The revival of community theater on Grosse Ile may become a reality if longtime resident Pamela Frucci has her way, as demonstrated in a June 5 showcase during Island Fest.
“When a member of the Creative Writing Club asked why there was no longer live theater on Grosse Ile, I brought together a group of past Islander performers to see if a revival was possible,” she said.
Since December, Frucci and her husband, Jack, have met with a group of like-minded thespians, who teamed up to produce and perform in a variety show, “A Showcase of Grosse Ile Talent,” during Island Fest.
Frucci, along with Linda Stanko of the Grosse Ile Dance Academy, introduced the performers Saturday, which included Stanko’s dance students, as well as local musicians and singers.
Harpist Joyce Lamon played a medley of Broadway show tunes, including “Getting to Know You” from “The King and I,” the title song from “The Sound of Music” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel.”
Stanko sang “Over the Rainbow” from the musical “The Wizard of Oz,” while guitarist and singer Barry Van Engelen performed “Consider Yourself” from “Oliver!” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King.”
Other Broadway show tune performances included Nancy Thomas’ rendition of “Memory” from “Cats,” Mary Gray’s “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” and Scott Gray’s “Lullaby of Broadway” from “42nd Street.”
Frucci said that, at one time, the Islanders were the second longest running community theater in Michigan. The group’s first play, performed in 1926, was, “How to Marry a Dumb Wife.”
“In 2007, it was getting harder and harder to mount plays, since volunteer actors and backstage people dried up,” she said. “After 80 years, the Islanders folded, and donated their treasury to the Boar’s Head Festival, and bought a bench for the Commons area at the corner of Meridian and Macomb, honoring their past history.”
The Islanders II are hoping to recruit both onstage and backstage talent when the group meets at 10 a.m. July 17 at the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 7310, 8840 Macomb St.
“The planning group is hoping that there are other island residents out there who miss live theater, and would meet to see if relaunching the Islanders could be an actuality,” Frucci said. “The original planning group came up with a name, Islanders II, but are open to a new name when a larger group gets together.”
For more information, contact Pam Frucci at 734-671-0170 or at [email protected]
TEEN GUILDINGS TO AUDITION FOR ‘GODSPELL’
The Players Guild of Dearborn has tentatively scheduled auditions for the teen Guildling production of the Stephen Schwartz musical “Godspell” June 14 or 15, by appointment. Check the Guild’s website, playersguildofdearborn.org, for updated audition information.
The show will be performed Aug. 12 to 15, most likely in an outdoor location. As many rehearsals as possible will be held outdoors, on the Guild grounds, 21730 Madison, in Dearborn.
Those auditioning and those cast in the show must agree to adhere to COVID-related protocols.
“Godspell” features an ensemble cast which tells the story of Jesus, based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, through parables and an eclectic blend of songs.
Songs from the show include “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Save the People,” “Day by Day,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “Bless the Lord,” “All for the Best,” “All Good Gifts,” “Light of the World,” “Turn Back, Oh Man,” “Alas for You,” “By My Side,” “We Beseech Thee” and “On the Willows.”
Auditionees should prepare 32 bars of a song from the show which best showcases their vocal range. There will also be a dance audition, and readings from the script.
Marc Walentowicz will direct, with Melanie Aue as musical director and Emma Garber as choreographer.
For character descriptions, updated audition information and other information, check the website and playersguildofdearborn.org.