The Joliet theater group, Free-Range Banana and Mining Company, is preparing another comedy to serve the community next month to raise money for the library and community center.
“You Can’t Beat the House,” by Pat Cook, will be presented in a dinner theater format at the Joliet Community Center on April 22, 23, 29 and 30. Dawn Blain, building manager and events coordinator, said the dinner theater performances have been so popular over the years that they almost always sell out. Tickets are $25 per person and are available by calling the Joliet Library at 962-3013 or the Joliet Community Center, 962-9027.
“They’re doing a great job,” Blain said. “We have a scene set up and they painted everything. It takes up a quarter of the room.
Ken Adams, who plays Merle and directs the cast, said the play is about two clumsy burglars who end up breaking into a house for sale. The realtor and some buyers show up and chaos ensues.
“We’re a middle-aged, fun-loving bunch of people,” Adams said. “We haven’t done it for the past two years, so we’re doing it now and everyone is very excited.”
Friday night performances will feature taco bars. On Saturday April 23, the menu is ham and gratin dauphinois, and on Saturday April 30, the menu is lasagna.
The production is a labor of love for everyone involved. Most of the cast have been performing on Joliet’s community shows for several years. This year’s production is dedicated to the late Bridget Firehammer, who was killed in a car crash just before the COVID outbreak. Her son, Aaron Firehammer, said his mother was a favorite local actor.
“She was a hoot,” Aaron said of his mother.
Aaron began acting in Joliet High School, appearing in several plays before graduating. He now works for Montana Rail Link, which will soon become Burlington Northern.
“I can be a serious person or an idiot,” Aaron said.
In this show, he plays a stereotypical husband who doesn’t want to watch real estate with his wife. Aaron said the community support for the dinner theater is huge.
“They have a night on the town and a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors,” ‘Aaron said of the audience.
Amber McQuillan said this was her 11th time performing with the Free-Range Banana and Mining Company.
“I started doing this 11 years ago after the community gave so much to my family,” McQuillan said.
When her sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, the community came together to offer support to the family. The other side of performance is that the community enjoys light fun with the coins.
“Laughter is good for the soul,” Mc-Quillan said.