Saturday, April 16, 2016

Stephanie McGlenon
Always A Bridesmaid
April 16, 2016

Friendship is a wonderful thing. Whether it be a friend you've grown up with or someone you've become close to as an adult, they are still a blessing. Being a part of Market House I've had the opportunity to make new friends that I consider part of my extended family. Luckily none of them have asked me to make repeat performances at their weddings.

Working with these ladies has been a wonderful experience. Some I've shared the stage with before and others I'm blessed with getting to know them. I've always wanted to work with Diane (Byrd) as a director, and I've learned a lot from her. No matter how many times I do these things, I find there's always room for improvement. Creating a character is usually easy for me, but playing Deedra has been somewhat of a challenge. It's hard to give a hardnosed judge a soft side without losing her very well-earned dignity. 

I'm always grateful when I get the opportunity to be cast in any show. Whether it be a comedy, drama or musical, I find there is always a challenge, but, like any actor, we strive to build a character that someone out there can relate to. 

Always a Bridesmaid is a story about four ladies  who've been there for all of each others matrimonial ups and downs. They vowed they would be bridesmaids for each friends wedding, and apparently that vow included an added clause stating there was no limit on how many times any of them chose to get married. 

Come check out this lovely story about these crazy ladies that do whatever it takes to fulfill a promise they made back in high school. You'll laugh, you'll cry - heck you might even pee yourself a little. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sue Fletcher
Always A Bridesmaid
April 15, 2016

If it's April, it's showtime! I've been lucky enough to do seven plays in April in the last eight years. I couldn't see myself anywhere else except on the MHT stage during this time. The plays in April have been comedies and geared toward the visitors we have in Paducah during the Quilt Show. They have been laugh out loud and make-you-feel-good plays.

That brings me to this year's April play, Always a Bridesmaid. It fits the category of a "laugh out loud" comedy. It is a fun romp through the years with four ladies who have been in each other's weddings every time one has tied the knot. 

That's where I come in. Sedalia owns the building where the weddings and receptions take place. She likes to think her precious Laurelton Oaks is geared for elegant occasions and a refined clientele. She likes to think she's elegant and refined, too. That is until she meets up with these bridesmaids. They try her patience and get on her last nerve. She must bring out all her tricks to cater to these ladies. 

Playing Sedalia has been a fun experience for me. I get to be involved with these ladies and actually lose a little of my sharp edge to befriend them. I learn very quickly that despite my regimented way of planning their weddings, I have to go with the flow so I can retain my sanity. A little champagne helps me, too! 

This play will appeal to all, but mostly women who might relate to the situations these ladies go through. It is truly a comedy that will have you quoting the lines as you leave. Oh, and you may have to visit the "ladies room" on your way out!!! Come see us. I know you will enjoy the play and laugh out loud, or at least do a lot of chuckling and smiling!!

Friday, January 8, 2016

January 8, 2016
Jonathan Woods
The Drawer Boy

As far as Theatre Geeks go, I’m a big one. Huge. Giant. Theatre is to me what Hogwarts is to Harry Potter (I am also a nerd, but that’s another blog for another time …). I majored in Theatre in college; I ate it, slept it and breathed it. It was common knowledge that Jonathan wasn’t free on a Friday night because he had rehearsal. 

So why do I love Theatre so much? I think, at the core of it all, I love the transforming power of Theatre. There’s something very special about an art that not only entertains but educates, makes you question, makes you think. The power of telling a story, watching it unfold and making an emotional connection with your audience is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s like extreme sports for geeks and I’m hooked.

That’s probably why I found myself so intrigued with the script for The Drawer Boy, the latest production from Market House and one that I have the pleasure of being involved with. . I wasn’t even planning on auditioning but a friend of mine (Diane Byrd, who was directing me in my very first MHT production, Dangerous Obsession) loaned me a copy. I read it in a single sitting and after I finished, I immediately flipped back to the beginning and re-read it just to make sure that I had actually read what I thought I had just read. In short, it was one of the best plays I’d ever cracked open. I think I read it another ten or eleven times before auditioning. 

I play the role of Miles, a young actor who finds himself right in the middle of a lifelong friendship between two farmers in the summer of 1972. In Canada, no less. (The play itself is Canadian and written by Michael Healy, also Canadian … are you beginning to see a trend here? I find it thrilling. The Canadians gave us Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and this amazing play. It almost makes up for them giving us Justin Bieber …) Miles is there to learn about farming so that he and his actor friends can put on a play about farmers called “The Farm Show”. In the process, he also learns a personal story between the two farmers, Angus and Morgan, about two young friends who go off to war together and come back changed, albeit in different ways. One of the boys, who drew pictures when they were younger, comes back with a head injury and a very bad memory. The surprise isn’t that the boys in the story are Angus and Morgan. Miles (and the audience) finds that out early on. The real surprise comes when Miles begins to re-enact the stories that he’s been told and that he’s overheard, only to find that Angus and his memory react in a bizarre way to the story he sees … mainly that it jogs his memory. And the stories that Miles has been fed aren’t as fact based as he’s been led to believe. 

It sounds like a drama. It is. It’s also funny, moving, suspenseful and even a little brave. It’s a small story told on an epic scale, one that thrives on characters and the interactions between them. And that’s one other reason that I love Theatre – character. And The Drawer Boy has that in spades.

One bit of trivia before I go … “The Farm Show” is real, as is Miles. Google it. Groovy stuff. 

See you at the Theatre.

- Jonathan

(Upper right photo: Angus, played by Chuck Wilkins, struggles with a painful memory, as Miles, played by Jonathan Woods, looks on. Lower right photo: Miles (Jonathan Woods) watches as Angus (Chuck Wilkins) and Morgan (Tom Dolan) discuss his presence on the farm.)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 7, 2016
Tom Dolan
The Drawer Boy


I’ve been involved with Market House Theater for over 25 years and have played a large variety of roles- mostly in comedies and musicals.  Every now and then, a show comes along that stretches my abilities as an actor.  “The Drawer Boy” is one of those.  I have always found it easy to do comedy because of my personality and sense of humor.  Dramatic roles don’t always come quite as easily, but I enjoy the challenge each role brings.  I’ve had several dramatic roles that have been both a challenge and a great reward, including roles in “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  I hope my portrayal of Morgan in this show will be just as rewarding, and that audiences will appreciate what I bring to the role.

When I first read “The Drawer Boy”, I was immediately taken with the story- two friends who go through life together and deal with many obstacles along the way.  They experience the trauma of war, they find and lose love, they deal with trying to make a living as farmers, and they only have each other through it all.  

The theme of friendship and memories is very strong.  Morgan is the one who takes care of things, runs the farm, and has to make sure Angus is OK.  As the story unfolds, we find out so much about their relationship.  They made sacrifices for each other and carried each other through the various parts of their lives.  

After Angus is injured in the war, it’s Morgan who takes care of him.  In order to do that, he has to remind Angus of certain things in their lives.  He tells him stories about their lives.  We soon find out that maybe all he tells him isn’t necessarily true.  But he does so to protect his friend, and in a way, to protect himself, from what the truth holds.  Sometimes it’s easier to mask the past by creating a new past, and that is what Morgan does. 

When this “story” gets disrupted by a newcomer, their world turns a little upside down.  They have been together, just the two of them, for a long time.  They’re content and comfortable, and then that gets shattered as Angus begins to remember certain things that don’t match Morgan’s story.

This is so very well written, and the writer has created these very complex characters that have so many layers to them.  It is very challenging to be able to find those layers and portray them with strong conviction.  Working with Chuck Wilkins (we’ve done several shows together over the years) has made that a bit easier.  Chuck and I have a great stage relationship.  We know what each of us brings to this show and we know we can count on each other to give it our best.  Working with a newcomer, like Jonathan Woods, is always a challenge.   It’s a process to get to know another actor through the roles you play, and he does a very nice job with Miles.  The three of us are having a good time with this show, and I think that will be evident to audiences as they watch the story unfold.  Michael can always get us to delve a little deeper into what the character is and has to offer. 

I really think audiences will enjoy this show.  It has some lighthearted moments as Miles tries to learn about farming, but then also has the heavy-hitting dramatic scenes that will evoke a lot of emotion.

Friendship, memories, the past, the present, the future.  “The Drawer Boy” has it all.  Hope to see you at MHT!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 6, 2016
Chuck Wilkins
The Drawer Boy

In all the many years I have been involved with Market House Theatre, I have to say that I feel the most comfortable on stage when doing a comedy. There’s something about hearing the laughter of the audience that makes all the rehearsals worth every single hour!

The Drawer Boy is a play that I thought would be definitely outside of my comfort zone. I play the part of Angus in this show with just three actors. My best friend, Morgan, and I live on a farm where he takes care of the farm and I take care of the books for the farm, do the cooking and bake bread. Morgan and I have grown up together and lived life together. What makes Angus different is that due to his injury in the war, he can’t remember from one minute to the next.

We all have friends that we feel close to and probably would do anything for them. The bond of friendship that Angus and Morgan share goes beyond the normal realm of friendship. The short term memory loss of Angus and how Morgan handles it is something that has hit home with me. My dad suffered with Alzheimer’s before he passed away in 2012. His loss of memory was so hard to witness because in my mind, I was thinking this man isn’t my dad. All the memories I had of him were good memories. But this man didn’t even recognize me, his own son.
I believe every one of us know or have known an Angus. Yes, you may chuckle from time to time during The Drawer Boy or you may even shed a tear or two. But I honestly feel that you will leave the theatre with that warm, fuzzy feeling that only a true, heartfelt friendship can give you.

(Middle and lower right photos: Chuck in rehearsal for The Drawer Boy, and with Jonathan Woods—who played Miles, the actor/writer who comes to live on the farm with the two friends in order to write a play about farming and farm life.)

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015
Anne Bidwell
"Miss Nelson"
in Miss Nelson is Missing

I have a backstage pass to my daughter’s experience.  That’s not what I expected to get out of my first Market House Theatre on-set experience.

I’ve been the audience, the carpooling parent… and, at my children’s insistence, have auditioned a time or two for shows.  This time, I was cast as “Miss Nelson” in Miss Nelson is Missing – an exhilarating and terrifying honor.  I haven’t been on stage acting since I was eighteen… and I’m just a little older these days.  

But, I also get to share the stage with my daughter, Kate! She’s the more “seasoned professional” – having worked with director April Cochran for the better part of four years, since she was old enough to be in Footlights. 
 I did not fully appreciate that last fact.

Kate’s character, schoolroom bully “Lavita,” is a gum-cracking, attitude-wielding piece of work.  As we worked the script, it was obvious bubble-blowing was a part of the action.  I insisted – INSISTED – she come prepared for the first rehearsal with gum in her mouth.  She protested Miss April does not allow gum.  “Nonsense,” I said.  She will make an exception… it’s in the script!

It took April about 15 minutes to notice Kate chewing when she, um, enforced the rules.  I, actor - not mom - had to stand by silently while my child... err, Fellow Thespian… was reminded of the NO GUM EVER UPON PAIN OF DEATH rule.  A glance at the studio door later, I saw the notice – in big red letters – hung on the door.

For the first time in my mothering career, I thought, “Kate knows more than I do about this.” (gasp)

On top of that, Kate (pictured at left WITH gum!) didn’t once give me the evil eye for insisting she break theatre protocol. I certainly wouldn’t have begrudged her the look. Nor did she make excuses to Miss April — I would have backed her up! She simply stood up, spit out the gum, and returned to work. I was rather astounded at her restraint; my resolve to not intervene was failing fast.

This was only the beginning of seeing things from my daughter’s perspective.  I watched, from behind Miss Nelson’s desk, as each and every elementary school actor/colleague of mine took critique in stride.  No self-esteem was lost.  Some of them even smile in the face of mistakes!  Even when they make them over and over and over again!  In case you do not know, a Market House Theatre children’s performance is NOT child’s play.  The expectation for responsibility and preparedness is the same for children as it is for adults.  I have been blown away by the resilience and tenacity of these kids.  They are fearless and they have fun!  I stand in awe of my daughter (and my sons) – I had no idea they worked THIS hard.

In the same breathless appreciation, I am grateful we have the Market House Theatre in this community.  What opportunity – not just to learn the art and skill of acting – but to grow as people!  I’m not sure if the kids realize it, but they are learning to fall and get back up.  I am RE-LEARNING the same thing!  They are learning to push through – despite homework, exhaustion, and a want of free time – because they made a commitment.   Me, too!I know you’ll see the hilarious product of all these efforts this week.  What you may not notice is how different we are because of this experience and what it’s taught us. I, for one, have had a chance to walk in my child’s shoes for a moment.  I’ve caught a glimpse of the exhaustion, the pressure, and the reward.  I’ve come to respect the knowledge of her experience over my own (in this case, at least).

MISS NELSON IS MISSING • November 19-22, 2015 • Tickets on sale at 270.444.6828, or online at

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Farce of Nature
Steve Schwetman, "Sonny Barbosa"
Sept. 10, 2015

Last year, I did something at Market House Theater I'd never done before—drama. I always wanted to stretch my wings and was grateful for the opportunity to play the role of Jim Casey in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." However, as much as I enjoyed my experience, I wanted to get back to making people laugh. So when it was announced that "Farce of Nature" would kick off MHT's 52nd season, I checked out a script the moment they became available.

The show is written by Jones, Hope and Wooten—the writers of "The Dixie Swim Club" and "The Hallelujah Girls." I'm going to be honest: I skimmed through it the script the first time I read it, and wasn't excited about it. I was expecting more. Then I gave it a second chance, except I took my own sweet time reading it very meticulously. Suddenly, the humor jumped out at me. I auditioned, made the cast and found myself laughing hysterically during the first company read-through. It was as if I had discovered the script for the very first time.

I play Sonny Barbosa. He's a mobster from Chicago who's just been released from prison following a five-year stretch. He's hot on the trail of his wife, Lola (played by Rachael Jaenichen), who he thinks is having an affair with Ty (played by Aaron Gipson), the son of D. Gene and Wanell Wilburn, (Roy Hensel and Stephanie McGlenon),  proprietors of the Reel 'Em Inn Fishing Lodge in Mayhew, Arkansas. Are you with me so far? Good, because it gets even more confusing as the show goes along. Lola calls Sonny a "hot head," but he hates that; he fancies himself as "passionate." He sometimes lets his temper get the best of him. I see a little of Sonny in myself. I'm guilty of letting my temper get the best of me and I easily jump to conclusions. So it's easy for me to play Sonny.

I've really enjoyed my time working with Kathy Pingle, the guest director of "FON." She has lots of great ideas for our characters and loves it when we come up with stuff on our own. I hope she'll come back to direct at MHT again. Getting to work again with old friends Roy Hensel, Stephanie McGlenon and Al Knudsen is always a bonus and a blessing. Rachael Jaenichen and I have worked together in MHT murder mystery fundraisers, but this is our first time together in a Main Season production. Plus, we get to play husband and wife. It's really fun seeing Delaney Rogers and Crystal Blanton (both of whom I've worked with before) step out from the background and step into a couple of great roles. I've gone from watching Aaron Gipson as a kid on stage at MHT to working alongside him in a production. And Bethany Russell has been a joy to work with in her very first MHT show. She fits right in with this wacky theatrical family! 
     We've got our lines down and have fine-tuned our characters for tonight's opening performance. We can't wait for you to see this very funny, VERY fast-paced show. Hope to see you there!