ACT warming things up with comedy

Alpena Civic Theatre hopes to warm this frosty season right up with some good laughs from the production of “Things My Mother Taught Me,” a new comedy written in 2012 by Katherine DiSavino.

“We try to do a comedy during this time of year because people are so tired of the cold,” said Director Scott Edgar. “This is a good lighthearted comedy, a good family-friendly play.”

The show, set in current times, opens with Gabe and Olivia moving into their first apartment together. They’ve just packed up all their belongings and driven halfway across the country to start a new life together in Chicago.

Their moving doesn’t go exactly as planned though since Gabe, unbeknownst to Olivia, has bought an engagement ring and plans to pop the question. Much to the surprise of Olivia, Gabe also has invited both sets of parents to be present when he asks for her hand in marriage.

Considered both touching and funny, this comedy takes a generational look at relationships.

“The cast has been having all sorts of fun with it, and made it a real joy to do,” said Edgar, who is directing his first production at ACT. “Being as this is my first time directing, I was really nervous. They have been really energetic and easy to work with.”

Starring as Gabe and Olivia are Zach Clement and Amanda Hulsey. Both are veteran local performers, though Clement said it’s one of his largest roles to date.

“It’s a lot of fun, and I have to bring a lot of energy to a character like Gabe,” Clement said. “This is one of the biggest roles for me.”

Playing the parents are seasoned actors Rosina Phillips and Bruce Michaud as Gabe’s parents, and Jodi Collins and Jim Phillips as Olivia’s parent. “Things My Mother Taught Me” is the second show Collins has performed in, while Jim Phillips, like the rest of the cast, is a familiar face to local audiences.

The final role in the the production is Max, the apartment building superintendent, played by Rex Reynolds.

Production team members key to the show are Mary Jo Skiba as assistant director, Jackie Grulke as stage manager and Bill Kaltrider on lights and sound.

The length of the show is about 90 minutes. Edgar recommends it for teens on up.

The show runs Jan. 9-12 and Jan. 16-19, with show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call the ACT box office at 354-3624.