Manchester fire company prepares for annual play


April 14, 1999|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GAGS AND ZANY comedy are the high notes for three nights of laughs and slapstick humor as Manchester's firefighters produce their 58th annual play in the theater above the firehouse.

Since January, their funny bones have been at work to weave quirky elements into a comedy already tipsy with overripe characters and a murder to solve. "Love is Murder," a mystery, was written by Tim Kelly.

"It's about a bunch of romance writers who get together for a television special and then a dead body shows up," said Gary Eppley, who plays Leon Ketchem, a befuddled television producer.

The writers have arrived at Honeymoon House, the home of Valentino Velour, "the queen of romance fiction," played by Angel Collins. Elwin Wagner plays Walter Lydecker, her literary agent.

Steve Hossler plays Dr. Wintergreen, a supposed nutritionist who feeds "vitamins" to Velour.

The houseman is played by Doug Wheeler, opposite the housemaid, Essie, played by Ginny Blackowicz, who is steeped in romance novel mania.

Bill Dell is Ed Fish, a policeman.

The writers visiting Velour include Pearl Sweet, a suspense romance novelist played by Kathy Rhodes; Calamity Lovett, writer of western romances, played by Vicki Dell; and Jane Err, a writer of Gothic romances played by Jenny Glassman.

"Jane slips in and out of a Jane Err character from her books," Eppley said. "It gets real dramatic."

This is Glassman's first time with the firefighter theater. Rhodes also is a rookie this year.

"They are both kind of nervous, because they don't know what to expect," Eppley said, referring to the tradition of cast members to play tricks on each other during the performance, including unrehearsed falls or out-of-sync clothing.

One year, Mayor Elmer Lippy made a surprise cameo appearance.

"Love is Murder" lasts about 2 1/2 hours. The three-act play will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2: 30 p.m. Sunday at the firehouse, 3209 Main St. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children.

Refreshments and a baked goods table will be available. All proceeds benefit the fire company. In past years, the Saturday night performance has sold out.

Information: 410-239-2286.

Sea Lions signing up

Join the challenge of Sea Lions swim team for the summer season in Division 8 of the Central Maryland Swim League. Registration is in progress.

Boys and girls should register from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m May 1 at the Lineboro-Manchester Lions Club Pool near Christmas Tree Park.

"Swim team practice is a workout in age-appropriate groups," said Donna Bressler, who organized the team with her husband, Dan.

Practice starts June 1 and runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays with swim meets on Saturdays. Two home pool meets will be held this year.

The Sea Lions team, sponsored by the Lions Club, swim its first meet in late June. The final meet is the last Saturday of July.

Cost to join the team is $35 for the first child and $25 for each additional child, plus membership to the Lions Club pool and $10 insurance per child.

Information: 410-751-5218.

Blood donation locations

Blood donors, eligible to give every 56 days, have several area Red Cross blood drives to choose from this spring.

In the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Region, 1,000 blood donors are needed every day to replenish blood supplies, particularly blood type O+. It's possible that every pint of blood you donate might save three lives, Red Cross officials said.

Register for the Manchester Community Blood Drive from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 26 at the Manchester Fire Activities Building, York Street.

The annual North Carroll High School blood drive will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 22. The public may join students and faculty for this drive. The school is on Hampstead-Mexico Road.

Manchester Elementary School will offer a drive from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 25. The school is on York Street, a block east of Main Street.

Registration is recommended.

Information for all drives: Terri Leatherwood, 410-374-9791.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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