Community Theatre: There is a Place For You Here!

My family has been involved with community theatre for a decade now. When I tell people about it, I have had quite a few people say, “Really? I wish I could do something like that.”

But the thing is, you totally can. Everyone can!

When I tell people that they usually say something like they can’t act, or sing, etc. 

I couldn’t either.

I had always wanted to try theatre growing up but thought I couldn’t. Then I sort of fell into it as an adult. 

My first step into the theatre world was as a stage mom. My daughter had speech issues when she was young, so I thought getting involved in theatre classes would help.  And she took a shine to it. So we kept finding classes to get involved with.

Then we heard about a theatre near us, Warren Civic Theatre, that did open casting for some of their shows. 

I will never forget her very first audition there. I thought, “Well, this will never be her thing.” But since they had open casting, she automatically landed a role in the ensemble and it sounded like a pretty fun way for her to stay active during the summer break.

She loved it. As she got used to being on stage, her inner star became more bold and confident. So she ended up doing shows there almost continuously for a few years. After two years, the artistic director said to me in passing at a rehearsal, “You know, you’re here at every rehearsal, you might as well get on stage yourself.”

That thought simmered with me for a while. For a whole year. I tossed it over.  I shared it with my best friend who said, “Why not? I’ll audition for a show too.”

I had a lot of fun with my kids, with my friend, and with my castmates that became new friends. I didn’t want it to end!

I had more courage than I ever thought I had. 

I have learned that open casting can be controversial. Some people tell me that it is not “competitive” enough. But I will tell you with 100% confidence that if there had not been a theatre with open casting, no one in my family would be involved in the theatre. 

That thought makes me sad.

During youth productions, the costuming department at WCT taught me how to sew. This is something I have always wanted to learn, but never seemed to have the time. Now it was a way to help the kids. 

Getting to know other actors got us out and about to see shows at other community theatres too. Our theatre world kept expanding.

And I even tried my hand at singing. With great musical directors that had the patience of saints, I actually improved. I went from clearing a room with my singing, to merely scaring small children!

As luck would have it, one of the friends that I had made doing theatre reached out to me about Rosedale Community Players. They were doing their annual One Acts Festival, and one of her scripts was being produced. She encouraged me to audition because it would be a very small time commitment.

I was intrigued because RCP performs all plays, so there would be more parts that were a better fit for my singing talents (which are slightly more than none). That was the first time I stepped into RCP.

And I made it in!

Cast members from our 2019 One Act Festival rehearse together

The special thing about RCP, is that no one ever makes you feel like a stranger there. You become part of the family immediately. 

From that experience stemmed other wonderful opportunities within the next year. I stage managed for the very first time. When I was asked, I remember saying, “I don’t know how to do that!” The producer of the show said it was easy, and they could teach me. 

It wasn’t exactly easy, but it was something I really needed to do. It made me realize that I like being part of a production team as much as I like being on stage. You get to make the magic from behind the scenes, and it is pretty gratifying.

Next I was asked if I wanted to be on the Board of Directors. Something else I never considered, but find very rewarding.

I met playwrights and actually started writing scripts. Knowing I can sit down and create my own world is pretty cool. And we have a whole group of people that are willing to read over your scripts and make suggestions to make it better. They are so very encouraging and willing to share their vast experiences

So you don’t have to have any special skills to be a part of the theatre community, just a passion to want to contribute. And you have to love working as a team.

RCP members pitching in to create a set

As the world slowly crawls back to normal, I would invite you to think about joining us at RCP (or a community theatre near you). The imaginary lives we create on stage change everyone involved for the better.

So along with my new hobby came so many new friends and experiences that have just made my life richer. I hope you get to experience that too.

If you would like to become a member of Rosedale Community Player for the 2021-222 season visit this link.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.


Meet RCP’s Maltese Falcon Director: Laurie Smalis

The Maltese Falcon radio show was the first show Rosedale Community Players has produced using this format. And it has exceeded our expectations! Viewers have shared with us how much they have enjoyed this unique performance!

Lost On Stage contributor, Heather Hudson, recently interviewed the show’s director, Laurie Smalis, about RCP and the Maltese Falcon!

Heather Hudson: Hello Laurie! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. You’ve been one of our go-to directors for so long, and we’d be remiss not to share your story with our community (and the blogosphere). Shall we start with how you became a part of RCP?

LAURIE: Back in the 90’s some friends took me to see some RCP shows. I was very impressed with the talent and thought that I wanted to get involved. Well, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to join until the 2000’s. I had directed many plays over the years in college and other theatre groups. Directing is my passion. My first show directing for RCP was Flemming.

Laurie Smalis directed Fleming (An American Thriller) by Sam Bobrick at Rosedale Community Players

HH:  That passion absolutely shows, in everything you do!  I can only imagine how challenging this “pandemic pause” has been, being away from the physical stage.  How have you been keeping art in your life, outside of your recent RCP production of The Maltese Falcon?  

LAURIE: I had actually not been doing anything artistically other than watching old movies. I was getting so antsy to do something and remembered my parents talking about radio shows “back in the day”. I thought, well, why not? These are the perfect circumstances to bring it back.

HH:  I agree, a million percent. How did The Maltese Falcon get on your radar, exactly?  Was it your first virtual directing gig, or one of many?  

LAURIE: I have always been a Humphrey Bogart fan. When I found that the original radio script was in public domain, I knew that was the show I had to do. This was my first virtual gig. 

HH:  As Hannibal would say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.  I suspect it had its share of joys and struggles. What was your greatest challenge to overcome in putting the show together?  In other words, what words of wisdom do you have for other people thinking about directing online theatre?

LAURIE: The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how we were going to put this together and to make it look like more than just an average zoom meeting. 

HH: Well said.  How about one of your favorite moments — a “happy accident” or “magic of theatre” moment that reminded you why we do this thing called art?

LAURIE: Well, there were more than just one moment: The professionalism of the actors that I chose and their ability to adapt to this venue (we did not have auditions because I wasn’t sure if this would work). Our foley artist, Calvin Carson, stepping up and really taking on the role of an old fashioned sound effects man, and our sound and music editor. And I guess just how good it turned out!

HH: You certainly have a lot to be proud of with this production, and we could probably chat about it for hours … but I think Devene is going to drop the curtain on me in a second. Let’s close this out with a preview of projects on your list to tackle when we’re all back together again, doing live shows at RCP – do you have anything on your radar?

LAURIE: Yes, I was selected to direct “Of Divine Interest”, written by our own Dave Durham, for the winter of 2020. Well, we all know how that turned out. So now, if all goes well, I will be directing it for the upcoming RCP season. Fingers crossed because it’s a very funny show, and everyone needs a good laugh these days. 

HH: I cannot wait to see it.  Laurie, you’ve been amazing, thanks again for taking the time. And to all the readers out there, stay safe, stay well, and keep making good art.

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.

Celebrating the Golden Age of Radio

Today, February 13, 2021, is World Radio Day. A day when we celebrate how radio brings us together. Because before there was the World Wide Web, there was the radio, broadcasting shows, news and stories from all over the world.

As a community theatre that isn’t able to gather together to rehearse or perform, we decided to revisit this medium that brought families together for decades before we moved on to the glows of our TVs, and later, our electronic devices.

I grew up hearing stories from my family about being gathered around the radio listening to the news, or a soap opera. I couldn’t quite grasp it.

And I will never forget watching The Night That Panicked America on TV as a child. This was a made for TV movie from 1975 that told the story of the chaos that hit the country during the 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds. I could not wrap my head around the type of power this medium held to create that type of immense panic.

But the radio and the info it gave us was part of the fabric of American life. Families in small towns and big cities alike could listen to the same concerts, dramas, and sports.

C. E. Hooper Company did a survey in 1947 that found that 82 out of 100 Americans claimed to listen to the radio.

Just this Christmas, my father told us a story about what a radio meant to his family. He grew up in a small mining town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. 

My dad remembers when his family first installed electricity in their home. They couldn’t afford to purchase both lights and a radio.  My grandmother decided on a radio.

I was a little surprised. But my dad said that his mother wanted the radio because it could bring the world to them. Hearing that made sense. And he has so many fond memories of listening to the radio with his family and learning about the world from his small town. The thought of getting news about World War 2 moments after it was reported seemed so sophisticated.

For years, I grew up visiting my mom’s childhood home, also in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The radio still stood in the living room, but I never remember it working. And I always thought it was so pretty it was just part of the decor.

My mom’s mother used to listen to Guiding Light on the radio, before it was broadcast on TV on CBS. A habit that was passed on once the show moved to television.

My family recently sold that house, and with it the radio. I just asked my mom if she had a picture of that old radio. She said she did in a way. Years ago, while visiting Elvis Presely’s Graceland, she was amused to see that Elvis (or at least his house) had the exact same radio. From a small town in the country to the King of Rock and Roll, the radio was accessible to most Americans.

So you may be able to imagine how excited I was when RCP president Chuck Goddeeris asked if anyone had a radio script they would like to propose for a new project. And then, RCP director Laurie Smalis answered that call!

She chose to direct the original radio script of the Maltese Falcon from 1941. Her production features a few RCP favorites!

And for those of you, like me, that are fascinated at the pure genius of the Foley Artist, our broadcast on Youtube will show our foley artist in action. I can’t wait for my kids to see this aspect of the production.

Our production will premier on the Rosedale Community Players Youtube Channel on Friday, February 26th at 8 pm. It is free to watch, but you will have the opportunity to donate to RCP, so we can keep finding ways to bring art to our community.

We hope you will join us. And while the production is free of charge, we do hope you will consider making a donation while enjoying our show. This has been a difficult year for all of us. So while we have enjoyed getting creative in order to perfor, we also hope to raise funds so when we can perform live again, we come back stronger than ever.

And if you have stories about listening to the radio during its Golden Age, please send us those stories. We would love to share them as we celebrate this wonderfully historical medium. Contact us via our website or on our Facebook page.

Devene Godau, Rosedale Community Player Promotions Chair

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Lance Alan

Tonight is opening night for the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players.  The actors have been hard at work for over two months and ready to present their labors to an audience.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you may even get scared out of your seat.  We’ve got plays of all types including one or two that we hope will lead to interesting discussions.

One such piece that will probably do all of the above is written by esteemed RCP member Lance Alan.  Lance has been a part of every One Act Festival at RCP – the first 3 editions featured him as a playwright and director and last year he was the Artistic Director.  He is with us in our 5th edition of the One Act Festival with his newest piece, which he is also directing, Recoil (Richard James & The Death of The American Dream).  Let’s learn more about Lance.

Lance Alan in RCP’s 2015 Production of Time Stands Still


1)  What is your day job?

By day and sometimes night I run my own dog walking business. It’s great because not only do I get to spend all day outside with my furry friends, I have a lot of time to think and work things out. I wrote most of Recoil on the streets of West Bloomfield. If you ever see me walking down the road babbling mindlessly to myself, I’m not crazy. I’m just writing a play.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

I started writing plays shortly after getting interested in theatre. I was taking acting classes, performing in plays, seeing a lot of plays, reading scripts, and it just occurred to me that I should try it. My first play was produced in the summer of 2000 as part of a local one act festival. Since then, I’ve just kept writing and somehow my plays keep finding their way to the stage. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of friends and local theatre in these endeavors.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

We’re living in a time when corporations have unprecedented power. I wanted to hold up a fractured fun house mirror to that.

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

I look forward to watching the shows with the audience while munching on the free popcorn.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

I have more plays started than I will ever finish. I just keep throwing stuff at the wall and going with whatever sticks.

There are only 4 performances: 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Tony Targan

We are in the home stretch of preparations for the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players.  Everyone is refreshed from their Labor Day weekend and we are hosting an open dress rehearsal this evening (Tuesday, September 8th) before we open on Thursday night.

We have a diverse set of shows, leading off with a very unique look at relationships in Thought Bubbles, which is written by Tony Targan.  Tony is no stranger to our One Act Festival as he wrote and directed his piece Singchronicity in last year’s edition as well as starred in The Wager, written by Lance Alan.  Let’s learn more about him.

Lance Alan (left) and Tony Targan (right) in The Wager (2013)


1)  What is your day job?

I’m in-house counsel for ProQuest, a technology company that provides research data and software to libraries.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

I’ve been inspired by my father, Barry Targan, who is an accomplished author.  I’ve written a lot of non-fiction for Michigan Runner magazine and, and I have my own theater blog (Playing The Barn).  Short plays seemed like a good entry into fiction, which is much harder.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

I wrote Thought Bubbles because I think it’s interesting to contrast what people say and what they think.  We all have that inner voice that represents our deepest wants and needs, but as we age, we tend to behave in ways that society expects, rather than being true to ourselves.  Sometimes it’s hard to “listen” to yourself.  I also wanted to capture the complexities of relationships in the Internet age, particularly for people who have been off the dating grid for awhile.  (Luckily, I’ve been married for 30 years, so this is all pure fiction, although I do happen to share many of the same interests as William, the character I play.)

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

The audience’s reaction.  In my humble opinion, this is a really funny play and I can’t wait to hear people laugh.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

I’m working on another one-act, an absurdist corporate comedy tentatively titled There’s No Y in Business.  I would also like to start a writer’s club to compare notes with fellow playwrights and perform workshops of our works-in-progress.

Remember, there will be performances at 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Sarah Willis

We are less than one week away from the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players and the cast and crew has been given the weekend off to celebrate Labor Day after a productive “Hell Week”.

We have a great variety of pieces this year including one that is sure to tug at your heart strings: The Armadillo in the Room, which is written by Sarah Willis.  Sarah comes to us with many years of experience in theatre as well as having two other one acts previously produced elsewhere:

When the Curtain Falls – The plagues of life follow both the children and adults at the North Star Children’s Theatre, but there they discover that the love of a family can heal, and a family isn’t always what they expect.

Hammie: Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Twenty Five Hilarious Minutes – Prince Hammie returns to Elsinore Castle from Michigan State University to find that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” His father’s ghost implores him to avenge his murder… madness ensues. Lia wants to date Hammie, but does he want to date her? Laertes dispenses brotherly advice and plots with King Claudius. Fortinbras invades… sort of. Queen Gertude knits her troubles away. Yorick returns from the dead. Horatio observes.


Sarah Willis


1)  What is your day job?

Artistic Director of All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre AND (because you can’t just have one job if you’re in the arts, right?) Bartender at Beggar’s Banquet.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

Because playwriting combined my love of theatre with my love of writing; a natural marriage.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

I took the CTAM Master Class last summer at Higgins Lake, and one of our exercises was literally pulling buzzwords out of a jar. My word was… you guessed it!: “Armadillo”. Thus, The Armadillo in the Room. And yes, the title did come first.

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

Someone else directing my work! I’ve directed my own pieces before, but I’m looking forward to seeing what someone else sees in the piece, rather than just what I see as the playwright.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

A staged reading of my full-length show The Making Of at Riverwalk Theatre in Lansing on November 5th! Hopefully, eventually, graduate school, a show on Broadway, a Tony Award for Best Play (amongst other awards, of course), and my own theatre. Not necessarily in that order.



Remember, there will be performances at 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!