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Published: Friday, 9/17/2004

Area theaters gear up for lots of laughter

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tim Shew and his mother, Susie, at the 2001 benefit at UT. Tim Shew and his mother, Susie, at the 2001 benefit at UT.
MORRISON / BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

And now for something a little different.

After a summer theater season filled with music, two area theaters are opening their fall seasons with comedies, and there's nary a tune in sight.

But that doesn't mean there isn't hope for fans of musicals. Broadway performer Tim Shew and some friends will be in concert at the University of Toledo.

The fun starts at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, where the curtain rises tonight on Neil Simon's Rumors.

"The play is an absolute farce," says director Bob Soller.

Simon wrote it, Soller said, after he completed his semi-autobiographical Brighton Beach trilogy.

"His friends asked him, 'Can't you write a good, funny play again?' and Simon said, 'You want a funny play? I'll write you a funny play.'"

The result was Rumors, which is line after line of laughs, Soller said.

It's about an upscale couple who invite some guests to a black-tie celebration of their 10th anniversary. When the first guests arrive, they find the wife and servants missing, the dinner uncooked, and the host in his bedroom with a bullet in his head.

It sounds like a tragedy, but this being Neil Simon, it isn't. The gunshot wound is both a flesh wound and a device for slapstick and hilarity, mistaken identities, and nonstop silliness.

Carlton Cook of Tecumseh, Mich., and Judy Vanzo of Addison, Mich., are reprising the roles they played in the Croswell's 1992 production, which broke theater records. Others in the cast are Joe and Stephanie Dennehy of Toledo, Michele Lewis, Brian Linthicum, Mary Pitchford, Tim Ray, Sheri Silver, and Damon Sloan.

"These people are highly experienced, and they are thoroughly enjoying the show," Soller said. "They are all winners."

Rumors" opens tonight and runs through Sept. 26 in the Croswell Opera House, 129 East Maumee St., Adrian. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students. Information: 517-264-7469.

Actor Jeff Daniels' comedy about the deer-hunting adventures of a family on Michigan's Upper Peninsula has become a fall tradition at Ms. Rose's Dinner Theater.

This is the third time the Perrysburg theater has presented the popular show about Reuben Soady, who is about to become the oldest member of the family never to bag a buck.

Joining Reuben on the annual deer hunt are his father, Albert, caustic brother Remnar, and buddy Jimmer, who still suffers from being abducted by aliens.

Claudette Davis is again producing and Merri Bame returns as director. Also returning are Thom Sinn as Reuben, Rick Wood as Remnar, Nate Kutz as Jimmer, Tom Kleinart as Ranger Tom, and Davis as Wolf Moon Dance. New this year are Steve Horowitz as Albert and Ken Gillen as the stage manager.

"Escanaba in da Moonlight" runs on a limited schedule through Nov. 12 in the theater at 25740 North State Rt. 25, Perrysburg. Performances in September are tonight and Sept. 25. Doors open at noon Wednesdays, 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays for a buffet; the show starts two hours later. Tickets are $36 and $39, depending on the day. Information: 419-874-8505.

In what has become another area tradition, Broadway performer Tim Shew is bringing some buddies to the University of Toledo for an evening of song and fund-raising.

The former Toledo actor along with Susan Powell and music director Phil Reno will be in concert Monday in the Doermann Theatre to benefit the Shew Music Education Scholarship and the Susie Shew Counseling Scholarship at UT.

According to Cherie Richardson, director of external affairs and communications at UT, Shew began performing in 1996 to benefit the music scholarship. In 2001, the counseling scholarship was added to the cause. His mother, Susie, is an alumna of the university, receiving a master's degree in counseling in 1980.

"Broadway on Bancroft" is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Monday in UT's Doermann Theatre, with a reception preceding the show at 6:30. Tickets are $30, $60, and $125 and must be purchased by noon Monday. Information: 419-530-4927.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at:

ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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