PLAY REVIEW: Annual OUR3 melodrama set for this weekend
Lucy Canary (Karen Hopkins) is in love and wants a wedding. Her daddy, Mayor Caesar Canary (Jeff Cook), agrees on the wedding. The two, however, don’t agree on the prospective groom.
This simple scenario begins the story of “Is There A Doctor in the House?” the third annual OUR3 melodrama fundraiser. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Greenville High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 and are available at the UPS store, online at www.greenville.k12.mi.us/ by clicking though The Arts tab to Event Tickets, or at the door.
“This is definitely a melodrama with the emphasis not so much on ‘drama’ but more on the ‘melo’ part,” director Ruth Hansen said. “There is a lot of exaggeration on movement, which is not an easy thing for actors to get used to doing.”
The 30-plus actors, band members and crew are all local celebrities who volunteer their time each year to participate in one of the OUR3 campaign’s biggest fundraising events. OUR3 works alongside the Education Foundation of Greenville to help provide grants and scholarships for educational and musical enrichment.
“It is a fun production with a theme of ‘you should marry the one you love,’” Hansen said. “It’s kind of corny, but everyone loves a happy ending.”
As mayor, Caesar Canary runs the town of Grease Gulch. The entire production takes place in the Grease Gulch Boarding House Hotel and General Store. Without scene changes, along with few costume changes, the 75-minute show runs very quickly.
The opening number showcases the entire company singing and dancing a complicated reel on stage, accompanied by live music provided by Bows, Bellows and Good Lookin’ Fellows.
Caesar Canary, played with gusto by Cook, decides it is time for his daughter Lucy to get married. Lucy, played by the bubbly Karen Hopkins, is excited, for she is in love with a country bumpkin, Lester Goodbe, portrayed with enthusiasm by Jim Hopkins.
“Love? Who is talking about love? I’m talking about marriage!” roars Canary, as he explains Lucy is to marry the ancient Otis Lackluster, played convincingly by Kathy Frank.
“Why would Lucy want to marry Otis? Why, he couldn’t even get a date on a tombstone,” says the Sheriff (Jon Alysworth).
Much to Lucy’s dismay, the wedding is arranged. But as Lucy is to recite her vows, she suddenly loses her voice, and the wedding is called off.
The cast then begins to look for a doctor in the house, leading to a comical array of physicians: Dr. Pillpurge, a Groucho Marx lookalike, played by Linda Van Houten; Dr. Snag, a lazy rancher looking for a get-rich-quick scheme (Keith Hudson), Dr. Abracadabra, a quack doctor with unusual remedies (Mike Walsh), and his assistant, the 132-year-old Princess Falling Star (Jamee Gunn) and the exotic Gypsy Hagg (Katie McDonough).
Lucy’s friends, the sweet Blossom (Susan Ayres) and bumbling Tom Sawyer Huckleberry Finn Jones Jr. (Jeff Ayres) want to help Lucy get better, and want to help her marry Lester. The two blend beautifully as they sing “Love is the Best Dang Doctor.”
The four doctors later also perform a top-notch piece, “The Professional Way,” complete with singing and dancing and most of the cast joining them on stage.
The show makes great use of the entire auditorium, with characters using the front of the stage, walking among the audience and drawing the audience in with dialogue.
A fast-paced, entertaining production, “Is There a Doctor in the House?” would be enjoyed by all ages.
“Is There A Doctor in the House?” at a glance
What: “Is There A Doctor in the House?”
Where: Greenville High School Performing Arts Center
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Tickets: $10 at the UPS Store, online at www.greenville.k12.mi.us/ by clicking though The Arts tab to Event Tickets, or at door
Cast: Hepzibah Canary, Caroline Cook; Tom Sawyer Huckleberry Finn Jones Jr., Jeff Ayres; Widow Stockade, Janet Wulf-Marvin; Mayor Caesar Canary, Jeff Cook; Blossom, Susan Ayres; Lucy Canary, Karen Hopkins; Sheriff, Jon Aylsworth; Lester Goodbe, Jim Hopkins; Preacher, Leigh Acker; Otis Lackluster, Kathy Frank; Dr. Pillpurge, Linda Van Houten; Mrs. Alberts Cornsilk, Michelle Blaszynski; Mrs. Cassandra Cornstarch, Diane Brissette; Majorie Snag, Gretchen Baarman; Dr. Snag, Keith Hudson; Princess Falling Star, Jamee Gunn; Dr. Abracadabra, Mike Walsh; Gypsy Hagg, Kate McDonough; and Amanda Flimflam, Robin Bremby.
Crew: Ruth Hansen, director; Linda Van Houten, choreographer and vocal director; Megan Robinson and Kelsey Fonger, stage managers; Chris Chapman, technical director; Jacqueline Soule, assistant technical director; Jeremy Carey and Kelsey Fonger, Gerrit Harding, Scott Scripter and Kaitlyn Wietsma, light crew; Greg Pribble, sound crew; Tyler DeGood, Deserai Kent, Robert Miller and Emily Mulder, scenic; Laura Beard, props; Jean Hudson and cast, costumes; Linda Custer, makeup; Taylor, Sarah Headley, Jacky Hilliker and Kristina Magoon, makeup crew; Cheryl Willard, production coordinator.
Band: Bow, Bellows and Good Lookin’ Fellows: Nels Hansen, piano; Jesse Kent, fiddle; Al Mayer, five-string banjo; Paul Pollock, washtub bass; Kevin Christensen, percussion.
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.