Actors gear up for new play

REUNITED: Beth Miller, Jenny Eldred and Randi Brenner play Lenny, Babe and Meg in “Crimes of the Heart.” (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

REUNITED: Beth Miller, Jenny Eldred and Randi Brenner play Lenny, Babe and Meg in “Crimes of the Heart.” (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

BIG RAPIDS – STAGE-M will bring the story of three sisters to the stage on Thursday as it premiers its production of “Crimes of the Heart.” The play focuses on the sisters’ reunion, brought on when the youngest sister, Babe, shoots her husband. Each sister, however, has committed “crimes of the heart.”

Tickets cost $8 for adults and $4 for students and are available at The Old Pioneer Store and Emporium, Great Lakes Books and Supply, Patterson’s Flowers and Gifts or by calling (231) 592-TIXX.

David Scott, who will make his directorial debut, describes the show, which is set in granddaddy’s Hazlehurst, Miss. home, as a Southern gothic comedy.

COMEDY: Beth Miller chases Kelly Price around a table with a broom during dress rehearsal for “Crimes of the Heart,” which premiers tonight at CCA. (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

COMEDY: Beth Miller chases Kelly Price around a table with a broom during dress rehearsal for “Crimes of the Heart,” which premiers tonight at CCA. (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

“There’s conflict, they have some good moments, they have some bad moments, they fight, they bicker, they get along really well, they don’t get along really well, they holler and scream at each other,” he said. “They are all sisterly things.”

Beth Miller will reprise the role of Lenny, a character she fell in love with while playing in a production of the show about 10 years ago.

“When I found out they were doing ‘Crimes of the Heart’ here, I thought, ‘This is probably my last chance to play Lenny again,’” Miller said. “I love her, so I went for it.

“The way she is written she kind of comes across as whiney and pathetic, but out of every character in the play, she has the most dramatic transformation. The other sisters change in smaller, more subtle ways, but Lenny has done a complete 180 by the end of the show. She has self confidence and she is finally living a life she had never lived.”

While she has previously played Lenny, Miller said how she plays the role has changed.

“I am a little bit older and have more life experience under my belt,” she said. “I have lost more loved ones, I have had more family drama that I can relate to a little better than I could when I was 26.”

Kelly Price, a teacher at Baldwin Community Schools, auditioned for the play to gain acting experience and knowledge to bring back to her classroom.

“I was offered the opportunity to teach drama, so I tried out for STAGE-M, got a part, and I can now identify more with what I am putting my students through as their director,” Price said. “It has been a really good tool to talk to my drama students, and I think they have more trust in me now because I was willing to put myself in their shoes.”

Morley Stanwood High School students Luke Dowell and Jenny Eldred also have parts in the show.

Eldred, who plays Babe, takes on a character much older than herself. She said she has learned a lot from the experience and has grown as an actor.

“I did not get to do a school play this year so I branched out and got a role in the STAGE-M play, which is really fun,” she said. “This is bigger than anything I have ever done.”

Other actors that will grace the stage include STAGE-M veterans Aaron Wilkinson and Randi Brenner.

All cast members hope to see large crowds for each performance, however the play is probably not suitable for children 10 years of age or younger, Scott said.

“There are a few naughty words here and there,” he added. “It’s not bad; I would call it PG-13. There’s not a lot of action, so little kids might get bored.”

The show will take place at 7:30 p.m. from Thursday, April 10, through Saturday, April 12, at the Crossroads Charter Academy auditorium, as well as at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 13.

OLD FLAME: Luke Dowell plays Randi Brenner’s old flame in STAGE-M’s “Crimes of the Heart.” (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

OLD FLAME: Luke Dowell plays Randi Brenner’s old flame in STAGE-M’s “Crimes of the Heart.” (Pioneer photo/Miranda Roberts)

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Posted by Miranda Roberts

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