Hi, and thanks for checking out this blog. My name is Marc Ross and here’s my poster for Button For Nuttin. I started writing Button as a one-act but it has somehow exerted a will of its own and expanded to 80 minutes with 20 fun songs and an intermission. Go figure.
It has its origins in an old familiar fable…one that still endures in some of the remotest corners of the world. Sometimes it’s about a wandering soldier returning from battle, sometimes a vagabond, or a con-artist. In some versions it features a stone, a bent nail, or even an axe. In my version it’s a red button, and for one very important reason…it’s funnier.
But the town is always there and so are the people in it. Whether they are hungry, small-minded, defeated, or fools depends on the story, the teller and, of course, the listener.
Their story is universal and never more relevant than now. Why do they behave as they do? Maybe there are forces over which they do have power yet they do not know it. Who wants the power and who has it?
Follow the money!
ABOUT THE MUSIC
I envisioned Button For Nuttin a cabaret-style performance calling for comedy, song and theater within a “club” setting, with the performance hosted by a master of ceremonies. In addition, I love the idea of the band members being on-stage and interactive. I have to admit that I never thought of it being performed at Barrington’s BCAC Gallery however, as it turns out, it’s an ideal space in many ways.
I wrote the book and the lyrics. Being a music-deficient lyricist is a humbling position. Fortunately for me my musical collaborator is the gifted Larry Boisen. Larry has written and published hundreds of songs. Playing brass and woodwinds, he has toured with big bands, jazz combos, and more.
The musical arrangements are by the always-amazing Frank Rebeka.
For as long as I have known him, Frank has been an important part of the community theater music scene.
Our music director is Carletta Fowle. All the duties of rehearsal to our opening fall on her capable shoulders.
Frank, Carletta, and Larry will comprise the combo for Button For Nuttin’s one-night-only performance.
A FULL-CAST READING EXPLAINED
Button For Nuttin will be performed as a full-cast reading on Friday, June 17 at BCAC Gallery in Ice House Mall, 200 Applebee Street, Barrington, IL. It’s sponsored by Barrington Cultural Arts Council and TesserAct Theatre Ensemble. I am directing along with Julie Price.
A cast reading generally indicates a bare-bones presentation with the performers holding their scripts and to some degree that’s true of our show. Our aim is to go the distance to make Button fun and entertaining. There will be props, graphics, costumes and audience interaction. The intimate Gallery space actually encourages a certain looseness. So - bottom line - you, me, the players, we’re all gonna have a good time.
As the Stranger says at the top of the show, “You’re here to be entertained so we’ll get on with it
THE LOOK OF THE SHOW
Using my background in graphic design (and since I work cheap) we’re giving Button For Nuttin some interesting visuals…not actual sets, mind you, but props like newspapers, “campaign” signs, even the announcer’s microphone.
The 15 players below are a dream cast. Every one of them could not be any better (I mean that in a good way). Come see them as they sing their way into your collective heart!
Robb Fanning as N.only B.only
He is a stranger in town, eccentric and unassuming.
He may, in fact, have wandered in from another play
Judith Ross as First Councilwoman, Aurelia Seive.
A once-trusted leader of the town, she is now in danger
of impeachment (or of being defeated by her archrival).
Michael Latone as Councilman Charlie Potagil
Aurelia’s patient, straightforward confidant…he is loyal to her
But never fails to give her the absolute truth as he sees it.
Thom Lange as Councilman Lightnin’ Klondike III
Aurelia’s cynical political adversary and a conniving
pessimist. He has a plan to…we’ll, you’ll find out.
Zach Carson as announcer, Lawrence Torrence
He is our M.C., Nuttin’s cheerful bringer of news
Julie Price as Gorgon Gonzola the Chef
World famous and flamboyant, she is the
ultimate culinary authority. Her word is final.
Melody Wolf as Nora Regrette
She is a citizen who is trying to make sense
of everything around her and is constantly worried.
Joanna Ferrin as Mrs. Hal Nowicki
She is a citizen of Nuttin and an elder
member of the city council.
Katie Dapper as Lydia Quill
She is a member of the City Council and
somewhat of a comfort to Nora Regrette.
T.R. Frye as John Shaft (no relation)
He is a council member and a bit irritated that a
“Shaft”-like theme plays every time he is introduced.
Citizens of Plenty:
Beth Hollander as Underbite
Faith Hollander as Overbeek
Courtney Wolf as Earbrow
They are 3 snooty strangers from out of town,
bored and distracted as they look down upon
the citizens of Nuttin.