Have a ‘Nunsense’ Christmas with the Southgate Community Players

Photo courtesy of Southgate Community Players

Guinevere Hovey (left) of Lincoln Park as Sister Mary Leo, Karlene Szekely of Woodhaven as Sister Robert Ann and Jami Mullins of Woodhaven as Sister Mary Hubert will perform in the Southgate Community Players production of “Nunsense – The Christmas Musical Nuncrackers.” The show runs at 7 p.m. Friday and 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Davidson Middle School Auditorium, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate. For more information, call 734-828-4SCP or go to sconstage.com.

By Sue Suchyta
The Southgate Community Players will present “Nunsense – The Christmas Musical Nuncrackers” at 7 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Davidson Middle School Auditorium, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.

For more information, call 734-828-4SCP or go to www.sconstage.com.

The cast includes Holly Sisung as the Reverend Mother, Jami Mullins as Sister Hubert, Karley Szekely as Sister Robert Anne, Alexis Mosley as Sister Amnesia, Guinevere Hovey as Sister Mary Leo and Nick Mullins as Father Virgil.

The students at Mt. St. Helens School are played by Mikayla Adams, Ann Eccleton, Destiny Frank, Adriana James, Ana Grace Lutz, Allison Roberts and Jenna Savage.

“Wicked,” the Stephen Schwartz musical that reveals another side of the Oz story, is entertaining eager audiences through Dec. 31 at the Detroit Opera House.

For tickets or more information, call 313-872-1000 or go to www.BroadwayinDetroit.com.

You haven’t been “over the rainbow” until you’ve heard about Oz from a totally different perspective. In “Wicked” the Witch of the West – Elphaba – is a lonely, sensitive young woman who has been ostracized because of her green skin. When she discovers that she has magical powers that could give her the wonderful life she once only dreamed of, she sets out to learn magic and meet the Wizard.

However, when Elphaba realizes that the rulers want to use her power for their own nefarious means – which includes taking the voices from animals – she must decide what path she will choose.

Anne Brummel is a strong, determined Elphaba, and faithfully delivers the young woman forced to follow the path of the outcast to be true to her beliefs.
Tiffany Haas is fun to watch as Glinda as she reveals both the shallow and sensitive sides of her personality, and uses her wiles to get what she wants.

David Nathan Perlow is Fiyero, the feigned “bad boy” for whom both Glinda and Elphaba fall in love. His choices reveal much about the nature of the two young women whose hearts he holds.

The show has a fast pace, colorful sets and costumes, and the energizing songs expected from a hit Broadway musical. From the clever light songs “Popular” and “What is this Feeling?” to the uplifting “Defying Gravity” to “As Long as You’re Mine,” the songs carry the story through its rich and rapid telling.

There is no lag time – every line, action and song has a purpose in moving the plot forward. Even the ensemble is utilized fully. They move from Oz citizens to Shiv students with just over a minute to fully change costumes. They glisten in green when in the Emerald City, and they fly and flit as the winged monkeys.

For all the theater fans who dream of someday stepping into the spotlight, ensemble member Casey Quinn offers inspiration for aspiring thespians. The chorus member was raised in Dearborn, where she studied dance and voice. She auditioned for “Wicked” 13 times before she was cast, which shows perseverance is its own reward.

Quinn performed with the Chicago Company of “Wicked” for a year, and has been on tour for nearly three years. She said she would love to perform with “Wicked” in New York City. She hopes to continue dancing on stage, and would love to do a show with Fosse style choreography.

Shakespeare seldom performed “Tempest” is bravely offering strong theater in a tough economic storm in a small venue not far from the theatre district and the sport stadium.

Wherever the curtain rises in the Park Bar Theatre at 2040 Park in Detroit, it is “the stuff that dreams are made of,” whether for the actors, the director, or the audiences seeking a temporary escape from a care-ridden world.

Director Jerry Belanger is taking many risks by mounting one of the lesser known Shakespearean plays downtown in a theater above a bar in a fickle economic climate. His ticket price, $40, is somewhat steep by local standards. However, he has a talented cast and excellent production values.

Patrick Loos is strong as Prospero, a wrongfully exile duke held captive on an island while his brother has usurped his throne.

Sarah Switanowski is mesmerizing and powerful as Ariel, and is less of a slave and more of a partner to Prospero’s schemes to right wrongs.

Mike McGettigan, a wonderful actor, delivers a very believable Caliban, even if one sees much more of him that one wants due to the nature of his costume.

Then again, Belanger may just want to shake things up by exposing Caliban’s backstory.

Katie Terpstra, who portrays Miranda, is a weak link in a strong cast. She doesn’t bring a rich depth of character to a role many actresses covet. Her voice lack power and much needed inflection; she seems like a teenager in a talented company of adults. Granted, she plays a teen, but her voice and delivery lack depth and vocal variety.

The set is outstanding for a small stage. A ship’s mast dangles from the rafters and sways and dips during an opening storm scene, while the actors very convincingly pantomime balancing of the swaying deck of an imaginary pitching ship.

Sound designers Mikey Brown and Joe Kvoriak create some convincing sea storms, while Cal Schwartz’s costumes are generally colorful and creative. Miranda’s gown looks like a loose prom dress, but the spirits and Ariel are clad in colorful and artistic original creations. It appears that some costumes were not altered to fit the actor, and some, like the fool, have unflattering gaps at the costume waist.

However, the costume inconsistency is by no means a deal-breaker. The show offers strong acting and characterizations, and an easy and pleasing interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s later plays.

“The Tempest” runs through Jan. 21 at the Park Bar Theatre. Call 313-444-2294 for more information.