Working behind the scenes on the West Shore stage.

March 3, 2015
Marty Cupp paints the set.

Marty Cupp paints the set.

“Fox on the Fairway” dinner theater is March 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. and March 8 at 2 p.m. at West Shore Community College.

By Kate Kriger. Senior Correspondent.

VICTORY TWP – For retired Ludington Area Schools teacher, Marty Cupp, life may be just as busy or busier than when she was teaching full-time. Spending over 70 man hours so far, working as one of the two people building the set for the upcoming dinner theater production of “Fox on the Fairway” at West Shore Community College, that is just the tip of the iceberg when discussing Marty’s volunteering towards the performing arts in the area.

Mike Mikula puts together the set.

Mike Mikula puts together the set.

Starting in 1999, when her son, Ryan, was involved in the musical “The Music Man” at WSCC, Marty recalls the director, Dr. Rick Plummer, asking for parent volunteers to come in on a Sunday afternoon to help paint the set.

“I think it was Rick’s second summer here,” Marty says. “Ryan was in the cast and since it was summertime and I wasn’t working during the summer, I had time. I’ve been on speed dial by Rick ever since.”

Marty spent many hours volunteering while still teaching and then after retirement, she spent even more of her time behind the scenes during the non-summer months as well. Marty is also an active volunteer at performances at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. She most recently worked on the set of “A Christmas Story.”

“Now that I’m retired, I can do year-round shows,” she says. “It’s fun. What else do I have to do?”

Involved with basically any production that is linked to WSCC, Marty keeps herself busy and with “Fox on the Fairway”, Marty, along with Mike Mikula, performing arts professor at WSCC, the two alone are creating the entire set for the production.

“Mike is doing all the building and I’m doing all the painting,” Marty says. “When Mike’s done building it, I paint it.”

Marty and Mike have built an entire set depicting a golf clubhouse, including 12 different walls, a bar and back bar, flooring, doors, which all feature different painting techniques and intricate detailing.

marty_wscc_play_1“There are a dozen walls that make up the clubhouse,” Marty says. “They are all 4-by 8-foot sheets. We have four different wall effects, too, which include stained, brick, tile and the murals that makeup the fairways outside.”

Because there weren’t enough students signed up for a scene shop class, it left the work to be done by Marty and Mike, which meant a lot more hours and a lot of crunch time work. Marty says normally six or eight students are involved.

“The crunch time has been hard. Mike has even been sleeping here some nights and working late at night as well.”

Marty and Mike say they are very excited to be finished with the project by tomorrow night because there is a special audience coming to view one of the dress rehearsals of the play before it opens Thursday night. Marty says that having an audience for a dress rehearsal really gives the cast an advantage to work out final kinks and see actual reactions before their premiere on Thursday.

Working with Mike and Rick has been a great experience, Marty says adding she hopes to continue to work on more upcoming WSCC productions.

“I like Rick,” she says. “He knows what he wants and that’s what I like about Mike, too. Mike has a vision, probably due to the 30 years of theater he has done. It’s great to get to work with someone who has a gift like he does.”

With all of her work for many years with WSCC, Marty enjoys being able to give back to the performing arts that she so enjoys herself and she feels that a lot of the wonderful productions she has been able to be a part of have a lot to do with Rick’s vision and now Mike’s as well.

“The West Shore Community College theater program really built up more because of Rick I think,” she says. “He has a lot of passion for it.”

With hundreds of hours working behind the scenes on plays and musicals for WSCC, Marty hopes “Fox in the Fairway” is another successful production the college has put on and Rick stated that without Marty, he doesn’t know where he’d be sometimes.

“She is multi-talented,” he says. “In the 18 years I’ve been doing theater, I couldn’t do it without her.”

Fox on the Fairway runs March 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. and March 8 at 2 p.m. in West Shore Community College’s North Lounge, which is located in the Administration and Conference Building. Tickets are $35 per person which include a buffet style dinner and should be purchased in advance if at all possible.

“I really love doing sets,” Marty says. “If it’s a West Shore production, I’m doing it.”


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