Avon Players Presents Romantic Comedy ‘Drinking Alone’

Regret and family resentments ignite in this play with humor and heart

Adult siblings reckon with their complicated past with their father as well as their unsatisfying life paths to comic effect as Avon Players presents Drinking Alone, running March 8-23.

Joe Todd (Luigi Murri) leads a lonely, dull life dutifully maintaining the family dry-cleaning business. His sister Carrie (Hosanna Phillips) is a local television star whose career is thriving while her marriage falls apart. When their cantankerous, long-estranged father Ivan (Lee Davis) shows up—accompanied by the “other woman” he ran off with (Patty Hagel)—the stage is set for family dysfunction of the highest order. But when Joe hires an escort, Renee (Marie Burchi-Skipinski), to pretend to be his fiancée to impress his father, the emotional fireworks and laughs keep coming in this heartfelt romantic comedy. 

Left to Right: Luigi Murri as “Joe Todd” and Marie Burchi-Skipinski as “Renee Duchene.”
Photo Credit: Bryan Clifford

Drinking Alone was written by Canadian playwright Norman Foster, considered to be Canada’s most-produced playwright. He discovered his love of theatre when he accompanied a friend to an audition and surprisingly landed the leading part for himself. This initial experience intrigued him, and he soon penned his first play, Sinners, which was produced professionally by Theatre New Brunswick in 1983. A prolific writer, Foster has produced over fifty plays on professional stages. Often compared to Neil Simon, Foster’s plays demonstrate humor and insight into the tribulations of everyday life. In 2016, Foster was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Director Joy Oetjens was first introduced to Drinking Alone when she appeared as stepmother Phyllis in a 2012 production. On Foster’s writing style, Oetjens said “I enjoy his ability to create characters who are interesting and unique yet very real. The dialogue is natural with a compelling mix of depth and levity.” According to Oetjens, the play’s strength is its accessibility with relatable themes of family, life choices, relationships, and vices. Oetjens has chosen to set the production in the 1990s, a nod to the year the play debuted (1998), with a scenic design that heavily features 70s retro design, reflecting the fact that Joe has given little attention to redecorating his childhood home. “Audience members should come expecting a night of pure entertainment with an engaging story performed by a sparkling cast that boasts four Avon regulars and one newcomer,” Oetjens said, adding “and if that’s not enough enticement, come check out our brand-new comfortable chairs and our new bar service!”

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, March 8, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 9, 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 10, 2:00 p.m.

Friday, March 15, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 16, 8:00 p.m

Sunday, March 17, 2:00 p.m.

Friday, March 22, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 23, 8:00 p.m.

Avon Players is celebrating its 77th season 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 professional theatre (plus free parking), a family of four can experience a sensational live theatrical event for about the cost of one ticket at a “downtown” venue. This season a trip to Avon Players can feel even more festive as alcohol will be sold at certain performances. 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. Additionally, 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:

Clinton Township

Patty Hagel (“Phyllis Todd”)

Hazel Park

Hosanna Phillips (“Carrie O’Neill”)


Marie Burchi-Skipinski (“Renee Duchene”)


Jonathan Farrell (Set Dress)


Joy Oetjens (Director)


Aaron Barnes (Properties Design)

Lana Brusokas-Hastings (Hair, Makeup, and Costume Design)

Rochester Hills

John (JD) Deierlein (Lighting Design)

Patrick Jordan (Producer)

Shelby Township

Kelly Miller (Hair, Makeup, and Costume Design)

Luigi Murri (“Joe Todd”)


Lee Davis (“Ivan Todd”)


Jeff Stillman (Scenic Design)

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