In a nod of support for the military, Alpena Civic Theatre is producing a play based in part on the cult classic series, "M*A*S*H," that aired on television from 1972 to 1983. Show dates are Jan. 6-9 and Jan. 13-16.
"Right now the sentiment is very supportive of our men and women from the area who are serving their country," said Director Julie Meyers. "It's great to do a show in support of our troops."
As most know, "M*A*S*H" centers around the compound of the fictional 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital that operated during the Korean War. The play, according to Meyers, features many of the same television characters who are almost universally known and loved.
News Photo by Diane Speer
Featured in the Alpena Civic Theatre production of “M*A*S*H” are front row, left, Carol Rundell, Robert Sylvester, Donna Mullen, Alexandra Hamp, Calvin Briggs, Jeannie Pines, Ashley Timmreck and Melissa Timmreck. Middle row: Dan Nordenbrock, Tom Carney, Duane Beyer, Bruce Michaud and Doug Niergarth. Back row: Rosina Phillips, Jim Phillips, Scott Edgar, Gary Goren and Pat Mullen. Missing from the photo are Brian Current, Jeff Gilmet, Megan Mindykowski, Judy Beyer, Emily Shriner and David Browski.
"It's hilarious," she said. "It's one of those shows where everyone knows all the characters so I think it will play well for Alpena. People will appreciate it. It's a show they know and love."
"M*A*S*H" originally debuted as a feature film in 1970 and was based upon a 1968 novel by Richard Hooker. The movie starred Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye and Elliott Gould as Trapper John. For the extremely popular television series, Alan Alda epitomized the character of Hawkeye.
"M*A*S*H" the play was written in 1973 by Tim Kelly, who took elements from the book, television show and movie.
"The play has elements of the movie, but not all of the them," Meyers said. "You'll also find elements from the television show. There are characters in the play who are not on television and characters from the movie who are not in the play."
A cast of 24 will appear in ACT's version of "M*A*S*H," including many actors who are familiar to local audiences. While casting the show, Meyers had several of those well-known actors in mind to play particular roles.
"I knew Dan Nordenbrock would be perfect as Hawkeye and Jim Phillips as General Hammond, Duane Beyer as Blake. They just fit," she said. "Doug Niergarth is Clinger. He'll just do anything. You have to have a special person who will walk about in a dress and be a man."
Others cast in the show are Donna Mullen as Capt. Bridget McCarthy, Carol Rundell as Lt. Janice Fury and Major Ruth Haskell, Robert Sylvester as Sgt. Devine, Melissa Timmreck as Lt. Louis Kimball, Gary Goren as Capt. Frank Burns and Spearchucker, Bruce Michaud as Father Mulcahy and Dean Michael Lodge, Tom Carney as Capt. Walt Waldowski, Scott Edgar as Trapper John, Jeff Gilmet as Capt. John Black, Calvin Briggs as Radar, Dan Nordenbrock as Hawkeye and Brian Current as Duke.
Rounding out the cast are Ashley Timmreck as Ho-Jon, Pat Mullen as Private Lopen, Judy Beyer and Emily Shriner as Korean women, Rosina Phillips as Lt. Nancy Phillips and Congresswoman Goldfarb, David Browski as Mr. Randy, and Alexandra Hamp, Jeannie Pines and Megan Mindykowski as Mitzi, Fritzi and Agnes Bonwit. Mindykowski also appears as Hot Lips Houlihan.
Behind the scenes, Meyers has received plenty of support from Jackie Herbert as assistant director, Maureen Carney as stage manager, Judy Beyer on props and Jay Kettler on light design. For costumes and props, ACT relied on the services of Pineview Surplus Army-Navy store in Frederic, which rented out the theatre uniforms, boots, cots and other props to lend an air of authenticity.
"They haven't made the green Army fatigues since the early 70s, so we were very lucky to come across them," Meyers said. "The store was very generous with the rental fees."
ACT also enlisted the choreography talents of Becky Saddler of the 4D 2nd Street Dance Company in choreographing the one musical number contained in the show. Sgt. Taylor of the local U.S. Marine recruitment office agreed to make dog tags for everyone in the show. Personnel from Alpena's Combat Readiness Training Center will fill in as ushers.
"A few M*A*S*H touches will also be incorporated into the theatre, all to bring a little more notice to the military," Meyers said.
For reservations to the show, call the ACT box office at 354-3624.