COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Members of the cast of the Sturgis Civic Players/GOCC production of “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical” prepare to set sail on a three-hour tour during the show, which opens this Friday at the Nora Hagen Theater. Pictured from left to right are Mary Ann (played by Amanda Camburn), Ginger (played by Laura Kemp), Mrs. Howell (played by Michelle Kiar), Thurston Howell (played by Uriah Geroux), the Skipper (played by Kenton Kelley), and Gilligan (played by Colin Eastman).

'Gilligan's Island' musical sails its way to Glen Oaks' Hagen Theatre

CENTREVILLE — The tale of Gilligan, the Skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann is coming to the Glen Oaks Community College stage in musical form this weekend.

The Sturgis Civic Players, in collaboration with Glen Oaks Community College, will put on “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical” at the Nora Hagen Theatre at GOCC May 13-15. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m.

Based on the 1960s sitcom, the musical tells the story of the S.S. Minnow, its passengers, the ill-fated three-hour tour, and the hilarity that ensues when they’re stranded on an uninhabited island. They discover hieroglyphics in a spooky cave, which speak of an ancient legend, the weather gets rough, Gilligan foils the best-laid of the castaway’s escape plans, romance develops, and the cast has an out-of-this-world encounter.

“Gilligan’s Island: The Musical” also has 18 original songs, with music by Laurence and Hope Juber. The book for the production was originally written by Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of the original sitcom, and his son, Lloyd J. Schwartz, in the 1990s.

The GOCC/Sturgis Civic Players production is co-directed by Michele Kelley and Mary Sutter, the former being a directorial debutante and the latter having directed 2019’s “Leading Ladies” Sturgis Civic Players production. They said one of the main reasons for picking the show is the name recognition of the sitcom.

“We always look for something that draws people in, and who doesn't know Gilligan's Island? We thought this would be a nice draw, and it's very entertaining,” Sutter said.

“We like doing comedies and musicals, so it seems like a good match,” Kelley said. “It fits the theater very well here at Glen Oaks.”

The title role of Gilligan is played by Colin Eastman, while the Skipper is played by Kenton Kelley. Thurston Howell and his wife Lovey, the millionaire couple, are played by Uriah Geroux and Michelle Kiar respectively. Ginger, the movie star, is played by Laura Kemp, Mary Ann is played by Amanda Camburn, and the Professor is played by Ryan Davis. There are also two aliens in the cast, played by Hannah Heitger and Ana Miller, as well as a voice cameo from a local radio personality the directors are saying is a “surprise” for audience-goers.

“I enjoyed this group of people. They have been great to work with,” Sutter said of the cast.

This production of “Gilligan’s Island” is the third attempt GOCC and the Sturgis Civic Players have had with putting on the show. The show was originally expected to premiere in spring of 2020, but was postponed due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then scheduled for September 2021, but due to the resurgence of COVID in the county, it was postponed for a second time.

Both Kelley and Sutter said it was challenging to have to postpone it that many times due to the pandemic, and even more challenging to have to rebuild the cast list after each postponement.

“Rebuilding the cast has been the second-most challenging thing. We've been very fortunate to find people every time that we've done it, and they all have been good,” Kelley said. “They work very well together and they have a good comradery amongst themselves.”

This weekend’s production is the third production overall in the partnership between GOCC and the Civic Players, which Sutter said has been “very generous” of Glen Oaks to help do.

“They've been happy to have us here, and they like that there's an opportunity for their students to participate in the theater arts,” Sutter said. “This is a beautiful theater, and for a long time it's only been used as a lecture hall. It'll probably continue to, but it's wonderful to have that stage.”

Overall, Sutter said people can look forward to laughter, sadness and romance with the production.

“Lots of laughter, the typical Gilligan's Island slapstick comedy. The music is wonderful. The person who did the TV show wrote this with his brother, and then another couple wrote the music and the words for the show,” Sutter said. “We've got comedy, sadness, romance, and aliens.”

With the show opening on a Friday the 13th, Sutter said she isn’t afraid of any bad luck when it comes to finally putting the show on for an audience.

“The third time’s the charm, and it can’t be a bad omen on Friday the 13th,” Sutter said. “We’ve got nothing to lose at this point and everything to gain. This is a phenomenal cast, and we’re very proud of them.”

Tickets for “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical” are $12 per person, with Glen Oaks and Centreville High School students getting a two-for-the-price-of-one deal thanks to an anonymous donor. Tickets can be purchased at the door, at sturgisboxoffice.com, or calling the Sturges-Young Center for the Arts at (269) 651-8541.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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