Guild starts New Year with comedy “Til Beth Do Us Part”

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Patrick Denyer (left) of Dearborn as Gibby Hayden and April Denny of Dearborn Heights as Suzannah Hayden rehearse a scene from “Til Beth Do Us Part” at the Players Guild of Dearborn. The comedy runs for three weekends, Jan. 13 to 29, at the Guild’s theater at 21730 Madison in Dearborn. For more information, call (313) 561-TKTS or go to

The Players Guild of Dearborn will open the New Year with the two-act comedy “Til Beth Do Us Part,” written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.

The comedy, which opens Friday, will run for three weekends through Jan. 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

Director Robb Stempek of Livonia said “Til Beth Do Us Part” is very funny.

“Suzannah, who is climbing up the corporate ladder, is feeling frustrated by her husband’s lack of help around the house,” he said, “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. Hilarity ensues… it’s going to be great.”

Kori Bielaniec of Livonia, who plays the assistant Beth Bailey, said playing her character is fun because she’s the villain of the story.

“She comes in and she’s just supposed to help Suzannah Hayden,” Bielaniec said. “She’s just supposed to help her get organized and help her along with her business, but in fact she basically tries to steal Suzannah’s job. She tries to take over and gets her way into every little aspect of Suzannah’s life and ends up getting her husband kicked out of the house.”

Bielaniec said the show is filled with surprises, with a big reveal at the end.

She added that the show is appropriate for families.

“There’s nothing too risqué or anything about it,” Bielaniec said. “It’s just kind of a fun family show about what happens to a family … when someone new comes into their life.”

Assistant director Frann Stempek said that the show will appeal to adults because most have run into situations like Gibby and Suzannah have encountered.

“Things are getting a little stale, and nobody feels really special and it really helps to rejuvenate the way that you’re thinking,” she said. “It’s very realistic. Everything that they’re going to be talking about — comments about things different people do — are going to be things that you listen to and hear about from your spouse every day.”

She said Margaret Kinnell of Wayne, who plays Suzannah’s best friend Margo James, brings her own special touches to the part.

“She’s very intuitive as to what is needed at any given moment during every scene,” Frann Stempek said. “So that is what’s going to be really special about what she brings to the show.”

She said in the play Gibby and Suzannah have tried to maintain their friendships with both Margo and Hank since their divorce, adding that Hank, played by Ron Williams of Redford, still “carries a torch” for Margo.

“He hasn’t let go of that relationship completely yet so it’s his way of staying involved and keeping close to her,” Frann Stempek said.

She said the beautiful set, designed by Lisa Berg of Canton and Anthony Karpinski of Grosse Pointe, with its many doors and doorways, makes the show fun.

“All the interaction between this one coming in one door and out another door, and opening up doors and closing doors,” Frann Stempek said. “The parts of the story all fit together dealing with those doors.”

She said she anticipates that at some point audiences will be roaring with laughter.

“There are parts of the show that are just hysterical,” she said. “I think the audiences are going to just love it.”

She said Robb Stempek (her brother) helps actors bring out the humor in everyday situations and make natural things that happen seem “a little wacky.”

“It’s not slapstick at all,” Frann Stempek said. “He’s just using body language and facial expressions and a lot of that to really bring home and deliver the lines.”

The cast includes April Denny of Dearborn Heights as Suzannah Hayden, Patrick Denyer of Dearborn as Gibby Hayden, Margaret Kinnell of Wayne as Margo James, Ron Williams of Redford as Hank Russell, Kori Bielaniec of Livonia as Beth Bailey and Linda Trygg of Westland as Celia Carmichael.

James Mayne of Redford and Marni Hack of Royal Oak are co-producers.

“It’s a short show but packed with a lot of laughs,” Frann Stempek said. “People are going to go home feeling very uplifted.”

The Players Guild of Dearborn will hold auditions for John Cariani’s romantic comedy “Almost Maine” Jan. 16 and 17, with registration from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Guild’s theatre, located at 21730 Madison in Dearborn.

The story is set in the mythical town of Almost, Maine on a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter. As the northern lights shimmer in the sky the residents find themselves inexplicably falling in and out of love in unexpected and sometimes humorous ways. Some hearts are broken or bruised but all are mended or healed in the midwinter night’s tale.

Attendees need only attend one of the two sessions, and should be able to provide a list of potential rehearsal conflicts. The show will run March 2 to 20 for three weekends.

Paul Bruce, who will direct the show, said the show has 19 roles for adults.

“I am looking to cast all 19 roles individually, which will allow for an extremely easy rehearsal schedule for all participants,” Bruce said. “Each pair of characters appears in only one scene… like a miniature one-act, in which these two characters are the stars.”

The characters include Pete and Ginette, a newly dating couple, who like each other but are still going through an awkward stage. They perform the Prologue, Interlogue and Epilogue.

In “Her Heart,” East is a good natured repairman, while Glory is a scattered hiker.

“Sad and Glad” features Jimmy, a remorseful boyfriend who is a heating and cooling guy; Sandrine, Jimmy’s former girlfriend who is now engaged to someone else, and a cute, perky waitress who might have a future with Jimmy.

“This Hurts” features Marvalyn, a woman good at protecting herself, and probably in a bad relationship, and Steve, a nice man, who usually is protected by his brother , and who has never experienced pain.

In “Getting It Back” Gayle, who longs for marriage, may find her longtime boyfriend Lendall has an unexpected surprise for her.

Chad and Randy, two masculine country men and longtime friends, are featured in “They Fell.”

A disgruntled working couple, Phil and Marci, are featured in “Where It Went.”

In “Story of Hope” a woman of the world returns to a small corner of it to discover the man she once turned down is only a shell of his former self. Ideally the role will be played by a short man.

In “Seeing the Thing” Rhonda is a tough, defensive woman afraid of love while Dave is the not-so-tough man who secretly loves her.

Select readings from the play will be used for auditions. To borrow a perusal copy for a limited time contact casting governor Kim Donovan at, or call the Guild hotline at (313) 561-TKTS.

For more information, go to


The Dearborn Heights Civic Theatre will hold auditions for their spring musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 23 and 24 at the Berwyn Center, 26155 Richardson in Dearborn Heights. The show will run April 13, 14, 20, 21 and 22 and will be directed by Marc Walentowicz, with musical direction by Brian Londrow and choreography by Laura Tyler.

The Southgate Community Players will hold auditions for their Young People’s theatre “The Princess and the Pea” at 6 p.m. (with 5:30 p.m. registration) Jan. 9 and 10 at the Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix-Toledo Rd. in Southgate. The show will be performed at 7 p.m. March 9, 10, 16 and 17. See the Southgate Community Players’ Facebook page for more information.