Last show of ACT season coming up

Alpena Civic Theatre ends its 2013-14 season with “On Borrowed Time,” a sweet and wistful play based on a 1937 book by Lawrence Edward Watkin.

The show, directed by Chip Lavely, opens next week and features a dozen local performers. It debuted on Broadway in 1938 and became a film in 1939.

“I watched the movie, got the book and the script, and just fell in love with it,” said Lavely. “It’s such a heartwarming, sensitive play about devotion and family.”

Set in small town America, the show revolves around Gramps (Dan Nordenbrock) and his wife, Nellie (Janet Romas), who are raising their orphaned grandson, Pud (ACT newcomer David Kuznicki). Mr. Brink (Andrew MacNeill, another first time ACT performer), is the personification of death and comes for Gramps, who doesn’t make it easy for him at all.

Further complicating matters in this comedy fantasy is Aunt Demetria (Karen Thompson), who has designs on Pud and the money left him by his parents, who Mr. Brink took in a recent auto wreck. Gramps must spend much of his time fending off Aunt Demetria’s efforts to adopt the boy.

“It has an important beautiful message at the end,” Lavely said. “You live each day, you support your friends and family, and at the end, you actually do get a reward. It’s definitely a family show.”

Others appearing in “On Borrowed Time” are Amanda Hulsey as Marcia Giles, Scott Edgar as Dr. Evans, Rick Mesler as Mr. Pilbeam, Patrick Skiba as Mr. Grimes, Doug Niergarth as the sheriff, newcomer Logan Den Bleyker as a boy and Tom Robson as a workman.

Production team members include Karen Thompson as assistant director, Jackie Grulke as stage manager and props, Jay Kettler on lighting design and lighting technician, Mary Ann Crawford and Virginia Hulsey as costume directors, and Brooke Male and Tom Robson as back stage assistants.

Lavely, who said this is his last production, designed the set which includes a full-size apple tree. Set construction directors were Adam Pieczynski and Tom Robson. Lavely also said he is dedicating the show to the late Frank Hunter.

“Frank was a silent art supporter for many, many decades here in town,” Lavely said. “I wanted to pay special recognition to him.”

“On Borrowed Time” runs May 8-11 and May 15-18. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. There will be free senior citizen night for this show only on May 7.

For reservations, call the ACT box office at 354-3624.