Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back home

Despite being on a mini-family vacation, I couldn't quite pull myself away from theater last weekend.

The Foreigner
We delayed leaving until Friday so that I could go see The Foreigner at the Ledges Playhouse. It's a Larry Shue script that was directed by Bob Gras. All in all, it was an entertaining show with a crowd far too small (though it was Thursday and a little rainy, so perhaps the audience grew larger over the weekend).

There were a lot of familiar faces on the stage--in fact, all of them were pretty familiar. The lead was played by Rick Dethlefsen with his wife Leanne playing the female lead. They were joined by Marilyn Steegstra, Joe Dixon, Micheal Hayes, Terry Benbow (I think that last name is correct) and James Houska. (Please forgive the spellings. I don't have the program with me right now, but I'll check them later and fix this entry.)

It's a show that is pretty demanding of accents and these actors did a fine job with them. I was especially entertained by the physical and verbal mirroring scene between Rick and Joe. It was pure comedy and delightfully performed.

Thunder Bay Theatre

Nor did I leave theater behind me after we left town. We were vacationing in Alpena, so Saturday morning I stopped by Thunder Bay Theatre and talked to the artistic director. He was going to be holding auditions for the non-paid roles in their next two shows. He let me look around the space a little bit.

Thunder Bay Theatre is advertised as being the only professional theater in Northern Michigan (I haven't checked, but I have no reason to doubt their word). They aren't an Equity house, but they do pay their company actors and provide housing.

The building in which they perform is a converted candy store. It seats 180 people and the lobby is decorated with photo montages of past productions.

One thing I found somewhat odd was that in the local tourist brochures and the hotel directory, few mentioned the theater. The hotel directory listed the Alpena Civic Players, but not the professional theater. That was true of many other brochures as well.

It made me wonder what the hotel brochures in the Lansing area have. Do any of them mention theater? If so, which ones do they list? Perhaps there is an opportunity here for some partnerships.


Anonymous said...

Well actually it was directed by Bob Gras and it was James Houska as Reverand David and not Ben Holshausen - but thanks for the kind words - I enjoy your blog.

Bridgette Redman said...

Boy! See the trouble I get into when I write without my program after not getting enough sleep!

I ought to make myself fact-check my blog as much as I do my paid writing.

Sad thing is, I knew it was Bob--I remember seeing him and thinking that I ought to work my way back to talk to him.