Sonja Christopher, the ukelele-playing cancer survivor who was the first to get booted off the tropical island in the smash TV series, "Survivor," will play Mrs. Paroo in the Cherry County Playhouse staging of The Music Man in Muskegon, MI, July 17-21.
Christopher is one of the many civilians from the reality TV program to seek acting work after the hit show despite no apparent previous theatrical career. "Apparent" is the key word. Cherry County is billing her major credit as "Survivor," but Christopher has appeared in many lower-profile stage roles over the years.
Veteran actors William Katt (TV's "The Greatest American Hero") and Josie de Guzman (a Tony Award nominee for Jerry Zaks' Guys and Dolls) play Harold Hill and Marian Paroo, respectively, in the summer stock revival directed and choreographed by Bill Castellino at the Frauenthal Center in western Michigan.
Joe Barnett is music director and conductor. The cast also includes Robert Anthony Jones, Ron Evans, Bobbie Steinbeck, D.C. Anderson, Jolene Huffman, Gavin Johnson, Gina Faino, Sam Faino, Lou Faino, Michelle Pereira, Edith Freyer, Kitty Reidy, Evan Harrington, James Alexander, Richard Rowan, Mike Vogas, Emily Lindebaum, Mischa Kischkum, Bryan Engler, Sherry Allen, Brian Martin, Lisa Williamson, Robert Spaniolo, Ginger Smith, Julee Hackney, Kasondra Holmes, Samantha Kemperman, Cynthia Bates-Twining, Eva Switek.
The Cherry County Playhouse mainstage season also includes A Chorus Line July 24-28; Nancy Wilson in Concert Aug. 1-2; South Pacific Aug. 7-11; and Little Shop of Horrors Aug. 14-18. For ticket information, call (231) 727-8001.
— By Kenneth Jones