Jeff Bick makes his directorial debut in The Belfry’s holiday show, ‘My Three Angels’
Jeff Bick first began at The Belfry Theatre nine years ago when his son was acting in the children’s performance of “Huck, Jr.”
“I was helping backstage,” he said. “I took over lighting and that included a vocal aspect. Then I was cast in a show afterwards.”
The Belfry has been a whole family affair as Bick, his wife and two children have all been involved in several shows. Bick has severed as a crew member, stage manager and was assistant director to “Don’t Talk to the Actors” and “The Perfume Shop” last year. He has also acted in “Born Yesterday,” “Fools” and Shakespeare in the Park performances at Noblesville’s Seminary Park.
“It’s very welcoming here,” Bick said. “I was just involved with the kids. I always thought theater was neat but it was something my sisters did.”
Bick has now evolved from a parent in the audience to director. His first show at the helm is the holiday comedy “My Three Angels.”
“I’m excited, concerned, there are days you are over the top and there are days you say uh-oh,” he said. “I have a really good cast and was able to talk a lot of really good people into helping me.”
“My Three Angels” is not your traditional holiday show. Bick said the last time it was performed in Central Indiana was 15 years ago in Beech Grove.
“I saw some ad for it in Chicago,” he said. “People can have a good laugh and enjoy it.”
After doing research on the film, Bick believed The Belfry “could make this even funnier.”
This warm and witty comedy is set in turn of the 20th century French Guiana. Despite the sweltering heat of the tropics, three paroled convicts use any means necessary to ensure that one hapless family of colonist enjoys the Christmas holiday.
“It’s more like ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Help comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. In the end, good triumphs over evil. Hope is the most important thing. It’s the same thing here.”
“It really drives home the flavor of this time of year. I think people will get that by the end of the show,” said Ryan Shelton, who portrays Felix. “The convicts redeem the whole family. It’s a great Christmas message conducted in a clever story. There’s not much else like it.”
Shelton said being a show where the actor’s portray “real people” is a fun challenge.
“There’s funny stuff in the play but it’s earned,” he said.
Klingenmeier, who also acts at Carmel Community Players and Spotlight Theater, admitted he didn’t read the script prior to auditioning.
“When I was on stage with the other two angels, I felt something clicked. We played off each other,” he said. “It’s a light comedy, a funny play. The background is all about Christmas, the twist is the convicts are the good guys.”
Klingenmeier was not aware “My Three Angels” was Bick’s first time directing.
“I’m surprised it’s his first play,” he said after being told the news. “He’s done a marvelous job. He’s really able to express his vision in a wonderful way to us.”
For those who know Bick, the job he has done is not surprising.
“I’ve been so impressed with him,” said Shelton, who also directs shows. “He’s someone you’d encourage anyone to audition for. He’s in charge but he surrounds himself with good people. It’s not just about him, he wants a good show.”
“He’s really an actor’s director. He’s very interested in character development and works a lot with us in that,” said actor Gavin Rulon. “I’ve known Jeff for awhile and always admired his take on things. I knew it would be a fun experience to be in his first show.”
Rulon just finished being the lead in the last Belfry show, “State of the Union.” Instead of taking a break, Rulon auditioned and was cast as Alfred, one of the “angels.”
“He has a presence on stage, but not a lot of lines so it’s nice actually,” he joked. “So many community theaters do very traditional shows this time of year. It’s kind of fun to be in a theater doing something a little different.”
What: My Three Angels by Samuel and Bella Spewack
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Dec. 7 and 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 9
Where: The Belfry Theatre, 10690 Greenfield Ave.
Cast: Ryan Shelton, Felix; Fran Knapp, Emilie; Lynda Goeke, Madame Parole; Becca Wenning, Marie Louise; Ken Klingenmeier, Jules; Mark Tumey, Joseph; Gavin Rulon, Alfred; Paul Haskin, Henri; John Whitaker, Paul; and Cameron Clark, Lieutenant.
Crew: Jeff Bick, director; Christy Clinton, asst. director/stage manager; Dana Lesh and Kelly BeDell, co-producers; Mary Jo Bick, production asst.; Marilyn Dearmin and Norma Floyd, costumes; Kendell Roberts, set design; Dana Roberts, set decorating; Connie Todd, set consultant; Sherri Byer and Debbie Hughes, props; Dave Melton, lighting director; and Brandon Warren, sound director.
Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under. Tickets may be reserved by calling 773-1085 or visiting www.thebelfrytheatre.com/reservations.
Meet Jeff Bick
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wis.
Hobbies: Theater, reading and he used to play a lot of volleyball and soccer
Job: Attorney for American Family Mutual Insurance Co.
Favorite holiday play or movie: “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. “We looked at doing it here but licensing rights only allow one or two in certain areas.”
Favorite theater memory: “Being stage manager of ‘The Producers’ (at the Belfry). It was a huge show on a really small stage and we sold out every night.”