St. Dunstan’s Theatre Presents It Came From Mars!

A hilarious comedy written by local Michigan Playwright, Joseph Zettelmaier

Comic timing, ditz, efficiency to a fault and the threat of Martians taking over the world rock a 1930’s radio show in some of the most hilarious ways in the St. Dunstan’s opening play, It Came From Mars. The audience will giggle and guffaw as the six zany characters, led by an equally zany director, surprise and delight the audience with split-second comic timing in a show written by Ann Arborite Joseph Zettelmaier.  St. Dunstan’s production of It Came From Mars will only be the 4th production of the show.  It debuted professionally in 2010, by the Performance Network of Ann Arbor, MI.  It was then performed at the Williamston Theatre (MI), and once at a theatre in Ireland called The Breakaway Project.  St. Dunstan’s will be the first community theatre to have the rights to the show.

Fwd: St. Dunstan's Presents: It Came From Mars!

Set in October 1938, the cast of a second-rate radio show hears what they believe to be a live broadcast from the scene of a Martian landing in New Jersey.  Actually, they heard a snippet from Orson Welles’ program The War of the Worlds, but like so many, they believed it to be true—and that’s when the wackiness— and the honesty begins, as the characters believe they face imminent death. The name of Orson Welles pops up frequently, as most of the actors have some connection to him.

The cast includes Alan Canning (Bloomfield Hills) as Quentin Farlowe, who has gone from playing Broadway to writing, directing and starring in mediocre radio dramas; Gannon Styles (Northville) as George, the oafish lead actor with military background; Molly Dorset (Birmingham) as ditzy party-girl ingénue, Dolores; and Paul Dorset (Birmingham) as the German sound effects technician, Werner.  Janie Minchella (Sterling Heights) plays Maude and is the glue that holds them together. She is an under-appreciated receptionist who’s sent to persuade Quentin’s ex-wife, Julia played by Deb Dworkin (Berkley) to fill in at the last minute, for the company’s lead actress, who has been stolen away by Orson Welles.

Director, Rita Liegl (Beverly Hills), has long-time friends who were part of the original cast from the Performance Network production of It Came From Mars. Rita loved the show and decided she wanted to direct it.  She not only understands and excels at comedy, but her knack for pulling the most out of even the best actors, assures that the show will shine with hilarity, some touching moments, and will be a great delight to the audience.  So far in rehearsals, the cast is having “concentrated fun,” as one cast member put it—and as the production side is added, the fun will be multiplied with Anthony Marsalese  as Assistant Director, Jessica Danley as Apprentice Director; Ben Liegl and Tai Terry as Assistants to the Director.  Sandra Prokopp and Diane Blasciuc are producing the show; Pam Richards is taking care of Props; Tom Edson and Jon Huegli are building the set; Obie Burch designed the set and is lighting the production; Jimmy Luzinski is the Stage Manager; Susan Holmes and Bob Liegl are doing Sound and Janie Minchella is costuming the production.

St. Dunstan’s is pleased to support Michigan Talent with this show.  The playwright, Joseph Zettelmaier, was recently featured in the Detroit Free Press and American Theatre Magazine and is making a name for himself in the theatre community.  In 1991 the Zettelmaier family moved from Indiana to Chelsea, Michigan.  That same year, a Chelsea-born-and-bred movie star (Jeff Daniels) founded the Purple Rose Theatre.  If Jeff Daniels had stayed in Hollywood, Joseph Zettelmaier, then 16, might not be perhaps the most prolific playwright in Michigan today.

Zettelmaier – now 37, and twice the winner of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, a three-time nominee for the American Theatre Critics Award for best new play and the author of more than 20 produced plays – took full advantage of the Purple Rose’s proximity in those early days.  After studying acting at Shorter University in Georgia, he came home to apprentice at the local theatre.  Zettelmaier notes that it was Daniel’s encouragement that made the most difference, “I had an interest in playwriting, but it was Jeff’s interest in my interest that got me started.”  St. Dunstan’s is looking forward to producing Zettelmaier’s work It Came From Mars this fall.


Oct 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 & 28, 2012

400 Lone Pine Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI.


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