Players Guild previews season at Homecoming

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Guild members performing the title song from “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” include Lark Cederlind (left) of Grosse Pointe, Ashley Ostrowski of Dearborn Heights, Michael Bollman of Dearborn, Ebony Bradley of Detroit, Sydnee Dombrowski of Dearborn, Jacob Dombrowski of Dearborn, Scott Rider of Lincoln Park, and Kenneth Gibson of Detroit.

By Sue Suchyta
The Players Guild of Dearborn actors entertained audiences in their tent at the top of the hill at Dearborn’s annual Homecoming celebration Aug. 7 and 8 with a preview of songs from the upcoming season’s musicals.

The season includes, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” its fall musical, and “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a recently released musical slated for the Guild’s spring 2011 schedule.

The actors also entertained with audience-pleasing Broadway show tunes from “Spamalot,” “Grease,” “Rent,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Wicked.”

The season also includes the romantic comedy “Crossing Delancey,” the farce “See How They Run,” and the drama “Inherit the Wind.”

Rehearsals for the Susan Sandler’s romantic comedy “Crossing Delancey” are under way. The show opens Sept. 17 and runs weekends through Oct. 3.

Isabelle, or “Izzy,” is a big city girl with an exciting career and her eye on a handsome, sophisticated author. When her grandmother enlists a local matchmaker to find a good match for her, Izzy is not happy. However, she agrees to meet Sam, the owner of a local pickle shop. What develops is a romantic dilemma: Should Izzy pursue the man she thinks she wants, or the one her heart wants?

The cast includes Sydnee Dombrowski of Dearborn in the lead role as Isabelle, Diana Reynolds of Dearborn as Bubbie, Isabelle’s grandmother, and Patricia LaFramboise of Northville as Hannah, the matchmaker.

Alex Gojkov of Redford is Sam, the pickle shop merchant, and Chris Boudreau of Detroit is Tyler, a handsome author.

The show is being co-produced by James Mayne of Redford and Tim Carney of Livonia, and directed by Stan Guarnelo of Dearborn Heights.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is the second show of the Guild’s season. The musical comedy features a book by Rachel Sheinkin, and music and lyrics by William Finn.

The Tony Award-winning musical follows six young people in the throes of puberty who discover a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time. As words pile up and defenses break down, the spellers learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Dianne Bernick will direct the show. Auditions will be held Sept. 20 and 21, with Nov. 12 to 14, 19 to 21, 26 to 28 and Dec. 3 to 5 performances. The show contains adult language and situations.

The third show of the season is the Philip King farce “See How They Run.”

Lionel Toop, the vicar of Merton-cum-Middlewick, has married Penelope, a former American actress. Miss Skillon, a tea-totaling village gossip, objects to Penelope being seen wearing trousers and waving to soldiers.

When Clive Winton, a fellow actor-turned-soldier, arrives unexpectedly from his new job at a prisoner-of-war camp, all it takes is a borrowed suit and one lucky punch to set off a whirlwind series of mistaken identities, slamming doors, drunken escapades and enough vicars to make you think you have double vision.

The show will be directed by Lucinda Chavez. Auditions will be held Nov.
15 to 16 with performances Jan. 14 to 16, 21 to 23 and 28 to 30.

The fifth show of the season is the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee drama, “Inherit the Wind.” Debbie Pletzer will direct the show.

Auditions will be held Jan. 17 and 18 with registration running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and auditions beginning at 7:30 p.m. The show will be performed March 11 to 13, 18 to 20 and 25 to 27. In “Inherit the Wind” a schoolteacher is arrested for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to his students. Two eminent lawyers take sides in a stifling hot courtroom.

The trial becomes a struggle of ideals and a battle between two longtime adversaries.

As relevant today as it was when it debuted in 1955, the play looks at what happens when faith and the forces of change challenge traditional beliefs.

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” a recently released musical and the closing show of the season, is described as a “musical within a comedy.”

In the Tony Award-winning musical, a die-hard musical fan known only as The Man in the Chair puts on the record of his favorite musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” to overcome his feelings of “non-specific sadness.”

As the record plays, the musical comes to life in his living room, telling the tale of a Hollywood actress who is relinquishing her movie career to marry her true love.

The entertaining characters include a wealthy dowager, her faithful butler, a frustrated theater impresario, a ditzy chorine, gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a befuddled bridegroom, an anxious best man, a Latin lothario and, above all, the “Drowsy” (or inebriated) Chaperone.

The Man in the Chair provides both the story and the scintillating back story and speaks for every ticket-holder in a seat who longs to be both entertained and swept away.

The show’s book was written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. The show will be directed and choreographed by Paul Bruce, with musical direction by Ken Pletzer.

Auditions will be held March 14 and 15 with registration running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and auditions beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The show will run for four weekends, May 6 to 8, 13 to 15, 20 to 22 and 27 to 29.

Season tickets are $65, which provide five shows for the price of four. Season ticket holders may call to exchange tickets 24 hours prior to a performance and receive the best seats available for the new date.

For more information on upcoming shows and to order season tickets for the season, call the Guild hotline at (313) 561-TKTS, or go to