High school thespians earn awards and more peeks at upcoming shows

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Lindel Salow (left) of Dearborn as Pete and Matt Ripper of Livonia as George rehearse a scene from “First Things First” at the Players Guild of Dearborn. The British farce follows what happens when a man’s first wife, thought dead, returns to her husband, who has remarried. The show opens Jan. 11 and runs for three weekends. For more information call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

From local high school thespians to seasoned community theater veterans, there are entertaining shows in planning and on stage, and well-deserved honors earned.

Dearborn and Divine Child high schools are among local theater troupes to receive recognition Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the annual Michigan Thespian Festival.

The large theater event, held annually at Saginaw Valley State University, takes place annually the weekend after Thanksgiving.

In addition to having a chance to see up to four live performances, participants can choose to attend workshops in both technical theater and the performing arts and to compete in individual events. Students can also find out about college theater programs and compete for scholarships.

Dearborn High School faculty member Greg Viscomi said 16 DHS students from troupe 586 participated in the weekend of theater workshops and competitions and attended live stage performances put on by high schools across Michigan.

Seniors Connor Blankenship and Kyle Tillman earned a superior medal and certificate for their acting of a scene from “Lend Me a Tenor” in the duet acting.

Junior Mary Charara earned a superior medal and certificate in the musical theater solo category for her performance of the song, “I Know Things Now” from “Into the Woods.”

Senior Katie Polidori earned certificates of excellence in two categories: musical theater vocal solo and dance solo.

Senior Jessie Balaka won the technical theater Olympics rope tying competition in the Technical Theatre Olympics, held at the festival each year.

Divine Child High School faculty member Karen Pritchard said thespian troupe 3508 had five members in attendance at this year’s festival, and four earned awards. She said that a superior rating is the highest attainable, with good being the lowest.

Junior Blaise Hébert earned a first place certificate in the sound individual events category, achieving the fastest time, 1 hour 15 minutes, for setting up, testing and taking down a sound system.

Senior Adrienne Walling received a superior rating for her performances in the solo musical theater, and for a monologue.

Senior Harry Totten also received a superior rating for his performance in the solo musical theater category.

Sophomore John Burklow received an excellent rating for his monologue performance.

The Players Guild of Dearborn, having sold out much of its four-week run of the inspiring Webber and Rice musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” are well into rehearsals for “First Things First,” a farce by Derek Benfield.

Director Jeff Bartos reports that laughter-filled auditions and rehearsals promise to deliver a very entertaining show.

Performance dates are Jan.11 to 13, 18 to 20 and 25 to 27, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees.

The 2012-13 Players Guild season also includes Bernard Slade’s romantic comedy, “Return Engagements” for three weekends, March 1 to 17, with auditions Jan. 14 and 15, at the Guild theater, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.

The Guild season ends with the Sondheim musical, “A Little Night Music,” with auditions March 4 and 5, and performances April 26 to 28 and May 3 to 5, 10 to 12, and 17 to 19.

For more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

Meanwhile, the Guild’s 2013-14 season, though not officially publicized yet, has received tentative board approval. It includes three musicals, a farce and a drama.

Subject to availability, next season may include “The Fantasticks” as the opening show in September, the musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in November and early December, and the musical “Kiss Me Kate” as the spring 2014 closer. The comedy “Boeing Boeing” is proposed for January 2014, with the drama “The Rabbit Hole” on the slate for March 2014 at the Guild theater. All shows are subject to change based on availability from the licensees.

For more information about the Guild’s current season, call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

After selling out the Dec. 7 opening night performance in pre-sales, the Downriver Actors Guild youth theater presents one more weekend of the classic musical “The Wizard of Oz” at the Out-of-the-Box Theatre, 165 Ford Ave. in Wyandotte. The show winds up its run at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Dec. 16.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. For tickets and more information, call 313-303-5269 or go to www.downriveractorsguild.net.