Gypsy Theatre Guild returns to live performance with a romantic comedy, “Cockeyed,” staged at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, April 1-10 at the Gateway Center in Kalispell.
The grassroots theatre company went dark in March of 2020 after the final production of “All Bark, No Bite” at the Kalispell Eagles, due to Covid-19 concerns. “A Christmas Carol,” a radio play that the Gypsies annually perform at the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, marked their first venture back onstage in December 2021.
The group’s founders chose the name Gypsy because the troupe isn’t tied to any venue. Instead, the company selects venues based upon the play being produced. The current play, “Cockeyed,” was particularly suited to the stage in room 26 (aka The Gathering Place) at the Gateway Community Center – a venue large enough so seating can be well spaced.
GTG often chooses a play whose title is unfamiliar to local audiences, and “Cockeyed” is no exception. Written by award-winning playwright William Missouri Downs, the play was selected from the New Play Exchange, which allows new playwrights to publish for a small yearly fee and negotiate their own royalties.
Talkin’ Broadway describes the play as a “polished and engaging work that draws heavily on the age-old conventions of farce: improbable situations, exaggerated characters, amazing coincidences, absurd misunderstandings … as it hurtles toward its conclusion.”
Director JeAnna Wisher has been involved in theater in the Flathead Valley since she and her family moved to the Flathead Valley in 1996, and before that in Coos Bay, Ore. Her first onstage experience in Kalispell was at Flathead Valley Community College in “Grease” and her most recent was as assistant backstage manager for WTC’s recent production of “ELF.” “Cockeyed” marks her third production with GTG.
“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to direct a show again,” she says. “I love acting, but production work can be equally rewarding.”
The “Cockeyed” cast includes Amy Galt and Tony Nelson from Kalispell, and John Goroski and Larry Lefcourt from Bigfork. Galt’s first experience onstage in the Flathead was in the GTG production of “Contempt of Court.” She is now a veteran of GTG productions and has acted in three Whitefish Theatre Company plays. Nelson, whose acting roles are too numerous to list, has also split his recent stage time between GTG and WTC productions.
Lefcourt directed all GTG productions of “A Christmas Carol”; “Cockeyed” marks his first time as a GTG performer after a long hiatus from acting. Goroski, a veteran actor, director, and board member of Bigfork Community Players, also makes his Gypsy stage debut.
Enter Gateway Center through the door in the northeast corner of the building and look for the Live Theatre banner. The doors open at 7 p.m. for evening shows and 1:30 p.m. for matinees. Tickets are $20 and $15 for 65 and older and 16 and under and may be purchased online.
Casting of shows for Gypsy Theatre Guild is open to everyone, with no experience necessary; learn more about acting opportunities on its website.