Dearborn double: Dan Hartley in back-to-back musical comedy leads

Photo courtesy of the Village Players of Birmingham

Dan Hartley (left) of Dearborn plays Harry Witherspoon and Cliff Levin of Detroit plays the dead body in the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical comedy “Lucky Stiff.” The show runs for two more weekends through March 25 at the Village Players in Birmingham, 34660 Woodward Ave. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. Call 248-644-2075 for ticket information.

Dearborn actor and Bryant Middle School assistant principal Dan Hartley will star in back-to-back musical comedies this spring. The local thespian opened Friday as Harry Witherspoon in “Lucky Stiff” at the Village Players of Birmingham for a three-weekend run. He was also cast last week as Leo in the Players Guild of Dearborn production of “The Producers,” which opens April 27 for a four-weekend run.

Hartley opened Friday as Harry Witherspoon in “Lucky Stiff” at the Village Players of Birmingham. The 1988 musical murder mystery farce is the first off-Broadway musical created by the award-winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who also collaborated on the Broadway musicals “Ragtime” and “Seussical.”

In “Lucky Stiff” Hart plays Harry Witherspoon, a mild-mannered shoe salesman who will inherit $6 million if he can pass his recently murdered and embalmed Atlantic City uncle off as alive during a visit to Monte Carlo.

If he can’t pull off the ruse, the millions might go to either the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn or one of the shysters following him.

The show, directed by Michael Gravame, opened Friday and runs for two more weekends through March 25, with 8 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees at the Village Players of Birmingham, 34660 Woodward Ave.

Call 248-644-2075 to order tickets by phone.

Cast members include Jackie Gubow as Annabel Glick, Tania Velinsky as Rita La Porta, Tony Battle as Vinnie DiRuzzio, Gary Mach as Luigi Gaudi and Cliff Levin as the Dead Body.

Ensemble members include Janie Minchella, Liz Schultz, Tom Arwady and Earl Bain.

Hartley will play Leo Bloom to Dearborn resident Brian Townsend’s Max Bialystock in the Players Guild of Dearborn production of the Mel Brooks and Thomas Mehan musical comedy “The Producers.”

Directed by Valerie Haas of Inkster, with musical direction by Ken Pletzer of Northville and choreography by Valerie Mould of Royal Oak, the show launches its four-weekend run April 27 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison, southwest of the intersection of Monroe and Outer Drive in Dearborn.

For tickets, call 313-561-TKTS or go to

Others in the cast include Dearborn actors Phil Booth as Roger DeBris, Mike Falzon as Franz Liebkind and Ken Kilgore as the stormtrooper soloist.

Other featured cast members include Alex Gojkov of Redford as Carmen Ghia, Kimberly Elliot of Canton Township as Ulla and Barbara Wulff of Allen Park as the “Hold Me /Touch Me” soloist.

The ensemble includes Dearborn residents Michael Bollman, Kurtys Hipkins, Lexie Kaplan, Richard Moore, Paul Morgan, Andrea Sevonty and Sue Steiner.

Other ensemble members include Tom Sparrow and Barbara Wulff of Allen Park, Jacqueline Dienes of Dearborn Heights, Scott Rider of Lincoln Park, Patrick Landino and Joelle Schade of Garden City, Susan Oliver of Redford Township, Tim Carney and Jeff Lokken of Livonia, Laurie Doner of Northville, Alison McClelland of Grosse Pointe, and Audrey Isrow and Sara Kwas of Berkley,

When Leo, a mild-mannered accountant shows Max, a down-on-his luck producer that a quickly closing flop could potentially make more money that a hit, the two set out to find the worst script, director and cast to ensure a flop.

For more information call 313-561-TKTS or go to