The Middlebury Campus

Play On! Put On a Show Within A Show

By Leah Lavigne

If you’re looking for some laughs this weekend, a local production by the Middlebury Community Players won’t disappoint.  They are presenting the hilarious show Play On! at The Town Hall Theater Feb 14-17.

The local theater company, dedicated to producing musicals, comedies and dramas in Addison County, is premiering this play within a play that’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day date or a fun outing with friends to celebrate Winter Carnival weekend.

The comedy, penned by the prolific Rick Abbot, explores an idea that anyone involved in theater is well aware of: “if anything can go wrong, it will.”  The production follows a group of actors desperately trying to put on a play.  Adding more drama and hilarity to an already ill-fated production is the frustratingly conceited playwright who can’t seem to stop making changes to the script.  The audience follows the process through three acts, depicting the rehearsal of the doomed show, the ill-fated dress rehearsal, and the Murphy’s Law performance to the climactic end.  The show provides plenty of laughs while giving a great look into all the things that can go wrong in theater, incorporating uproarious sound effects, romance and a few outrageous props along the way.  Promising a priceless diamond necklace, mistaken identity and fake British accents, the production offers many surprises.

Systems Administrator and Wireless Network Specialist Mike Lynch plays the director in Play On!  Since 1996, Lynch has enjoyed participating in local Vermont theater companies. His passion for theater is palpable, and he speaks highly of working with the cast.

“This show has been a great experience for me,” he said.  “I’m enjoying working with a great group of friends from previous shows, as well as getting to know several new folks.  We’ve been having lots of fun.”

The positive camaraderie between the actors helps the hilarity and charm of the show shine. The show’s director, Dora Greven, is enthusiastic about how the comedy will be received.

“It’s a guaranteed laugh-out-loud kind of show,” she said.  “I still laugh at every single rehearsal, and I’ve seen it many times!”

The 10 actor volunteer cast, comprised of Addison County community members, has constantly developed since starting rehearsals before the New Year.  Greven noted that the group wants to give a fresh and entertaining performance, saying, “The members of the cast are always trying to crack each other up.  They want to translate to the audience that they are having a great time.”

The cast and creative team have given the show the motto “kitch done well,” and are hopeful that it will delight all who come to see it.

The show is a great opportunity to get off campus and support the local community.  Lynch is excited about having students at the performances.

“We’d love to have students come to the show!” he said.  “It’s really quite a funny play.  You’re likely to see a side of the townsfolk that you don’t normally see.  Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy our show so much that you’ll be tempted to audition for a future production!”

Treat yourself to a night of laughs by going to see Play On! at the Town Hall Theater.  The show runs Thursday, Feb 14 through Saturday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m., with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday the 18th.  An American Sign Language interpretation will be available at the Sunday showing.

The show is produced by Mary Longey and co-stage managed by Kate Tilton and Bowen Abbey. Included in the cast are Kevin Commins, Kendra Gratton, Raymond Johnston, Megan Kelley, Ark Lemal, Mike Lynch, Tom Noble, Robynn Stanley, Kathleen Walls and Matt White.

Reserved seating tickets are $17 and can be purchased at the Town Hall Theater Box Office, open noon to five Monday through Saturday, by calling 802-382-9222, or by visiting   More information on the Middlebury Community Players, including how to get involved, can be found at The company’s next production is the classic musical “The Threepenny Opera,” premiering April 25.

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