Theater

BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Sept. 28 – Oct. 12

From BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications  At the Galleries –“Face It: Reimagining Contemporary Portraits” continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. “Face It” explores an expanded definition of photographic portraiture. Curated by BGSU art faculty Lynn Whitney and Andrew Hershberger and BGSU Galleries Director Jacqueline Nathan, the exhibit features photos by 27 renowned artists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free. Sept. 29 – Award-winning author and book critic John Freeman will read from his works as a part of the Visiting Writer Series. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Sept. 29 – TheInternational Film Series continues with “Abrazos (Embraces),” directed by Luis Argueta. A group of children travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the first time. The film documents their pilgrimage, exploring family, heritage and immigration. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Sept. 29 – BGSU composition students will present their works at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 30 – TheBGSU Wind Symphony will be in concert at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. On the program are “Skating on the Sheyenne,” by Ross Lee Finney; “Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum,” by Olivier Messiaen, and “First Symphony for Band” by William Bolcom. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts. Sept. 30, Oct. 1 &2 – Elsewhere performances continue with “boom,” written by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and directed by Katelyn Carle. All performances will begin at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Oct. 2 – The University and Concert Bands will perform a joint concert, featuring works by Ticheli, Bernstein, Grainger, Sousa and more. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts Oct. 2 – Pianist Thomas Rosenkranz and violinist Maria Sampen will present a recital at 3 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St., in Toledo. Free Oct. 2 – A master class with violinist Hal Grossman will take place at 3 p.m. in the Choral Rehearsal Hall located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 2 – The Guest Artist Series features violinist Hall Grossman in performance at 8 p.m. in Bryan…


Horizon Youth Theatre presents ‘The Great Cross Country Race’

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2016 fall production, The Great Cross Country Race, written by Alan Broadhurst and directed by Cassie Greenlee. Performances are at Otsego High School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Saturday October 8 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; and Sunday October 9 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $5.00 and are available at HorizonYouthTheatre.org or at the door. There will also be a preview at Wood County District Public Library on Saturday, October 1 at 10:30 am, which is free and open to the public. This show features human-like animals who make more sense than the people do. Assembled for Sports Day, the animals cannot find anyone to compete with Ms. Fleet the hare in the cross-country race until Ms. Sloe the tortoise agrees to challenge her. In the course of the race, the scatter-brained hare is easily diverted, particularly by encounters with humans, while the tortoise plods slowly and steadily to the finish line. Only the animals speak intelligible language; the humans’ gobble-de-gook is as incomprehensible to the audience as it is to the animals. The human language, referred to as gobble-de-gook, or “gibberish” by the cast and production team, was created by Keith Guion. Only one character, Basket the Dog (played by Thomas Long), can understand both the animals and the humans, and occasionally provides translation. The cast and production team are as follows: The Animals: Dark the Rook – Calista Wilkins Sett the Badger – JJ Poiry Warren the Rabbit – Amalia Cloeter Spiney the Hedgehog – Grace Holbrook Paddle the Rat – Isaac Douglass Brush the Squirrel – Maddox Brosious Basket the Dog – Thomas Long Sloe the Tortoise – Sophi Hachtel Fleet the Hare – Scarlet Frishman The Humans: Jackie – Terra Sloane Robin – Anita Kukeli Fisherman – Aidan Funk Maude – Sky Frishman Georgina – Bella Truman Mr. Urban Notcouth – Bob Walters Mrs. Urban Notcouth – Katie Partlow Brandi Notcouth – Alexandra Roberts-Zibbel Sophia Notcouth – Narnia Rieske Farmer Black – Daniel Cagle Mrs. Stainer – Anne Weaver The Production Team: Assistant Director – Meagan Worthy Stage Manager – Stephanie Harden Set Construction – Greg Hall Costuming – Christina Hoekstra Makeup Instruction – Meghan Koesters **HYT would like to thank OTSEGO SCHOOLS for the generous access to its facilities we’ve enjoyed since 2014. We couldn’t do this without you.**


3B’s “Young Frankenstein” laughs off Halloween spooks

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Get a jump on Halloween with shrieks of laughter rather than shrieks of fear. The folks at 3B Productions will present the musical stage version of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” this weekend with shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2:30 at the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St., Maumee. Joe Barton, the show’s director and a founder of the troupe, said the inspiration to stage this Mel Brooks classic came from last fall’s Halloween-themed show, “The Addams Family.” Seeing Randy “Beef” Baughman as Lurch, he and others thought he’d make a great Frankenstein’s monster. Perfect casting, aside from the challenge of finding a tux that fits him. In “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks imagined Frederick Frankenstein following in his grandfather Victor’s footsteps and creating a monster of his own. Brooks, as was his wont, turned the horror of the original and its multiple retellings, on its head and into a relentless comedy. “There’s not sad moment in the show,” Barton said. “Even the love songs are comedic.” Baughman’s son, Will, was cast as Frederick. They’ve shared the stage before, most recently in a very different seasonal musical. In spring Will Baughman played Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” while Randy Baughman played the high-strutting high priest Caiaphas . “Young Frankenstein,” Barton said, gives the younger Baughman a chance to play a lighter, comic role. “It’s fun to watch them work together,” the director said of the father-son duo. With Janine Baughman, Randy’s wife and Will’s mother, as musical director the show as much a family affair for the Baughman’s as it is for the Frankenstein’s. Brooks did a seamless translation of his hit movie to the stage, adding a few musical numbers. Usually when doing a show that has a movie version, Barton advises against watching the film. Actors can pick up the tics of the screen performers. But in this case he told them to go ahead because he wanted to capture the anarchic energy of the original. Brooks wrote all the songs, music and lyrics, except for Irving Berlin’s “Putting’ on the Ritz,” which is used in the show’s tap dance scene. That move from screen to stage requires some stage magic to pull off effects like the operating table that lifts into the air while Frederick and Inga, played by Kristin Kekic, make love on it. The cast is thoroughly enjoying the rehearsal process, Barton said. No drudgery about long rehearsals. “Everyone’s really into it. They’re having so much fun.” That includes Lydia Schafer as Frau Blucher. She came in character from the start, Barton said. She’s reprising the role from a Toledo Rep production. “The cast definitely has a good time,” Barton said. “That’s what I like best about it.” The cast also includes:…


Actor Frank Runyeon to present “Acts of Mercy” at St. Aloysius, Oct. 9-11

Submitted by St. ALOYSIUS PARISH St. Aloysius Parish, 150 S. Enterprise St., Bowling Green will present “Acts of Mercy” with veteran TV actor Frank Runyeon, Oct. 9 through 11 at 7 p.m. each night. “Acts of Mercy”presents, in dramatic performance over three nights, classic stories of our faith, highlighting the theme of God’s mercy, featuring selections from The Gospel of John, The Gospel of Luke, and The Letter of James. The performances are: “JOHN: Signs of Mercy,” Sunday, Oct 9, proclaims how God has shown mercy to mankind in the life of Jesus. Adults and school-aged children sit on the edge of their seats as the action unfolds in the darkness and candlelight… “LUKE: Stories of Mercy,” Monday, Oct. 10, enacts famous stories from Luke’s Travel Narrative (Chapters 9-19), interwoven with stories from Frank’s own life– to help us hear these parables as stories about our lives here and now. “JAMES: Works of Mercy,” Tuesday, Oct. 11, is set outside Caesarea in an early house-church filled with characters, after the stoning of Stephen. James calls the people in his church to become a People of Mercy who “do the Work of God,” and know the joy of living in God’s love. The mission concludes with a Conversation with the Actor. Frank reflects on our experience of God’s Word as drama these three nights, and discusses why oral performance is an appropriate way to hear God’s Word: as spoken by a Person who is present, addressing us personally, in love. Runyeon has received national acclaim for his work as a translator and performer of Biblical texts over the past 20 years. He has performed the Gospel for hundreds of thousands of people in virtually every state in America. He is probably still best known, however, for his many roles on television. He starred for seven years as Steve Andropoulos on “As the World Turns” opposite Meg Ryan, and for four years as Father Michael Donnelly on the Emmy-award-winning “Santa Barbara.” He also appeared opposite Emma Samms on “General Hospital” as playboy Simon Romero. He has guest-starred in recurring roles on “L.A. LAW,” “Falcon Crest,” “All My Children,” “The Young and the Restless,” and “Melrose Place.” Runteon is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Religion and American Studies. He wrote his thesis on the Mass Media. He has also studied at Fuller Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the General Theological Seminary in New York, where he received his Masters Degree with honors.  


BGSU Lively Arts through Oct. 5

Through Sept. 28 — The 33rd annual juried exhibition of Ohio designer craftsmen continues in the Willard Wankelman Gallery in BGSU’s Fine Arts Center. The exhibit showcases works in clay, glass, fiber, wood, metal and mixed media by many nationally recognized Ohio artists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Oct. 6 — “Face It: Reimagining Contemporary Portraits” continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the BGSU Fine Arts Center. “Face It” explores an expanded definition of photographic portraiture. Curated by BGSU art faculty Lynn Whitney and Andrew Hershberger and BGSU Galleries Director Jacqueline Nathan, the exhibit features photos by 27 renowned artists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free Sept. 21 – The BGSU Faculty Artist Series features pianist Cole Burger in recital at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 22 – Creative writing students in BGSU’s Master of Fine Arts program read from their work beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Sept. 22 – BGSU The International Film Series features the 2010 Guatemalan film “AbUSed: The Postville Raid,” directed by Luis Argueta. The film conveys personal stories from a small Iowa town that witnessed the May 2008 mass arrest of 400 immigrants at a meatpacking plant. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free Sept. 22 – The BGSU Guest Artist Series puts a spotlight on jazz with Carl Allen on percussion. In addition to his work as a drummer, sideman, bandleader, entrepreneur and educator, Allen has more than 200 recordings to his name. His performance begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 22 – Elsewhere productions begins the season with “Spineless: A Staged Reading” written by Elise Lockwood and directed by Rebekah Sinewe. The reading will begin at 8 p.m. in the Margit Bloch Heskett Classroom located in the BGSU Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Sept. 24 – The Bowling Green Philharmonia will perform as a part of the Honors String Festival, presenting compositions by Mozart, Weber, Brahms, Elgar and Wagner. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the BGSU Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts. Sept. 25 – The Sunday Matinee Series continues with “The Mothering Heart,” (1919), directed by D.W. Griffith. Lillian Gish’s finest achievement at Biograph was this stunning two-reeler, a tale of marriage gone awry – a…


Theatergoers will lap up Players’ off-beat dog story “Sylvia”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In “Sylvia,” one character warns another that if you give a dog a woman’s name you soon start thinking of the dog as a woman. Well, if you cast a fine comic actress as a dog, believe me you will start thinking of her as a dog, a lovable, neurotic, rambunctious, affectionate, and always entertaining dog. With Traci Johnson playing the title dog in A.R. Gurney’s comedy, the Black Swamp Players have done just that. “Sylvia” opens Friday at 8 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster, Bowling Green. The comedy continues its run Saturday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 17, at 2 p.m. and next weekend Sept. 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $10 for seniors and students from Grounds for Thought or by visiting www.blackswampplayer.org. The adult comedy, directed by Wayne Weber, is one of Gurney’s explorations of white, upper middle class angst. Greg (Ryan Albrecht) and Kate (Stephanie Truman) are empty nesters in the 1990s who have moved into New York City from the suburbs, and they are experiencing just the city life they were seeking… dinner parties, chamber music concerts, Knicks games. After raising their two children, now away at college, Kate has a blossoming career in education. Her mission is to bring Shakespeare to inner city junior high students. She’s earnest and devoted to her new endeavor. Greg, on the other hand, is at a dead end with his job, which somehow involves money markets. Sort of a vague sitcom dad kind of employment. After another argument with his boss, he flees work for the park. That’s where he meets Sylvia. It’s love at first sight. The play opens with them coming into the apartment for the first time. Other than a collar, there’s little to tell the audience that Johnson is playing a dog. You don’t need to be told. Her high energy and begging for affection does the trick. Johnson is a superb comic actress. She can deliver a punchline with the tilt of her head, or by bounding onto the sofa. Greg is smitten, and all his frustrations seem to fade when he’s with her. He pours all his attention into her care. Not good for his job, which he loses, and that’s fine with him. Not good for his marriage which is endangered by the intrusion of this creature. That for him seems more problematic.  Kate and Greg are at the same stage of life, yet dealing with it in opposite ways, and Sylvia, who is as much a mistress as a pet, is pulling on the leash, taking Greg even further away. Albrecht’s Greg is truly lost soul, not knowing what is happening to himself. His affection for Sylvia…


Misfeldt honored at the 2016 OCTA Conference

At the sixty-third annual conference of the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA), held at the Holiday Inn in Independence, Ohio, over the Labor Day weekend, Willard Misfeldt of Black Swamp Players was one of three OCTA members inducted into the state organization’s Hall of Fame.  This is an honor which recognizes outstanding achievements, contributions, and support by members of the organization. Willard has been involved in amateur theatricals since his high school senior class play and has been a member of Black Swamp Players since 1975, serving the group in various capacities including as President and as representative to the state organization.  He has been a regular attendee at regional and state OCTA conferences and has brought home a number of awards. In February and March of this year his more than forty years of theatre design work was surveyed in an exhibition at the Four Corners Center gallery in downtown Bowling Green. Dr. Misfeldt was a professor of art history in BGSU’s School of Art for 31 years.  For him theatre was a strong hobby and good way to have fun away from the job.


Horizon’s Thomas Long wins top comic acting prize; 3B’s “Mermaid” going to state festival (update)

From BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Actors from Horizon Youth Theatre picked up awards, including a top comic acting honor, at the Ohio Community Theatre Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. this weekend. Thomas Long received an Outstanding in Comedic Acting for his role in “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.” HYT presented a 40-minute excerpt from the play, which was originally staged in October. Also at the festival 3B Productions’ “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” was one of two excerpts chosen to be staged at OCTA’s state conference on Labor Day weekend. Several HYT actors performed in the chorus for that show, which was 3B’s annual summer youth production. “Little Mermaid” received outstanding awards for: Dylan Coale, makeup design;  Joe Barton, costume coordinating; Janine Baughman and Tom Montgomery, musical accompaniment; and Sarah Matlow and Will Dupuis, outstanding musical performance. Also, 3B received excellence for:  vocal ensemble; Bob Marzola, choreography; Beth Kinney, props; Andrea Maccariella, props; Jesse Bernal, set design; and Noah Halaoui, musical performance. In addition to Long’s award, HYT won a number of merit awards. Those were: first time director Jeffrey Guion; Wendy Guion, props; ensemble acting; and Anne Weaver and Bob Walters, acting. The Toledo School for the Arts presented an excerpt from “Little Prince” and received an outstanding for puppet design and excellence for ensemble acting, as well as several merit awards. The festival, held Saturday in Wadsworth, was about more than competition. As the performers from all over the state waited for the results, they flooded the area in front of the stage and sang along to the show tunes being played over the public address system. Together they danced and sang tunes from “Les Miserables,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and current smash hit “Hamilton.” All this culminated with a conga line snaking its way through the auditorium. (Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel provided information for this story.)


Horizon Youth Theatre headed to OCTA Jr.

The young thespians from the Horizon Youth Theatre will bring their talents to The Ohio Community Theatre Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. Saturday (Aug. 6) in Wadsworth. Horizon Youth Theatre will present the one act “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet” directed by Jeffrey Guion.  Their 3:45 p.m. performance starts a run of performances by Northwest Ohio troupes. HYT’s performance will be followed by Toledo School for the Arts’ “The Little Prince.” Then at 5:05 p.m. 3B Productions will present an excerpt from its summer teen musical “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.”


“Little Mermaid” performed swimmingly by 3B youth troupe

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With temperatures topping the 90s, a trip to the sea seems just the thing. Local theatergoers don’t have to go far for that. This weekend 3B Productions is staging “Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the Musical,” based on the 1989 animated film. This is 3B’s annual summer youth musical. It’s a great idea. Pull together talent from area high schools and give them a chance to work together and give the audience a chance to see some of the best young thespian talent in the area. Given the size of the cast, 65 in all, with its sailors, maids, cooks and all manner of sea creatures, real and imagined, the show has plenty of roles for youngsters, some maybe getting their first exposure to musical theater. The result is a bracing sea adventure, powered by youthful energy. “The Little Mermaid,” directed by Joe Barton with musical direction by Jennifer Bollinger and choreography by Bob Marzola, is on stage at the Maumee Indoor Theatre Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The Saturday matinee will feature understudies including several members of the Horizon Youth Theatre. Tickets, which are going fast, are $15 available at: www.3Bproductions.org. The production meets the challenge of bringing animated antics to life, and fleshing out the characters. Using the energy of live theater performed by a youthful cast as a substitute for the magic of animation, “Little Mermaid” has a spunky summer camp joy to it. Particularly impressive is the way Andrew Nauden keeps his character Sebastian, the court composer turned a mermaid princess’ minder, from being a caricature. Sebastian has all the makings of being the show’s Jar Jar Binks, but Nauden makes us feel his character’s frustrations, and developing concern for Ariel. He’s equally good at leading the feel-good production number “Under the Sea” as he is the sensitive “Kiss the Girl.” Not surprisingly he’s already won state honors for his roles in other 3B shows and will head off to study in Ithaca College’s well respected musical theater program. Ariel played by Joelle Stiles is a heart-strong mermaid. She’s obsessed with the land of humans and immune to the grave warnings of her father, the sea god Triton (Noah Halaoui). She’s always venturing to the surface to spy on people, and getting instruction in their ways from the bird-brained seagull Scuttle (Max Lay). Her misunderstandings add much of the humor, though those fish-out-of-water antics never get in the way of the romance. Her ignorance of people most comes out in the big song “Part of Your World” when she declares that she longs to be “where they don’t reprimand their daughters.” Somehow I always found that line a hoot. In true fairy tale fashion, she falls in love on sight with a…


3B to present “Little Mermaid” in Maumee, July 21-24

Submitted by 3B PRODUCTIONS 3B Productions will present “Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the Musical,” July 21 through July 24 at the Maumee Indoor Theatre. Performance schedule is: Thursday July 21 – 8 p.m. Friday, July 22 – 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23 – 2:30 p.m. . Saturday, July 23 – 8 p.m. Sunday, July 24 – 2:30 p.m. Conversations with the cast and crew immediately follow each performances. Tickets are $15 general seating. For tickets, visit www.3Bproductions.org, or stop in at The Maumee Indoor Theatre. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” is a  love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and a book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable includes the songs “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. Joe Barton will direct this Disney classic at the intimate Maumee Indoor Theatre He will be supported in bringing this vision to the Maumee Indoor stage by musical director Jennifer Bollinger, choreographer/assistant director Bob Marzola, and scenic designer Jesse Bernal. Maumee High School’s Joelle Stiles joins the cast of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” as Ariel, having last been seen in 3B Productions, “Legally Blonde.” An honor student, a member of Select Choir, and a member of Panther Productions Drama Club, Joelle was a dancer for ten years at Dance Expressions with classes in tap, ballet, and jazz. She has been performing in musicals since she was 11 years old and has been in over 20 productions, including “Shrek the Musical,” “Children of Eden,” and “Into the Woods.” She also has worked behind the scenes on lights, sound, backstage, and has stage managed, and in “The Sound of Music” (Maria) at Maumee High School. “This is an incredible opportunity, who doesn’t want to play a Disney princess. It’s a dream come true.”, said Joelle. Sarah Matlow plays the evil sea witch bent on taking control of the ocean by manipulating King Triton’s youngest daughter. Sarah will be attending Ohio Northern University to study musical theater performance, and arts administration. She is no stranger to 3B Productions. Some of her favorite rolls include Yonah (“Children of Eden’” Fiona (“Shrek the Musical”) for 3B. She has also performed with many other community theatre groups which include roles such as Bet (“Oliver”) for the Croswell Opera House, and Maria Rainer (“Sound of Music”)…


Perrysburg Musical Theatre lands “Big Fish” in impressive fashion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Staging the musical “Big Fish” is not a small task, and the Perrysburg Musical Theatre is up to it. The story, first a novel, then Tim Burton-directed movie, then a musical, is a sprawling father-son tale that blends uplifting fantasy with real-life drama. At the very big heart of the musical is the hero Edward Bloom (D. Ward Ensign), a small town salesman given to telling grand stories about his life that may be true, at least in some fashion. As he faces death, the world of those stories collides with real life. “Big Fish,” which is making its Northwest Ohio premiere, is being presented Thursday, June 23, through Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. in the Perrysburg High School auditorium. Tickets are $13. Visit http://www.perrysburgmusicaltheatre.org/. “Big Fish” is a great fit for the Perrysburg summer troupe. The show calls for a cast of more than 40, many of them young people. It exudes a sense of community whether in Bloom’s hometown or the circus he works for. The play’s technical demands are a challenge. The plot cuts back and forth between present and past, from a kid’s bedroom and a bewitched forest. The production, led by the creative team of C. Jordan Benavente, Julie Bermudez, Ensign and Nicole Spadafore with set design by Dave Nelms, pulls this off seamlessly. The high point being the daffodil-infused climax of the first act. The show is more than a visual wonder. As well as a large ensemble it demands three strong singing actors for the central parts of the  fantasist Edward Bloom, his wife Sandra (Elizabeth Cottle), and their son Will (Garrett Leininger). All have strong, expressive voices, and solid acting skills. And Cottle and Ensign effectively portray their characters from their teens into late middle age. Ensign needs to embody both the real life father, who can be overbearing, with the hero of his stories, who is resourceful and an underdog. Ensign draws a straight line from the man who was – at least as he tells it – and the man who is. He makes it believable that his wife  is so devoted, despite the fact that he’s frequently absent because he’s a traveling salesman and neglects his household duties. For her part, she seems bemused by his tales. Less forgiving is Will. From a young age (Isaac Bermudez), he’s been skeptical of his father’s tales, even as he continues to be enthralled by them. A bookish, kind of nerdy kid, Will Bloom grows up to be reporter like so many budding skeptics do. With his father dying, he wants to get to know the real man. He believes his father’s stories are a smokescreen. His wife Josephine (Esther Swain) is more insightful. “Your father is telling you these stories…


Black Swamp Players taking late director’s dream play to state conference

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Dennis East had long wanted to stage “The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon,” a dark comedy about dealing with the devil and curling. Years ago he and his wife, Kathy, had seen the play in Canada, and he just felt would be a great show for The Black Swamp Players to perform back home in Bowling Green. East was a veteran of the troupe, having done everything from set construction to acting to serving as president. Finally “The Black Bonspiel,” with a few approved changes to make it more suitable for a local audience and provide more female roles, made it onto the Black Swamp Players’ schedule for fall, 2013. Then East was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The play was scrapped as East battled the disease. Finally last September, still in treatment, East brought Wullie MacCrimmon and his colorful cast of Canadian curlers to the First United Methodist stage. Kathy East remembers it was a strain on him. But he persisted.  “He was just determined he wanted to do it,” she said.  As was his practice he built the sets. “He would spend a lot of time in morning, and afternoons he was napping.” He complained, she said, that he used to be able to construct a set in two weeks. The devil-may-care comedy, in which a shoe repairman played by Lane Hakel bets his soul on the outcome of a curling match, or bonspiel, came off so well that the Players opted to submit it as their entry into the Northwest Region of the Ohio Community Theater Association conference. As the conference, held this past weekend, neared East’s condition worsened. He was able to make it to the first rehearsal before the conference. Kathy East said the cast “just did fabulous,” she said. ”The lines just rolled off their tongues.” Impressive given it had been seven months since the play was staged. East noticed that some boards needed to be painted. So he and Kathy brought them home, and she painted them and returned them during the next rehearsal. That, she noted, did not go so well. Dennis East didn’t make it to see the excerpt performed. He died June 8, just four days before the conference. His death was a huge loss, Hakel wrote in an email. “Dennis’s presence over my years with BSP has always been one of my reasons to be a part of BSP.  His caring, his talent, his smile, his patience, his laugh and his sense of humor helped make meetings, social events, especially the many Christmas and cast parties that he and Kathy hosted, and most especially the productions he helped with, acted in, produced, and/or directed be what community theater can be.  A place where all sorts of different people can connect, unite for a common…


Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Honk!” delivers important message with smile

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Horizon Youth Theatre is ready to make some noise. This weekend the youth troupe will stage “Honk!” a contemporary musical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s story “The Ugly Duckling.” The musical will be performed at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 19, at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Visit http://horizonyouththeatre.org/product/honk/. Director Cassie Greenlee said the musical is a perfect fit for the young troupe — a fun show with a message. The script was written for a cast of 12 with most actors playing multiple roles. Instead Horizon cast an actor for every part. That meant a role for all those who came out for auditions. That’s a cast of 37, and there’s plenty for them to do. “The secondary characters may be only in one scene but they have a big song or a big part, so we’re able to showcase the talent Horizon has,” Greenlee said. All the members of the cast “have a chance to shine.” That means they all “have a large chunk of responsibility.” Many are “stepping out of their comfort zone, maybe singing solo for first time.” “It’s important to push them out of those comfort zones a little bit and they’ve risen to the challenge,” Greenlee said. Sky Frishman, 16, auditioned for the show because of that wealth of parts. She wasn’t aiming for a particular role, she just wanted to be part of the show. “There were so many good roles,” she said. She’s playing one of the leads as Ida, the Ugly Duckling’s mother. A veteran of eight years with Horizon, she said, she hasn’t had that many leads. Now as Ida, the Toledo School for the Arts student has a number of songs to learn. That’s a challenge, she said. It’s also what Horizon Youth Theatre is about.  The troupe accepts children “no matter how much experience you have, just to learn and grow.” That’s what she’s done. Frishman remembers how “cool” it was when she was just starting – her first show was “Sun and Moon” directed by founder Scott Regan – and teens were still performing with the troupe. Now, entering her senior year of high school, she’s one of those older students. “It’s come full circle,” she said. “I love Horizon Youth Theatre. They’re my home.” William Cagle, who plays the title role, is also a teen trouper. He last appeared with the troupe several summers ago in “Aladdin Jr.” Now getting ready to head off to Columbia University where he will study writing, Cagle came back for one more chance to work with Greenlee. “I’ve always been close to Cassie,” he said, adding, “I love working with kids.”…


Perrysburg Musical Theatre brings stage version of “Big Fish” to Northwest Ohio

From PERRYSBURG MUSICAL THEATRE Perrysburg Musical Theatre will be the first theatre company in Northwest Ohio to debut the funny, fanciful and heartwarming new musical “Big Fish” this summer. “Big Fish” will be staged  June 23, 24, & 25 at 7 p.m. and 26 at 2 p.m. at Perrysburg High School. “Big Fish” is based on Daniel Wallace’s 1998 novel, “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions.” The story which features flashbacks and tall tales that come to life, quickly caught the attention of American Screenwriter John August who adapted the novel for the 2003 film “Big Fish.” In 2013, John August brought the story to Broadway with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Variety called it “(A) wholly satisfying show: meaningful, emotional, tasteful, theatrically imaginative and engaging.” PMT’s Big Fish is cast with gifted and talented actors. D. Ward Ensign stars as the charming, charismatic storyteller and father, Edward Bloom. Ensign has been a part of numerous theatrical and musical productions, both on and off stage since being in his first musical, Godspell in 1988. Elizabeth Cottle plays Sandra Bloom, who is patient, calm – the perfect balance to Edward’s enthusiasm. Elizabeth is no stranger to the stage, but this is her 1st production with PMT. “When we had callbacks for the roles of Sandra and Edward, we paired Ward and Elizabeth together to duet the song, “Daffodils”. It was instant chemistry, they became Sandra and Edward,” said Julie Bermudez, Artistic Director for PMT. Also making his 1st time appearance with PMT is Garrett Leininger as Will Bloom. Garrett is the Choir Director for Perrysburg High School. His character, Will is a critical part of the story. He is an earnest, serious, thoughtful young man wanting to reconnect with his storytelling father, but unable to appreciate Edward’s romantic view of life. He has to able to take us on the journey of understanding and make us believe the complex relationship and final heartfelt embrace of his father’s legacy. Playing Will’s wife, Josephine is Esther Swain. Esther is back with PMT (Witch, Shrek the Musical) and recently starred in 3B’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar as Mary Magdalene. Her character, Josephine acts as the bridge between Edward and Will, explaining the deeper meaning of the stories. Not to be ignored is the circus ring leader, Amos played by Chris Stack, also making his 1st time debut with PMT. Amos is the rather eccentric, quirky owner of the circus that employs young Edward that will keep the audience laughing with his outgoing personality. Chuck Kiskadden will portray Karl, the Giant. Edward’s best friend, Karl is shy, exceptionally intelligent, hermit- like, and has a quiet charisma. Jenny Hill played by Emma Hayward, who transforms as Edward’s devoted, first girlfriend to an older, tired disillusioned version of Jenny. The youngest member of the supporting…