OSCODA – Opening night of “Everybody Loves Opal” at the Shoreline Players Theater on Saturday was a family affair for the Boje family, who relocated to Oscoda in 2020.
Newcomer April Boje, was brilliantly cast as Gloria Gulock. Boje gives a commendable performance. Her husband, Brian Boje, also new to the Shoreline stage, gives a believable performance as Professor Bradford Winter, a self-absorbed intellectual who has fallen from grace.
Patrick Boje, their son, plays the doctor who examines Opal for her insurance policy. While playing a character older than his chronological age, Patrick, a student at Oscoda High School, plays the role with just the right amount of teenage consternation. Patrick made his debut at the Shoreline Players’ performance of “Hats Off to Broadway III.”
Renee Diener gives a delightful performance as the lovable Opal Kronkie. She enters the stage singing “Zippity Doo Dah” and it becomes her theme song throughout the performance. Diener is a long-time Shoreline performer, director and currently serves as the vice president on the board.
Opal lives in an aging mansion at the edge of the municipal dump and makes daily trips to collect treasures she is sure will come in handy at some point. Opal demonstrates her frugal nature by hanging up a string of teabags that she re-uses to make tea.
Opal meets Gloria, who is selling bootleg perfume, and the fun begins. Solomon Bozo, the third member of the bootleg perfume business, is portrayed with enthusiasm and a twinkle is his eye by Paul Grabstanowicz. Grabstanowicz, made his debut in the Shoreline Players’ production of “Let’s Go On With the Show” and he worked on the tech crew for the recent production of “Nunsense.”
From the interactions between Gloria, Bradford and Solomon, we learn early on that there is no honor among thieves.
Eric Koppen plays Opal’s jovial police officer friend, who has a knack for impeccable timing. Koppen made his debut on the Shoreline stage in a lead role in “Spinoff” in 2022.
In a nutshell, “Everybody Loves Opal” is a story of redemption. The surprise ending will have audience members leaving with a smile on their face.
The set design adds to the production, that takes place in Opal’s home. The dialogue could have used a tiny bit of updating since $10 or $10,000 isn’t worth what it was in the early 1960s.
The Shoreline Players production is directed by Nicole Markey with Rebecca Collier serving as assistant director. The play is produced Sue Miller and assistant producer Chelsea Miller.
Set construction was done by the producers and directors along with Diane Teddy, Koppen and the Boje family. Set painting was by Brian and April Boje working with Collier. Set dressing was done by the Boje family and Collier.
Technical director Eric Joseph assisted with programming lights and sound. Tech and stage crew includes both Millers, Collier and Markey. The box office and ushers are led by Miller and board member Tim Curtis. Cast board, programs and posters are by Lisa Mandeville and concessions are being managed by Tammie and Rose Wilson.
Performances for the upcoming weekend are scheduled for Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at www.shorelineplayers.org or at the box office prior to performances.
The theater recently moved to an online purchase system that accepts credit card payments. The system resulted in a number of pre-sale tickets and even some online donations. The theater is a 501c3 IRS designated organization, donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Plan on approximately 21/4 hours for the performance including the intermission and be aware that there is some adult language, themes and humor.
Refreshments, including freshly popped popcorn, coffee and candy are available at the performance.
2022-2023 is the theater’s 50th season. A celebration is being planned, details are still being worked out.
Upcoming events at the theater include performances of “Gaslight.” Auditions are being held on March 9 from 7-9 p.m. The cast includes three females and two males. Performances are scheduled for the end of April and the beginning of May.
“Everybody Loves Opal” was originally performed at the Longacre Theatre in 1961 and was published as a book in 1962 by playwright John Patrick. Patrick was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screenwriter and received an Academy Award nomination in 1946 for “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.”