MALONE — The North Franklin Theatre Group will wrap up its 2022 season with the comedy “Trouble in Tumbleweed” by Tim Kelly, directed by Steve Perry and Matt Maneely, according to a release from the organization.
Two evening performances will be held at NFTG’s Red Barn Playhouse at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Nov. 13. Three more shows will take place the following weekend, with 7 p.m. performances on Nov. 18 and 19, and another 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 20. Veterans will be admitted free to the Nov. 11 performance in honor of Veterans Day.
The play is set in the Arizona Territory in the 1880s in the dusty town of Tumbleweed. The pompous Mayor Oates has been hired by a Boston businessman to build a town that one day will be the territory’s capital. To fill the local positions — sheriff, schoolmarm, doctor — he hires his incompetent relatives. The news that a Pinkerton detective is coming from Boston to inspect the town’s development throws the whole family into a panic. Since they’ve been pocketing the businessman’s money, the town hall is nothing but a hole in the ground and the schoolhouse has no roof.
A medicine show huckster, Professor Burns, is stranded in town because his dancing bear has tangoed away. The relatives assume the professor is the detective, and he is only too happy to take advantage of their mistake. Together with the glamorous card shark Lily de Lilac he has the relatives tripping over one another in hysterical attempts to bribe him. Just when you think the dust is settling, who should turn up but the real detective.
The cast includes NFTG veterans and newcomers. Dan Taylor as Lawyer Maxwell; Audra Buchanan as Miranda Oates; Wendy Frank as Gert; Brenda Demers as Electra; Audrey Francoeur as Lily De Lilac; Steve Perry as Professor Tom Burns; Elise Sienkiewycz as Julie Oates; Matt Maneely as Mayor Oates; Jacob Koon as Sheriff Plunkett; Dorothy Shea Reynolds as Almira Sessions; Dave Cohen as Doc Snipes; Steven Little as Gilroy Cavender; Ron Noreault as Harry Dobbs; Anne Raville as Victoria Dobbs; Elizabeth “BJ” Noreault as Opal Crabtree; Laura Rabideau as Mrs. Baywater; James Benware as Luther; Laura Raville as Antoinette Dobbs; and Lorraine Gravell as Widder Haskins.
Board president and director Matt Maneely told the Telegram that this is the second show back in the theater for the group after losing two years to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said support from the county’s tourism office was integral in the production.
“We are beyond excited to be able to welcome our audience back into our theater to perform for them,” Maneely said in the release. “We are thankful to the Franklin County Office of Economic Development and Tourism for awarding us a Destination Event Sponsorship Program Grant to offset the costs of doing this show.”
Maneely said the grant was not earmarked for particular expenses such as advertising, which meant the funds could be used for costumes, sets and other production necessities. The group’s coffers were bare following the long hiatus. He added that ongoing improvements and renovations to the playhouse allow for more ambitious productions.
“The last couple of shows we’ve done we’ve had bigger casts than what we normally do,” Maneely said. “Through a lot of the renovations and upgrades we’ve made to the theater we can do bigger shows. The stage is bigger and we increased our seating.”
Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling or texting 518-837-7389 or by messaging the NFTG on its Facebook page at facebook.com/nftgstage. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The Red Barn Playhouse is at 30 Robinson Circle in Malone.
“This is a must-see show,” Maneely said.
“Trouble in Tumbleweed” was produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service Inc., Denver.
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