Fresh look at Player’s Guild

There’s a new focus and new energy at the Players Guild these days. Holding the reins are two young men with lifelong Canton ties, years of Guild experience and a shared love of theater.

There’s a new focus and new energy at the Players Guild these days. Holding the reins are two young men with lifelong Canton ties, years of Guild experience and a shared love of theater.

In his first season as resident director is Jon Tisevich, 30, who memorably starred in two offbeat Players Guild rock musicals: “Bat Boy” (as a romantically misunderstood, cave-dwelling freak) and “The Rocky Horror Show” (as a Transylvanian transvestite in spike heels).

The recently appointed artistic director, Josh Erichsen, 33, has worked 10 seasons at the Players Guild, as a costumer and set designer on a wildly diverse range of projects.

“We both bring so much passion to it,” says Tisevich, a Perry High School grad who performed in national tours of “Rent,” “The Full Monty” and “Titanic.”

“We work off each other really well,” adds Erichsen, a Hoover grad. “To our wives’ discontent, we’re on the phone constantly.” (Both are fathers, too.)

Collaboratively, the guys selected the shows for the current Guild season, which has so far included

“Ragtime,” an ambitious musical (and encouraging box-office hit) that featured both Tisevich and Erichsen onstage, and Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” a collaboration with the Ohio Shakespeare Festival. Up this month is C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” a family production. Coming attractions include “Tick, Tick … Boom!” a musical by “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson, and “Beauty and the Beast,” the Disney musical. Last June’s “Peter Pan,” also directed by Tisevich, pulled a big family audience.

The men have a palpable creative rapport and an infectious enthusiasm.

“We’re really wanting to raise the bar professionally,” Erichsen says. “We’re in a good place here,” Tisevich says. “Our audition numbers are up, the talent is returning.”

COMING UP

PLAYERS GUILD SCHEDULE FOR 2008-09
NOV. 14-23: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” based on the novel by C.S. Lewis

DEC. 5-21: “A Christmas Carol,” based on the novel by Charles Dickens

JAN. 16-25: “Tick,Tick…Boom!” Book, lyrics and music by Jonathan Larson

FEB. 27-MARCH 15: “God’s Favorite,” by Neil Simon

APRIL 17-26: “Princess and the Pea,” by William Shakespeare

MAY 22-JUNE 14: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” book by Linda Woolverton

Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Our box office also is open one hour prior to curtain time. Call (330) 453-7617 to order tickets.