Thursday, March 12, 2015

Break a Leg sister....

Broadway Theatre’s “Acting Can Be Murder” sends up murder plays

Mark Carpenter and Kendall Farnum rehearse a scene from "Acting Can Be Murder," at the Broadway Theatre on Monday. ├ČActing Can Be Murder,├« will be held at the Broadway Theatre, 216 E. Broadway St., Mt. Pleasant, on March 6, 7, 13, 14 at 7 p.m. and March 8, 15 at 2 p.m. Kelly Rocheleau - The Morning Sun. 

It sounds like a joke: The lead actress in a play about a stand-in actress replaced by a stand-in.
Yet that was the exact situation the Broadway Theatre in Mt. Pleasant dealt with when Donna Kriss, star of the murder mystery spoof “Acting Can Be Murder,” broke her leg 10 days before the shows opens Friday.
As a result, actress Kendall Farnum took over for Kriss in the role of Dolores Gordon, an understudy in the murder mystery play “Which Butler Did It?”.
Within the first three minutes of “Murder” – no spoiler warning needed- Dolores kills the lead actress of the play-with-in-a play and usurps her role. This kicks off a murder mystery on the set of a murder mystery.
Farnum, previously cast as the play-within-a-play’s director, said she feels OK about memorizing 300 lines worth of dialogue within a small window of time.
“The lines are just – some of it I had, because I was in a number of scenes already with Donna [playing] Dolores, so some of those exchanges were [between] us, so I had the general gist of some of it anyway,” Farnum said with the show’s script in her hand.
Farnum said she has prepared for her first-ever lead role by looking at the script when she wakes up in morning, another point each afternoon, and at night to prepare for her new part.
“I try every time I look at it [to] have another section that I know what’s where,” Farnum said.
The director of the actual play, Broadway staple Cindy Kilmer, describes the show.
“It’s a farce and a spoof of murder mysteries,” Kilmer said. “The curtain opens and somebody makes a confession, but the mystery is not who killed the person, the mystery is [about] what’s become of the person’s body and whatnot.
Kilmer said she asked Kriss’ permission before beseeching Farnum via text message to take on the part the production’s plot largely revolves around at the eleventh hour.
“I said [to Kriss] I needed her blessing. She said, ‘By all means, that would be great,’ so it’s been a Herculean effort for Kendall to learn 300 lines in 10 days,” Farnum said.
Despite the friendly faces and laughter emanating throughout the theatre during rehearsal, Kilmer said mounting a show with a massive last-second casting change added more challenge to the already daunting task of directing a comedy with a large cast.
“I would say the stress levels are higher than any shows I’ve ever done before. We’ve never had a person actually not be able to do the play they’ve been training for for weeks, so this is a first. So yeah, stress levels have been running kind of high,” Kilmer said
Kilmer glances at her surroundings as she speaks, as stage hands prepare lights and set pieces and cast members dressed as maids and ghosts scurry across the stage. As the old saying goes, the show must go on.
“It’s been going really well. Kendall’s a champ,” Kilmer said.
Kilmer’s nerves deflate for a moment. “She’s doing really [well,]” Kilmer says with a laugh of relief. “I’ve been just astounded by how she’s been able to step into that part.”
Others in the 17-member cast include Gail Caleca as Isabella, an actress who discovers her husband is having an affair, assistant director Lindsey Read-Smith as the play-within-a-play’s director – the part Farnum was originally cast for – and Mount Pleasant High School foreign exchange students Mo Wagner and Alfonso Boron Martin, from Germany and Spain, respectively, in their English acting debuts.
Wagner and Martin got involved with the show through Kriss, their host while they stay in the U.S.
“Here I need to play an American accent, and it’s hard for me. Nervous, you know?” Martin said.
Martin smiles as he turns to Kilmer.
“I imagine you said they needed a sexy guy, and Donna said, ‘I know who!’ Martin jokes as the nearby cast erupts into laughter.
Considering the play’s subject matter, the irony of how Farnum was cast is not lost on the cast, as Kilmer’s husband Bruce, a frequent flier in shows his wife directs, often appearing in some role or another, points to the new leading lady in a mock accusatory fashion.
“She broke the lead’s leg so she could get the part,” Bruce jokes to Farnum. “At least you didn’t murder her.”
Farnum shakes her head.
“I was nowhere near,” Farnum said. “My husband’s put on Facebook to my kids, ‘Okay, this is just a little suspicious….”
“Acting Can Be Murder,” will be held at the Broadway Theatre, 216 E. Broadway St., Mt. Pleasant, on March 6, 7, 13, 14 at 7 p.m. and March 8, 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets available at Ric’s and Aces of Diamonds for $8 or at for 8.50.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Outstanding Volunteer

This is from a year or so ago, but I recently ran across it and am putting it so I have access to it. Pretty nice, I never found out who suggested me for the award.
From The Morning Sun
Outstanding Volunteerism Project: Profiles of altruism

·         By Holly Mahaffey/@hollymahaffey

·         Posted: Monday, 02/25/13 02:03 pm
Updated: Monday, 02/25/13 02:07 pm


·         By Holly Mahaffey/@hollymahaffey

·         The Morning Sun recently asked readers to nominate members of our community for a project recognizing the many altruistic people doing good things in the community. Nominations from Clare, Isabella and Gratiot counties came in, and out of these one volunteer was picked randomly to be featured – Sherry Pulverente of Mt. Pleasant, for her work with small business networking and keeping local dollars local.

·         Donna Kriss - Mt. Pleasant
Nomination: “Donna is the unofficial ambassador of Mt. Pleasant, via our airport, and puts many many long hours into making this town a better place. For all her work at the airport, her work with kids who need that extra help, feeding hungry people, and her pleasant chit-chat for all traveling into our city, she deserves to be recognized for her outstanding volunteerism.”

Monday, February 02, 2015

Grad School- Statement. "This is Me".

I attended CMU and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. My time at CMU was extended as I took on various life events. I finished my degree in 1991 having started it after high school in 1978. It was one of my most successful goals I completed.
I have worked using my degree for over 20 years in various State Agencies and privately. Each of my experiences would have benefitted from having a Masters in Counseling degree. The time for me, is now. My children are of an age they do not need my constant intervention, and I desire to continue and complete this goal. 
I was a “Resident Care Aide” for the State of Michigan at the Mt. Pleasant Center working with clients with various degrees of mental illnesses. I cared for clients in the least restrictive environment while helping them maintain a sense of dignity which was my goal (and the law). This involved doing IEP’s (Individual Educational Plans), personal care and activities of daily living, along with medical treatments. I  was thrilled to continue this position at the Michigan School for the Blind while it was located in Lansing Michigan. I worked in a school setting with Visually Impaired (and Multiply Impaired) Students in all grade levels. I have a son with Autism-(Asperger Syndrome) with whom we had to navigate the school system involved with his education. He is currently a Junior at a State University.  I have mentored many parents helping them with their child’s needs and getting school systems to assist them.
 I have been a State of Michigan Department of Corrections Parole/Probation Agent in the City of Saginaw and surrounding counties. Involved in this work was everything from counseling on jobs, relationship issues, employment options, drug addiction and civic duties. I enjoyed working within the Court system and seeing Offenders better their own situations. I currently work in Attorneys’ Offices, with cases ranging from Criminal to Civil, from child protective services (CPS), divorces, custody, bankruptcy, Heroin/Crack/Methadone users which then involve the entire family. It will be with these types of families I will continue to work with after my Master’s completion.
  I have worked as a Foster/Adoptive Recruiter/Trainer. My heart is here. I taught parenting classes for the Court system-everything from training adults in the Michigan based Adoptive courses to “Love and Logic” parenting classes both for the Courts, individuals and in School settings for parents and teachers.
 I taught for 7 years at Davenport University in the Criminal Justice Program. My involvement was instructing in Introductory Courses that Corrections Officer’s are required to take (Introduction to Corrections, Prison Life, Deviant Behavior, and also Personal Communications (Speech)).  
 I taught American Sign Language (although I am not licensed) through Gratiot-Isabella RESD ITV Program for 2 ½ years. I had perhaps one “live” class of students in front of me and 1-2 on TV monitors across the State. Schools included Dewitt, Central Montcalm, Breckenridge, Carson City, and Fulton. I also volunteered at St. Louis Michigan Alternative School.
I have been fortunate to have received many hours of training in Leadership Skills. Through the National Children’s Defense fund, I was an “Emerging Leader” of the Class of 2004. The Emerging Leaders project trained us to be social change activists.  We traveled to Washington DC several times and studied how to approach Lawmakers on the Hill and frame messages so they can be heard quickly.
I also completed Gratiot Counties “Leadership” program,  and Michigan’s Children “VOICES” academy- each training me how to be a more effective advocate for individuals, how to change Public Policy, and influence others toward good.
I am active in my community and currently serve as the President of the Airport Advisory Board for the City of Mt. Pleasant and as Secretary for International Relationship council of Mt. Pleasant. I am helping with the planned visit to our Sister city OKAYA Japan in August 2015.
My goals for completing my Master’s program are to continue Public Service. While not employed I always stayed busy volunteering in a Food Bank Program, Schools, Churches and supporting families. There is a huge need for compassionate trained personnel in this field. I see my future role continuing to do much the same my life path has already brought me. I want to be able to counsel women to make better life choices, to be able to give themselves better options and improve the lives of their children. I have worked counseling Felony Offenders to take parenting classes to regain custody of their children, and have worked with Foster families to gain skills needed for working with the children of Offenders. I have also had to guide both sides of families when a final placement of adoption was needed. My Master’s degree will assist me in doing this more effectively.
I love CMU. I love the Mt. Pleasant area. I want to attend classes and be involved in Campus activities and that is why I chose CMU over other learning programs. I look forward to beginning classes and starting this new chapter. 
Donna Husted Kriss
Foreign Student Host Family Recruiter
Mt. Pleasant Airport Advisory Board
International Relations Council Board
Love and Logic Facilitator
Gratiot County Leadership
Children's Defense Fund Emerging Leader
Michigan Children's VOICES

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Foreign Exchange Students

SO. We have TWO foreign exchange students in our house along with my Senior Student and Freshman Daughter. One girl Mo is from Germany, Sani is from Finland. It has been eye opening. I have learned the truth, that I HAVE GREAT KIDS. My girls have given up, given in so much for these other two girls...have shared friends, lunch tables and dance lessons.

I know they are also learning that you don't always get much return on investments. One girl started immediately complaining about her room. The carpet was icky. (we tore it up). Then, The floor is worse now than it was with the carpet. (we got an area rug). Her infectious negativism is affecting the other. But...then we find out what the REAL problem is..and it is she is VERY homesick. Her Grandpa has cancer and she is afraid he is going to die.

Then..they both requested to "move"...which is an entire process in and of itself. They have to investigate, and inspect and question. It really sucks. It sucks because I have offered the Absolute BEST we have, and someone finds it not good enough. It is not even a "sort of " slap in the face it IS a slap in the face.

Then, Last night Finland Girl has a Cross Country end of the year dinner. We all go to support her. She announces that her mom approved for her to go to Hawaii for 8-10 days in February. That just again shows that these exchange students are Way out of my league for money. I wasn't trying to compete, but the best we have I am sure really is FAR below what they have at home. Lesson Learned. I'm sure I have many more to learn.

States I have been too... I Think

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sara and Carl and Baby Katherine Joy

by Emily Hanson
Sara gave me permission to share their birth story:

"On Wednesday July 30th at around 730pm. Sara went into active labor. However it became clear to Sara somewhere around 10pm that safest place for her to be was the hospital. So Carl helped Sara into the vehicle to get to the hospital. On the way there however the contractions became to intense for Sara to bare while in the car. They pulled over and immediately dialed 911. Ambulance came to her rather quickly but to everyone involved it just looked like a normal laboring pregnant woman. Sara continued to feel intense contractions but knew something wasn't right. They rushed her to the closest hospital and performed an ultrasound to find that baby Katherine no longer had a heartbeat. A doctor ordered an emergency c section and they rushed Sara back into the operating room. Once the surgery began the doctors found that Sara's uterus had ruptured causing baby Katherine to come out of the uterus and slide into the upper abdomen. Baby Katherine was born at 12:10am on July 31st. The doctors tried to bring her back but it was too late. They focused next on Sara's life and on saving her fertility. We are so grateful that the Lord spared Sara's life but we grieve a deep grief for her baby Katherine loss."
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Our precious Katherine Joy...born into her heavenly Father's arms July 31st,2014  12:10am, 10pds 7oz. I

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Changes - Great teachers Ms. Finding

We recently went back to Kalamazoo where we lived for transition year. It was a miserable time for me most of the time. I was caring for my mom, had a great job for 7 weeks, Spouse went wacko. In the midst of all of this though was a person who cared for my daughter. My tears are starting to squirt as I type. Ms. Finding was the Video production instructor at Milwood Magnet School.
I was crazy that year. I had moved down there because I got a great job with a local agency. After I had completed WAY more work in a very short period of time, they "Lost Funding for the Job". I had already enrolled my 3 kids in the school system, signed a $1100 a month year lease, and moved. Ms. Finding was the grounding force for Helena all year. 
We recently went back. My oldest son, WILL is transferring from Mid Michigan community college to Western. He's finishing up his last math class now. By Transferring, he was have completed his Associates, and is going into Broadcasting and Journalism. 
He learned enough to be comfortable in Kalamazoo. 
He wants to get out of Mt. Pleasant. 
He will do great. 
Helena is doing great. Joy little one is doing great. I have been BLESSED by great kids, and their great teachers. I know that Ms. Findling, helped save my daughter that year, and I will be forever indebted.