Actors Theatre

The Off-Broadway of Grandrapids

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All performances run Thursday - Saturday and begin at 8PM


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Production Underwriting by

Looking for Normal, a play by Jane Anderson

Looking for Normal by Jane Anderson

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May 23 – June 1, 2013*
Roy and Irma have been married for twenty-five years. They have two children.  Roy works in tractor plant in the heartland and both are active in church and their community. When Roy and Irma see their pastor for a marriage counseling session, though, Roy reveals that he's a woman trapped in a man's body and wants an operation to correct the situation.  

Looking for Normal is a powerful, yet often funny play about an individual’s journey to personal truth, the cost of that journey on those he loves, and the hope that transformation brings.

*All currently scheduled performances begin at 8PM

"...thoughtful and touching and full of wit and wisdom."
-The Hollywood Reporter
"...a story about how we cope with life's curveballs and most important, how we love.
-The Baltimore Sun

Meet the Cast

Dave Benson (Frank)
Dave Benson PhotoDave was last seen at Actor’s in the 2012 Grand Award winning production of August: Osage County. His role in this production marks the third time that Dave has been directed by Fred Sebulske; a fact that he is very proud of. Dave has also been seen on the Grand Rapids Civic theatre’s stage in Our Town, Charlotte’s Web, Harvey, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Carlee Bleeker (Patty Ann)
Carlee Bleeker PhotoCarlee makes her Actors' Theatre debut as Patty Ann. Having appeared in 15 community theatre productions, some of her favorites include; Grand Rapids Civic Theatre: Willie Wonka, Sara Plain and Tall, The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol; Youth Theatre Grand Rapids: 13, The Musical for which she won National Youth Theatre's 2010 Outstanding Supporting Actress award in the role of Lucy in NYC; Circle Theatre: Annie and Honk!; Rockford High School: Footloose!.
Kitty Carrico Carpenter (Grandmother Ruth)
Kitty Carrico Carpenter PhotoA veteran of many Actors' Theatre productions, Kitty was last seen on the Actors’ stage in Frozen. Other Actors’ credits include: How I Learned to Drive, Our Country’s Good, Sideman. Most recently, Kitty was seen in Circle Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias.

Jim Chervenka (Roy Senior)
Jim Chervenka PhotoJim is excited to be returning to the Actors’ stage after last appearing in last year’s Grand Award winning August” Osage County. This time, he returns with his wife Linda at his side. After 36 years as the Technical Director for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Jim has retired and is now moving from backstage to on-stage; recently performing in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at Civic Theatre.
Linda Chervenka (Em)
Linda Chervenka PhotoLinda was born in NYC, the oldest of 6 and an Air Force brat. She met her husband, Jim on the stage in high school in Dayton, Ohio. They were married on the stage at Aquinas College after they had both graduated; Jim with a degree in Speech and Drama and She with a BA in Theatre and Psychology. They have 4 children, all of whom are somewhat involved in theatre. Linda has directed plays at Circle Theatre, Aquinas, various high schools and Stepping Stones Montessori School where she taught creative dramatics for more than 27 years. She also taught acting and improv classes at Aquinas College for 10 years. Linda has been on stage at Circle a lifetime ago and in Free to Be You and Me at Civic Theatre.
Samantha Gauthier (Irma)
Samantha Gauthier PhotoSamantha was last seen on stage in Circle Theatre’s production of Same Time Next Year and she is thrilled to be working opposite Craig Hammerlind once again. She is also excited to once again perform with Kitty Carpenter, one of her cast mates from Steel Magnolias also at Circle Theatre.

Craig Hammerlind (Roy)
Craig Hammerlind PhotoCraig is happy to be returning to the stage of Actors’ Theatre. He has previously been seen in Actors’ productions of The March of the Falsettos, Les Liaisons Dangeruse, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, A Man of No Importance and Rabbit Hole. He has also been seen in productions for Circle Theatre, Civic Theatre and Jewish Theatre of Grand Rapids. Professionally, he has worked at Tibbits Summer Theatre in Coldwater and Turkeyville in Marshall.
Andrew McClelland (Wayne)
Andrew McClelland PhotoAndrew makes his second appearance at Actors' Theatre since performing in last season’s Grand Award winning production of August: Osage County. His recent theatre credits include Taming of the Shrew, Antigone, The Wednesday Wars, Hamlet, Sense and Sensibility, and Milosevic at the Hague which was performed at the Joakiminterfest in Kragujevac, Serbia. Andrew is pursuing acting and theatre as a career and will be moving to Chicago in the fall.
Don Vanden Heuvel (Reverend Muncie)
Don VandenHeuvel PhotoDon is making his third appearance on the Actors’ Theatre stage. He was previously seen in Bach at Leipzig and last season’s production of Ampersand. Other area credits include Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, Funny Money (Grand Award nomination), Rumors and See How They Run (Grand Award nomination), at Circle Theatre. He has also appeared in Laughter on the 23rd Floor and The Value of Names at Jewish Theatre of Grand Rapids.

Behind the Scenes

Jane Anderson, Playwright
Jane Anderson photoJane's plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theaters around the country, including Actors Theater of Louisville, The McCarter Theater, Long Wharf, ACT, the Geffen Theater and The Pasadena Playhouse. Her published plays include Looking for Normal, The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Smart Choices for the New Century, Lynette at 3AM and The Last Time We Saw Her. Her most recent play, The Quality of Life, premiered at the Geffen Playhouse and was directed by the playwright.

Ms. Anderson resides in Los Angeles and in Marin County in Northern California with her spouse Tess Ayers and their son, Raphael.
Fred Sebulske, Director
Fred Sebulske photoNext to Normal marks Fred's 59th directed production for Actors' Theatre. Recent directing credits include 2012's Next to Normal, August: Osage County (Winner: 2012 Grand Award for Best Production of a Play), 2011's Spring Awakening (Winner: 2012 Grand Award for Best Production of a Musical), 2010's Distracted and recently, at Circle Theatre, Hair.  Among his many awards and accolades, he is the recipient of 12 Grand Awards for outstanding direction, the Norma Brink Lifetime Achievement Award and the Arts Council Arts Award.

Fred is the founder of Actors' Theatre Grand Rapids.

Explore Looking for Normal


First performed as a workshop in the 1998 New Work Festival at the Mark Taper Forum, Looking for Normal received its first full production at the Geffen Playhouse in 2001 and featured Beau Bridges in the role of Roy. The Hollywood Reporter described it as “thoughtful and touching and full of wit and wisdom.” The play was subsequently adapted as the HBO original movie Normal (2003) and starred Jessica Lange as Irma, Tom Wilkinson as Roy and “Nashville” star Hayden Panettiere as the couple’s teenage daughter Patty Ann. The Actors’ Theatre production marks the first production of Anderson’s play in West Michigan

Looking for Normal - Promo Trailer

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