Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

'Big River' is a rousing musical

by the Grosse Pointe News

January 10, 2013

Grosse Pointe Theatre sets the stage for a rousing musical, “Big River,” the opening at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Other performances are at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 to 26 and Feb. 1 and 2 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 and Jan. 31. Tickets cost $24. Group rates are available. For tickets and information call (313) 881-2258 or order online at

Taken from Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” the audience is swept down the Mississippi with Huck Finn, who helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. Their adventures along the way are hilarious, suspenseful and heart-warming, bringing to life characters from the novel: the Widow Douglas and her stern sister, Miss Watson; King and Duke (who may or may not be as harmless as they seem); Huck’s partner in crime, Tom Sawyer, and their pals; Huck’s drunken father, Pap Finn; Mary Jane Wilkes and her family.

The cast includes Grant Hale of Washington Township; Leon Anderson Jr. of Fraser, Dennis Martell of Livonia, whose wife, Deborah, is co-producing the show; Kevin Fitzhenry of Warren; Jeremy Harr and Laura Bartell, son and mother in the cast, with dad, Stan Harr music/vocal director, of Grosse Pointe Shores; Jarod Clark, with mom, Jennifer as assistant director, of Royal Oak; Chantelle Adkins of Romeo; Bridget Healey of Roseville; Eddie Tujaka and daughter, Jessica, and William Giovan of Grosse Pointe Farms; Madison Collier of Grosse Pointe Park; Kate and Bev Dickinson, daughter and mother, of Pleasant Ridge; Nicolas Doyle of Grosse Pointe Woods; Christopher Curtis of Eastpointe; Steven and Stevie-Joi Clark, father and daughter, of St. Clair Shores; and Ana Christinidis, Kate Connolly, Robert Mullinger, and Emmajean Evans of Grosse Pointe. Jacqueline DiSante of the City of Grosse Pointe is on stage, while her sister, Marisa of St. Clair Shores is co-stage manager.

The show is directed by Kathleen Lietz of Royal Oak. The crew includes: assistant director Laurane Walker and dance captain Randi Bartecki-Hamilton of Ferndale; co-producer Mary Stelmark of Grosse Pointe Farms; and technical director Jim Arnold and his wife, Gayle, who is in properties and set dressing, of Grosse Pointe Woods. Co-stage manager Janie Burkey of Grosse Pointe Woods, will be helped by daughter, Stacie Longo.

Also on the crew are Mary Lou Britton, costumes, of St. Clair Shores; Carolyn Darby, properties/set dressing, of Detroit; Lucy Meyo, lighting, of Milford; Bill Tuthill of Grosse Pointe Woods and David Hertzberg of Royal Oak, sound; Jeanne Chrisman, makeup, of Harper Woods, with daughter, Anna; and choreographer John Lutherof Farmington.

Upcoming productions:

“Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley, GPT’s Purdon Studio Theatre production at the Edsel & EleanorFord House Visitor Center, Feb. 21 to 24, Feb. 28 & March 1 to 3.

“The Heiress” by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, adapted from the 1880 Henry James novel, “Washington Square,” March 10, 14 to 17, 21 to 23, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, May 5, 9 to 12, 16 to 18, at the War Memorial.

Grosse Pointe Theatre is a community theatre whose purpose is to engage and enrich the community by continuing a tradition of exceptional theatrical experiences.

It is a non-profit 501 (c)(3).

Membership in Grosse Pointe Theatre is open to adults age 18 and over who are interested in theater and theater craft.

For more information, visit, or call (313) 881-4004.