farmington Players' production of Arsenic and Old Lace runs September 26 through October 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Mall, Malisow & Cooney, P.C.). Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.