Guild’s ‘Fools’ is funny; Open Book’s ‘Emilie’ fascinating

Photo by Dan Higgins The Players Guild of Dearborn continues its season of Simon with “Fools,” with Tiffany Mullins (left) of Livonia as Lenya Zubritsky, Bill McCloskey of Monroe as Dr. Nickolai Zubritsky and Alex Gojkov of Southgate as Leon Tolchinsky. The show continues 8 p.m. Jan. 20, 26 and 27 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 28 at the theater, 21730 Madison, Dearborn. For tickets or more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

Photo by Dan Higgins
The Players Guild of Dearborn continues its season of Simon with “Fools,” with Tiffany Mullins (left) of Livonia as Lenya Zubritsky, Bill McCloskey of Monroe as Dr. Nickolai Zubritsky and Alex Gojkov of Southgate as Leon Tolchinsky. The show continues 8 p.m. Jan. 20, 26 and 27 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 28 at the theater, 21730 Madison, Dearborn. For tickets or more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

 

Untitled-1However you want to be entertained, there are local shows to meet your needs, from Neil Simon’s laughter-filled “Fools,” the talented cast of “Emilie” at Open Book, to the Broadway flash and dazzle of “The Bodyguard” at the Fisher Theatre.

PGD: NEIL SIMON’S ‘FOOLS’ IS LAUGHTER-FILLED FUN

If laughter is the best medicine, then the Players Guild of Dearborn’s production of Neil Simon’s “Fools,” will provide enough laughter to cure anyone of the mid-winder blues to the pennisular chills.

“Fools” is set in a village cursed with stupidity for two centuries. As the villagers hire yet another schoolteacher to try to break their curse, we know that Tolchinsky will be different, but we have no idea how much we will laugh as he tries to break the curse.

Directed by Brian Townsend of Dearborn, the show is full of his unique humor – if you’ve seen shows he’s directed before, you’ll spot his clever handywork and touches of spot-on whimsy.

He also assembled a talented cast, many of whom are in the Guild’s improv ensemble.

Alex Gojkov of Southgate is very funny in the straight man role as Leon Tolchinsky, the schoolteacher. His expressive face can turn on the laughter, and he makes the most of every opportunity to let the audience relate to his character’s incredulity and exasperation, which, of course, brings on another round of laughter.

The conversation of the “fools” is another source of mirth, and the audience quickly begins to anticipate and enjoy their literal interpretation of so many common phrases. By intermission one is ready to speak with a Foolish tongue-in-cheek.

Guild veteran Kori Bielaniec is entertainingly funny as Sophia Zubritsky, with whom the schoolteacher falls in love.

Tiffany Mullins of Livonia as Lenya Zubritsky, Sophia’s mother, and Bill McCloskey of Monroe as Dr. Nickolai Zubritsky, her father, nearly steal the show. The two play off each other so well, and deliver some of the funny lines that we are left weak from laughing at their antics.

The ensemble is the glue that holds the foundation of the show together. Watch for Allen Park resident Tom Sparrow, who makes the most of his character role as Magistrate Kupchik. After his first appearance, the audience starts to look forward to his next funny schtick. Adam Lynch is wild-eyed and entertaining as Snetsky, and makes the most of body language and physical humor. Sheryl Faber Vachon of Oak Park is funny as Yenchna, delivering dead pan lines that catch one off guard with impeccable timing.

The show runs 8 p.m. Jan. 20, 26 and 27, and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 28 at the theater, 21730 Madison, Dearborn.

Tickets are $18, with a $2 discount for students with identification. To order, or for more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

Photo by Jan Cartwright The Open Book Theatre of Trenton presents “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight” through Feb. 3, with Jonathan Davidson (left) of Detroit as Voltaire and Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township as Emilie. For tickets or more information, call 734-288-7753 or go to openbooktheatrecompany.net.

Photo by Jan Cartwright
The Open Book Theatre of Trenton presents “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight” through Feb. 3, with Jonathan Davidson (left) of Detroit as Voltaire and Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township as Emilie. For tickets or more information, call 734-288-7753 or go to openbooktheatrecompany.net.

OBTC: ‘EMILIE: LA MARQUISE DU CHATELET DEFENDS HER LIFE’ IS CAPTIVATING

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy the Open Book Theatre Company’s latest show: “Emilie,” a woman ahead of her time, is a feminist born centuries too soon, but her optimism, stubbornness and spirit make her role, and that of Voltaire, intriguing to watch.

The play is based on a real person: Emilie is a noblewoman, and a brilliant and passionate 18th century mathematician and scientist. Had she been born a man, her name would be up there with Voltaire and Newton. When she dies in childbirth, she defends her unfairly overlooked life in flashbacks in “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight” at the Open Book Theatre Company.

Written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Sarah Hawkins Moan of Hazel Park, the cast includes Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township as Emilie and Jonathan Davidson of Detroit as Voltaire.

The strong ensemble, who play multiple roles, makes the story click, and includes Caitlin Morrison of Romeo, Patrick Loos of Detroit, Cynthia Szczesny of Grosse Ile Township and Matthew Wallace of Royal Oak.

Costume designer Cheryl Zemke of Riverview created beautiful costumes for the show.

In addition, the versatile set and the lighting effects add to the effective pace of the story.

The show runs 8 p.m. Jan. 20, 26 and 27, and Feb. 1 to 3, and 2 p.m. Jan. 21 and 28 at the theatre, 1621 West Road, Trenton.

Tickets are $20, with a $5 discount for seniors and students. To order, or for more information, call 734-288-7753 or go to openbooktheatrecompany.net.

Photos courtesy of the Downriver Actors Guild Kimmy Elliott (left), of Canton Township as Darlene, and Taylor residents Deborah Aue as Angela and Melanie Aue as Sue Ellen star in Ted Swindley's “Honky Tonk Angels” Jan. 26 to 27 and Feb. 2 to 4 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte. For tickets or more information call 734-407-7020 or go downriveractorsguild.net.

Photos courtesy of the Downriver Actors Guild
Kimmy Elliott (left), of Canton Township as Darlene, and Taylor residents Deborah Aue as Angela and Melanie Aue as Sue Ellen star in Ted Swindley’s “Honky Tonk Angels” Jan. 26 to 27 and Feb. 2 to 4 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte. For tickets or more information call 734-407-7020 or go downriveractorsguild.net.

DAG’S ‘HONKY TONK ANGELS’ OPENS NEXT WEEK

Humor, hit songs and three women with dreams and determination make a winning combination for “Honky Tonk Angels,” another toe-tapping play by Ted Swindley, author of “Always Patsy Cline.”

Produced by the Downriver Actors Guild, the show runs 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and 27 and Feb. 2 and 3, and 3 p.m. Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte.

Directed by Michele Devins of Southgate, with music direction by Wendy Biggs Fichter of Allen Park, the show features Kimmy Elliott of Canton Township as Darlene and Taylor residents Debbie Aue as Angela and Melanie Aue as Sue Ellen.

Devins said the show is about three Texas women from different backgrounds who share a dream to become country singing stars, and team up to become the Honky Tonk Angels. She said people won’t want to miss the show.

“Even if you’re not a country fan, the talent on the stage will make you a fan,” Devins said.

Tickets are $16, with a $3 discount for seniors and students. For more information or to order, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

‘THE BODYGUARD’: ENTERTAINING EYE CANDY, HOT MALE DANCERS

Whitney Houston’s songs, including “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” “Saving All My Love” and the unforgettable “I Will Always Love You,” get your attention, but the concert-like numbers, with the talented ensemble dancers, make the show appealing as the national tour of the the musical “The Bodyguard” runs through Jan. 28 at the Fisher Theatre.

Show times are 8 p.m. Jan. 20, and 23 to 27; 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 28; and 2 p.m. Jan. 20, 21, 27 and 28 at the Fisher Theater, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit.

Grammy Award-nominated recording artist and actress Deborah Cox plays superstar Rachel Marron, with an amazing voice that thrills and makes you feel like you are hearing a superstar in concert with the bonus of a plotline.

Judson Mills as bodyguard and former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer is rugged, handsome and sexy with a smoldering gaze.

The ensemble dancers are amazing and worth the price of admission. I was enjoying the shirtless male dancers so much during the opening number that I was totally unaware that a meteor was knocking the socks off most of southeast Michigan. My friend agrees we had the better view.

Tickets start at $39, and are available by calling 800-982-2787 and online at broadwayindetroit.com and ticketmaster.com. For more information about the show, go to thebodyguardmusical.com.