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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2011

Monroe troupe to present Twain comedy

BY JULIE NJAIM
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Left to Right, Ronald Roberts, Ashley Powers, Paula Loop in "Is He Dead?".                               Left to Right, Ronald Roberts, Ashley Powers, Paula Loop in "Is He Dead?".
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MONROE -- Ronald Roberts as Jean-Francois Millet, a struggling talented painter, knows the only way to pay his debts and marry his love is to fake his death.

To secure the fortune, Millet impersonates his widowed sister to collect royalties from his paintings in Mark Twain's Is He Dead? opening Sept. 30 as Monroe Community Players begins its 2011-2012 season.

Written in 1898, Twain was inspired by realist painter Jean-Francois Millet, whose fame and fortune soared after his death. The show opened on Broadway in 2007 for 105 performances.

"It doesn't have a lot of Twain's usual sardonic humor; it's very light," said director Brad Bowman. "There are certain scenes in this show that are just uproariously funny. It's over-the-top humor."

In this adaptation by David Ives, Millet desperately needs cash to avoid debtor's prison and losing his love, Marie Leroux, played by Paula Loop, to Bastien Andre, played by Dave Wahr. Once Millet puts on the dress, Andre turns his affection toward him/her. Millet must find a way to get the money, get away from Andre, and marry Leroux.

Included in the cast are: Michael VanDeGinste as Agamemnon Buckner (Chicago), Karl Hauser as Hans von Bismarck ("Dutchy"), Robert Yoman as Phelim O'Shaughnessy, Norb Nowak as Papa Leroux, and Ashley Powers as Cecile Leroux. Playing several roles are Kelly Congdon VanDeGinste and Bowman.

Is He Dead?, a Monroe Community Players production, will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the La-Z-Boy Center at Monroe Community College, 1555 South Raisinville Rd., Monroe. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children in advance, $17 and $13 at the door. Information: 734-241-7900.

'Rocky Horror'

MONROE -- A young, innocent couple, a broken-down car, and the maniacal Dr. Frank-N- Furter take audiences on a comical, mature-themed journey tomorrow and Saturday when River Raisin Centre for the Arts presents Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show.

First opening on Broadway in 1975, the show had a brief one-month run before re-opening in 2000 for nearly two years.

Audience members are invited to dress as their favorite character from the show and possibly win a seat on stage for the performance.

Directed by Tracy Glover, of Toledo, who also plays the character Janet Weiss, the cast includes Chris Capaul, of Monroe, as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, and Tim Middleton, of Monroe, as Brad Majors. Josh Glover, of Toledo, is the music director.

The Rocky Horror Show will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:59 p.m. Saturday at the River Raisin Centre for the Arts, 114 S. Monroe St., Monroe. Tickets are $18. Information: 734-242-7722 or riverraisincentre.org.

'Sonia Flew'

BOWLING GREEN -- Childhood memories and an uncertain future overwhelm Sonia, a devoted mother of two, when Melinda Lopez's Sonia Flew is presented this weekend by Bowling Green State University Department of Theatre and Film.

Set in post-revolutionary Cuba and post-9/11 America, Sonia learns her son is leaving college to enlist in the military and fight terrorism in Afghanistan. The announcement forces Sonia to reconcile her torn childhood -- leaving behind her parents and her country -- with her role as a mother with responsibilities to her family and to her adopted country.

Sonia Flew, directed by Chanelle Vigue, a graduate student, examines the impact of large cultural and political forces on the lives of ordinary men and women.

Sonia Flew will be performed at 8 p.m.Thursday through Saturday with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday at Bowling Green State University's Joe E. Brown Theatre located on the first floor of University Hall, Bowling Green. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for seniors and students. Information: 419-372-2719.

'Alice'

Archbold Community Theatre closes its 2010-2011 season this weekend with Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Jr.

Alice's madcap adventures in Wonderland include chasing a White Rabbit, racing the Dodo Bird, being tied up with the Tweedles, rapping with the bubble-blowing Caterpillar, and beating the Queen of Hearts at her own game.

Audiences will likely hum or sing along with childhood classics "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" and "The Unbirthday Song."

Disney's Alice in Wonderland, Jr. will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday by Archbold Community Theatre in Giffey Hall, 20369 County Rd X, Ridgeville Corners, Ohio. Additional performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and 8 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 9. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for students and seniors in advance, more at the door. Information: 419-267-5717.

Contact Julie Njaim at: jnjaim@theblade.com.



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