Community theater ready to ‘Play On’

T-R PHOTOS BY Janine Erman John Gill playing Lord Dudley discusses a point with Regina Gill playing Lady Margaret(far right). Stagehand (behind Lord Dudley) Jenna Vanlaw along with “Doris the Maid” played by Liz Lang and “Diana Lassiter” played by Katie Lyons add their own viewpoints on this play within the play of “Murder Most Foul”

Get ready to get a behind-the-scenes look at community theater through “Play On.”

The Marshalltown Community Theater will bring the production to the Martha Ellen Tye Playhouse Feb. 21-23 and Feb. 28-March 1.

Directed by Bill Roberts and written by Rick Abbot, the play tells the story of a community theater set to produce a show called “Murder Most Foul” which is a murder mystery.

However, whatever can go wrong does go wrong and the same scene is acted in three different ways.

“It is difficult to do the same act three different times in three different ways,” Robert said.

T-R PHOTO BY Janine Erman Regina Gill is seated here making demands in her role as Lady Margaret in the play “Play On” — a play within a play.

This is not the first time the Marshalltown Community Theater has brought the production to town. Roberts said it was performed in 2002.

“It was inherently funny,” he said. “I still laugh at some of the lines.”

An older play, it relies a lot on comedic timing rather than slapstick.

Roberts said the comedy is akin to Jack Benny, who could look at people and evoke laughter. When the play was here 18 years ago, Roberts acted in the role of Saul, which is a character that he particularly likes.

“He’s a smart aleck,” he said. “He’s also drunk in act three which is a challenge. When you’re drunk you don’t want people to know that you are drunk so you do your best to act sober. Acting drunk is acting against your self.”

Dr. Rex Forbes played by Nathan Bloomquist succumbs to deadly violence. Lord Dudley (John Gill), Doris the Maid (Liz Lang), Lady Margaret (Regina Gill) and Diana Lassiter (Katie Lyons) witness the foul deed.

Plenty of people showed up for the auditions and Roberts is happy to announce some teenage girls are on the stage.

“We try really hard to include high school and younger kids so we get every age group,” he said.

A good sized crowd watched the 2002 performance and Robert is hoping for the same turnout.

The next play will be “Pure As the Driven Snow.” Auditions will be held at 6 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, Feb. 24.


Normally stage hands aren’t seen on stage but in the play within the play of “Murder most Foul” script Jenna Vanlaw is part of the ensemble as the stage manager with Katie Lyons (far left playing Diana Lassiter) and Regina Gill as Lady Margaret

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m., Sundays

WHERE: Martha Ellen Tye Playhouse, 709 S. Center St.

Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for children


Aggie – Jenna Van Law

Author Phyllis Montague (Lindsey Bloomquist) and director (Lisa Naig) discuss concerns about their play within a play. Liz Lang in the background portrays Doris the maid in this fun and crazy play within the play “Murder most Foul” seen here awaiting last minute changes of the play.

Geraldine “Gerry” – Lisa Naig

Henry – John Gill

Polly – Regina Gill

Marla “Smitty” – Liz Lang

Saul – Nathan Bloomquist

Sound and Lighting manager Rocio Villagomez has a disagreement with director Geraldine Dunbar played by Lisa Naig. John Gill as Lord Dunbar and stagehand Jenna Vanlaw observe the shennigans.

Billy – Stacy Heil

Violet – Katie Lyons

Louise – Rocio Villagomez

Phyllis – Lindsey Bloomquist


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