curtain raising for Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP) in Mt. Caroll.
That has happened with the performance "Guys and Dolls" and I took in
the VIP opening recently (listen to audio on this page). The VIP opening is the
ideal atmosphere to kick off what promises to be a wonderful summer at the
theater in the woods. This season, its 51st, is fueled by musicals and "Guys and
Dolls" was a delight. Before the play, audience got their chance to applaud for
the many members were work at the theater and take in introductions from Larry
Libberton (President of the Board of Directors) and James Beaudry (Artistic
Director). Libberton took te time to make that plea for more help, funding wise,
and noted that the yearly budget for TLP was $500,000. Then Beaudry welcomed the
audience to what he called "An invited dress rehearsal." Beaudry prove3s year in
an year out, that hard work and discipline pay off while having fun at the same
time. He also said this year will be easy for him since the players really do
The play features the choreography of Will Taylor, who took time out from his
rehearsals with Kristen Chenoweth, to be at TLP for the opening. Yes, you heard
that correctly. Chenoweth is on tour and Will is there, too. She plays the
Cadillac Palace in Chicago Saturday, June 16.
Meanwhile, this well-known play and movie, which runs through June 17, is
pure entertainment. Set on Broadway in New York City, the plays takes you back
to the times when women were called dames and dolls and men, guys and, well,
many other things, mind you.
It all centers around a floating crap game and a bet between Nathan Detroit
(Joe Capstick) and Sky Masterson (Dryden Meints). If these two characters do not
work, neither would the play. But, they do and they have two distinct styles for
patrons to enjoy. No matter the role, it takes confidence to pull these parts
off, and they do it nicely. That brings us to Nicely, as in Nicely-Nicely
Johnson (Tim Wessel). One may say he steals the show. His comic abilities, along
with his buddy Benny Southstreet (Kyle Branzel), are a huge part of the fun of
"Guys and Dolls." Note Wessel throughout and when leaving the theater, you just
might agree. Not only that, listen for "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat."
But, to be honest, it is the Dolls that make this a theater delight. Take
Sarah Brown (Hanah Rose Ardone) and Miss Adelaide (Hayley Gribble). It seems as
if they were made to be a team. Of course, both chasing and wondering what love
is all about on an indivudual basis, but when they appear on stage together,
they make you feel it. They pour themselves into their roles and take the
audience with them with their heartfelt and compassionate performances.
The songs are there, including "Bushel and a Peck," "Marry the Man" and
"Adelaide's Lament. " Oh yeah, "Luck Be a Lady," too. Musical Direction is by
Head to Timber Lake Playhouse this summer and enjoy this theater in the
woods. If you haven't been in a while, rediscover it and if you have never been
there, take a chance. You will like what you see and hear.
* Note: TLP nows serves beer and wine, plus gazebos have been added to the
atmospher,e and as always, Timber Lake Resort is there as well. A nice, peaceful
getaway, not far away. And a perfect day trip for sure. Call the playhouse at