Village Players to perform ‘Harold and Maude: The Musical’

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 11, 2023

 Jonas Annear and Linda Rabin Hammell star in “Harold and Maude: The Musical.”

Jonas Annear and Linda Rabin Hammell star in “Harold and Maude: The Musical.”

Photo provided the Birmingham Village Players

BIRMINGHAM — “Harold and Maude: The Musical” will make its community theater debut Jan. 13. The Birmingham Village Players are the first community theater in the world to put on this production.

The musical, based on the 1971 classic cult film by Colin Higgins, follows the relationship of Harold, a death-obsessed 20-year-old man, and Maude, a life-affirming 80-year-old.

The show runs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 13-29.

This show would not have been brought to the Village Players or community theater as a whole if it weren’t for Jay Kaplan, the director of the show. Kaplan was the one who took the initiative to inquire about the show to the musical’s creators through their website and expressed an interest in bringing it to the community. This inquiry led to the availability of community theater rights for “Harold and Maude.”

“It’s exciting to be a part of something that is so new and something that’s never been done before,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan described the show as a very small and intimate show with a lot of whimsy.

Since the show was adapted from a film, they were tasked to find a way to create sets that go well with the scene in a theater setting. Kaplan said the sets have a sort of fantasy feel to them.

“It’s important that the audience really gets a sense of the characters and the relationships,” Kaplan said.

The leads of the show are Linda Rabin Hammell, who plays Maude, and Jonas Annear, who plays Harold.

“I am very lucky to have a cast of such talented and really hard-working individuals who really care about the show and that the message of the show gets across to the audience,” Kaplan said.

Annear, an 18-year-old senior at Seaholm High School, began performing with the Birmingham Village Players when he was 10.

He is used to being “the kid in the adult show,” so he said he has enjoyed being a part of the show as an adult.

He said the other members of the cast were great about showing by example how to analyze a character.

‘I feel like a sponge at rehearsal,” Annear said. “I like watching them talk about the show and the different parts of their character. I have just been observing and trying to do the same, because it has really helped me figure out what it means to truly get to know a character as if they were another part of you.”

For an exciting surprise, the composer of “Harold and Maude: The Musical,” Joseph Thalken, is traveling from New York to see the show Saturday, Jan. 14. He will be doing a talkback after the performance.