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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2005

'Escanaba' continues to draw crowds, laughs in region

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

If it's autumn, it must be Escanaba in Da Moonlight, at least in the Midwest.

Now 10 years old, the comedy by actor Jeff Daniels about deer hunters, Yoopers, and "hairy-eyeballed fudge-sucking trolls" continues to find a home on area stages.

Monroe Community Players does the honors this time, opening the comedy tonight in Meyer Theater at Monroe Community College's La-Z-Boy Center.

Director Alen Fyfe believes that Escanaba is so popular because it appeals to audiences other than traditional theater-goers.

"This is about the only stage play I know of that 'real men' come to see. There are guys who come see this show who would never step foot in a theater for a live show for anything. But, they can relate to this one five guys in a deer hunting camp, drinking, smoking, cursing, belching and of course the ever-present flatulence. What more could a guy ask for other than a football game on at the same time?"

The show deals with the Soady family and their annual trek to their deer-hunting camp. Younger son Reuben is on the verge of disgrace, having never "bagged a buck," and he's determined to break the curse.

David Wahr of Petersburg, Mich., plays patriarch Albert Soady; Norb Nowak and Gary Jenkins of Monroe are sons Remnar and Reuben; Robert Yoman of Petersburg is Jimmer Negaumenee, a family friend who suffers from being abducted by aliens; Karl Hauser of Monroe is Ranger Tom, and Roxanne Congeaolose of Dundee, Mich., is Reuben's wife, Wolf Moon Dance.

"When we performed this show two years ago, we had a great number of people who saw it on Friday night, told some friends, came back Saturday, told more friends, and then came back Sunday," Fyfe said. "It is just a side-splitting, funny, forget-all-our-problems kind of show."

Monroe Community Players presents "Escanaba in Da Moonlight" at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Meyer Theater at Monroe Community College's La-Z-Boy Center. Tickets, $15, are available at the college box office, 734-384-4127; Monroe Community Players hotline, 734-241-7900; or www.monroecommunityplay

ers.org.

Siena Heights University presents the musical Flora, the Red Menace as the opening production of its 2005-06 theater season.

Directed by Kerry Graves, associate professor of theater and speech communication, Flora, the Red Menace is set in the 1930s and concerns a group of young artists putting on a play as part of Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. The spirited Flora, who knows little about politics, falls in love with the communist Harry, who knows a lot about politics but little about being spirited.

With music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the show opened on Broadway in 1965, starring Liza Minnelli as Flora, for which she won a Tony Award.

"Flora, the Red Menace" is scheduled at 8 p.m. today through Saturday in Francoeur Theatre in the Performing Arts Center of Siena Heights University, 1247 East Siena Heights Dr., Adrian. Tickets are $8 for the Siena Heights community, seniors, and students, and $10 for the general public. Information: 517-264-7890.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at:

ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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