Bruce Bennett, who charmed audiences as Ernie The Moocher in “Guys On Ice”, wraps up our journaling about the very successful start to our second season. You can see more of Bruce at Williamston Theatre in “Art”, starting in January!
“Guys on Ice ” was the first professional acting work I’ve done in years, aside from a commercial or two. I enjoyed auditioning for the role (I’m a little freaky that way; most actors hate auditions) and was thrilled to be cast. Joey Albright and BJ Love are well known in Detroit area professional theater and I knew I’d have a great time working with them. I have many mutual friends with BJ, so although I had never worked with him, I felt I knew him. He is just as nice and as talented as I was told. I’d seen Joey in “Escanaba in da Moonlight” and wasn’t surprised to find he was great to work with- a real hoot.
These fellows are fun, but also quite serious about the art of acting. Jokes would be flying and then suddenly the conversation would segue into how best to make a line work, the serious business of timing a laugh, etc. Business talk in the dressing room was quite fascinating sometimes, as they related their different impressions of theater companies, actors, directors and audiences around Michigan.
I could see that Tony Caselli, the director of the show, was a real gentleman right from first meeting him at the auditions. His way with actors is very understanding and warm, with a lot of humor. Great imagination, too. One of the best directors I’ve worked with. John Dale Smith was Music Director for the show and a familiar face. I’ve worked with him many times in theater around Lansing and he’s amazing. He loves to joke around with me, and although that just encouraged everyone else to mess with me too, it broke the ice (as it were) very quickly for me.
I loved Erica Koski, our stage manager, a big beautiful blonde who took great care of us- extremely professional and talented, too- and Rosemary Ford, her ASM- quiet, thoughtful, and devious (honest), with a gorgeous, sweet smile.
The Williamston Theatre actually has very high standards, despite hiring me. “Guys on Ice” is a very silly musical comedy, but we worked hard to make the emotions as real as possible, and the characters people all of us know, with only just enough exaggeration to be hilarious. It was a gentle sort of silliness we had to capture, and we walked a fine line to avoid things becoming ridiculous. I think we nailed it, though.
I had a lovely experience in that little theater, and I can’t wait to do it again. I promise to leave my ukulele at home.