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Published: Thursday, 5/1/2008

Comedy, children's classic, and more are staged

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A farce and three musicals open on Toledo and area stages this week as troupes wind down their seasons.

For its finale, the Village Players has chosen Marc Camoletti's Don't Dress for Dinner, a tale of marital infidelity, mistaken identities, and a Cordon Bleu cook.

"It was written in 1993 or so in France, where it's extremely popular," said director Norb Mills. "It's billed as a farce, but I see it as a situational comedy. As all these little twists take place, it affects what happens down the road."

The cast comprises Jimmie Pickle and Suzanne Jennens as Bernard and his wife, Jacqueline; Matt Black as Bernard's friend Robert; Elizabeth Palmer as Suzanne, Bernard's mistress; Clara Engle as Suzette, the cook; and John Jennens as George, the cook's husband.

Most of the cast have appeared in previous Players productions.

"Clara Engle is new to us," Mills said. "She just did Harvey at the Rep, and we're glad to have her."

Mills said the cast is working hard on its timing. "I want to keep it within the realm of reality, and if the timing is off, it strays into that farce area again. We're getting it, and the cast is having fun, too."

Mills also suggests the play is suitable for high schoolers on up, given the situations and a bit of language.

"Don't Dress for Dinner" opens tomorrow in the Village Players Theatre, 2740 Upton Ave. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through May 17 with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Information: 419-472-6817.

Theatre Kidz turns itself into a den of thieves this weekend as it presents Oliver!

Directed by company founder Jon Smith, the Oscar and Tony Award-winning musical by Lionel Bart is based on Oliver Twist, the Charles Dickens novel about an orphan who is recruited into a gang of young pickpockets in Victorian London.

Famous songs in the production include "Consider Yourself," "Food, Glorious Food," and "As Long as He Needs Me."

Musical direction for Oliver! is by Magda Kress, a senior at Toledo School for the Arts, and David Fioritto of the Random Acts theatrical company; choreography is by Elizabeth Bauer of A Time to Dance in Delta.

Theatre Kidz is an educational troupe with children ages 4-18 from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Theatre Kidz, Inc. presents "Oliver!" at 7 p.m. tomorrow, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Millennium Theatre at Maumee Valley Country Day School, 1715 South Reynolds Rd. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Information: 419-344-6884.

"When a child loves you for a long, long time ... then you become real." This is the mantra of the toys in the nursery in Margery Williams classic children's book The Velveteen Rabbit, the finale in the Ritz Theatre's Discovery Series.

With an original music score by Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning composer/arranger Don Sebesky, the Philadelphia-based Enchantment Theatre Company uses live singers, life-sized puppets, and masks to bring to life the tale of love, devotion, and hope.

The Discovery Series is aimed at teachers and their students, but the public is welcome to attend if space is available.

"The Velveteen Rabbit" is scheduled at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow in the Ritz Theatre, 30 South Washington St., Tiffin. $4 Tickets are $4. Information: Carolyn Daughenbaugh at 419-448-8544.

Fremont Community Theatre turns to gamblers, chorus girls, mission workers, and cops to wind up its 2007-08 season.

They're all part of the world Damon Runyon wrote about in his newspaper articles and short stories, which inspired Guys and Dolls, the classic musical written by Abe Burrows, with music by Frank Loesser.

Randy Brown directs the Fremont production, which features such songs as "Luck be a Lady," "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat," and "A Bushel and a Peck."

Fremont Community Theatre presents "Guys and Dolls" at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 18 at 1551 Dickinson St., Fremont. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Information: 419-332-0695.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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