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From Broadway to Birmingham, ACT ONE makes its Michigan Premiere

From Broadway to Birmingham, ACT ONE makes its Michigan Premiere

The Village Players of Birmingham opens its 4th production of its 95th season with James Lapine's tribute to a life in the theatre; Act One. The play is based on playwright Moss Hart's autobiography of the same title.

This poignant piece of theatre makes its Michigan Premiere for three weekends, March 9-11, 16-18, 23- at the Village Players of Birmingham.

Act One is Moss' Hart's famous memoir, the story of growing up in an impoverished Jewish family in the Bronx in the 1920s, while dreaming of being part of the glamorous world of the stage. Forced to drop out of school at age 13, Hart's pluck, determination and talent led him to form an unlikely collaboration with legendary playwright George S. Kaufman and ultimately succeed on Broadway. Act One features a cast of 14 portraying more than 50 different real life theatre luminaries including Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx and Langston Hughes. James Lapine's Act One is a funny, heartbreaking and suspenseful play, celebrating the triumph of one's spirit and determination, and the magic behind the footlights.

Act One officially opened on Broadway to critical acclaim at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in Lincoln Center on April 17, 2014. The play has been hailed as a "nostalgic and ultimately upbeat reflection on fulfilling a dream."

Act One is directed by veteran Village Players member Jay Kaplan of Oak Park. Jay has directed several Village Player's productions including Kaufman and Hart's 1938 comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner.

"This play is about guts and determination to pursue and achieve your dreams," says Kaplan. "I hope audiences feel uplifted by Moss Hart's story- that you can achieve your dreams by refusing to give up, despite the odds and obstacles."

Act One runs approximately 2 1/2 hours plus one 15 - minute intermission. Show dates and times are March 9,10, 16, 17, 23 & 24 2018 at 8:00 p.m. and March 11, 18 & 25 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $19.00 (plus a $1.00 processing fee for each ticket order) and are available online at or by calling the theatre box office at 248-644-2075. The Village Players Theatre is located at 34660 Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.

The Cast of Act One:

  • Salvatore Sbrocca - Moss Hart from Rochester
  • Tony Amato - Older Moss, George S. Kaufman, Moss' Father from Grosse Pointe Woods
  • Sue Chekaway - Aunt Kate, Frieda Fishbein, Beatrice Kaufman from Bloomfield Hills
  • Jonas Annear-Young Mossy Hart, Bernie Hart from Birmingham
  • Marcus Caesar - Wally, Charles Gilpin, Max Siegel, Langston Hughes from Detroit
  • Eric Kent Franz - Sir John, Priestly Morgan, Dore Schary, Adolph Marx, George from Ferndale
  • Jillian Frederick - Lady Caroline, Belle, Phyllis Gillman, Muriel, Dorothy Parker from Macomb
  • Nasir Khawaja - Mr. Borofsky, Jed Harris, Slimovitz, Alexander Woollcott, Porter from Southfield
  • Sean Kocaj - Irving Gordon, Jerry, Manager, Waiter, Theater Usher from Royal Oak
  • Jessica Presberry - Hester, Rosalind Goldfine Himmelman, Aline McMahon, May from Roseville
  • Steve Sussman - Augustus Pitou, Sam Harris from Bloomfield Township
  • Ethan Tolentino - Eddie Chodorov, Joseph Regan, Pianist from Sterling Heights
  • Tania L. Velinsky - Lillie Hart, Mrs. Henry B. Harris, Helen Hobart from Royal Oak
  • Julie Smith Yolles - Mrs. Borofksy, Ida, Edna Ferber, Estelle Rosenbloom from Bingham Farms

The Village Players of Birmingham, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community theatre celebrating its 93rd season, presents high-quality dramatic, comedic, and musical productions. All community members are invited to participate on stage, backstage or as an audience member in the theater's main stage, youth theater, and Playwrights at Work productions and programs. The Village Players has been entertaining the community from its location at 34660 Woodward Avenue in Birmingham since 1926.

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