BY DOROTHY SCHULTE
Old Fort Players
FORT MADISON – Expect some good entertainment the next time you head down to Old Fort Players Community Theater.
Their fall production, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your In-Laws,” is written by Brian Mitchell. The writer has been in close contact with the director and cast – checking up to make sure they are having fun!
What can you expect as far as plot twists? Here goes: Sam and Gwen are expecting their first child and after moving into their new apartment, Gwen’s divorced parents arrive separately, unexpectedly and bitterly.
As an unforeseen winter blizzard roars outside, Sam suddenly realizes they will all be stuck together for some time. Not to be outdone by a cataclysmic weather event, father-in-law, Jack brings his mistress along. Then just when you thought things couldn’t get more chaotic, Gwen goes into labor.
Now, some people would be shocked by such events, but for Sam it’s just what to expect when you’re expecting your in-laws.
A newcomer to OFP, but not to entertainment, is local musician Amanda Greenhelge. She has been cast as Gwen, the daughter who is, you guessed it, ‘expecting.’ In one scene, the character breaks into song.
OFP Volunteer, Dorothy Schulte recounted what she saw at rehearsal one night.
“Now most actors will just sort of warble out something resembling a tune and hope no one notices. But not Greenhelge, she just cut loose with perfect pitch and blew the roof off. I turned to (Director) Angela and said, ‘Can we get her into a musical?’ I was bowled over.”
Jadi Lynn Zioui is another new face at OFP. As Tatyana, Jack’s mistress, Jadi is calling on her colorful background as the world’s last hippie. You may know her as the writer, director, and lead in 2018’s Fort Mad Dead Zone and her byline at the Daily Democrat.
Sherry Stice is Amanda, the mom. “Sherry is a favorite of our directors and came highly recommended for the part, though it is my first time working with her,” Director Sanford said. “She’s a solid actress and a real pro at rehearsals. Which is a good balance when all your guys are cut-ups.”
The cut-ups in this instance? Let’s top the list with Jim Cole as Frank, the neighbor. You’ve heard of Jim Cole of course. If you’ve ever seen an OFP production, Jim was likely in it. “That’s not fair. I didn’t get a part with the Kids’ summer theater,” Cole says. Not likely, Jim, the cut off age is 14!
Then there’s Ty Clute, now known as the “New Jim Cole.” He somehow wrangles at least a bit part in almost everything.
“Not so fast! I wasn’t in Steel Magnolias,” Clute was quick to remind us. It isn’t likely he could have worked with the all-female cast without anyone noticing.
And rounding out the list of talented actors with behavioral issues is Robbie Phillips. Most recently as the wise-cracking Wilson in “Harvey,” Phillips has hung on to the wise-cracking for this show, too – in and out of character.
Fortunately for the director, Robbie’s wife, Lea, is the AD. She manages to help Sanford get some actual work done during the three nights a week the group rehearses.
Angela Sanford returns as Director of this production after cutting her teeth on “Making God Laugh” last Christmas. Sanford has previously held the position of Secretary and is now Treasurer on the Board of
Clay Steele is on board for Lights and Sound and Amy Perez will be in charge of makeup and hair.
“What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your in-Laws,” co-sponsored by Philp Insurance Agency, Inc. will be presented by special arrangement with the author. Performances run October 18-20 & 25-27.
Evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the curtain rises on Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets for Adults are $15; Seniors, Active Military & Vets are $12; Students aged 5-17 are $10. Tickets are available on the theater website as well as at the door.
Old Fort Players has been entertaining the community since 1981 and is located in downtown Fort Madison at 725 Avenue G. Call 319-372-9559 for more information. Like them on Facebook or visit www.oldfortplayers.com to keep up with everything that’s going on at the theater.