Inspecting Carol and WYAN DAG BeautyBeast

Photo courtesy of Chuck Nowak Photography. “Inspecting Carol,” a play-within-a-play, runs through Dec. 20 at the Hilberry Theater, with Mary Sansone (left) as company director Zorah Block, and Michael Phillip Thomas as Larry Vauxhall, the company's Scrooge. For tickets or more information, call 313-577-2972 or go to hilberry1.com.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Nowak Photography. “Inspecting Carol,” a play-within-a-play, runs through Dec. 20 at the Hilberry Theater, with Mary Sansone (left) as company director Zorah Block, and Michael Phillip Thomas as Larry Vauxhall, the company’s Scrooge. For tickets or more information, call 313-577-2972 or go to hilberry1.com.

By SUE SUCHYTA

DAG’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is entertaining

The Downriver Actors Guild presents two more performances of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle in Wyandotte.

Directed by Debbie Aue of Taylor, the show features Kayla Aue of Novi as Belle, and Kyle Harwood of Novi as the Beast. The two are audience favorites, and their strong vocals are an asset to the show.

The musical features three dozen additional actors in leading and character roles, and as featured singers and dancers.

Kenny Konaszewski of Garden City as Gaston and Michael Suchyta of Dearborn as LeFou have fun with the rough and tumble bravado, and create much of the laughter in the house.

The Silly Girls, played by Amanda Aue of Taylor, and Kayla Chavez and Emily Braun of Allen Park, are marvelous and steal every scene they are in, to the delight of the audience.

The enchanted characters, including Brian Welch of Dearborn as Lumiere, Paul Primeau of Brownstown Township as Cogsworth, Brianna Bielak of Southgate as Babette, Holly Sisung of Newport as Mrs. Potts and April Denny of Dearborn Heights as Madame de la Grande Bouche are entertaining and a pleasure to watch perform.

The choreography of Jane Beier of Allen Park is creative and well-executed. Highlights include the wolf choreography, the enchanted creatures in “Be Our Guest,” and the castle attack scene.

Roseann Spodeck of Wyandotte’s costumes are wonderful as well.

The Beast’s makeup, as well as the many special effects, add an extra level of theatrical magic to the show that makes it appealing to both children and adults.

For tickets, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

HILBERRY’S ‘INSPECTING CAROL’ FILLS HOUSE WITH LAUGHTER

Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre Company leaves the audience roaring with laughter with its performance of the holiday comedy “Inspecting Carol” by Daniel Sullivan and the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

The play-within-a-play follows a regional acting comedy putting on its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” when they discover they may have lost their arts funding. Mishaps and mistaken identity follow, and anything that could possibly go wrong on stage does, much to the amusement of the audience.

Mary Sansone shines as Zorah, the show’s colorful and frustrated director, and one of the company’s founders.

Michael Phillip Thomas as Larry, the annoying actor who plays Scrooge, is very funny to watch. Anyone who’s ever trod the boards will know an actor like the character, one who drives others crazy with suggestions, changes and political idiosyncrasies.

Brandon Wright is amusing as Walter, the frustrated newcomer who never really gets to rehearse his role, and Nick Stockwell as Wayne is entertaining as an IT guy under the mistaken impression that he can act.

Others in the talented cast include Ernest Bentley as Spike, Devri Chism as Dorothy, Kyle Mitchell Johnson as Sidney, and James Kern as Phil.

Antonia LaChe’ plays MJ McMann, with Michael Manocchio as Bart, Cody Robinson as Kevin, and Breayre Tender as Betty.

Director Lavina Hart has given each company member entertaining quirks that enhance the laughter their character creates.

Kudos to set designer Fred Florkowski and the production team who built a set that intentionally falls apart each night, and survives to be put back together for each successive run of the show.

Anyone who has ever taken part in a play with production problems will laugh even harder at the beleaguered company.

Remaining performances are at 8 p.m. Dec. 17, 18 and 19; 2 p.m. Dec. 19; and 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at the theater, 4743 Cass in Detroit.

For tickets or more information, call 313-577-2972 or go to hilberry1.com.

DAG ANNOUNCES ‘LOVE, SEX AND THE IRS’ CAST

The Downriver Actors Guild announced the cast of Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s comedy “Love, Sex, and the IRS”

Directed by Lucinda Chavez of Allen Park, the cast features Steve Dutzy of Southgate as Jon Trachtman, Matt Mayes of Trenton as Leslie Arthur, Emily Noble of Wyandotte as Kate Dennis, and Denny Connors of Allen Park as Floyd Spinner.

Norb Nowak of Monroe plays Mr. Jansen, with Jeanne Horvath Edwards of Grosse Ile Township as Vivian Trachtman, Danielle Riley of  Allen Park as Connie, and Erik Paschke of Riverview as Arnold Grunion.

Jon and Leslie are two platonic male roommates and out-of-work musicians. When Jon files their taxes jointly as a married couple to save money, they scramble to cover up their situation when the IRS targets them for an audit.

The show runs 7:30 p.m. March 11, 12, 18 and 19, and 3 p.m. March 20 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle in Wyandotte.

For more information, go to downriveractorsguild.net.

PGD ANNOUNCES ‘MOUSETRAP’ AUDITIONS

The Players Guild of Dearborn will hold auditions for Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 and 12 at the theater, 21730 Madison in Dearborn, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. for registration.

Karen Pritchard of Garden City will direct, with Tracy Boudreau of Dearborn and Colleen Meade Ripper of Livonia co-producing.

For audition forms, conflict sheets, and character descriptions, go to playersguildofdearborn.org/auditions.

SCP OFFERS CHRISTMAS CABARET

Southgate Community Players perform a Christmas Cabaret Concert Dec. 18 at the Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix-Toledo Road in Southgate.
The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with cocktails, soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a 7 p.m. cabaret.

The show features the talents of Brad Hardecki of Lincoln Park; Lori Hawkins and Amelia Hachenski, 11, of Riverview; Zachary James Morgan of Southgate; Lara Keathley and Matt Mayes of Trenton; Emily Noble of Wyandotte; Sydney Villaneuva of Woodhaven, and Kiera Woodman of Brownstown Township.

Tickets are $15. Call 734-282-4727 to order.

‘NEWSIES’ COMING TO THE OPERA HOUSE

The Disney musical “Newsies” is coming to town Dec. 15 to 27 at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway in Detroit.

For tickets, call 800-982-2787 or go to ticketmaster.com or broadwayindetroit.com.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, “Newsies” tells of a ragged band of teenage newspaper boys who rebel when publishers Hearst and Pulitzer try to increase their profits at the boys’ expense.

The stage show features seven new songs, plus fan favorites from the film, including “Carry the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York,” and “Santa Fe.”