The Lake Superior Theatre opens their 2012 season with a hilarious production of Herb Gardner's classic comedy, "A Thousand Clowns." Directed by Shelley Russell with artistic assistance from Denise Clark, this production boasts a strong cast of local favorite stage veterans (along with one promising youth!) and all characters are believable.
The year is 1962 and bachelor uncle, Murray Burns (BG Bradley), is endeavoring to rear his precocious nephew, Nick (Nick Conroy), in New York City. When Social Services arrive on the scene to ensure that the nephew is receiving a proper upbringing, he finds himself solving their problems. Eventually, he must go back to work or lose his nephew, or he might marry the social worker (Monica Nordeen). Given the uncertainty of the job market today, "A Thousand Clowns" is just as relevant now as it was in the 1960s!
BG Bradley turns in a solid performance that anchors the production. You can't help but love Murray as Bradley brings this charming, quirky character to life. Monica Nordeen's experience is evident in her portrayal of Sandra Markowitz. Her comedic timing and character development as she transforms from uptight social worker to Murray's softer, gentler love interest are a highlight of the production. Craig Grabarcyzk is appropriately uptight and businesslike as Albert Amundson. Nordeen, Grabarcyzk, and Bradley have numerous stellar comedic moments together.
Cast members “clown around” in a scene from the current Lake Superior Theatre production of “v.” (Photo courtesy of Shelley Russel)
Marty Martello is strong as Arnold Burns/Agent and his relationship with his brother Murray is very convincing. Although we don't see him until quite late in the production, Rob Shirlin adds many laughs as the bigger-than-life Leo "Chuckles the Chipmunk" Herman.
Twelve-year-old Nick Conroy, son of Randy and Melody Conroy of Ishpeming, plays 12-year-old Nick Burns to perfection. Conroy's acting skills are way beyond his years, and he handles challenging scenes in the show with ease. This young man needs to keep acting!
Technical aspects of the show, although simple, are of professional quality. Kudos to Kristy Priest, Beth Seavoy, James Pennell and Rusty Bowers for their work behind the scenes.
Take a break from the summer heat and enjoy many, many laughs in the air conditioned comfort of Frazier's Boathouse (with improved restroom facilities). Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. today through Sunday and again July 11-15. Tickets are available by calling 906-227-ROCK (7625). The theater is located at 270 Lake Shore Blvd., Marquette, between the Lower Harbor Marina and Coast Guard breakwater. Parking is at the Ellwood Mattson Park.
Editor's Note: Dave Dagenais is a music and drama director for the Gwinn Area Community Schools and has directed numerous productions for the Gwinn Schools and local community theater groups.