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posted: 1/7/2014 1:34 PM

ETC's 'Men Are Dogs' blends comedy, romance

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  • Daniel Patfield of Crystal Lake, left, and Nancy Braus of Schaumburg appear in the Elgin Theatre Company production of "Men are Dogs," a comedy by Joe Simonelli.

    Daniel Patfield of Crystal Lake, left, and Nancy Braus of Schaumburg appear in the Elgin Theatre Company production of "Men are Dogs," a comedy by Joe Simonelli.
    Courtesy of Elgin Theatre Company


All Linda Collins had to hear was the title of the play, and she was sold.

"As soon as I heard 'Men Are Dogs,' I knew I wanted to direct it," she said.

Collins, who has been on the board of directors of the Elgin Theatre Company for several years and was recently voted president, has directed many plays for the company, so she knows what goes over well with its audience.

"We have a clientele that seems to enjoy comedies and farces," Collins said.

The ETC's production of Joe Simonelli's "Men Are Dogs" opens this weekend, beginning Friday, Jan. 10, and ending Sunday, Jan. 26.

In "Men Are Dogs," Dr. Cecilia Monahan, a successful unorthodox psychologist runs a support group for single and divorced women. She has got troubles of her own with a mother constantly urging her to remarry, but it's her ensemble of neurotic patients who provide the action when a "volunteer" role-player becomes the hapless victim of their not-inconsiderable ire. Cecilia hires a bartender/actor to role play men in the difficult moments in the lives of her group members. This process can be rather dangerous for the actor, as he faces the group of hostile women who are eager to express their anger toward men.

As the story unfolds, Dr. Monahan realizes she shares some of the same issues about men as her group members. When she meets the new substitute postal carrier, Bob Crowley, who delivers more than mail, the smitten Cecelia must learn to practice what she preaches.

"My general take of the show is that it's funny because it's true," said Collins, who lives in Elk Grove Village. "There are plenty of touching moments; everyone has gone through relationship issues. (Audience members) will all be nodding their heads," at various scenes, Collins said.

The cast features Linda Windham of Elgin, Joseph Verstynen of Arlington Heights, Lynsay Hanratty of St. Charles, Debra Fowler of Bartlett, Beth Raines of Elgin, Nancy Braus of Schaumburg, Shirley May Byrnes of Elgin, and Daniel Patfield of Crystal Lake. Some of the same actors also will appear in a short skit, "Poker Party," by Daniel Patfield, with a special appearance by Andrew Ross of Carpentersville.

Auditions for "Men Are Dogs" were held in October, Collins said, and cast members have been rehearsing at least three times weekly ever since.

"We did lose a few original cast members because of health issues," Collins said. "But after recasting a few roles I feel this is a spectacular cast. Everyone has become a family, and we look forward to rehearsals. Most of our rehearsals are spent in smiles and laughter."

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 10-26, at the Kimball Street Theater of the Elgin Academy, Kimball Street and Dundee Avenue, in downtown Elgin.

Tickets are $15 or $12 for youth and seniors. Group rates are available. For reservations or information, call (847) 741-0532, email or visit [URL];[URL].[/URL]