The Players Guild casts Rogers and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella;’ Rehearsals well under way

Photo by Kelly O’Connor

Photo by Kelly O’Connor

Jason Cabral (left) as Matt and Christina Flynn as Luisa costar in “The Fantasticks” at the Hilberry Theatre on the Wayne State University campus weekends through October. For tickets or more information, call (313) 577-2972, or visit their Web sites at and

By Sue Suchyta
If we must admit that summer is over and cooler weather is here to stay, at least the theater junkies among us can distract ourselves with some of the musical theater being offered on local stages. With the Hilberry offering the rare treat of a musical with “The Fantasticks,” “Legally Blonde the Musical” coming to the Fisher, and “Cinderella” coming to the Players Guild of Dearborn, we won’t mind moving indoors quite as much when the skies turn gray.

The Guild has cast Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” and while they are still looking for a few more strong male dancers, rehearsals are well under way. The show opens Nov. 13 for a four-weekend run. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees.

The show is directed and choreographed by John Luther of Farmington, with music direction by Paul Abbott of Allen Park. Mike Moseley of Allen Park is producing the show.

The cast includes: Kate Wallace of Royal Oak as Cinderella; Ken Kilgore of Dearborn as the Prince; Patti Jones of Dearborn as the Stepmother; Juliette Abbott of Allen Park as Portia, a stepsister; Meg daPonte of Canton as Joy, a stepsister; Rae McIntosh of Beverly Hills as the Godmother; Patrick Landino of Garden City as the King; Sally Goodman of Dearborn as the Queen, and Ross Grossman of Farmington Hills as the Herald.

The ensemble includes: Tim Carney of Livonia, Lark Cederlind of Grosse Pointe Park, Nicole Cooper of Dearborn; Susan DeNeau of Redford, Shelley Hook of Livonia, Cjersti Jensen of Grosse Ile, Jeff Lokken of Livonia, Lindsey MacDonald of Canton, Bill Spurlin of Garden City, Katie Suchyta of Dearborn, and Benjamin Timpf of Dearborn.

Hilberry to open season with ‘The Fantasticks’

Theater devotees who appreciate the Hilberry Theatre, Detroit’s gem and Wayne State’s wonderful graduate theater, have a double treat in store: Not only is the new season opening, but for just the third time in regular season history the company is offering a musical. “The Fantasticks” will open Oct. 2, and will run through the month of October.

The Hilberry, known for its wonderful non-musical season of classics and Shakespeare performed on a par with Stratford, can schedule its shows in rotating repertory because they don’t have to worry about having musicians available at their beck and call. So while they are opening the season with a musical theater classic, they will break with tradition and run with the musical for the month of October, after which they will introduce their non-musical shows into their rotating repertory season.

“The Fantasticks,” with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, is a story about innocence and love with multiple levels of appeal. It also features classic tunes like, “Try to Remember,” which you’ll still have running through your head when you leave the theater.

In the lyrics of “Try to Remember,” El Gallo the Narrator sings, “Try to remember when life was so tender that dreams were kept beside your pillow. Try to remember and if you remember, then follow..” (Hey, if I’m going to have that stuck in my head, I want company!)

The Tony Award-winning musical opened in May 1960 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York, where it played to 17,162 audiences before closing January 13, 2002, making it the world’s longest-running musical. In 2006 the show re-opened and is currently playing at the Snapple Center under the direction of its lyricist, Tom Jones.

“The Fantasticks” is directed by Jesse Merz, assistant professor of acting and head of the BFA acting program. The cast includes: Alan Ball as El Gallo, Christina Flynn as Luisa, Jason Cabral as Matt, Brian P. Sage as Hucklebee, Peter C. Prouty as Bellomy, Jordan Whalen as Henry, Justin Vanden Heuvel as Mortimer, and Erman Jones as The Mute.

Group discounts are available. For tickets, call (313) 577-2972 or go to the Wayne State University Box Office at 4743 Cass Ave. Performance information and tickets are available at the theater’s Web sites: and