As SRO Theatre in Southfield prepares to launch a new comedy, several Farmington Hills residents will be on and off stage for the community theater's final production.
Long-time Farmington Hills resident Maureen Mansfield directs A Little Work by Anita Diamant and Stephen McCauley, which opens Friday, May 4 and will run weekends through May 20. SRO presents the first, full-scale production of the scalpel-sharp comedy about the pleasures and pitfalls of marriage, friendship and facing 50.
The story centers around best-selling, self-help diva Kitty Fenochetti, who visits her college roommate, Mia Brown, and turns the household upside down with bandages, banter and a nutty nurse with an unusual obsession. Although Kitty's the one in town for "work,” everyone else is forced to take a long, hard look in the mirror as well.
Diamant, best known for writing the New York Times bestseller and book club favorite The Red Tent, said that although she has never experienced the sort of discordant devotion that Mia and Kitty exhibit, she is very familiar with eternal affection.
"I have a lot of important friendships with women, some of them as long-lived as that of Mia and Kitty, but none as contentious. But for all the drama between the characters, the life-long commitment is there. And that is something I have with my own friends,” Diamant explained.
A Little Work is a collaboration between Diamant and her friend Stephen McCauley, best known for writing The Object of My Affection, which was later made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. Diamant is so excited about the SRO production that she is flying in for the May 19 performance.
"Although there have been a number of lively staged readings of A Little Work in Boston, it hasn't received a full production until now. The chance to see the show on its feet was simply irresistible," Diamant said.
Farmington Hills residents direct, act
"The first time I read the script, I was hooked," Mansfield said. “The leading ladies are normal women facing real issues in today's world. I understand them. The audience will understand them. It's great to be able to laugh (and cry) at something you are going through yourself".
Barbie Amann Weisserman of Farmington Hills and her daughter Audrey Amann, a senior at , play the roles of Mia and her college-aged daughter Sarah.
"It really means a lot to me,” said Weisserman. "My character has a hard time when her daughter goes off to college…I can relate to that! This show is giving us the opportunity to spend some special time together before Audrey leaves for college in the fall.”
Jan Cartwright of Novi plays the role of Kitty, a woman facing the challenges of hitting middle age on the talk show circuit with the help of a little surgical “freshening.”
“I’m very much enjoying the challenge of playing such a well-written, multi-layered character and thrilled to be working with this talented cast and crew. Being a part of bringing a new script to the stage for the first time is both an honor and a privilege," Cartwright said.
Nancy Cooper of Farmington Hills, Bonnie Fitch, Pam Mayer and Daniel Tarjeft of Southfield, Alan Madlane of Ferndale, and Cheryl Glicker of Milford round out the cast.
Supported by the City of Southfield, SRO Theatre will close its doors after the final performance, due to budget cuts. The 22-year-old theatre's name is an acronym for “Standing Room Only” and Mansfield's goal is to fill the seats to capacity for every performance.
"I have a crazy talented cast and a incredible script," she said. "We've saved the best for last – this is one heck of a show!”
SRO Theatre is located at 26060 Berg Road in Southfield, just a block east of Telegraph near I-696. Tickets are $12 or $10 for adults 50 and older and children under 12. Call 248-796-4645 or visit SROtheater.org for information and reservations.