Theater

Black Swamp Players cast ‘The Music Man’

The Black Swamp Players has announced the cast for its second production of the 2018-2019 season, “The Music Man.” “The Music Man” follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill (Bradley King), as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize–this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. Hill’s plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian (Jennifer Braun), the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall. The principal cast includes: King (Harold Hill); Braun (Marian Paroo); Liam Rogel (Winthrop Paroo); Alice Walters (Amaryllis); Andelus Elwazani (Zaneeta Shinn); Bobby Walters (Tommy Djilas); Perry Andre (Marcellus Washburn); Lane Hakel (Charlie Cowell); Keith Guion (Mayor Shinn); Sally Stemen (Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn); Deb Shaffer (Mrs. Paroo); Evie Van Vorhis (Gracie Shinn); and Matthew Crawford, Allen Rogel, and Andrew Varney as the school board members/quartet. Written by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, The Music Man has been entertaining audiences since 1957, when it premiered on Broadway. The musical earned eight Tony-award nominations in 1958 and went on to win six Tonys, including nods for Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress. The Black Swamp Players production of The Music Man will be directed by Amy Spaulding-Heuring. “The Music Man” will open on Friday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performance dates include: Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, February 17 at 2: p.m.; Friday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, February 24 at 2:00 p.m. All performances will take place at the First United Methodist Church, Bowling Green. Tickets for all performances are $15/adults, $12/seniors and students. All tickets can be purchased on the organization’s website and at the door on the day of the performance. “The Music Man” is the second of three productions to be mounted by The Black Swamp Players for its 2018-2019 season. Black Swamp Players is nonprofit corporation that exists to provide opportunities for area residents to experience quality, amateur, live theatre in all its many aspects. Founded in 1968, Black Swamp Players has been providing community theatre to the Bowling Green and surrounding areas for the past fifty years. Those interested in volunteering for the organization should send an e-mail query to president@blackswampplayers.org.

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Horizon Youth Theatre’s younger actors take flight with ‘Silly Goose’

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Seldom is a goose chase this much fun. But it sure is when the younger members of the Horizon Youth Theatre take a romp through fairy tale land in “Silly Goose” this weekend  at the Otsego High School. (Check out details.) Keith Guion, who directs the production, wrote the script. The show takes a goose, Silvia, through three tales involving geese, starting when she’s just an egg and following her into adulthood, at least in terms of goose years. The script has some playful recognition that this is a play, starting with a game of goosey goosey gander as the curtain rises. At times the three actors playing Silvia at different stages in her life playfully  interact. And the middle Silvia (Hannah Campbell) in true teenage mode complains about the many idioms involving her species. What does a goose egg, as in a lump on a human head have to do with geese? And why are goosebumps called “goose” bumps? The story takes flight before Silvia has hatched.  Sarah Keller as the gosling relates how her mother (Lauren Clifford) was constantly having her eggs stolen and eaten by a mischievous fox (Aidan Thomas). The troubled mother is befriended by Channer (Drew Thomas), a mysterious fellow who can talk to animals. He builds her a house, and that’s where Silvia is hatched. The mother uses her wits help keep herself and her young ones safe from the clutches of the fox.  Channer serves as a link among all the stories. He enlists the teen Silvia in helping a young shy maid (Alice Walters) with a secret. And with Silvia’s help the maid achieves her rightful place. The final tale has the grown Silvia (Reece Hall), who in her travels with Channer has turned into a golden goose, help that maid’s mourning daughter (Addie Smith) laugh again. It’s a roundabout adventure in which the put-upon youngest brother of a family, Jack (Liam Rogel) comes in possession of the golden goose. That leads to a hilarious predicament. A string of people – just about the entire 30-plus cast members — gets stuck together in a long line. As we follow the tale of “Silly Goose” a few lessons are taught about perseverance, bullying, and the value of kindness and generosity sometimes with a contemporary twist. When Jack is offered the princess’ hand in marriage, the hero’s usual prize, he asks: what does the princess want? Mostly, though, “Silly Goose” is true to its title.  When a group of kids are called on to act together as a group, as with the staggering procession, or the goslings (Claire Nelson, Sophia Milks, Lila Stover) huddled in the house, or the innkeeper’s daughters (Emy Wilkins, Lauren Peppers, Isobel Roberts-Zibbel) spying on Jack, the line between acting and just being themselves seems to disappear. It’s all a…


Tickets available now for HYT’s Silly Goose

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Award-winning Horizon Youth Theatre is proud to present Silly Goose, written and directed by Keith Guion, October 26th and 27th at 7 p.m. and October 28 at 2 p.m. at Otsego High School. According to its author, Silly Goose is the life story of a goose named Silvia who finds herself in three separate fairy tale adventures. As one of The Young Goslings, she and her mother and siblings have to contend with a determined fox who wants to eat them all. A mysterious man named Channer builds an iron house to protect the geese from the fox, and the fox tries several ways to trick them into opening the door so he can get at them.When Silvia is a bit older, Channer takes her to join the royal flock of geese at King Delroy’s palace. There, she meets The Goose Girl, a sad and lonely maid with a terrible secret that she cannot divulge to a human soul. So she tells Silvia, and Silvia,, with some guidance from Channer, helps the Goose Girl achieve her happy ending. After that adventure, Silvia and Channer form a partnership and travel from kingdom to kingdom helping other people achieve their happy endings and punishing the evil people who stand in their way. At some point, Silvia becomes The Golden Goose who is found by a young lad who travels to the castle with an assortment of people stuck to the goose and each other, thanks to Channer’s magic, and when the princess sees this odd parade, she laughs for the first time in years. So Silvia and Channer achieve a happy ending for the young lad and the princess. But what about Silvia’s own happy ending? Where will she find that? Is her life one wild goose chase after another? And what is it with all these goose idioms anyway?  The play features 33 student actors and crew members ages 6 to 14 from several area schools including Bowling Green Public (and St. Al’s, BG Christian, BG Montessori and Sleek Academy); Perrysburg, Rossford, and Otsego. The rest of the production team: Haven Bradham, stage manager; Stephanie Truman, producer; Christina Hoekstra, costumer; Wendy Guion, props; Steve Rieske, set designer; Anne Weaver, set artist; Gray Frishman, light board operator; and Calista Wilkins, crew chief.  Cast: Aidan Thomas – Fox Hannah Campbell – Silvia 2 John Simpson – Dirk Lilly Koralewski – Peasant 1 Sam Koralewski – Prince Anders Amy Claypool – Goose 2 Drew Thomas –  Channer Alice Walters – Princess Elmina Sophia Milks – Child 2, Gosling Claire Nelson – Child 1, Gosling Lauren Peppers – Deedee Sarah Keller – Silvia 1 Calista Motisher – Goose 1 Liam Rogel – Jack Addie Smith – Princess Marisa Adam Proulx – Parson Charlie Vostal – Lance Angie Ruiz – Jack’s Mother Reece Hall – Silvia 3 Emy Wilkins –…


‘You Got Older’ delivers emotional look at family, sex, & cancer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Late in the play “You Got Older” actor Jim Dachik makes a slight gesture to his neck. That’s where his character has had cancer surgery. The gesture is casual, just something this aging man would do. Yet the slight, silent movement speaks volumes. The touch is freighted with concern about his health, and the desire to conceal that concern from his daughter, Mae (Kelly Dunn) who is seated at the breakfast table across from him. They’d already been through a lot, and it’s all packed in that simple gesture. Clare Barron’s 2014 award-winning drama opens tonight (Thursday, Oct. 18) for a two weekend run in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at Bowling Green State University. Click showtimes and tickets.  When the play opens, Mae has just arrived to spend some time with her father who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Mae is a 30-something woman at a critical point in her life. She was just dumped by her boyfriend who was also her boss so she also lost her job. She’s missing physical intimacy — she knows exactly how long it’s been since she’s had sex — but she’s also suffering from a severe rash on her back stretching to under her breasts. She struggles to keep all this away from her father, who wants to know. They have the kind of relationship where a discussion of toothbrushes erupts into an argument. He seems determined not to let the cancer weaken his involvement with his family. He’s torn between being resigned and defiant. This is captured in what he calls his cancer song, Regina Spektor’s “Firewood,” the song he listens to on the way to treatment. He has Mae listen to it. The song with its opening line “the piano is not firewood yet” and talk about rising “from your cold hospital bed” expresses what he cannot. Alone in her older sister’s former room though never safe from a casual intrusion by her father, Mae has intense visions of a cowboy (Tyler Fugitt), who treats her as property and handles her roughly. In real life, she goes out to the local bar and meets townie Mac (Adam Hensley), who both offers comfort, but is also kind of odd, at once sweet and  creepy. As Dad goes in for treatment, we meet Mae’s siblings — in-charge older sister Hannah (Hope Elizabeth Eiler), the lost in the muddle middle brother Matthew (Caleb Wise), and the needy younger sister Jenny (Missy Snyder).  The family dynamic plays out as they sit in their father’s hospital room sharing food Hannah has selected, mostly because of Jenny’s dietary restrictions. They have their problems, just like all families, but “You Got Older” does not trade in deep secrets suddenly revealed. The family’s discontents play out within a context of love.  Barron dares employ cell phones, technology…


3B’s ‘Shrek the Musical’ hits the right tone in reprise of beloved show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The freak flag is flying high in the Maumee Indoor Theatre again, thanks to 3B Productions. The company is bringing the fairy tale musical, based on the hit animated film itself inspired by William Stieg’s picture book, back just four years after last staging it. The show’s charms are undeniable — a twisted love story with a fairytale backdrop and an uplifting message about accepting oneself. Not to mention a love-besotted dragon. “Shrek the Musical” will be on stage at the Maumee Indoor Theatre this weekend Oct. 18-21 with shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. Contact 3Bproductions.org for tickets. This “Shrek” hits the mark in several important ways. To me, the show’s big challenge is to take on  the leads as real characters not simply the comic projections of the actors in the beloved animated film. Jake Drouillard as the title character, Dylan Coale as his sidekick Donkey, Jennifer Braun as Princess Fiona, and Matthew D. Badyna as the evil Lord Farquaad all understand this, and bring their characters to life in a fresh way that remains true to the script. Drouillard makes sure Shrek’s lovable layers are evident from the start. Coale’s Donkey is more level-headed for all his hysterics. Braun’s inner ogre shades her whole performance. Even when she’s trying to play out the standard damsel in distress script, she insists on being in charge. Badyna, acting as the part requires on his knees, plays up the comedy as the scheming lord. And you have to love the nod to “The Producers” in the production number “What’s Up Duloc.” All this comes through because their enunciation of witty lyrics is clear. They deliver the comic and emotional nuances embedded in the songs. Special mention should be made of Chloe Smallwood who provides the voice of the dragon. A lot goes on in her big scene. Her vocal has to compete with an antic Donkey being pursued the dragon — the creation of Hannah Kinney for 3B’s 2014 show and the go-to dragon for other area “Shrek” productions. Stationed apart from all this, Smallwood delivers the dragon’s soaring internal monologue about what’s really on her mind. She’s in love with Donkey. Smallwood’s voice cuts through all the stage business to set up that important emotional twist. The show’s popularity also rests on the large cast, including a host of fairy tale creatures, each with a personality and back story.  The climatic “Freak Flag” is a rousing anthem — “what makes us different makes us strong.” Pinocchio (Bob Marzola-Hughes), who struggles with his own identity crisis, debates whether they should just retreat while the Gingy (Cayla Kale) argues for rebellion. One can feel the collective energy of the story book characters as they decide to confront Lord Farquaad over his…


Sha Sha Higby’s multifaceted art to take wing at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sha Sha Higby’s art is a continual work in progress. The performance artist blends sculpture, puppetry, costuming, drawing, lights, and music, all influenced by ancient traditions from Japan, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian traditions. When Higby presents her one-person show “Paperwings III” at Bowling Green State University Wednesday, she will bring together two pieces. This is not their culmination though. The puppeteer-sculptor will surely make more alterations. Higby’s performance will be the opening event for the New Music Festival, which continues on campus through Saturday with a full schedule of concerts and presentations. “Paperwings III” will be staged Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. The performance is free. When people arrive, they will find a sculpture on stage. That sculpture that the audience sees will come alive. “I’m using my body as a motor,” Higby said in a recent telephone interview. The work then unfolds as she uses her limbs to bring masks to life. Her drawings are projected onto the wings of her costume, and the whole scene is bathed in dramatic lighting, designed with the assistance of her husband Albert Hollander, also assists with the music. That soundtrack washes over the scene. Some of it is original music, but mostly it’s snippets of sound picked up from her travels. It may be birds, electronics or a gamelan orchestra. (Higby performed years ago at BGSU with the university’s gamelan.) Some audience members will be given small bells so they can contribute to the sound. “It’s like a piece of poetry. You have to use your imagination to link the parts,” Higby said. “It’s a visual dessert of images that are flowing.” In addition to the performance a retrospective exhibit of her work will be on display at the Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center through Nov. 4.  “The costumes and sculptures are elaborate, lyrical and meticulously hand-crafted,” gallery director Jacqueline Nathan stated. The show will include a video of some of her earlier performances. The exhibit was  a challenge to set up because it is shipped in pieces and requires assembly. In fact, Higby said, the amount of work would cover a football field of arms, legs, wings, masks, and more.  “I’ll fluff it when I come,” she said. Higby, who was born in Michigan and grew up in California, started sewing and making doll clothes as a child. Her stepfather made shirts, and her brother also took up the craft and continues to make sails. Higby created dolls, clothes for them, and dollhouses. When she attended art school she was told that dolls weren’t art. So she focused on drawing. “It’s the most direct medium,” she said. “Drawings are the window to the soul.” In 1971, early in her college career, she traveled to Japan…


HYT musical looks back, but not far, at being 13

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Being 13 is hard. Maybe singing and dancing about it makes it better. The Horizon Youth Theatre is staging the Jason Robert Brown musical “13: The Musical” this weekend at the Otsego High auditorium, Thursday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.  and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. (http://bgindependentmedia.org/tickets-available-now-for-hyts-13-the-musical/) The cast of teen actors are not far removed from those troublesome years. The script by Dan Elish and Robert Horn plays heavily on the social aspects of being in junior high. There’s nary an adult mentioned, save for the lead character’s mother, and the off-stage voice of a rabbi. This is all about the kids, and their relationships with their peers and their own emerging personalities. The musical opens with Evan (Thomas Long) singing about turning 13, when everything changes. He’s looking forward to his bar mitzvah which he envisions as a wild party with the hottest DJ in the city and dancing. Then he learns his parents are divorcing, and he and his mother are moving to Appleton, Indiana, where he knows no one. Who will come to his bar mitzvah now? Certainly Patrice (Terra Sloane) his new neighbor who befriends him, and he wants the in-crowd led by quarterback Brett (Isaac Douglass). And there lies the conflict on which the whole plot hinges. Patrice, a girl who thinks for herself, is an outcast, and if she goes then none of the “cool” kids will attend, or at least so sayeth alpha boy-child Brett. All this leads to about 90 minutes of navigation through the circles of middle school hell. The hierarchy is familiar — the jocks and cheerleaders and the nerds. The script keeps the divisions simple and clear. Evan, who is both determined and quite confused, has to be on one side or the other, as much as he tries in his awkward almost 13-year-old way to straddle them. He ingratiates himself to Brett by suggesting how he can get close enough to Kendra (Anne Weaver) to get some “tongue.” The idea is to go to a horror movie, an R-rated horror movie, and that means getting Evan’s off-stage mom to buy the tickets. So he enlists Archie (M. Clifford). Archie has muscular dystrophy and walks using crutches, to ask his mother because “no one says ‘no’ to a boy with a terminal illness.”  Archie is the most interesting character. Archie understands his dilemma and that he must scheme to get anything. When he and Evan scheme together, though, things are bound to go awry. Throw into the mix another schemer Lucy (Scarlet Frishman) supposedly Kendra’s best friend, who really has her sights set on Brett. The fragility of these relationships plays out in the songs, which have a retro rock sound. “Hey Kendra” sung by Brett’s posse Malcolm (Gavin Miller) and Eddie…