‘Burn the Floor’ heats up the Motor City

Photo by Erin Ostrowski

The Players Guild of Dearborn presents Lawrence and Lee’s “Inherit the Wind” for three weekends, March 11 to 27, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. For more information, call (313) 561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

By Sue Suchyta
The new Broadway production of “Burn the Floor” brings some much needed heat to the Motor City now through March 6 at the Fisher Theatre.

Get it while it’s hot – because it won’t be in town long, and you won’t want to miss these sizzling dance moves.

From the waltz to the tango, to the rumba and swing, the show is on fire, and the flame is kept burning for two hours by the talent and energy of nine world class dance couples.

Add in scintillating singers and dynamic drummers, and you have a riveting show.

After watching the waltzes performed, one can understand why they were banned when they first arrived on the scene – they are sensual and charged with sexual energy.

Notable among the numbers is “History Repeating,” in Act I, when the talented troupe takes us through a rapid history of ballroom dance, sweeping by in a non-stop parade of the Viennese waltz, the foxtrot, swing, Lindy, jive, samba, rumba and cha cha.

Another favorite was “Sway,” which mesmerized with a seductive combination of cha cha and swing.

“The Dirty Boogie,” featuring the jive, Lindy and swing, might surprise today’s teens, who naively think they discovered dirty dancing.

“Proud Mary,” danced in the jive tradition, was an unexpected treat.

The incredible multinational dance ensemble, 18 strong, is a who’s who of world champions. For more on the incredible cast, go to the show’s Website, www.burnthefloor.com.

The talented vocalists include Peter Saul and Vonzell Solomon. On stage percussionists Joseph Malone and Henry Soriano add to the multiple levels of excellence.

For more information about “Burn the Floor,” call the box office at (313) 872-1000, or go to www.BroadwayinDetroit.com.

Creationism versus evolution takes center stage at the Players Guild of Dearborn for three weekends, March 11 to 27 as the thespians present the Lawrence and Lee drama “Inherit the Wind.” Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees.

Inspired by the Scopes Monkey Trial, the story is set in Tennessee’s conservative Bible Belt in 1925, and follows the public outcry and subsequent trial when a teacher introduces evolution to his students.

As the trial progresses it becomes more than a battle of wills between opposing attorneys, and the battle shifts from the case at hand to the freedom to think and speak as one chooses.

Debbie Pletzer of Canton directs the production, which Valerie Haas of Inkster is producing and assistant directing.

The large cast includes Tom Varitek of Dearborn as teacher Bertram Cates; Kori Bielaniec of Livonia as his love interest, Rachel Brown; and Bill Spurlin of Garden City as the Rev. Jeremiah Brown, Rachel’s father.

The powerhouse attorneys are portrayed by Sean Greimel of Dearborn Heights as defense lawyer Henry Drummond and Chris Chavez of Allen Park as prosecutor Matthew Brady.

Others in the cast include Sally Hart Goodman of Dearborn as Sarah Brady, the prosecutor’s wife; Kirk Haas of Inkster as liberal journalist E.K. Hornbeck; Morris Goodman of Dearborn as the judge; and Tom Sparrow of Allen Park as the mayor.

Donte Verriel-Huffman of Detroit is featured as Howard Blair, a young boy who inadvertently triggers the town’s controversy when he teases young Melinda Lewis, played by Emily Pletzer of Canton, about once being a worm.

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

For more information call (313) 561-TKTS or go to the Guild Website, www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

Rehearsals are well underway for the Southgate Community Players production of the adult musical comedy “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

The story of two con men on the French Riviera who sweetly swindle women of their fortunes will run at 8 p.m. on May 13, 14, 20 and 21 at Davidson Middle School Auditorium, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.

Denny Connors of Allen Park will direct and choreograph the show, with musical direction by Rich Alder of Westland. Tina Brow of Brownstown will serve as the dance captain, with Jeni Dusseau of LaSalle as the vocal director. Theresa Pauli of Lincoln Park is the assistant director, with Erin Schmidt of Brownstown producing the show.

The cast features John Bacarella of Monroe as rich and sophisticated Lawrence Jameson, and Leo McMaster of Rockwood as American upstart Freddy Benson, two totally different con men, who find the town is not big enough for both of them.

Tracy Glover of Toledo plays Christine Colgate, a lovely woman whom both men fall for in more ways than one.

Rob Eagal of Trenton plays Andre, Lawrence’s bodyguard and confidant, while Annie Mann of Southgate plays Muriel, his love interest. Katie Suchyta of Dearborn plays Jolene Oakes, an Oklahoma oil heiress who almost turns the tables on Lawrence.

The ensemble includes Carolyn Sohoza of Allen Park; Lara Keathley, and Jim and Jamie Rollet of Southgate; Jay and Raymond Carter of Taylor; Cheryl Eagal of Trenton; Colette Cerulla, Stephanie Mayville, Brian and Laura Moody, and Patrick Reed of Wyandotte; Petronilo de la Garza of Livonia; Karlene Szekely of Brownstown; and Monica Almaguer and Charlene Bauer of Woodhaven.

For more information go to www.scponstage.com.