Stanton theater troupe building ‘Wall of Comedy’ in Smyrna

The Stanton 4th Wall theater troupe will look to make ’em laugh tonight at 7 as it presents “The Great Wall of Comedy” at the Smyrna Opera House.

The show will consist of skits from famous television shows such as “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and “The Carol Burnett Show” as well as not so well-known programs like “The Red Green Show” and “Mrs. Brown Boys.”

“We’ll do (the Abbott and Costello routine) ‘Who’s on First’ and the (Monty Python) dead parrot sketch. We’re also working on the dentist sketch from Carol Burnett and some stuff from ‘Mad TV’ and other shows,” said founding member Jeffrey Mask.

“We also have lesser-known some stuff from a Canadian show called ‘The Red Green Show’ and pieces from ‘Fry and Laurie’ with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie and a British show called ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys.’”

Best Bets logo -NEWThe troupe has taken the revue around to various country clubs and it was also staged at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts last September.

The idea for the show came from another founding member, Don Lonski, whose Lake Forest High School theater classes had great success with it.

“The review format worked well with the high school group and it’s also done well with us,” Mr. Mask said.

Other shows represented include “Saturday Night Live,” “Burns and Allen’ and even “Gunsmoke.”

“It’s a bit Festus did on the show similar to a Marx Brothers routine,” Mr. Mask said.

Besides Mr. Mask and Mr. Lonski, cast members include Kristen Boehmer, Heather Brantley, Craig, Halliburton, Jerry Cox, Nikki Hodgson, Peter Appel and Rebecca Gasperetti.

The group was founded in 2013 by Denis Stanton, a fixture in local community theater known for acting in and directing a multitude of area plays.

Mr. Mask said it was his idea to do edgier and perhaps riskier plays than one would see out of a typical community theater.

The group started at the Kent County Theatre Guild in Dover with the Tony-winning play “Art.”

“It was just three guys on stage coming and going. All three of them had different artwork in their apartment and spent time discussing their different interpretations of what art is.

“What made that one so risky is that is littered with F-bombs so we were taking some chances. I think we played to maybe 15 people. So maybe we were a little ahead of our time,” he said with a laugh.

In 2014, the group found an outdoor space in Milford to perform the play “Dracula” in which Mr. Stanton was supposed to play the title role and direct the production.

However, in May of that year, a couple weeks into rehearsals, Mr. Stanton died of a heart attack.

The show went on with Mr. Mask, who was supposed to play Dr. Van Helsing, in the lead part and Mr. Lonski directing.

The two took control of the group.

“Don and I got better acquainted during that period. We were available to help Denis’ mother clear out his apartment. The two of us spent a lot of time doing that and we bonded. We realized we liked a lot of the same stuff, had the same sense of humor and worked well together,” Mr. Mask said.

The group has also performed the British farce “Charley’s Aunt” in Milford.

“We choose plays with our personnel in mind. We are different from a traditional theater group in that we don’t hold auditions. We have a group of talented folks that we can draw from and fit the play to their talents,” Mr. Mask said.

“That was really Denis’ game plan all along and we’ve stuck to that blueprint.”

The group no longer has that Milford space to call its own and is looking for a new venue and other productions to stage.

“I think with the current political situation, ‘The Crucible’ might be timely. So if we can find a show that all of the actors can be persuaded to do, we will go for it,” Mr. Mask said.

Tickets for “The Great Wall of Comedy” are $16 general admission, $14 Smyrna Opera House members, senior citizens and military, and $8 for children under 12 although some material may not be appropriate for small children.

They may be purchased at smyrnaoperahouse.org, calling 653-4236 or at the Opera House, 7 W. South St., Smyrna.

A cash bar will be available. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

‘Midsummer’ auditions

Staying at the Smyrna Opera House, The Young Actors Guild, Inc, presents its own adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in November.

Auditions for the show will take place Monday and Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Smyrna Opera House second floor auditorium.

Forms and audition materials are available online at www.youngactorsguild.net under the Now Playing tab. It’s recommended to arrive early to allow time for paperwork and check in.

Actors should be ages 12 to 18. Rehearsals will be Mondays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Those with a birthday before the first show date may be permitted to audition.

Directors for this show are Jennifer Meekins and Audra Littleton. Assistant director is Dustin McHale.

Scheduled show dates Nov. 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. at the Smyrna Opera House.

For more information, email youngactorsguild@gmail.com.

‘Sleeping Beauty’ auditions

The Children’s Theatre, Inc., will hold also open auditions for children between the ages of 8 and 18 on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and Wednesday, Sept. 7 for “The Spell of Sleeping Beauty.”

Auditions will take place at Reith Hall, 304 S. Governors Ave., Dover. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; doors will close at 7 p.m. A parent/guardian must accompany children to complete audition paperwork.

Auditions will consist of cold readings and interpretation. Rehearsals for the chosen cast are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 until 8 p.m.

Performances are scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 at The Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover.

The Children’s Theatre, Inc. will host its annual meeting Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at Reith Hall.

Election of officers will take place. The annual report will be presented by the current president.

‘Angry Men’ at Guild

In keeping with today’s community theater theme, the Kent County Theatre Guild is in rehearsals for Reginald Rose’s courtroom drama “Twelve Angry Men.”

The classic drama concerns the deliberations of a jury of a homicide trial. At the beginning, they have a nearly unanimous decision of guilty, with a single dissenter of not guilty, who throughout the play sows a seed of reasonable doubt.

This show was first made as a 1954 teleplay for the “Studio One” anthology television series, and was aired as a live CBS Television production in 1954. The drama was later rewritten for the stage in 1955 and released as a feature film with Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and E.G. Marshall.

The 12 jurors in the Kent County Theatre Guild productions are played by Jeff Bellon, Luke Siler, Steve Caporiccio, Kevin Smith, Jose Bernard, Larry Mola, Purcell Dye, Bruce Leister, Michael Forrest, Michael Polo, Paul Janiga and Art Paul.

The show is directed by Patti Gatto.

Show dates are Sept. 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 18 and 25 at 2 p.m.

Tickets $18 are for adults, $16 for seniors, military members and students and $10 for children 12 and under.

The guild’s Patchwork Playhouse is at 140 Roosevelt Ave. in Dover.

For more information, visit kctg.org, call 674-3568 or email kctginfo@kctg.org.

For a short teaser clip of the show, click here.

USA Dance Dover anniversary

The 17th anniversary of USA Dance Dover DE, the local chapter of the national USA Dance organization will be recognized tonight at Dover’s Modern Maturity Center.

The celebration will include a social hour and dinner, followed by an elegant evening of ballroom dancing, with live ballroom dance music provided by the Helmut Licht Orchestra from Baltimore.

This year’s black-tie preferred gala will be held in the East Longwood Ballroom of the Dover Modern Maturity Center, 1121 Forrest Ave.

The evening begins with a social and cash bar at 6, dinner at 7 and dancing at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by calling 302-734-8794 or by e-mail at jrbgreen@gmail.com.

For information on USA Dance Dover DE visit www.usadancedoverde.com.

Now showing

New in theaters this weekend is the horror film “Don’t Breathe,” Jason Statham in “Mechanic: Resurrection” and the Barack and Michelle Obama story “Southside with You.”

New on DVD and download starting Tuesday is “The Jungle Book.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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