Avon Players Presents Heartwarming Comedy ‘Calendar Girls’

Friends navigate loss by taking bold actions and find that the world is watching 

See how far a group of friends will go to bring attention to a good cause and how that attention alters their relationships as Avon Players presents Calendar Girls running January 13-28.

Photo credit: Bryan Clifford

When Annie’s (Lesa Bydalek) husband John (Anthony Sherman) dies of leukemia, she and best friend Chris (Joy Oetjens) resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room in remembrance of him. With help from Lawrence (Matt Druminski), a hospital porter and amateur photographer, they manage to persuade four fellow Women’s Institute members to raise funds by posing nude with them for a calendar. The news of the unique charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of reporters soon descend on their tiny Yorkshire village. Although the calendar is a success, the strain of their newfound fame puts Chris and Annie’s friendship to the test. Inspired by a true story and full of heart and humor, Calendar Girls is sure to charm.

Calendar Girls was adapted from the 2003 film of the same name starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. A real-life fundraising phenomenon inspired the film. John Richard Baker, an Assistant National Park Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 54 in 1998. During Baker’s illness, his wife Angela and her friends began to raise money for a sofa for the visitors’ lounge of the hospital where John was treated. Nothing could have prepared them for how their original calendar took off, and, to date, they have raised over £3 million for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the UK’s leading blood cancer charity.

Director Dan Romzek sees many similarities between the characters depicted in Calendar Girls and the members of Avon Players. “The Knapely Women’s Institute is all about community, just like our little theatre, a place that pulls in people from all over the region who begin as strangers, but become a chosen family,” Romzek said. The fact that the women in the play bond through creating something only underscores the parallels: “The women in the play come from all walks of life but commit to stepping out of their comfort zones to pose for the calendar and the experience ultimately transforms each of them.”

Tickets for all shows are $25. Call 248-608-9077 for tickets or order online at www.AvonPlayers.org. Discounts on matinee tickets are available for seniors and students; call the box office for details.  Additionally, group rates are available by calling the box office. “Like” Avon Players Theatre on Facebook for special offers on tickets. All major credit cards are accepted. All seats are reserved. 

Show dates and times follow:

  • Friday, January 13              8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 14          8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 15            2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, January 20              8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 21          8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 22            2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, January 27              8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 28          8:00 p.m.

Avon Players is celebrating its 76th year of bringing quality entertainment to its community. Founded in 1947, Avon Players is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located along the winding banks of Stoney Creek in the quaint Historic District of Rochester Hills, only about two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester. Avon Players has been performing shows in its unique A-frame theater since 1965. With ticket prices set at a fraction of those at a professional theatre (plus free parking and concessions offered on a donation-only basis), a family of four can experience a sensational live theatrical event for about the cost of one ticket at a “downtown” venue. And for regular theatre-goers, an affordable outing can be an even better bargain by taking advantage of Avon Players’ season ticket packages, which yield discounts of up to 20% per ticket. Season ticket holders enjoy priority seating selection and voting privileges in Avon’s annual “Stoney Awards.” Additional information regarding tickets and productions is available by calling the Avon Players box office at 248-608-9077 or by visiting the website: www.AvonPlayers.org.

Cast and Production Staff by Community:

Bruce Township

  • Lesa Bydalek (“Annie”)


  • Dan Romzek (Director)

Clinton Township

  • Patty Hagel (“Ruth”)

Oak Park

  • Christiaan Lafata (Costume Design, Properties Design)
  • Kelli Williams (“Elaine”)


  • Joy Oetjens (“Chris”)


  • Laura Flores (“Celia”)


  • Aaron Barnes (“Rod”)
  • Bryan Clifford (Scenic Projection Design, Set Dress)
  • Michael Hale (“Liam”)
  • Judy Privasky (“Jessie”)
  • Anthony Sherman (“John”)

Rochester Hills

  • John (JD) Deierlein (Set Design, Light Design)
  • Louise Holoday (Hair and Makeup Design)
  • Liz Kozek-Hutchinson (“Marie”)
  • Ann Sweet (“Brenda Hulse”)

Shelby Township

  • Matt Druminski (“Lawrence”)
  • Mark Palmer (Sound Design)
  • Pamela Plewa (“Cora”)
  • Lori Smith (Producer)

Sterling Heights

  • Cece Lesner (“Lady Cravenshire”)


About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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