The Downriver Actors Guild’s latest production will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into a time warp.
“Lost in the Fifties,” which runs Friday through Sunday, is a nostalgic trip down memory lane to a time of poodle skirts, leather jackets and, of course, rock ‘n’ roll. The loosely plotted two-hour musical revue is a nonstop, high energy parade of hit songs and recognizable dance moves from the era.
The production’s choreographer, Kayla Aue, says whether you’re into Fifties pop culture or not, once the show gets rolling, you’re going to have a hard time sitting still.
“When we did this show four years ago, we had people get out of their seats and dance while we were dancing,” she says.
“Lost in the Fifties” doubles as a fundraiser for the DAG, which is a nonprofit run by volunteers. DAG Artistic Director Debbie Aue, who also directs the play, says the organization has had to work harder to keep up with costs since acquiring its new home, the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, last June.
“We have quite a high overhead that we are trying to maintain, but so far so good,” she says. “It helps to do smaller shows like this where the cost can be kept down and there can be a little bit more money made to help offset the costs of our bigger upcoming shows.”
DAG’s fall slate includes “The Addams Family” and “Beauty and the Beast,” which will require big budgets to cover costumes and royalties.
Debbie Aue says “Lost in the Fifties” is also a send-off to some of DAG’s younger performers.
“We have several that have graduated and are going off to college, and the summer show we happened to have this year scheduled originally didn’t have a lot of roles for teenagers,” Aue says. “The kids had so much fun doing ‘Lost in the Fifties’ that we decided to bring back the original cast. We contacted all the original 20 people. Nine out of ten of the original girls came back, and five out of the original ten boys.”
DAG relies entirely on community support, both monetarily and in the form of time and energy put in by local talent. Aue says younger actors and crew, who balance work and school with rehearsal and performance time, are especially appreciated.
“We value our young people very much, and I am always so impressed with their abilities just being volunteers,” she says. “I’m always in awe with how professional they look with very little rehearsal time.”
Jacob Bowlbly, who plays a greaser in the ensemble, appeared in the first production of “Lost in the Fifties,” and he says this new incarnation captures the old magic of the original.
“It still feels as good as it did back then,” he says. “This has always been one of my favorites, and the reason is everyone in it respects each other. We’ve all known each other for so long we’re practically a family, and when we come in to do this we treat each other as equals.”
Kayla Aue says she expects full houses all three nights this weekend not only because family shows tend to draw larger crowds, but also because the cast and crew have put in many volunteer hours promoting the show at public events like the Wyandotte Street Fair.
She says that high level of commitment and community comes through in the performance.
“With this kind of a show, we really have to play off each other, and it doesn’t seem like we’re acting. It’s just friends on stage doing what we love to do.”
Steven Sonoras is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
‘Lost in the Fifties’
7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue
2656 Biddle, Wyandotte
Tickets $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors
(734) 407-7020, downriveractorsguild.net