Ferndale’s Ringwald Theatre Takes Home Awards For Zany Shows

By Christy Strawser
CBSDetroit Managing Editor
Meryl Streep had “Sophie’s Choice,” Bette Davis had “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” and Clark Gable hit it big in a little film called “Gone with the Wind.”

Not to be outdone, the cast at Ferndale’s Ringwald Theatre climbed their own Mount Olympus of entertainment awards this week with accolades for their body of work.

The Ringwald’s classics include productions like “Debbie Does Dallas –The Musical,” “Facts of Life –The Lost Episodes,” and “Die! Mommy! Die!”

Cast mates in the Ringwald’s zany, fan-friendly productions took home five honors this week from the Wilde Awards, which were given out at Detroit’s Gem Theatre.

The theater company Who Wants Cake?, which performs at the Ringwald Theatre, received 14 nominations. The awards are sponsored by Between the Lines and EncoreMichigan.com.

Suzan M. Jacokes won an award for Best Actress in a Play with Gay Themes/Characters for her portrayal of Hollywood agent Diane in last summer’s “The Little Dog Laughed.”

Joel Mitchell won Best Actor in a Comedy for his performance as flamboyant Nissim in this past holiday’s “Christmas on Mars.”
The Ringwald’s Media Director Joe Plambeck received the award for Best Actor in a play with Gay Themes/Characters for his performance as Buzz in this spring’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!” He also won two awards for this spring’s production of “Mercury Fur.”

“We tend to focus on work we’ve seen produced in other cities, so we try to find things that fit the audiences we get,” Plambeck said.

The Ringwald has put on productions for the last five years in a tiny space on Woodward Ave. where they act out the kind of scenarios Broadway could barely dream up.

The cast just wrapped the summertime hit “Thank You for Being a Friend: The Unauthorized Golden Girls’ Musical Parody.” The plot involved former NSYNC star Lance Bass moving in next to the ladies in Miami where his wild parties interrupted the ladies’ beauty sleep. Bass agreed in the musical to drop his wacky antics if the girls won a talent contest. Comedy ensued.
“I would describe our audience as eclectic,” Plambeck said. “There are large groups of people who come from work to see crazy guys in dresses. We get a lot of the gay crowd, but we get other audiences, too.”

The next season kicks off with “Southern Baptist Sissies,” running Sept. 9-26. It follows the journey of four gay Baptist church members.

“Entering our fifth season, we’re stunned that this (popularity) is happening,” Plambeck said. “We’ve done over 40 productions…It’s like a dream come true — to hang out with your friends and do shows you want to do.”

The Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Avenue in downtown Ferndale, can be reached at 248-545-5545. Buy tickets online at: www.WhoWantsCakeTheatre.com.

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