FCP Ghost Light Series Playing Only This Weekend

One weekend only

Flint Community Players’ Ghost Light Series is bringing bawdy humor to the stage. Directed by Sarah E. Jarrett and written by Robert Askins, HAND TO GOD is a tongue-in-cheek look at modern religion and teenage rebellion. This adults-only comedy runs one weekend only, July 21-23, with two matinees, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm.

Mild-mannered Jason unhappily has to participate in a Jesus-themed puppet show at his
church. However, he soon discovers that his puppet, Tyrone, has a mind of its own. Foul-
mouthed and possessed by the devil, Tyrone torments Jason and the other puppeteers as he leads them to sin.

“HAND TO GOD is so ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it’s bound to leave you
sore from laughing. Ah, hurts so good.”
—New York Daily News.

All Ghost Light Series shows are intended for mature audiences. Due to violence, gore, and sexual situations, this is definitely not the kind of puppet show where you’d bring your kids.

Tickets are $10
(810) 441-9302

Friday, July 21 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, July 22 @ 2:30pm
Saturday, July 22 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, July 23 @ 2:30pm

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Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler

            Out of the Frying Pan by Francis Swann frying panopened strong at Clio Cast and Crew. The audience laughed almost non-stop throughout the play.

Set in the 1940s, Out of the Frying Pan takes place in an apartment where six out of work actors live. They are broke and are trying to get the attention of the producer who lives below them. Whenever they start rehearsing the play, which is currently in production, things never seem to work out. If it weren’t for bad luck, they would have no luck. But they don’t give up.

Three men and three women portray the actors. One couple is secretly married. Throughout the play the lead actor constantly throws Stanislavki’s name around and some of his acting theories. I am sure Stanislavski might have been impressed by his name constantly being invoked. One of the young girls’ fathers shows up, and he is unhappy. The producer shows up. The landlady makes a number of very funny appearances.

If there was ever a play that allowed actors to go over the top, Out of the Frying Pan fits the bill. Director Andrea Wilkerson did a fine job of casting.

The play flowed well, and the cast had the timing down. There were a few minor blocking issues, but they didn’t really detract. It might have been better to play the peephole in the floor downstage since the upstage position put actors in an awkward situation.

Steve Visser played Norman, the guy who seemed to be in charge and the one who was quite intimate with Stanislavski. Visser was in his element and handled the changing confusion with ease. He was fun to watch.

Steve Yerian played George Bodell, who was the opposite of Norman and didn’t really care about Stanislavski. Dennis Wayne Spence played Tony Denison, another actor who is secretly married. He was difficult to understand at times.

Rochelle Dula played Marge Benson who is secretly married to Tony. She was also fun to watch with all of her over played dramatics. She had a unique voice that was hard to miss.

Becky Coggins played Kate Ault who was very talented in mixing up Micky Finns. She also gave a good performance.

Cassidy Couturier played Dottie Colburn, a very petite actress with boundless energy. She played the clueless part very well. Her costumes always seemed a bit too big which only added to the character.

Others who also stood out were Sandy Turner playing Mrs. Garnet, the landlady. She momentarily stole the show when she broke into an Irish ballad. William Kircher played Mr. Kenny, the producer and a wannabe chef. He played the part well.

Finally, Wendy Davis, Christopher Dinnan, Shane Wachowicz, and Colin Edwards also  contributed to the chaos and mayhem on stage.

While the set was a bit crowded, it did look like a well-used apartment. The theatre announcer even got into the act. He gave the audience a quiz about the 1940s during one of the intermissions—The winner had to clean the theatre after the show.

I do question why they allow audience members to send messages to the actors during intermission. That seems a bit risky because of the potential for negativism.

If you are looking for an evening of good laughter, I heartily recommend Out of the Frying Pan.

Performances run through June 23rd at Clio Cast and Crew’s Theatre 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd., Clio, MI 48420. For more info contact the box office at 810-687-2588 or online at www.cliocastandcrew.com

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FVP’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie” Beyond Impressive

1280x450-Thoroughly-Modern-Millie-ShowGraphic-FVPReviewed by Kathleen Kirby

Every once in a while a show comes along that we hope we can extoll to lengths that will do it justice. Such a show opened Thursday as Fenton Village Players launched their amazing production of the musical 20s romp, Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Director Mary Collins has taken advantage of summer break with a slew of collegiate musical theatre majors and degreed graduates in leading roles, most of them in their very first role at FVP. The overall effect is beyond impressive.

To begin with, Millie Dillmount, a Kansas farm girl, arrives fresh off the bus in New York and is bowled over by the place. Sophia Rizzo’s strong voice and terrific characterization commanded the stage immediately with her “Not for the Life of Me”. Rizzo was still center stage as the strength of the entire cast exploded forth with “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, an energetic and well-choreographed audience favorite.

The story moves from the street to a young women’s hotel run by a supposed Asian lady named Mrs. Meers (Willow Collins). There is subterfuge afoot here but the gals seem oblivious as she lures them to a fate unknown. In her first FVP performance, Willow does a great job moving through dialects and attitudes.

Meanwhile back on the husband trail, Millie was met that first day by Jimmy Smith (Gage Webster) when a pickpocket took her purse, her hat and her shoe(?). Webster does an impeccable job with “What Do I Need with Love”, impressing the house with his vocal strength.

Back at the “hotel”, Miss Dorothy is a newcomer seeking a place to stay. Madison Merlanti sports a head of blond corkscrew curls and purports to be an orphan. Maybe so, but her vocal range is epic, and her duet with Rizzo on “How the Other Half Lives” is adorable.

When Millie applies for a job at Sincere Insurance, the whole office scene is worth the price of admission. From the toe tapping that stands for typing to the amazing stenography test delivered by boss Trevor Graydon (Aleksander Papanastasopoulos), this is a clever, funny and wildly well-done number.

Since Millie is still on a husband hunt, Jimmy takes her to a reception given by the famous Muzzy Von Hossmere (Rolecia Looney). Looney’s “Only in New York” showcases her strong, slightly husky but powerful vocal talent. She will be the salvation of many, and it will be comical.

With all of this talent, we almost forgot the two “Chinese” helpers working with Mrs. Meers to try to earn their mother’s passage to New York from China. Ching Ho (Brandon Kastell) and Bun Foo (Dante Justice) are a hoot most of the time! We cannot vouch for the accuracy of their Chinese, but we loved the captioning projected center stage during both their songs and dialogue.

If we were looking for weaknesses in this production, we missed them. Every aspect added strength to this highly entertaining production. First, we were thrilled to hear live musicians directed by Frank Pitts. The vocals were strong and well timed and the body-mikes worked to perfection allowing every lyric to be clear even with the live music.

Choreography was intricate (we loved all the tap!) and performed with precision. Costumes were glorious staying true to the 1920s flapper era with gals in fringe and also tailored work jumpers. Wigs providing vintage hairstyles from bobbed to curls were terrific also.

The set design folks deserve a medal for the beautiful rendition of New York as well as the perfect small adjustments that took us from place to place. Set changes moved with professional speed and ease.

Overall, Fenton Village Players is to be commended for the highly professional presentation that is this Thoroughly Modern Millie. It is one of the most talent-filled and balanced shows we’ve seen in a long while. We urge you to head out to Fenton – you won’t regret it!

Thoroughly Modern Millie continues at Fenton Village Playhouse, 14197 Torrey Road, Fenton, MI, on July 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, & 29 at 7:00 pm and July 16, 23 & 30 at 2:00 pm. For tickets and more information contact the box office at 810-750-7700 or online at www.FentonTheatre.org

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CCC to Present Comedy – “Out of the Frying Pan”

This weekend and next, Clio Cast and Crew will present OUT OF THE FRYING 12387028081954057375rugby471_Tango_Style_Frying_Pan.svg.hiPAN, a comedy by Francis Swann, and directed by Andrea Wilkerson.

The play opens July 14 and continues July 15, 21, 22 at 7:30pm and July 16 and 23 at 2:30pm.  All performances are at THEATRE 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd., Clio (located next to the Clio Schools bus compound).

Synopsis: Three young men and three young women share an apartment in all innocence; they are would-be stage folk and they are doing this for economic security.

Their apartment is immediately above that of a Broadway producer who is about to cast a road company.  They rehearse the play, but how can they get him upstairs to see it?  It so happens that the producer is an amateur chef and, right in the middle of a culinary concoction, he runs out of flour.  He comes upstairs to borrow a cup. At last the kids have him, and they aren’t going to let him go until he sees some evidence of their ability.  So, they stage a murder.  However, it is so realistic that police swarm into the scene with hilarious results.

Call the Box Office at 810-687-2588 or go online to cliocastandcrew.com

All tickets $14.00 each


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FCP To Present Second in Ghost Light Series – “Hand To God”

Flint Community Players’ Ghost Light Series is bringing raunchy humor to thandtogod_orighe stage. HAND TO GOD, directed by Sarah E. Jarrett and written by Robert Askins, is an irreverent look at modern religion and teenage rebellion. This adults-only comedy runs one weekend only, July 21-23.

Mild-mannered Jason unhappily has to participate in a Jesus-themed puppet show at his church. However, he soon discovers that his puppet, Tyrone, has a mind of its own. Foul-mouthed and possessed by the devil, Tyrone torments Jason and the other puppeteers as he leads them to sin. “HAND TO GOD is so ridiculously raunchy, irreverent and funny it’s bound to leave you sore from laughing. Ah, hurts so good.” —New York Daily News.

All Ghost Light Series shows are intended for mature audiences. Due to violence, gore, and sexual situations, this is definitely not the kind of play where you’d bring your kids. Tickets are $10. Visit us online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com or call (810) 441-9302 for more information on specific show times.

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FCP’s Ghost Light Series Presents “The House of Yes”

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

18671695_10154549131406629_1483118688491354747_oThe House of Yes – an odd title to be sure, but it fits to a tee this very dark comedy now playing as part of the Flint Community Players’ Ghost Light Series. Set in the early 1980s in a wealthy suburb of Washington D.C., an apparently affluent family prepares for Thanksgiving dinner amidst an impending hurricane. We will soon learn, however, that hurricane aside, something is seriously askew inside this house.

Playwright Wendy MacLeod explains her script as about “people that have never been said no to.” She refers to people she’s seen in upper classes as “insulated” and as those “who have cut themselves off from the rest of the world and are living by the rules they’ve invented.” This certainly explains a lot.

Director Tomoko Miller’s troupe is amazingly focused and disturbingly real in their portrayal of this family that gives new meaning to the word dysfunctional. Right off the bat, Jackie-O (Shelby Coleman) enters in a cocktail dress and starts rearranging furniture. Her brother, Anthony (Chazz Irwin) joins her. These two seem at odds immediately over small things, but when joined by their mother (Laura Williams Kline) the source of the tension becomes obvious.

Besides their concern for the weather, they are waiting for Jackie-O’s twin brother Marty (Kyle Clark) to arrive through the storm. Jackie is sure he is coming home to stay for good, but when he doesn’t arrive alone, the tension builds palpably. He has brought his fiancé, Lesly (Kristen Carter) to introduce her to the family, who unfortunately seem less than cordial.

Each of these players bring a strength and even believable incredulity to their characters. The offspring all have their problems – Coleman’s Jackie-O is clearly delusional if not demented; Irwin’s Anthony exudes a sense of disconnect, unsure of his place and searching for a sense of normality; Clark’s Marty seems confident until his warped relationship with his twin resurfaces; Kline’s Mrs. Pascal emerges as haughty, arrogant, even the source of her family’s distress but still vitally concerned for their welfare.

As for Carter’s Lesly, she is obviously way out in left field here with the family both attacking and defending her at every turn. Hers is perhaps the most distressing role and she handles it well.

The set for this show matches the affluence it means to portray. Designer Jesse Glenn has done a super job with the yards of shimmering drapery and the intriguing entrances and exits it provides.

Running without intermission, this is a riveting 89 minutes that will have you laughing and gasping with a lot to discuss when it’s over. Excellent cast, beautiful set, suspenseful and emotionally gripping, we highly recommend it. One word of caution: according to the program, all shows in this Ghost Light Series are intended for mature audiences who enjoy exploring the human condition.

The House of Yes continues at Flint Community Players through June 25. For more information and tickets contact the box office at 810-441-9302 or online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com


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FYT’s “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” Was Mischievous Fun

18011103_10155012439312481_6180447184329536686_nReviewed by Kathleen Kirby

A long time favorite purveyor of mischief came to life on the Bower Theatre stage this week! Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat has been playing to children’s groups all week and winds up its run today. If you missed it, we’re sorry – it was a wonderfully colorful, comical, musical, and wacky show that the kids in Friday night’s audience loved loudly!

Director Kay Kelly chose the Katie Mitchell adaptation of this beloved Suess story possibly to ensure the delight of both parents and their offspring. It begins with the children, Boy (Ronan Streby) and Sally (Molly Jones) facing a day home alone in a rainstorm. Unable to play outside, they must find things to do inside – not an easy task. In addition, they seem to be watched over by a large, flashy goldfish (Michaela Nogaj) that behaves more like a parent than a pet!

Suddenly a knock on the door brings a very large cat (LaTroy Childress) sporting a tall striped hat onto the scene accompanied by three partners in mischief, Kitten #1 (Evan Brewer), Kitten #2 (Zoe Proctor), and Kitten #3 (Maya Sawyer). At this point the fun begins as the entire audience is drawn into the fun. Ever larger beach balls are launched into the audience causing, as we might expect, a competitive and rousing spirit to ensue.

Once the beach balls are retrieved, a large crate appears onstage and two Things are released to run further riot! Young twins Lucas and William Eldredge are perfect as Thing #1 and Thing #2 respectively. It is this bushy blue-haired duo that manages to truly cause havoc as they run about flying their kites in the house.

Fifties music rocks and rolls throughout as all this action happens. Childress is a marvelous Cat – long and lanky with a variety of crazy gymnastic moves and funny facial expressions – his only problem seemed to be a hoarse voice Friday. His energy and enthusiasm were perfection.

Finally, the word went out that Mom was coming home! What to do? Cat and Kittens manage to put things back but at play’s end asked the audience what they would tell Mom about their crazy day. As if on cue, one youngster in the audience blurted out “I would tell her the truth!” It was a perfect ending to a wonderfully fun 45 minutes with Dr. Suess!

One more performance remains – today at 2 pm. Grab the kids and get there if you can!  Call 810.237.1530 to check for tickets.

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