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‘Beau Jest’ brings family to Corson stage

By By Alica P. Thiele
Challenger reporter

April 22. 2014 10:23AM
Holiday traditions bring families together, whether it’s at home or onstage. Or, in the cast of “Beau Jest,” a family at home onstage.

Dalen family members – Norma, Brady and Madison – make up half the cast of the latest Mighty Corson Art Players production, which opens April 27 for six performances. Other cast members are Brianna Cochran, Dave Bakke and Bob Portice. And each of them has a family connection in the play as well. Cochran’s fiancé, Kenny Norwick, is the assistant director. Bakke’s sister, Kay Bakke-Cowgill, is the stage manager. And Portice’s wife of 58 years, Judy, is the cast’s biggest cheerleader.

Overseeing all is director Doug Reichert, who said he enjoys working with MCAP so much that he agreed to direct the show as soon as he got the request.

“I didn’t even read the script before I said yes,” he said of his sixth show in Corson.

MCAP is known for family-friendly comedies, and this spring’s production fits that mold.

“It definitely takes time and effort (to find suitable scripts),” MCAP treasurer Martha Smith said, “but the right plays for our audience are out there, especially the tried and true comedies.”

“Beau Jest” centers around Sarah Goldman, a Jewish girl whose parents want to meet the nice, Jewish doctor she has told them about. The only trouble is, her real boyfriend isn’t a doctor. He’s not Jewish, either. But, Sarah wants her parents to meet the possible son-in-law of their dreams, so she hires an actor to impersonate her boyfriend for one family dinner during Passover. The parents are enraptured. Will Sarah follow suit?

“I think at its heart, this show is about acceptance – most importantly of yourself, but also of your family and the diversities of culture, religion and histories around us,” said Cochran, who portrays Sarah on the Corson stage. Norwick said the play shows how families can be loving and yet a bit dysfunctional at the same time.

“I think everyone will see a bit of their own family in these characters, and I hope also get a few good laughs,” he said.

Community theater can be a great training ground for newcomers such as Brady Dalen, who is doing his first play ever.

“It was something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

Bob Portice, a veteran actor of many of the area’s stages, said the Corson Playhouse is a good place to start, as the Mighty Corson Art Players are known as a friendly company.

Cochran said the cast and crew have come to feel like family in the few short weeks they have been rehearsing.

Smith said the audience has come to feel like family at Corson as well.

“Community support has never been better,” she said. “We are filling 90 percent to 95 percent of our seats in our six-show runs.”

This is MCAP’s 33rd year, and the company puts on a show each spring and fall, as well as a youth drama camp in the summer. This October’s production will be the musical “Quilters,” about the lives of pioneer women.
What: The Mighty Corson Art Players production of “Beau Jest”

When: 1:30 p.m. April 27, 7:30 p.m. May 2 and 3, 2:30 p.m. May 4 and 7:30 p.m. May 9 and 10.

Where: Corson Playhouse

Cost: $10, all seats reserved

Reservations: Call 582-2771 or email

Brady Dalen as Chris Cringle (left) and Dave Bakke as Bob Schroeder argue over Brianna Cochran as Sara Goldman in a scene from "Beau Jest." The Mighty Corson Art Players will hold six performances of the play beginning April 27. Photo by Alica P. Thiele

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