The cast of Pirates, the Musical getting ready for Opening Night

Here’s an blog entry by Paul Bruce.

I just came from The Players Guild of Dearborn, where the StarShine Theater Workshop (2017) gave their public performance as the culmination of an entire week of “theater camp” for mentally/physically challenged children and young adults. Every year I schlep my baked goods to this event for the afterglow and every year I tell myself, “I will not cry, I will not cry.” Guess what I didn’t succeed in doing again this year?

Watching the dedicated and caring individuals who construct this wonderful experience restores my faith in human nature. (And believe me, it needs restoring!) Our Guild president, John Sczomak, is a wonderful man. He belongs not only to our Guild, but also to the NSO which provides a multitude of services for some of the neediest and most vulnerable in our society. Each year, he links the two organizations to create a week long theater camp for young people in need. The generosity of spirit needed to accomplish something like this is beyond that which any scale can measure.

Volunteers from both The Guild and The NSO work with these young people from 9:00 to 3:00 every day for one week. During this time the recipients of this project are given the opportunity to experience anything and everything involved in building a musical play. They are taught about scenery, costumes, make-up, singing, dancing, blocking and, with the help of these marvelous volunteers, learn a short musical show that they then perform for family and friends on Friday evening.

The volunteers costume themselves to look like the rest of the performers and are placed among them so that they can be watched for cues, dance steps, etc. Often the volunteers will stand directly behind the performers so that they can help them recite a single line of dialogue word for word as it is the only way some of the performers can accomplish such a task. Their dedication, enthusiasm and, most importantly, their kind hearts are a tribute to all that is good and kind in this world. It staggers one’s imagination to think what this planet might be like if everyone gave of themselves as they have given.

The list of Guild volunteers is long, but it is important that it be shared. Marybeth Kinnell, acting as director for this production, is the driving force behind its success. She, like so many others, has given up a full week of her time, just to make sure that her own passion for live theater is apportioned to every last soul that it might, however marginally, benefit. Her bevy of other generous volunteers includes Matt Apostle, Molly Boudreau, Andrew Brown, Allison Calder, Graham Dallas, Anna and Kevin Dewey, Hailey Hayward, Renae Hayward, Inez Hernandez, David Kanclerz, Lily Kanclerz, Diane Kaplan, Maddie Kaplan, Lexie Kaplan, Margaret Kinnell, Mike Kinnell, Mike Moseley, Jana Smith, David Wood and Ava Zanardelli.

This year, the show was entitled, Pirates, The Musical. It was one of the very best vocal productions I’ve ever seen for a group of this type, with the company performing a significant number of songs to live piano accompaniment. Kudos, hugs, and undying gratitude to all the marvelous volunteers who helped make another dream come true, another heart more hopeful … another miracle.

And then there was this from Brian Townsend.

Thank you Marybeth K, Anna Hnatiuk Dewey (and Kevin at the piano!), John Sczomak, Inez Hernandez, Margaret and Mike Kinnell, and all the Guild and Neighborhood Services Organization volunteers for another beautiful StarShine Workshop! It was nothing short of amazing, and a constant reminder of how the arts change lives.