Sorry, Wrong Chimney' comes to Bay City's Whistling Idiots stageCourtesy of M-Live - Published: November 25, 2012 at 9:11 AM BAY CITY, MI — Is David cheating on Samantha?
Is the notorious Santa Claus burglar secretly in love Samantha?
Is the policeman called in to sort out the mess actually a male stripper?
It's a lot to sort out.
Leave it to the Whistling Idiots theater group when it presents the comedy “Sorry, Wrong Chimney,” beginning Friday, Nov. 30.
The plot unfolds in a New York City apartment and centers around David and Samantha. It seems David has been working late — or has he?
When Samantha calls his office and finds out he's not there, she thinks he is cheating on her. Enlisting the aid of friend Natalie Weldon's husband, Dr. William Weldon, a psychiatrist, who is said to be well versed in hypnotism, she hopes to have David hypnotized to fall back in love with her.
But, the good doctor isn't as proficient at hypnotism as first thought, with his first attempt misfiring, hitting Kris Kreigle, the notorious Santa Claus burglar instead.
When the law and order cop shows up, everyone scrambles to cover up what is going on, making for an evening of mistaken identity and physical comedy.
That's exactly what the crew at the Idiots was looking when they set out to celebrate the holidays with humor — and they didn't have an easy time of it, says Robert Graczyk Jr., director.
“It was hard to find a Christmas farce,” he said. “There's not a lot to choose from. I found five plays and passed them around to Steve (Steer, owner of the theater) and Kevin (O'Connor, box office manager). Everyone loved this one.”
As far as Graczyk knows, this is the first time the play has been done in the area.For the record, “Sorry Wrong Chimney,” written by Jack Sharkey and Leo W. Sears, made its debut at the Metro Playhouse Dinner Theater in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1989.
Graczyk's cast hit the ground running, having a good time bringing the play to life.
But with “Escanaba in da Moonlight,” just closing, there was some scrambling to do.
“We have a short window to rehearse,” he said. “Everybody stepped up. It's like being in charge of the class clowns. Everyone is bringing energy to the play.”
Echoing his sentiments is assistant director Kyle Betzold of Kawkawlin, who is also playing David.
“It's fast paced,” he said. “We're all working really hard, working on our lines. Our characters are popping out really nicely.”
Bringing Betzold on board as assistant director is just part of the long range plan for the theater.
“He's part of a directorial pool we're getting together,” said Graczyk. “We don't want things to get stale.”
Betzold says it's been a challenge wearing both hats.
“I know what's happening on stage, but I am also thinking of my character,” he said. I'm thinking hey this might be good.”Monica Spencer of Bay City was literally plucked from the wings to play Natalie Weldon. Just a few short weeks ago, Spencer was one of the servers at the theater. Betzold talked her into trying out.
That's not to say Spencer doesn't have stage experience. In addition to touring with the Young Americans, she has done film work as well as stepping out on other local stages.Becoming a regular member of the family, Christian Schwager of Saginaw, plays Kris Kreigle , the wayward Santa. Schwager was last seen in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” playing multiple characters, including Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet,” another fast-paced comedy.
“I like the physical humor,” he said. “It's like a roller coaster ride. Everything happens very fast.”
Rounding out the cast is Amanda Mueller of Thomas Township as Samantha, Chris Hooton of Bay City as William Weldon, Carly Peil of Auburn as Sheila, and crowd favorite Vern Zachula as the policeman.
Doors open with a cash bar at 5:45 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show at 7:30 p.m.
If you go:
What: 'Sorry, Wrong Chimney'
When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15
Where: Whistling Idiots Comedy Dinner Theatre, 701 N. Van Buren St.
Tickets: $35 for adults, $32 for senior citizens, $18 show only
Info: 989-893-2000, Whistling Idiots