'Almost, Maine': Community theater's latest show combines group's history and new blood during its 64th season

If you go o What: "Almost, Maine," presented by Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre o When and where: 7:30 tonight and Saturday, April 26-28 and May 3-5; 2 p.m. Sunday and April 29; Fire Hall Theatre, Grand Forks o Cast and crew: Therese Borken...

Ophelia Brewer and Andrew Markiewicz
Ophelia Brewer and Andrew Markiewicz in the Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre production "Almost, Maine," on stage at Fire Hall Theatre tonight through May 5. (GGFCT photo by Tim Oneal)

If you go

• What: "Almost, Maine," presented by Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre

• When and where: 7:30 tonight and Saturday, April 26-28 and May 3-5; 2 p.m. Sunday and April 29; Fire Hall Theatre, Grand Forks

• Cast and crew: Therese Borkenhagen, Ophelia Brewer, Patrick DeMars, Matt Dinesen, Amy Driscoll, Daniel Dutot, Jared Kinney, Jeff Kinney, Theresa Knox, Andrew Markiewicz, McKenzie Netz, Tim Oneal, Patrick Pearson, Houston Lynn Sharmer, Frank Sikich, Paige Thomson, Noah Thompson

• Music: Maury Finney on saxophone


• Director: Kathy Coudle-King

• Tickets: $15; senior citizens, students and military with ID, $12. Reservations: (701) 777-4090

"Almost, Maine," on stage tonight through May 5 at Fire Hall Theatre, is the fourth show of the 64th season of Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre. One of the country's longest continually producing community theater groups, GGFCT has been producing shows at the Fire Hall since 1982.

With that kind of history, you might assume that the "Almost, Maine" cast is filled with veteran actors. But community theater in Grand Forks continues to welcome "newbies" to the stage and crew, said the show's director, Kathy Coudle-King.

"Almost, Maine" shows off the talents of eight fresh faces alongside eight actors the community has come to know and enjoy over the years, Coudle-King said in a news release.

Theresa Knox, for instance, has never acted before, but after writing and performing in the community theater production "Broads on the Boards," a workshop earlier this year, she was encouraged to audition and is delighted to have been cast.

"It's been fun and challenging at the same time," Knox said. "Learning lines and blocking are hard for me but -- so far -- fun."

She has been encouraged by the other actors, especially Patrick DeMars, a Fire Hall favorite who shares her first scene, Knox said.


Houston Lynn Scharmer actually is returning to the Fire Hall after a six-year hiatus. After Scharmer's audition, the director said: "Who is this woman and how come she hasn't been doing our shows?"

The show, by actor John Cariani, is 10 quirky stories that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical place called "Almost, Maine," while Maury Finney plays saxophone and Jeff Kinney works the light board to create a Northern Lights effect. Scharmer plays two different characters: a woman who runs into her ex-boyfriend at the bar the night of her bachelorette party, and another woman who has been waiting 11 long years for her man to propose.

Ophelia Brewer is a newcomer to Grand Forks community theater and new to town. Fresh out of high school, she moved from Warroad, Minn., and is taking a year off before returning to school study music and theater.

It's not only on stage where you will see new faces. The set for "Almost, Maine," (which, Coudle-King says, may convince the audience they took a wrong turn on Gateway Drive and ended up in the Maine woods), was designed a built by Matt Dinesen. A UND student majoring in mechanical engineering, Dinesen showed up at the theater last fall for a class assignment. He left only long enough to bring back his girlfriend, Paige Thomson, to help.

"Matt is one of those volunteers you dream about finding," Coudle-King said.

Coudle-King, also the director of Greater Grand Forks Community Theater group, said it's important to attract new people and get them involved for community theater to remain vital.

Among the others new to this show is are assistant director Tom Oneal, a new resident to Grand Forks, and Emi Siljkovic, who is assisting with hair. Maury Finney of East Grand Forks, who has a long and impressive musical career, will play saxophone in the show.

"Community theaters are sometimes perceived as being cliquish, and while it often feels like family, our doors are always open to anyone who wants to help out," Coudle-King said. "We can't cast everyone who shows up, but making a show materialize takes many different talents. That's the beauty of live theatre. These folks will create magic every night for 11 performances and we need that diversity to make it happen."


Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to .

What To Read Next
Get Local