Kearsley Park Players Return with Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”

Flint’s Kearsley Park Players continue their 2015 Theatre in Our Parks summer theatre festival with a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s musical comedy The Mikado.

With some of the most enjoyable songs in musical theater, The Mikado tells the story of star-crossed lovers who overcome numerous obstacles to find happiness together. Placed in ancient Japan, the story actually uses its Japanese location to poke fun at English and American society.

The Mikado remains the most popular Gilbert & Sullivan work. It has been translated into numerous languages and is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history.

When The Mikado was first presented in 1885, its London production ran for 672 performances, which was one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time. Before the end of 1885, it was estimated that at least 150 theatre companies in Europe and America were producing the musical at the same time.

“Last year the Kearsley Park Players did our first Gilbert & Sullivan musical with a triumphant production of Pirates of Penzance,” stated director Kay Kelly, “That production sold out every performance and many people were turned away at the door so this year we have added Thursday evening performances for both weeks of the run.”

Because of funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation, tickets for all performances are only $5. Many noted local performers are part of the production, including Michael Kelly as the Mikado, Caroline Marie Collins as Yum-Yum, David Lindsay as Ko-Ko, Frank Pitts as Pooh-Bah, Kim Streby as Katisha and Ethan Rodgers as Nanki-Poo.

The Mikado will open on Thursday, August 13 at the Opera House at Crossroads Village at 7:30 pm. Performances at Crossroads Village will continue on Friday, August 14, Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16 at 7:30 pm. For ticket reservations at the Opera House, please call (810) 736-7100 (ext. 6) during regular business hours (9am to 5pm).

The second weekend, The Mikado moves to the Kearsley Park Pavilion with performances August 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 pm with the final performance (and the only matinee) on Sunday, August 23 at 3 pm. For ticket reservations at Kearsley Park call (810) 845-4050.

The play is directed by Kay Kelly with musical direction by Nada Radakovich.

The full schedule of performances follows:
August 13 – The Opera House at Crossroads Village – 7:30 PM
August 14 – The Opera House at Crossroads Village – 7:30 PM
August 15 – The Opera House at Crossroads Village – 7:30 PM

August 16 – The Opera House at Crossroads Village – 7:30 PM
August 20 – Kearsley Park Pavilion – 7:30 PM
August 21 – Kearsley Park Pavilion – 7:30 PM
August 22 – Kearsley Park Pavilion – 7:30 PM
August 23 – Kearsley Park Pavilion – 3:00 PM


This performance is part of “2015 Theatre in OUR Parks”, a collaboration between the City of Flint Parks and Recreation Department and Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, funded by a grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation.

Join your friends and neighbors all over Genesee County as we celebrate summer in our parks. More information at


AAA PR photo-1

[PHOTO: (front) David Lindsay as Ko-Ko, (center) Ethan Rodgers as Nanki-Poo, Caroline Marie Collins as Yum-Yum, and (back) Michael Kelly as the Mikado.]


Theatre in Our Parks

(810) 845-4050




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There’s Nothing Good About Grief in FCP’s “Dog Sees God”

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

Flint Community Players stepped out on the edge Friday to present Bert V. Royal’s prickly send-up of the Charles M. Schulz Peanuts gang, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. It’s a 90-minute, darkly comic, emotion-ridden glimpse at what the kids may have become in adolescence.

Director Tomoko Miller, in her first foray into directing, has assembled an eclectic troupe to portray these slightly veiled comic strip characters. Clearly the names are changed to protect the playwright from any legal repercussions, but they also reflect the fact that these are no longer children.

Seth Hart is CB (Charlie Brown?), who faced with the rabid demise of his beloved dog (and horrified to see that the beagle had also destroyed the little yellow bird) seems on a mission to discover “what happens when we die”. Hart is appropriately angst-ridden complete with furrowed brow and slightly scurrying gait as he looks for answers from among his friends.

A newcomer to FCP, Sara Kilgore plays CB’s Sister (Sally?). Younger than CB, she is nonetheless a teen and taken to professing various personas such as a prominent Wiccan ideal. Still, Kilgore does exude innocence especially when dealing with the likes of Van (Linus?).

As for Van, George M. Marzonie brings the teen version to disturbing life, as a somewhat drug-addled pothead still willing to offer “advice” and “wisdom”. He is often gathered sleazily around a table in the school lunchroom with Marcy (Marie L. VanHorn) and Tricia (Sarah Jarrett), where the girls drink alcohol-spiked soda and make non-stop fun of a bulimic classmate. VanHorn is hilarious as the approval-driven Marcy (Marcie?), bouncing and bubbling giddily all the while wondering if this is really the “cool table”.

Jarrett’s version of Tricia (Peppermint Patty?) is crass, often mean, but always comical. Her teen portrayal of the pushy and slightly dense Patty allows for a good deal of comic license in demeanor and expression. Paired with VanHorn, these two are a hoot.

Then Royal adds Matt (Alex Weiss), a germ phobic, homophobic, woman-obsessed bully, to stir the pot. Every story needs some conflict and this character more than fills that bill. Weiss brings a bundle of emotions from rage to jealousy to bear on the proceedings. He can even be downright scary, a far cry from his doppelganger, Pigpen.

So what about CB’s nemesis, the overbearing Lucy? Dubbed by Royal as Van’s Sister, Lauren Kondrat plays the incarcerated version of the 5-cent psychiatrist. Seems she set a classmate’s curly red hair on fire and was hospitalized to work out her problems. Kondrat is rather incredible in this role. Her wildly swinging moods all play out in a very confined visitor space as she meets handcuffed to chat with CB.

Finally, the musically nerdy Beethoven allows Mark A. Vukelich to really shine as the conflicted, bullied and talented young man we once knew as Schroeder. Having endured unending torment after his father went to jail for molesting him, he has withdrawn to his music. However, when confronted by CB with his question about death, the conversation takes a sexual turn that has both of them amazed.

Issues abound in this script. Obviously death heads the list, but it is joined by teen violence, drug abuse, rebellion, sexual identity, and suicide. Okay, there was a certain amount of underlying conflict in their earlier days, but this gang has arrived at adolescence with a pretty big boatload of problems, and they don’t really seem to realize it. Only CB, as usual, has a grasp of the seriousness the next step may hold and their unpreparedness to meet it. As one audience member was heard to say Friday, “I’m so happy I’m not in high school today!”

We should also mention this show carries a caveat: “Presented for mature audiences as it contains simulated drug and alcohol use, harsh language, and sexually suggestive material.” With that said, this is an exceptionally well-done piece. Perhaps not for the squeamish, it is impeccable in its presentation and technically precise.

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead continues July 25 at 7:30pm and July 26 at 2:30pm at the Tom & Bea Nobles Performance Hall, 2462 S. Ballenger Hwy. Flint 48507.


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Clio Cast & Crew Announces Auditions for “Barbecuing Hamlet”


Director:  Jon R. Coggins
JULY 29th and 30th at 6:30 pm at Theatre 57, Vienna Road, Clio
In search of 5 to 6 males, 7 females

“Wouldn’t it be great fun to direct William Shakespeare’s Hamlet? That was what Margo Daley always thought…until she is hired to do just that by the Peaceful Glen Memorial Players in their theater, a renovated funeral home. They DO have a couple of conditions, however. Margo has to make the play a melodrama, so the audience will know when to throw the popcorn. And they can’t be too loud because the lady who lives under the theater bangs her cane on the stage. Oh, and Margo has to insert the sponsors’ names into the play and, by the way, it has to take place in the Old West.

“And make sure the actors talk real loud because of all the noise the audience makes sucking their fingers,” states one of the council members referring to an occupational hazard brought about by them selling barbecue before the show.

All kinds of eccentric characters come out of the woodwork in this riotous tribute to life on the community theater stage. Even the pizza delivery boy is given parts – several since Margo only has four actors to portray the five-act tragedy. Fast lines and even faster exits punctuate this farce as Margo and her troupe of misguided actors find out what it’s like when they begin Barbecuing Hamlet.



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New Theatre Company Debuts With Fatalistic Comedy – “boom”

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

“This is the way the world begins, not with a boom but a splash.” Okay, we took some liberties with T.S. Eliot there, but after attending a preview performance Wednesday of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s boom it does seem appropriate.

boom is the inaugural production of the newly formed OhR’lyeh (oh-REEL-yuh) Theatre Company, a group dedicated to challenging the status quo and to presenting new, different and unusual theatre. This show fits that bill nicely. It’s comical, quirky, and fatalistic all while causing questions to fester and possibilities to emerge.

It only takes three characters to bring this story to life: Jules, played by Director Carl Mizell, is a biologist convinced that humanity will soon end; Jo, played by Artistic Director Katie Mizell, is a journalism student answering an ad for an evening of “no strings attached” sex; Barbara, played by Jessicia Smith, pulls levers and plays the timpani, with passion – hey, it works out in the end, sorta.

When Jules placed the ad, it was to lure a woman to his underground lab for the purpose of repopulating the world after an approaching comet destroys all life. Carl Mizell plays this fellow with a mixture of urgency and general dismay. He is prepared with provisions to last for the long haul. However, his experience with women is virtually nil.

As Jo, Katie Mizell brings a macho attitude to mask her own insecurity. She swaggers and demands but when she tries to leave, she faints. It turns out that she isn’t much more experienced than Jules.

Smith’s Barbara may seem to be an enigma standing by a control machine and pounding occasionally on that timpani. Her role is somewhat narrative, but her personality bubbles through. She’ll have audiences wondering right up to the end.

Throughout the drama a fish tank stands off to one side, ostensibly inhabited by four fish whose behavior has proven the impending disaster is real. And then it happens!

We surely don’t want to spoil the rest of the story, but suffice it to say that this 90-minute/no-intermission tale will leave the audience with plenty to think about and discuss. Things like where did we really come from? Who were our ancestors? What role did fate play in it all? Is everything really just left to chance, or do we have a hand in determining the destiny of mankind and our own as well?

A cautionary note: given that it is the end of the world, there is some harsh language in this script.

OhR’lyeh founders Carl and Katie Mizell are to be congratulated for taking this leap of faith. Flint has always welcomed and warmly embraced a variety of theatrical ventures. With the establishment of OhR’lyeh, we can surely look forward to productions that are unusual and stretch boundaries.

boom opens tonight (July 23) at 7:30 pm and runs through Sunday at Theatre 57, 2220 W Vienna Rd, Clio, MI 48420. For more information contact the Theatre 57 box office at (810) 687-2588.


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“Jack and the Beanstalk” Offers Family Fun All Weekend

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

With a passel of excited youngsters gathered on the floor in front of the platform, the Kearsley Park Players opened a rousing, and slightly tongue-in-cheek, production of the children’s classic Jack and the Beanstalk Thursday evening. This wonderfully comic rendition, written by Flint’s own Megan Donahue and performed in the Kearsley Park Pavilion, captivated the adults as well as the kids.

It’s a short little story (just 20 minutes in length) but elaborately mounted and gorgeously costumed right down to the “character” of Milky White, Jack’s cow! Donahue’s script involves the entire town, so there are whole families raging against Jack and his Mother when Milky White runs dry.

We know the story: Jack’s Mother (Amber Dillard) demands he sell the errant cow (Ian Thomas) so they can have money to survive. Jack (Justin Wetenhall) sells the cow to a wizard (Vic Galea) in return for five magic beans.

His mother throws the beans out the window and exiles Jack to his room, but soon the beans sprout in the form of five adorable tiny tots who help Jack up the stalk to the Giant’s castle in the sky. There he meets the Giant’s wife (Jessica Eldredge), a comical and outspoken gal who warns him away.

But the Giant (Matthew Szhkhent) “smells the blood of an Englishman”, which he prefers to his wife’s pancakes any day! Jack gets away first with the Hen that lays golden eggs (Alberta Dillard) who had the youngsters squawking right along with her! But when he steals the loud and glistening golden Harp (Shelly Hoffman), the Giant gives chase.

Although we’d expect the beanstalk to grow skyward, this one grows horizontally instead. With help from the tots, this approach actually works as the collective audience imagination takes over.

It all ends happily, of course, with Milky White even being returned by the wizard. So, gather the youngsters or just come alone. But do head out to the parks this weekend for this very enjoyable Jack and the Beanstalk. And give director Kay Kelly an extra round of applause for bringing this diverse group of young and old together in such comical and entertaining style.

Admission is free but you may want to bring a lawn chair to the venue of your choice: Linden County Park (Clover Beach) Friday, July 10 at 7 pm; Saturday, July 11 – Max Brandon Park at 2 pm, Mott Park at 3 pm, & Flushing County Park at 7 pm; Sunday (July 12) McKinley Park (Thread Lake) at 3 pm.

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“Jack and the Beanstalk” Brings Family Fun to Flint and Genesee County – Free and Open to the Public

Once again Flint’s Kearsley Park Players take their fairy tale theater for children and families to parks and playgrounds across the city and county.

Jack and the Beanstalk is this year’s fairy tale and the large cast features many local performers including Justin Wetenhall as Jack, Amber M. Dillard as Jack’s mother, Victor Galea as the wizard, Jessica Eldridge as the giant’s wife and Matt Szukhent as the giant.  The cast also includes children as young as three.  The 30-minute show is perfect for young children and fun for the whole family.

Jack and the Beanstalk opens at Kearsley Park on Thursday, July 9, at 7 pm.

During the day on Friday, July 10, the company will take the play on the road, performing at a variety of day camps, child care centers and tot-lots around the community. Friday night, Jack and the Beanstalk will come to Linden County Park (at Clover Beach) for a 7 pm performance.

On the early afternoon of Saturday, July 11 Jack and the Beanstalk will be performed at Max Brandon Park on Flint’s north side at 2 pm, then at Mott Park on Flint’s west side at 3 pm.  The evening of Saturday, July 11 Jack and the Beanstalk comes to Flushing County Park with a 7 pm performance.

The show comes to a close on Sunday, July 12 with performances at the McKinley Park (at Thread Lake) on Flint’s south side at 3 pm.

Admission to all performances is free Please bring your own lawn chairs everywhere except Kearsley Park.

This performance is part of “2015 Theatre in OUR Parks”, a collaboration between the City of Flint Parks and Recreation Department and Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Join your friends and neighbors all over Genesee County as we celebrate summer in our parks.

PHOTO CAPTION: (The Giant’s Wife (Jessica Eldredge) helps Jack (Justin Wetenhall) escape the Giant (Matt Szukhent), Photo by Michael Kelly.

PHOTO CAPTION: (The Giant’s Wife (Jessica Eldredge) helps Jack (Justin Wetenhall) escape the Giant (Matt Szukhent), Photo by Michael Kelly.

Kearsley Park Project

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New Local Theatre Company to Present Apocalyptic Comedy in Clio

The OhR’lyeh Theatre Company (pronounced oh-REE-le-ah) is proud to announce its upcoming production of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s apocalyptic comedy entitled boom.

**Produced with special permission by Dramatists Play Service**

Dates: July 23, 24, 25 @7:30pm and July 26 @2:00pm

Tickets: $15.00 each for adults; $12.00 each for students 13 and over.

All performances will be presented at THEATRE 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd., Clio, MI 48420

Call the box office at 810-687-2588 or go online to

Synopsis per Dramatists Play Service:

“Sex to Change the Course of the World” — A grad student’s online personal ad lures a mysterious journalism student to his subterranean research lab under the pretense of an evening of “no strings attached” sex. But when a major global catastrophic event strikes the planet, their date takes on evolutionary significance and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. Will they survive? What about the fish in the tank? And who is that woman pulling levers and playing the timpani? An epic and intimate comedy that spans over billions of years, boom explores the influences of fate versus randomness in the course of one’s life, and life as we know it on the planet

Some other tidbits to consider:

boom was the most-produced play of the 2009-2010 season.

-Our production is the first production of boom in Genesee County (the nearest production we could find records of was East Lansing).

The OhR’lyeh Theatre Company:  Katie Mizell – Artistic Director/Resident Artist; Carl Mizell – Director/Resident Artist; Jessica Smith – Resident Artist



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