Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bob Cox­­­ Finds the True Meaning of Christmas in Greetings!

Family feud:  Bob Cox (son Andy) glares at Bob Hotchkiss (father Phil) as the Gorskis try to overcome their differences.
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
These days, the Ghost of Christmas Present is sometimes confused with the goal of Christmas presents.  In a society that celebrates “shop till you drop,” Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.  Bob Cox, who plays Andy Gorski in Greetings! at the Farmington Players, places the holiday in proper perspective:  “The themes in Greetings! include overcoming differences, finding understanding, family, love, faith, philosophy and of course - Christmas!  I think every person with a family will understand what it's like to have differing views from their family. Watching a family overcome these differences warms the heart and is truly a perfect theme for the holiday season.  I wanted to be part of a group of actors who could bring a happy tear to peoples' eyes. Christmas is my absolute favorite thing in the entire world, and I'm happy to do anything I can do to bring the spirit of Christmas into peoples' hearts.”

In Greetings!, the ”differences” to which Bob alludes stem from the drama created when his character Andy brings his Jewish atheist finance Randi home for Christmas to meet his strictly Catholic family.  And while Andy tries to use humor to diffuse the tension, as Bob says, “The patience he got from his mother is overshadowed by the temper he got from his father.”  (Andy’s father Phil is played by Bob Hotchkiss, and the two Bobs also played father and son in Becky’s New Car last season at the Barn.) 

In the play, Andy’s brother Mickey (Alex Macksoud) has a mental disability that impairs his speech.  As Bob explains, “In Mickey's case, his goal - wanting to fix problems in his family - is made impossible because of his inability to effectively communicate with others; something that comes so easily to most people. Luckily for his family, Mickey is nothing if not resourceful!”  Bob can definitely relate to such challenges, saying, “I work in a Disability Support office, so I interact with individuals with varying physical and mental disabilities on a daily basis. We take things for granted that we don't even think of. My favorite student at the entire school is a woman who is wanting to get a business degree so she can open a soup kitchen in the area of Detroit that she lives in. … She wants to help them, but she has difficulty comprehending math due to her disability."  Seeing how other people bravely face their own challenges enables you to not take things for granted and to count your own blessings.  And isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?


Greetings! has four remaining performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater on December 14 – 17, 2017.  The show is proudly sponsored by Jill Jones and Cadillac Travel.  Author Tom Dudzick also penned our successful production of Miracle on South Division Street.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Amy Lauter Faces Facts Versus Faith in Greetings!

Jewish atheist Randi Stein (played by Amy Lauter) tries to explain her faith to her Catholic fiance's family
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
Depending on your perspective, sometimes you must see things to believe them; other times, the belief comes first.  That’s why they call it “faith.”  Amy Lauter, who plays Randi Stein in Greetings!, considers “religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) – and how your feelings and opinions may affect those around you – to be a major theme of the show. It’s a tennis match between Spirituality and Factuality.”  The plot is loosely based on author Tom Dudzick’s own experience.  He wrote me that, “I had a Jewish girlfriend at the time, so I thought it might be fun to imagine what it would be like to take her home to Buffalo to meet my very Catholic parents, maybe on Christmas Eve, and write a play about it.”

Amy’s character Randi is Jewish and an atheist, which is in stark contrast to her Catholic fiancĂ© Andy Gorski (played by Bob Cox) and his family. Amy describes Randi as “somewhat tough and a bit hardened, yet she’s meeting her fiancĂ©’s family for the first time. So there is a mix of acting ‘normally as Randi’ to establish the character for the audience, as well as acting as one would when trying to make a good first impression.”  Amy can relate to Randi’s factual side, saying, “She is a very logical, factual person that doesn’t really believe things that you can’t physically explain. I tend to be that way as well.”  However, in the play, as in real life, sometimes things happen that defy explanation.  Amy describes how, “After rehearsing a scene in which Randi gets an unexpected phone call, I had a very strange phone call out of the blue from a woman I haven’t seen/spoken to in years. She says she didn’t even call me, she was on the phone with someone else, and somehow she called me. … She said there must be a reason I needed to call you, and that she was there if I needed her, and to stay positive. I have to say, I have felt so much better since that call. It was very surreal. It was one of those times when you are forced to say there is a reason for everything and that there is a bit of mystery in the world.”

While it’s no mystery that most people find comfort in traditional holiday shows, Amy believes that it’s “also great to experience a show that really makes you think. Greetings! is the type of show that our audiences will start out thinking one thing, and may end up thinking another. If anything, it is sure to provide some terrific post-show conversation with their friends and families. And will likely keep them thinking for a while after they see it. I believe that it’s funny, heart-warming, thought-provoking and satisfying.”

Amy lives in Farmington Hills with her husband John, son Ben and daughter, Maryanna. She spends a lot of time involved with theatre in some capacity, but this is her first time back on the Barn stage in five years.  Amy works in sales, for a large commercial print company, and she does a lot of the creative work (show flyers, lobby boards) for the Barn’s productions.


Greetings! has 10 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from December 1 – 17, 2017.  The show is proudly sponsored by Jill Jones and Cadillac Travel.  Author Tom Dudzick also penned our successful production of Miracle on South Division Street.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

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