.theme_title, .theme_title_b {background-position: 50% 50%; background-image: url(www.yoursite.com/image.jpg)}
Stacks Image 55


The Witherspoon Waltz

By Michael Messmer

March - April 2010

How much fun can you have in the hospital? Tons, in the world premiere of the madcap farce by local playwright Michael Messmer, The Witherspoon Waltz. In the style of a Marx Brothers romp, theater producer Hal Stine is desperate to get financial backing for a new show from wealthy widow Mrs. Witherspoon. So desperate, in fact, that he has tracked her to the hospital where she is being treated for unexplained fatigue. When Hal pretends to be a psychiatrist called in to help, his methods distract the doctor, lead to wild chases in a wheelchair, cause everyone to try to hide, and send a waltz spinning out of control. Along the way, we find that Hal is surprisingly caring, the doctor has a few tricks of her own, and Mrs. Witherspoon is nobody’s fool.

Stacks Image 61
Mrs. Witherspoon (Laura Tribbey Lay) leads an imaginary orchestra that startles Hal Stine (Matt Udall, far left), worries Dr. Butz (Shana McCarl, left), and brings Mark (Marc Berman, right) and Cassy (Heidi Kendrick, far right) closer in The Witherspoon Waltz.

Watch a Video Clip of The Witherspoon Waltz

Video Notes: Hal (think Groucho at his zaniest) is prepared to do anything to get money from the rich Mrs. Witherspoon to produce a musical. She's in the hospital to find out why she's so tired.

The doctor in charge, a charming but serious Dr. Butz has called for a psychiatrist to help. Aided by his cynical assistant, Cassy, and an unappreciated orderly (Mark) enamored of Cassy, Hal pretends to be the psychiatrist in order to have time with Witherspoon to pitch his show.

Butz is suspicious of his methods but has heard he's eccentric. In the process he finds a way to revive Witherspoon's energy and slowly gets Dr. Butz's interest. Hal has trouble staying focused on the objective, switching often and rapidly from zany romantic, to serious psychiatrist, to hustling producer and back again. And, his would-be pigeon is sharper than he realizes.

Repeated attempts by Hal to have time with Witherspoon leads to wild chases with a wheel-chair, a waltz that gets out of hand and almost everyone trying to hide from everyone at one time or another.

HAL: male, 35-55
CASSY: female, 25-35
MARK: male, 25-35
WITHERSPOON: female, 65-85
DR. BUTZ: female, 35-55

The Romantic Imagination

By Michael Messmer

May 21 - June 19, 2010

Jack Lassiter is a writer whose latest novel is incomplete because 1) he developed a fascination for the femme fatale of his novel (Linda) and can’t bring himself to having anything bad happen to her and 2) he’s had a skiing accident that has left him with some memory problems (including believing Linda is really alive and in love with him). While Jack has been in the hospital, Larry, his manager and editor, has been staying in Jack’s mountain cabin and trying to get a young woman he met in a local casino (Carly) into bed. When Larry brings Jack home from the hospital, Carly is in the cabin. Larry tells Jack that Carly is his wife (Maureen) so Jack won’t worry about anything but getting the novel finished. When Maureen actually shows up, Larry persuades her to pretend to be the imaginary Linda in order to get Jack back to work on the novel. The fact that Jack continues to have conversations with the imaginary Linda (who also seems to join in conversations with others) is only one of many complications that develop.

Stacks Image 74
Chris Lamb, Linda Small, Angela Thompson, and Gian Montesini in rehearsal for The Romantic Imagination.

Watch a Video Clip of The Romantic Imagination

Video Notes: How confused can a man get about what women think is romantic? That's the situation for writer Jack as he gets three radically different views on the subject from three women...including an imaginary one from the murder mystery he hasn't been able to finish.

Larry, Jack's manager, took him skiing to get his mind off the femme fatale (Linda) of his latest novel, a character Jack has fallen in love with. However, an accident has left Jack believing the character is real (enough to have conversations with him about her own expectations).

When the manager has a young woman (Carly) pretend to be Jack's girl friend (or is she pretending to be Larry's wife?) he gets another view of what women want. And then, when Larry's wife (Maureen) shows up and he persuades her to pretend to be the imaginary woman, Jack gets yet another and very different lesson.

As confused and frustrated as Jack gets from all the different points of view, it somehow makes him a better writer. When another woman arrives everyone wonders whether Jack is in reality or in his imagination.

JACK: male, 35-55, mystery writer, charming but a little foggy
LARRY: male, 35-55, fast-talking schemer; Jack's agent
CARLY: female, 25-35, not overly intelligent party girl
MAUREEN: female, same age as Larry, her husband, attractive and shrewd
LINDA: female, same age as Jack, seductive at times, assertive at others

Marriage is Murder

By Nick Hall - - Produced by special arrangements with SAMUEL FRENCH INC.
Directed by Paul Fearn

July 2 - July 31, 2010

Former married couple and mystery writing partners Paul and Polly Butler are trying to develop a new story for a series of murder mysteries they’ve written because they both need the money. In all their previous plots they’ve acted out the various steps in the crimes. This time they also act out a lot of their frustration with each other while revealing why their marriage didn’t work and finding out they really do well together.

Stacks Image 106
Barbara Messmer and Paul Hauck take aim at laughs in Marriage is Murder.

The Good Old Summertime

A Musical Review Created by Matt Gavin

July 2 - July 31, 2010

This musical revue is packed full of the most popular music from the turn of the century (not this one - the last one!). Enjoy once again the sweet bygone days as four unwitting time travelers encounter their toot, toot, tootsies, when every pretty girl was like a melody and hours were often spent chasing rainbows. Ah, the sweet mystery of life is sure to be found. So don’t be a melancholy baby, join us by the light of the silvery moon, or stroll down a shady lane for a Sunday matinee. Bring your beautiful doll or your sweet honey bee!

Stacks Image 121

Stacks Image 90
Matt Gavin and Linda Small
Stacks Image 141
Stacks Image 175
Stacks Image 145