EAST TAWAS — On Sunday afternoon, audiences at the Tawas Bay Players Playhouse watched Daniel Corban (Chris Mundy) plummet to the depths of a nervous breakdown. Corban is the main character of “Catch Me If You Can”, a murder mystery, currently performed by the players of Tawas Bay in their Playhouse in East Tawas.
The play opens with Corban pacing anxiously, while sipping a glass of 20-year-old Scotch.
Corban and his recently married wife Elizabeth are on their honeymoon after a brief romance and a quick wedding. Now Corban’s wife is missing.
The play is set in a summer cabin in the Catskill Mountains over Labor Day weekend. Corban’s boss, Everett Parker, who enjoys visiting the cabin with a number of young women, lent him the cabin for his honeymoon. The 1960s decor, embellished with a large poster of Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca, transported the public to that era.
Rodger McElveen did double duty, playing Inspector Levine, one of the main characters, and as director. McElveen, with his quick wit and excellent timing, adds most of the comedy relief to the piece.
The cast includes Keith Frank as Father Kelleher, the local priest who also enjoys a glass of Scotch or two. Barb Richardson as “Mrs. Corban,” keeps us guessing throughout the play. Rita Shuey plays a very believable Sidney, the owner of Sidney’s Sandwich Shop. Carmen Stevens is memorable as “Mrs. Parker” in a leopard print loungewear ensemble. Scott Stevens rounds out the cast as Everett Parker, Corban’s womanizing boss.
The play takes the audience on a journey with many twists and turns. Just when you think you know what happened, another surprise awaits you around the corner.
Terry Popielarz is the play’s assistant director and Julee Popielarz is the producer.
The production team includes Becky Archer, stage manager; Hunter Schultz, director; McElveen, set design; Ryan Mendyka, McElveen, Brandon Fogle, Julee Popielarz, Sandy Mendyka and Terry Popielarz, set construction; Terry Popielarz and Ray Skiver, sound design/technology; Krebs, lightweight design; Terry Popielarz, lighting technician; Julee Popielarz, refreshments; Penny Zacharias, Pam Frank and Stacy Perrot, ticketing/reservations; Mary Ann Michalski, images/archives; Julee Popielarz, biographies; Pat Casey, programs; Julee Popielarz, lobby board; and Tina and Allen Dalton, Tony Archer, Meghan Archer and Schultz, ushers.
“Catch me if you can is a play by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert which is taken from a French play by Robert Thomas. The work premiered on Broadway at the Morosco Theater on March 2, 1965 and closed after 111 performances on June 5, 1965.
Tawas Bay Players’ rendition, with references to cell phones and CDs, was a bit confusing. The modern references took the focus away from the decor and overall feel of the room. When chatting with the cast after the play, they explained that the changes were made to make the play more accessible to younger audiences.
The running time is two hours with a 15 minute intermission with refreshments.
For those who missed the game this weekend, you still have four chances to catch up. The dates for the next shows are February 24, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and February 27 at 2 p.m. at the Tawas Bay Playhouse, 401 Newman St. in East Tawas. Tickets can be purchased on the theater group’s website at www.tawasbayplayers.com or at the Playhouse box office, which opens one hour before showtime.
If you’re interested in being part of the cast of the next production and you’re a teenager, audition for “Professor, How Could You!” a comedy by Anne Coulter Martens will take place on March 9 and 10 at 5:45 p.m. The teen play will have seven performances in early and mid-May. The Tawas Bay Players season will end with “I Love Lacy”, a comedy by Michal Jacot, with performances at the end of July.