Since tonight was the last rehearsal before opening night, it's time to remember the fun times during rehearsal.
Enjoy our picture as it was definitely a fun night where Cheryl Crabb, the Director, brought in old hats for the R-ACT costume collection. What happens when you have a room full of girls and hats...dress up of course! These were a few of our favorites.
One of the first nights working with costumes, Diane Brosius, who plays Miss Julie, brought in some boots she used in a previous show a while back. In the boots, she found a ring she thought she'd lost years ago. Amazingly enough, another ring was found during a different rehearsal in another pair of shoes. We all told her it was fate that she joined our show just so she could find the jewelry.
The two characters involved in the fight scene during the show obviously had to figure out how to make it look 'real' but they also had to make it look 'good.' Those two things don't always go hand-in-hand let me tell you. Well, surprisingly it only took one brief planning session, and they nailed it. We all applauded after their first rehearsal of the fight and agree that it's a great moment in the show.
As previously mentioned, other favorite moments/lines have to do with the Mac Donald Special. Almost every character gets to talk about it, and we all had a hard time keeping straight faces. I think after the show finishes, we'll all try to find one of those specials. Can you guess what the food is?
Now, can you imagine a gentleman gambler not knowing how to play poker? During one rehearsal, our gentleman gambler, Julius Mayfield, and the stagecoach driver, Sagebrush Sal, had to 'draw' from Nate Dexter's (rancher and co-founder of Whiskey Flats) gambling knowledge. He showed them the 'tricks' of the trade. Well, I 'call' that one interesting night of rehearsal. See if life 'plays' Julius a better 'deal' or if he gets charged with murder.
Anyway, as you can see, we all had a great time with each other and hope that shows on stage. We're ready to open our doors so come on in. Welcome to the Cactus Flower Saloon in Whiskey Flats in the Arizona territory.
Every show there's always those favorite lines that the cast enjoys. They can be stupid, funny, mean, but all generally cause some kind of big emotion. Sometimes the character saying the line may hate it because they have to be serious when all they want to do is laugh, but it turns into a favorite for the other actors. This show had some lines that had everyone laughing. Here are a few you can look forward to...
"He's a holy roller." Cherry Jubilee
"Now it's coming back to me." (Hank Trent) As well as, "My feet aren't cold."
"But you can't help being born in Ohio." (Tom McCoy) And, "When you shoot a man, there will be blood."
"Maybe you should try a diet." Maybelle Macgillacuddy
"Through his stomach, not through his liver." Miss Julie
"In the long history of the world, my losing streak is very short." Julius Mayfield
The entire cast also agrees that all lines referring to the Mac Donald Special are still funny even now after countless rehearsals.
Sounds hilarious right? Right. Well, if you're not laughing already, you'll just have to see the show to hear the full conversations. Take my word for it, though, you'll be laughing so get ready.
Before you attend the show, I felt that you should get to know our mean, crooked, lawless, immoral, reprehensible (you get the picture) villain of the show, Hank Trent (played by Larry Brosius).
Now, you'll have to form your own opinion of course. This writer doesn't want to bias you against him or anything...maybe you like people who cheat, blackmail, and downright lie.
But the townspeople of Whiskey Flats definitely don't. And, someone's dislike is so strong that they murder him during his lunch at Mac Donald's. But as the murderer says when he OR she (remember no hints here) confesses, anyone of the Whiskey Flats members could have done it to save their livelihood.
This cruel character is ready to send a hard-working, dedicated stagecoach driver to the poor farm. He's planning to put the sweet and 'motherly' saloon owner out of business. Let's not even mention the fact that he's trying to make a gentleman gambler actually work to pay off debts. The nerve.
He's blackmailing the school teacher for her past while trying to take over the town of Whiskey Flats in general. He's stealing cattle to become the biggest rancher and threatens to take the Sheriff's position. And to top it off, he stood the saloon girl up at the alter on their wedding day.
Now, just as a side note to you gentlemen attending the show. Watch out for that saloon girl, Cherry, as she's always looking for her next catch. That incorrigible flirt tries to steal a kiss from any man who comes to Whiskey Flats. Single guys be on the lookout.
But back to our real villain. Is it any wonder that no one likes Hank Trent? Why, I wouldn't be surprised if people booed him from their seats by the end of the show. He's just smarmy enough to enjoy it too.
Now, violence doesn't solve anything so it's important for us to remember law and order. Remember, that's where you come in. Get your tickets now and help us solve this crime since even the Sheriff is suspected of committing this murder.
It’s been discussed in previous posts that some actors take a long time ‘finding their character’ while others seem to become them in the first read through. This show is no different, but some cast members provided some interesting insights…
The owner of the Cactus Flower, Miss Julie, welcomes all patrons (audience members) to her saloon, and Diane Brosius who plays Miss Julie is just as welcoming and sweet as her character. But, like all the misfit people of Whiskey Flats, this saloon owner has another side to her. Diane says, “having a questionable past of my own where I spent a lot of time in bars helped me get into character.” I guess it’s true, you have to watch out for the sweet and innocent looking ones. She may keep a close eye on her saloon girl, Cherry Jubilee, and contribute to town functions, but she also fights to keep what’s hers.
Sagebrush Sal is a well-known stagecoach driver in the Whiskey Flats area and is played by Bridget Yeager. Bridget had no trouble turning into this tomboy character having grown up a tomboy herself, but the similarities stop there. Sal is loud and isn’t afraid to out-wrestle, out-drive, and out-shoot any man, varmint, or Avon Lady. While Bridget is quieter and calmer than her character Sal, she loved getting a chance to yell, spit, and just plain carry on. Both actor and character are great fits for Whiskey Flats, which is filled with misfits of all variety and interests.
Maybelle Macgillacuddy is a school teacher originally from Ohio and played by Meredith Weber. Meredith found no problem getting into character being from Ohio herself and also working in education. While others worked on western/southern/and other accents, Meredith lets her ‘Ohio-ness’ shine right on through. Maybelle’s questionable past took her around the world and back again, but now she walks the straight and narrow…or so it seems. Could there be more to this cliché-quoting, vocabulary-drilling schoolmarm? Meredith likes that Maybelle has a ‘sharp’ edge to her and ‘shoots’ some witty remarks to her fellow actors.
The bumbling Sheriff, Tom McCoy is played by Eric Armstrong. It was early on that Eric found an ‘accent’ for Tom and the character just developed from there. Not all Whiskey Flats’ townspeople feel Tom is smart enough…I mean qualified to be Sheriff, but most give him the benefit of at least trying. Actor and character seem to remain calm in all situations and go with the punches. You can be sure that both have never been more sure that you’ll surely like this show.
A show is more than just one actor or prop; it’s a team effort, and Cheryl Crabb, the Director of Murder on the Mesa, got to see everyone’s part come together for the first time last night at Saint Monica’s in Chippewa. The youth ministries hired R-ACT to perform for their fundraiser, and it was a smashing (literally) success as one character knocks out the murderer with a whiskey bottle after a big fight scene. To find out who those unnamed heroes are, come see the show.
Cheryl wants to thank everyone, though, for their hard work and dedication. The cast had some late arrivals to the scene that amazed everyone with their quick line memorization, dedication, and positive energy. It isn’t just Cheryl who’d like to thank Larry Brosius (Hank Trent) and Diane Brosius (Miss Julie) as all the cast and crew are grateful to them for stepping in within the last couple weeks to make this show a success. All the cast members have worked so well together now, you won’t even be able to tell that we’ve only had about two weeks with a full cast.
This isn’t Larry Spinnenweber’s first rodeo with writing murder mysteries for R-ACT, but it is his first western. No matter what the setting, though, it’s always fun to perform one of Larry’s shows, and Cheryl’s favorite part is seeing who the audience believes is the murderer and what their motive is. Last night’s performance was no exception, and in the end, almost all the Whiskey Flats residents were accused by the audience so it may be more difficult for you to solve the murder than you think.
Cheryl has loved many moments of rehearsal, and it’s still evolving as we attempt to make it an even funnier show. Some of the most memorable for Cheryl are:
The fight scene created by two cast members which is worthy of any old western.
Maybelle (Meredith Weber) attempting to say vigilante.
Sal's (Bridget Yeager) low aim with the shotgun.
Tom's (Eric Armstrong) dinner invitation to Maybelle to Mac Donald’s Restaurant, which made me laugh so hard every rehearsal.
Opening night can happen twice...at least for our next show Murder on the Mesa. This production ramps up with a special performance hosted by Saint Monica's church in Chippewa, PA tonight and opens at the Avenue Theater in Rochester, PA next Friday, June 20th.
What does all that mean, it's time for some sneak peaks backstage with the cast and crew again so get ready to learn about the show and the unfortunate (or maybe fortunate) death of Hank Trent.
Will you figure out who did it? As a patron of the Cactus Flower, you'll have a front row seat to learn about the people of Whiskey Flats, and let me tell you...there are some real interesting 'characters' living in this town. Or, as Miss Julie tells it, "It's just a town of misfits and is full of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." It may not be so easy to solve this murder, as our Sheriff, Tom McCoy, soon realizes so he may need your help.
While solving this murder, you'll also learn a lot from this cast. For instance...
Sagebrush Sal can teach you how to be the fastest stagecoach driver bar none.
The school teacher, Maybelle Macgillacuddy, will teach you lots of vocabulary lessons.
You'll learn how not to find a husband from Cherry Jubilee.
Julius Mayfield can teach you how to live without actually working.
And that's just the beginning. Stay tuned to learn more! In the meantime, get your tickets online now and start practicing your detective skills, like Sherlock Holmes.