DORSET - Closing the 2013 Dorset Players season is "Anyone Can Whistle," by Arthur Laurent with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

This show is little known to the casual theatre-goer, and through its 46 years of production has received passionately mixed reviews. But do not be wary - this show is full of fun, catchy tunes, and a little sex appeal, not to mention the great underlying themes that will make you connect to characters of all moral varieties. Set in an imaginary small American town facing bankruptcy, the only person with money is the Mayoress, Cora Hoover Hooper (played by Danielle Houston), and the only thriving business is the local sanatorium, otherwise known as "The Cookie Jar."

Facing a tough outlook, and even worse - unpopularity, Cora and her cronies, Comptroller Schub (Todd Houston), Treasurer Cooley (Paul Michael Brinker), and Police Chief Magruder (John Wayne Macri) look for a way to drum up some interest in the town. While working on a solution at the outskirts of town, a local child known as Baby Joan (Greta Schaub) is stubbornly playing on a large rock. Instead of coming down when urged by her mother, she licks the rock - and a miracle happens.

From the rock, a spring of healing waters begins to flow (as does the potential for profit). The mayoress and her minion rake in a fortune from the convenient "miracle," and pilgrims come from far and wide.


Advertisement

When the skeptical nurse Fay (Amber Hamilton) brings her patients from the sanatorium to partake in the miracle, Schub quickly deters her, fearing that the jig will be up when the patients aren't healed.

Confusion leads to chaos and the "Cookies" from the Cookie Jar get mixed in among all the other towns people and pilgrims. Not knowing who is who, Fay runs away, and Cora must depend on the newly arrived sanatorium assistant, J. Bowen Hapgood (Tom Ferguson) to sort them all out.

Though Hapgood places the people into two groups, Group A and Group One, he refuses to say which is which. The town becomes doubtful of the process and pressure to keep the Cookie Jar at full capacity is looming over Cora as the Governor threatens to impeach her.

Of course it isn't all just about crazy people running around (though there is a lot of that). As the town goes on with its trials, we must question what makes a miracle, what makes us normal (or not), and if can we be the person we want to be.

The Dorset Players production is directed by Jeff Linebeck, who was assisted by Steve Dunning. The show features a minimal staging that allows for the characters to fill the space with song and dance.

A labor of love, Linebeck and Dunning have brought one of their favorite musicals to life on the Dorset stage. Standout performances are expected of Tom Ferguson, who shines in the role of Hapgood. Amber Hamilton, a new face to The Dorset Players shows her jazzy side as Fay's sexy alter ego. Danielle Houston brings a mix of maturity and lightheartedness to her mayoress, and the comic relief from Paul Michael Brinker, Todd Houston and John Wayne Macri as her council makes for a fun dynamic.

The ensemble includes Vanessa L. Beattie, Bob Davidson, Britney Dorman, Phil Hicks, Tracy Gray Hughes, Elizabeth P. Karet, CeCe King, Shelby McEachron, Sherrie Rice, Denny Rogers, John Sease, Shannon Thompson and Kathleen Wilson.

Show times for "Anyone Can Whistle" are May 16 - 18 and 23-25 at 7:30 p.m. and May 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. For more information, call the theatre at 802-867-5570 or visit www.dorsetplayers.org.