Wayne Puchkors, director of Hammond Community Theatre’s “You Better Watch Out,” undertook no small amount of searching for the right show for their annual holiday production.
“We wanted to do something that no one had seen before,” he said. “I read about 15 different plays and this one had a lot of humor and a nice message at the end, and I thought ‘well, that’s what our audiences need for Christmas.”
Opening Friday and running through Dec. 17, “Watch” follows the heartwarming and humorous tales of a handful of staff and guests at the Willow Inn on Christmas Eve, a bed and breakfast in Wisconsin. They are kept indoors due to a torrential snowstorm.
“Watch” was penned by American playwright Dan Hodgins. He directed its debut performance, which was staged in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Puchkors described the humor in “Watch” as a cross between the classic comedy “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and the '90s hit “Mad About You.”
“The thing I like about this particular play is that there aren’t any really nasty characters in it,” he said. “They’re all lovable and redeemable. I think that that is going to be interesting and refreshing … I hope that (audiences) walk out feeling good about human nature and family.”
Puchkors cast for “Watch” is made up of Mark Aken and Kristen Duncan as bed and breakfast hosts Tom and Jenny, respectively, Mike Johnson as Jenny’s father, Art, Brendon Hearne as the inn’s maintenance worker, Pat Pohrte as businessman Rudy, Christina Biancardi as Rudy’s partner, Marsha and Warren Lee Ellis as the peculiar Mr. Smith.
“The cast is doing fine,” Puchkors said. “They’re working hard on it and I’m pleased with how they’re coming along."
Next up for Hammond Community Theatre is a production of Agatha Christie’s “The Unexpected Guest,” scheduled to open at Beatniks on Feb. 9.