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Orion High School graduates start theatre group



GLCP
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From left, August Lyle, Tahra Gribbin, Dean Krokos, Cooper Nicholas and John Muenz form the new Orion-based theatre group. They hope to appeal to Orion and Rochester residents. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
February 08, 2012 - Three Lake Orion High School graduates are taking it upon themselves to offer the community a theatrical outlet, with a new company started soon after their high school careers.

Tahra Gribbin, August Lyle (2011 graduates) and John Muenz (2010 graduate) - all Oakland University freshmen - started The Great Lakes Community Players (GLCP), along with Troy High School graduate Dean Krokos and East Side Anchor Bay High School graduate Cooper Nicholas. The idea for the company came after finding that other theatre groups tended to be restrictive and tight-knit with their existing players, resulting in difficulty during the admittance process.

"I was planning on taking a year off from acting, but during the closing night of my last play (The Picture of Dorian Gray) with the Michigan Youth Theatre (MYT) I realized I didn't want to give it up," said Gribbin, CEO of the GLCP. "I wanted to go look up auditions right away, but it became complicated because a lot of the other groups out there are really exclusive. I wanted a place for our creative outlet because theatre changed my life and I want to share that experience."

The idea for the company, which started in OU's Cafe O'Bears, quickly appealed to the three Orion grads, who met Nicholas and Krokos in art theatre and shakespeare classes. Krokos always like the idea of joining a theatre group, but did not like having little creative control over the production. He called the opportunity to run a theatre company a dream, though admitted the chance had come much sooner in his life than originally planned.

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Krokos was named the Director of Public Relations, while Nicholas was given the position of Vice President. Lyle is GLCP's treasurer.

Muenz, the company's secretary, has involved theatre in his life for 11 years, and said when Gribbin came to him with the idea he jumped at the chance, calling it a "need for Orion's community." Gribbin agreed and said involving the community is a major part of the group's goal as well as the reason "community" is included in the name.

"We're encouraging everyone to audition and even if we don't need a particular age or can't use someone in the play itself, we can find other things for anyone to help out with," she said. "Whether that means working behind the stage or anything else, we want everyone whose interested to try out. We want an emphasis on family and community and ideally we'd like to get whole families to join.

"Before I was involved in theatre, I would say I was pretty timid and I would have never thought of starting a business. That changed and I'd like to provide that experience for other people."

Gribbin also praised former teachers and instructors at the MYT, including Vice President Lisa Alfelt who helps Gribbin with any legal issues tht arise while starting a company. Other MYT members assisting the group in its endeavor include former President Michelle Chapman, current President Kathy Miller, MYT founding member Lisa Kander and Director of Dorian Gray Maureen Mansfield.

An informational meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Orion Township Library. Interested persons are encouraged to attend. The first production, Hamlet, is set for late June with an audition cutoff date set for mid-April.

The group is still finalizing prices for attending and participating, but tentative estimates set ticket prices at $7 to $9, memberships $45 per person and $80 for immediate family; audition fees are $10 for members and $30 for non-members. Members who join are entitled to a free ticket per person involved (a family of five will receive five tickets which can be used for whoever and whenever they see fit). Donations and sponsorships are also accepted, with most funds going into set, stage, lights, sound, props, costumes and production costs including script rights.

All actors who audition for the first play will be given a part (with two actors playing one part in the event of overflow), though subsequent plays will be privy to director discretion.

For more information, call and leave a message at (248) 690-5068, email the group at greatlakescommunityplayers@gmail.com, or visit them online at facebook.com/greatlakesplayers.

Dates and times are all tentative at the time of this article's publication.

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