Players Guild hosts Michigan community theater premiere of Twain’s ‘Is He Dead?’

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Phil Booth (left) of Dearborn as O’Shaughnessy, Alex Godjov of Redford as Chicago, and Brian Townsend of Dearborn as Jean–Francois Millet star in the Players Guild of Dearborn production of Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?” Performances are Jan. 15 to 17, 22 to 24 and 29 to 31, with 8 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. For more information, call the Guild ticket line, (313) 561-TKTS, or go to www.playersguildof

By Sue Suchyta
The Players Guild of Dearborn continues its 83nd season with the recently discovered Mark Twain comedy “Is He Dead?” The show will celebrate its Michigan community theater debut Friday.

It was adapted for the stage by David Ives. The show will run for three weekends, Jan. 15 to 17, 22 to 24 and 29 to 31. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m.

Jean-François Millet, a gifted young painter, is in love with Marie Leroux. He is also in debt to a villainous art dealer, Bastien André. André forecloses on Millet, and threatens the artist with debtor’s prison unless Marie marries him. Millet realizes that the only way he can pay his debts and save Marie and her family from André is to die, as it is only dead painters who achieve fame and fortune. With the help of three friends, Millet fakes his death and prospers, all while posing as his sister, the Widow Tillou. Now a rich “widow,” his problems only continue to mount, and Millet realizes he must find a way to get out of the dress, return to life, and marry Marie!

The show is directed by Mary Beth Kinnell of Dearborn Heights, with Tim Carney of Livonia as assistant director. Stan Guarnelo of Dearborn Heights is producing the show.

The show features Dearborn actors Brian Townsend as Jean-Francois Millet, Sydnee Dombrowski as Marie Leroux and Jim Kirwin as Bastien Andre.

Others in the ensemble include Kori Bielaniec of Dearborn as Cecile, Phil Booth of Dearborn as O’Shaughnessy, Paul Bruce of Dearborn as the actor, Alan Ellias of Farmington Hills as Dutchy, Alex Godjov of Redford as Chicago, John Hutchison of Dearborn as the Sultan of Turkey, Patricia LaFramboise of Northville as Madame Caron, Scott Rider of Lincoln Park as the Emperor of Russia, Nancy Schuster of Livonia as Madame Bathilde and Tom Sparrow of Allen Park as Papa Leroux.

The theater is at 21730 Madison in Dearborn, southwest of the intersection of Monroe and Outer Drive. The venue is handicap accessible.

Tickets are $15. Student discounts of $2 (with valid identification) and group discounts are available. For more information, call the Guild ticket line at (313) 561-TKTS, or go to”