Two early theater gifts

Photo by Sue Suchyta


Margaret Kinnell (left) as Margo James, Patrick Denyer as Gibby Hayden and April Denny as Suzannah Hayden rehearse a scene from the Players Guild of Dearborn’s upcoming comedy, “Til Beth Do Us Part.” The show will run for three weekends, Jan. 13 to 29. For more information call (313) 561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

By SUE SUCHYTA
The Players Guild of Dearborn started rehearsals last week for the comedy “Til Beth Do Us Part.”

Director Robb Stempek of Livonia said the play is a very funny comedy.

“Suzannah, who is climbing up the corporate ladder, is feeling frustrated by her husband’s lack of help around the house, so they get an assistant who turns their world upside down and eventually tries to get rid of the husband altogether because she wants (Suzannah’s) job,” Stempek said. “Hilarity ensues, and there’s people dressing up in women’s clothing… it’s going to be great.”

He said it is a family show, with farcical humor and nothing risqué.

“I was asked to read it and I fell in love with it,” Stempek said. “It’s such a funny show. I’ve never seen a show do what this show does. A lot of shows will do old schtick that you’ve seen in other shows … this is all new stuff, fun little bits and pieces here that just make it really special.”

He hopes audience members will recognize themselves in the show.

“That’s kind of the plan,” Stempek said. “Part of what makes it so funny. It’s almost like a situational comedy… You can put yourself in their shoes.”

Assistant director Frann Stempek of Taylor said the show is about a couple who are “losing the magic in their marriage.”

“She’s very, very busy and he’s trying to find his way in their marriage, and her friend decides to bring someone into their life that’s going to – in the guise of helping (Suzannah) is going to shake up their relationship a little bit, and let them see how important they are to each other,” she said.

She said the friend does this intentionally, because she see Suzanna falling into the same rut that she and her husband fell into before they split up.

She added that it is something that people of all ages would enjoy, and that the cast is very funny and imaginative in the way they portray the characters.

April Denny of Dearborn Heights describes her character, Suzannah Hayden, as a businesswoman who works for Carmichael’s Chocolates and who loves her husband but is becoming increasingly frustrated at his not helping her at all around the house.

“She decides to take on an assistant to take on some of the duties, and the assistant has a tendency to run things into the ground to get them her way,” Denny said. “Comedy ensues, and mistaken identities and cross dressing.”

Denny said it would be fantastic to have someone come in and clean her house, walk her dog and do all the things she doesn’t want to do.

She adds that people will enjoy “the comedy that is marriage.

“Marriage itself is a comedy no matter what you do,” Denny said. “It kind of highlights the trials and tribulations of marriage and divorce and what happens in and around all those things.”

She is excited to be doing the show, and predicts audience members will be laughing a lot throughout it.

“I can relate a lot to this character,” Denny said. “She’s a busy woman who schedules her time and takes care of everything and wants everything taken care of and sometimes unfortunately people get left in the lurch, and unfortunately that’s part of me, too.”

Patrick Denyer of Dearborn describes his character, Gibby Hayden, as a weatherman who is a benevolent husband and who loves his wife but is a slob.

“He just doesn’t think about her needs at all,” Denyer said. “He lives his life… he loves her, he’s very happy, a very motivated person, and doesn’t see the train wreck that’s about to happen in his life.”

Denyer said this is the largest role he’s played at the Guild, and it really gives him a chance to be himself. He says sometimes he’s neater than Gibby, and sometimes he’s not.

“Sometimes I have to be told what needs to be done,” Denyer said. “But I’m used to that – I’m used to having my better half organizing the family structure and the things that happen in the family home, and she’s very good at it, too.”

He said he thinks the comedy will appeal to everybody.

“It’s a very neat, funny, fast-moving comedy and I think that people are going to find it very humorous and fun to watch,” Denyer said. “And it’s for all age groups.”

Other cast members include Kori Bielaniec of Livonia as Beth Bailey, Margaret Kinnell of Wayne as Margo James, Ron Williams of Redford as Hank Russell and Linda Trygg of Westland as Celia Carmichael.

James Mayne of Redford and Marni Hack of Royal Oak will co-produce the show.

The comedy will be performed for three weekends, Jan. 13 to 29, 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.

‘SISTER’S CHRISTMAS CATECHISM’ AT THE CENTURY THEATRE
Back by popular demand, “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold” is back with Mary Zentmyer of Chicago as Sister at the Century Theatre through New Year’s Eve.

Tickets are on sale at the Gem and Century Theatre box office, 333 Madison in Detroit. To order tickets call the theater box office (313-963-9800) or order tickets through any Ticketmaster outlet at 800-982-2787 or online.

The show is very interactive, and if you’re late, it’s highly likely that you will be called out by Sister and asked to apologize to your audience classmates before being quizzed.

The show is very funny, and you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy it, although Catholic school alumni will laugh loudly as their own repressed memories bubble to the surface.

Besides arriving on time, make up a confirmation name if you don’t have one, and be sure it’s the name of a recognized saint.

In addition to all the audience interaction, Sister weaves a humorous tale about the Nativity that amounts to a Christmas trivial pursuit show. But don’t look up the answer on your cell phone – Sister confiscated one when an audience member admitted to using Google to determine who created the first living Nativity.

After intermission – or “recess” – Sister stages a living Nativity with Mary, Joseph, a plastic light-up lawn baby Jesus, shepherds, Magi, a little drummer boy and assorted animals – all recruited from the audience.

The most obnoxious man in the audience will probably end up being the ass (the kind Mary rides into Bethlehem) and will become the butt of many jokes.

Ladies, don’t display too much cleavage, either, unless you want Sister to help you cover it up with a handkerchief or two should you end up on stage.

In addition to the Christmas quiz questions, Sister uses the living Nativity to solve the mystery of the Magi’s missing gold.

“We know what happened to the myrrh and frankincense – Mary used them as a sort of potpourri,” Sister said. “They were in a barn after all. But who was the culprit who made off with the gold coins and left Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus in that lousy stable without any chance to upgrade to a suite?”

No two shows are the same, and sometimes audience members offer the biggest surprises and the best laughs.

In addition to show tickets, dinner packages are available. For more information, go to www.gemtheatre.com.

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