The Verdict Remains a Surprise to All in Avon Players’ ‘Night of January 16th’

Avon commences a landmark season with interactive drama   

Live theatre returns to Avon Players in time for its 75th season as the company presents Night of January 16th running Friday, September 24 – Saturday, October 9, 2021. 

Night of January 16th is a courtroom drama by Ayn Rand. The play depicts the trial of Karen Andre (Hosanna Phillips of Hazel Park), who is accused of murdering Bjorn Faulkner, her boss, and secret lover. Faulkner, a disgraced international tycoon, apparently fell to his death from his penthouse on the night in question. Throughout the show, District Attorney Flint (Scott Welborn of Troy) and Defense Attorney Stevens (Aaron Barnes of Rochester) call and cross-examine witnesses presided over by Judge Heath (David Reynolds of Pontiac). Among the witnesses are Faulkner’s aristocratic young wife, Nancy Lee Faulkner (Tara Makar of Royal Oak), whose marriage seems to fall short of her rosy description. Faulkner’s father-in-law, powerful bank president John Graham Whitfield (Joe Munem of Sterling Heights), also takes the stand as does Faulkner’s disapproving housekeeper, Magda (Ann Sweet of Rochester Hills), along with a cavalcade of witnesses with varying perspectives and agendas. 

L to R: Scott Welborn as “D.A. Flint,” Tara Maker as “Nancy Lee Faulkner,” Hosanna Phillips as “Karen Andre,” and Aaron Barnes as “Defense Attorney Stevens.” Photo Credit: Bryan Clifford

Although Night of January 16thhas all of the elements of a standard compelling legal mystery—including a surprise witness whose late arrival turns the trial on its head—it is presented in a way that audience members may find surprising. At each performance some audience members will be selected to act as the jury, and, depending on the verdict that the jury delivers, the play has multiple possible endings. Director Lia DiFonzo says of the play’s unique design “The challenge for the cast and crew of being ready to present multiple outcomes definitely pays off in audience engagement and excitement. We are elated about the return of in-person performance, and the interactive nature of this production is a perfect way to welcome people back.”

Tickets for all shows are $21. Call 248.608.9077 for tickets or order online at 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. Please consult the website for the most current COVID-19 precautions before your visit. “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, Sept 24             8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 25         8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 26           2:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct 1                 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct 2             8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct 3               2:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct 8                 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct 9             8:00 p.m.

Avon Players is celebrating its 75th 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. 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:

Cast and Production Staff by Community:

Auburn Hills

Lia DiFonzo (Director)

Clinton Township

Patty Hagel (Set Dresser)

Hazel Park

Hosanna Phillips (“Karen Andre”)


Sharon Jourdan (Properties Designer)

Macomb Township

Jonathan Farrell (“Homer Van Fleet/ Siegurd Jungquist”)

Richard Marcil (“’Guts’ Regan”)

Deirdre Ward-Beck (“Dr. Kirkland”)


David Reynolds (“Judge Heath”)


Mark Misch (Producer)

Aaron Barnes (“Defense Attorney Stevens”)

Rochester Hills

Brad Holoday (Set Designer)

Louise Holoday (Hair and Makeup Designer)

Patrick Jordan (“Elmer Sweeney/James Chandler”)

Ann Sweet (“Magda Swenson”)

Royal Oak

Tara Makar (“Nancy Lee Faulkner”)

Shelby Township

Luigi Murri (“Bailiff/Clerk”)

Sterling Heights

Joseph Munem (“John Hutchins/John Graham Whitfield”)


Scott Welborn (“District Attorney Flint”)


Rachelle Rodriguez (“Stenographer”)

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