Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Couple Finds Solace as Cinderella’s Parents in Into the Woods


Seάn ÓTuathal finds her inner "Faery" as Cinderella's spirit mother
PHOTO by Heidi Gabel
In Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, the woods are where the magic happens. Fairy tale characters come to life and live out their dreams.  And when your name is Seάn ÓTuathal – which in Irish means "of the Faery Folk," – the play has even deeper meaning.  In the Farmington Players production, Seάn plays Cinderella's mother, who is actually dead, but her spirit inhabits a hazel tree Cinderella planted at her grave. Seάn says, “I love playing a tree spirit, it's kind of an homage to my Irish heritage. Also, I love playing the loving mother who gets to say, 'yes' to her daughter and support her dreams. Everyone has dreams, some have support systems which help them to at least strive for, if not realize them. Some do not. I did not. Playing a mother who supports her child's dream is cathartic for me; it puts something to rest.”
   
As a psychology major, Seάn can get pretty deep in deciphering Sondheim’s hidden meanings:  “I like how he takes the Shakespearean convention of removing people from society (where we have the illusion of control), into the woods (where magical things happen); also, how short-sighted we are; how we are never happy with what we have (and need to learn to be); how it often takes great challenges to make us see the light. I like especially how Sondheim gives voice to the outsider; how all sides are valid, not just ‘Our side.’ That's an important one these days.”

Cinderella’s father is played by Seάn’s real-life husband Bart Burger, who says, “Playing Cinderella's father has been wonderful, especially being able to share the stage for the first time with my wife, Sean. Cinderella's father is an interesting character, as I believe he is searching for a rebirth of hope and connection which he lost with the death of Cinderella's mother. He found some of it when he married his second wife, but that has dwindled. He spends the show trying to recapture this.”  As Seάn says, Into the Woods is “a work of profound meaning for my husband and I. We have been lost in the woods for several years now. Knowing ‘No one leaves for good,’ is a great comfort to us.”

Seάn hopes that audiences “not only enjoy the clever way the messages in this show are presented, but leave the theatre with something to think about. To me, that's key.” Seάn and Bart have both really enjoyed their first experience at the Barn.  Bart says, “I have always found theatre as an avenue of connecting and touching others. That has been a dream of mine, which is why I have been doing theatre most of my life, and also why I became a psychotherapist.”  Seάn adds, “This cast is great. Folks are funny, and friendly, and so talented! Our directors are wonderful. It's really a thrill to be surrounded by all this professionalism, especially since I am a neophyte.”

Into the Woods has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 27 – May 19.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle on opening night (April 27) will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Barb Bruno Is Wicked Good as Evil Stepmom in Into the Woods

Barb Bruno delights in playing Cinderella's villainous Stepmother 

“It's always more fun to play the ‘villain’!” So says Barb Bruno, who plays Cinderella's Stepmother in the Farmington Players production of Into the Woods.  Bruno is no stranger to dark Steven Sondheim musicals, having played Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins at the Barn in 2014.  So how does Barb channel her evil side to get into character as the Stepmother?  As she says, “The trick with villains is that not one of them feels like they are doing anything wrong. In their minds, they are usually correcting some injustice that's been done to them.  Of course, the Stepmother is a total narcissist, so pretty much anything that doesn't serve her own agenda is an injustice.  The other trick is to give them depth and make them people; not a one dimensional, ‘hey...I'm evil!’”  Barb’s biggest challenge with this role is that “there is a very compressed amount of time on stage to say who she is, and to see the character change – broken as the world around her falls apart.  It's challenging to say that in a short amount of time, and so the subtext and the layers of the character become more important to show it in an economical way.” 
Barb knows audiences will love Into the Woods “for the same reason that Wicked is so popular … a different spin on characters we all know from childhood.  The music is wonderful and it is a very strong group of singers and actors in the company, not to mention brilliant designers and dedicated technicians, all of whom are committed to bringing their best to the stage.”  Barb also thinks the classic battle of good versus evil makes for a compelling story line.  As she says, “I'm fascinated by the themes of morality in this show ... what is right, what is wrong.  There's recurring dialogue about wrongs needing to be punished.  Reminds me of Gandhi – ‘An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.’  EVERY character has a perspective on right and wrong.  … It's the moral ambiguity of this show that gets right to the same ambiguity we face on a daily basis and leaves a lot of food for thought.”
Barb is originally from New York and has been in Michigan for a few years. She lives in a log cabin, grows lots of veggies and has just started to produce her own maple syrup! She’s truly enjoying her return to the Barn: “I am very much enjoying being with old friends on this show and making new ones. Most of all, it's just a lot of fun to be in a musical!”

Into the Woods has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 27 – May 19.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle on opening night (April 27) will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.



Saturday, April 7, 2018

Wendy Krekeler Fishes Her Wish as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods

The Baker (Jason Wilhoite) and his Wife (Wendy Krekeler) are menaced by the Witch (Allison Boufford)
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright

Be careful what you wish for!  This is one of the underlying themes of Into The Woods, Steven Sondheim’s dark musical based on fairy tale characters that opens April 27 at the Farmington Players Barn Theater. (Proceeds from the opening night 50/50 raffle will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.) In Wendy Krekeler’s first role at the Barn, she got the part of the Baker’s Wife, a dream come true for her:  “It’s one of my favorite shows! The music is beautiful, the themes are so profoundly interesting, personal and relatable, and the story is dark but with plenty of humor!  I love fairy tales, but I love the twists and turns the second act takes. I’ve been a fan of the show since I saw my parents play Cinderella and her Prince in Into The Woods when I was about eight years old!”  Wendy inherited her love of theater from her parents, Sue and Kirk Krekeler;  Kirk played King Arthur in the Barn’s production of Spamalot last year. 
Wendy describes the Baker’s Wife as being “content to love her husband, but wishes for a bit more than an ‘ordinary’ life. She’s good hearted, well intended with a bit of a sarcastic flair! I love singing her music. This role is challenging because this character could possibly come off as someone who is constantly nagging her husband, but that’s not who I believe she is at heart. It’s challenging to find the depth of her longing and make it relatable to the audience!”  Wendy enjoys a great rapport with the Baker, played by longtime Barn veteran Jason Wilhoite, and Wendy is “so flattered and honored to be in this production. After seeing shows at the Farmington Barn, I’ve wanted to be a part of the excellent productions they put on, and I can’t believe I get to work in this theatre, with such kind and talented people! Thanks to director Kristi Schwartz for taking a chance on someone she didn’t know and letting me play this wonderful role!”
Wendy can relate to the show’s themes of pursuing your dreams, despite uncertain consequences.  As she says, “Always wanting more, but not even truly understanding what it is that you want, is such a relatable experience. The constant struggle that I’ve had between pursuing my passions and living a stable life is something that I can definitely relate to, specifically in MY character!”  In her own life, Wendy has tried to balance her loves of theater and family.  After studying theater in college, she chased her dream to NYC, where she worked at The Late Show with David Letterman and saw many Broadway shows.  However, as she recalls, “I missed my home and family, so I returned to Michigan and began performing with children’s theatre companies in the area, as well as teaching theatre. I’m so happy to have returned to Michigan; I don’t feel like I would’ve found my passion for children’s theatre in NYC! I also create children’s media; I’ve written a children’s book and am working on creating a puppet show for YouTube. I also have an incredible set of supportive theatre lady friends that I don’t think even exist in NYC! I  have an amazing family and I fell in love with my wonderful boyfriend. Michigan is my home and the theatre community is amazing here!”
Into The Woods has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 27 – May 19.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  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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