The teen leads of the Dearborn Heights Civic Theatre’s cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” gather before participating in a Northville parade July 3 to help publicize their show. The teens leads are mentored by adult actors double cast in the same roles. Marie Wolski (left) of Dearborn portrays Lady Thiang, Ben Timpf of Dearborn is the King, Olivia Butler of Wayne plays Anna, Westley Montgomery of Dearborn portrays Lun Tha and Danielle Paul (right) of Plymouth performs the role of Tuptim.
By Sue Suchyta
Rising stars and double casting are common catchphrases in community theater. In Dearborn Heights they take on added importance as the Civic Theatre launches a new summer program that pairs teen actors with adult actors and mentors.
For its summer production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “The King and I” the Dearborn Heights Civic has double cast the lead roles.
Each teen is paired with a preselected adult mentor who will play the role in six performances; the teen will perform in two shows.
Each adult will coach their dual-cast teen in role and character preparation, vocal performance, stage movement, choreography and artistic expression, while building their self-esteem.
Adult cast members will perform lead roles at 7:30 p.m. July 30 and July 31, and 2 p.m. Aug. 1; at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7; and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14. Teen leads will perform at 2 p.m. Aug. 8 and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13.
Paul Abbott of Allen Park is the adult playing the King of Siam. He is mentoring Ben Timpf, a freshman at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn.
Jodie LaGuire of Inkster is the adult portraying Anna. She will mentor 16-year-old Olivia Butler of Wayne.
Leah Paige Cooley of Taylor will portray Lady Thiang, mentoring Marie Wolski, a Dearborn High School sophomore.
Julienne Kobylasz of Flat Rock will play Tuptim and will mentor Danielle Paul of Plymouth in the role. Danielle is a seventh-grader at Canton Charter Academy.
Paul Keifer of Royal Oak will play Lun Tha and will mentor Westley Montgomery, a sophomore at Dearborn High.
Kristin Curle of Novi is directing the show, with David Ross of Livonia as assistant director. Paul Keifer of Royal Oak is the choreographer, with Kiah Manthei of Lincoln Park as the assistant choreographer. In addition to his royal role, Abbott serves as the music director.
The show is co-produced by Jerry Kondraciuk of Garden City and Rachel LaPointe of Dearborn Heights, who also is stage managing the show.
Other adults in the cast include Dearborn residents Brian Tillman as Captain Orton and Phillip Walling as the Kralahome.
Dearborn Heights adults in the cast include Chris Rivard as Phra Alack, Debbi Wilkes as a royal wife and Tim Wilkes as a royal guard.
Garden City actresses Nicole Dimitrijevich and Tifany Kondraciuk are royal wives, while Eric Floetke of Brownstown Township portrays Sir Edward Ramsey and Sean LaGuire of Ann Arbor plays Simon of Legree.
Karim Hazime of Dearborn Heights, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Riverside Middle School, plays Prince Chulalongkorn. Kendall Manthei of Lincoln Park, a 10-year-old sixth-grader at St. John’s Lutheran School in Waltz, plays Louise Leowens.
Children in the cast include Dearborn residents Katie Wollard; Camille Charara, a junior, and Mary Charara, a freshman at Dearborn High; 11-year-old Allie Czarniecki; 6-year-old Ava Moschet; Sarah Randall, a sixth-grader at Bryant Middle School; Kyle Tillman, a sophomore at Dearborn High and Adrienne Walling.
Dearborn Heights children in the cast include Luke Adamkiewicz, an 8-year-old third-grader at St. Sebastian Catholic School; 5-year-old Hussein Baiz; Grace Bertucci, a fifth-grader, Lia Bertucci, a seventh-grader, and Christina Bertucci, a first-grader at Divine Child School in Dearborn.
Also from Dearborn Heights are 10-year-old Jessie Collins and 8-year-old Mary Collins; Dominic Cugliari; Kristin Davis, an eighth-grader at Riverside; Rhiannon Flores, a fifth-grader; third-grader Olivia Flores; and Julianna Flores, a kindergartner at Bedford Elementary.
Other Dearborn Heights children in the cast include Alina Hazime, a 6-year-old first-grader at Highview Elementary School; Nicole Jennings, a freshman at Divine Child High School in Dearborn; and Joseph Lennon, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at St. Sebastian.
Other young Dearborn Heights cast member include 9-year-old Adam Lesniak; 7-year-olds Claire and Victoria Lesniak; 11-year-old Hope Lesniak; and 13-year-old Mary Lesniak.
Also from Dearborn Heights are Avery Moody, a 7-year-old third-grader, and Alexandra Moody, a 5-year-old first-grader, both at Highview Elementary; 8-year-old Emily Walker and 13-year-old Meghan Walker; and 9-year-old Elena Welker.
Other children in the cast include Alayna Kondraciuk of Garden City; Kiah Manthei of Lincoln Park, a freshman at Carlson High School in Gibraltar; and Arianna and Meadow Ross of Livonia.
Also in the cast are Carrie Caruthers, a 13-year-old from of Redford Township; Brynn Brown, a 12-year-old from Romulus; 6-year-old Aiden Butler and 12-year-old Nathaniel Butler; and 14-year-old Philip Butler of Wayne.
Westland 5-year-old Bailey Fallows, a first-grader at Elliott Elementary School, and 3-year Bryce Fallows are also in the show, as are Danielle Hayes, a freshman at Churchill High School in Livonia, and Veronica Hays, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Cooper Elementary School in Livonia.
Clara Albright of Wyandotte, a junior at Riverview High School, also is in the cast.
“The King and I” will be performed at the Berwyn Center, 26155 Richardson in Dearborn Heights. For more information go to www.dhctstage.org or the group’s Facebook page.
Tickets cost $13 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and $7 for children 12 and younger when purchased at the door. Tickets also are available for a service fee at http://dhctstage.ticketleap.com.
Dearborn and Heights actors in Shakespeare in the Park
Jaclyn Strez of Dearborn will play Sylvia, while Sean Paraventi of Dearborn Heights performs the roles of Antonio and Eglamour in the Water Works Theatre Company production of “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.”
The show marks the company’s 10th annual summer production of Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak. “Two Gentlemen” will be performed July 22 to Aug. 8 in Starr Jaycee Park, 1101 West 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. Tickets are $18 and are available online at www.waterworkstheatre.com.