Artistas gear up for weekend performance

REED CITY — A group of local thespians are hitting the stage this weekend to prove laughter remains the best medicine.

The Artistas, an offshoot group of the Crossroads Theatre Guild, has been busy rehearsing for its first show, set to run Friday, Sept. 30, Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2.

“We’re doing a ‘Saturday Night Live’ type of show that’s G-rated and family-friendly,” said David Johnson, who is spearheading the new theatre group. “It’s a show between the big plays for the Crossroads Theatre Guild.”

Johnson and the other members of the Artistas rehearsed Saturday, Sept. 24, working through some bumps and putting the finishing touches on the skits and live music performances for the three shows.

“It’s a comedy club type of thing,” he explained. “I hope people laugh and check out the local talent. There’s a lot of talent right here in our town.”

For veteran actor Resi Westgate, the Artistas presented a different type of performance than what normally has done.

“It’s more impromptu, a little more like improv,” she said. “These are short, little skits. It’s fun for us and the audience. Instead of moving from one act to the next, and the audience thinking about what happened and waiting for the next scene, this is more of a crowd-pleaser.”

An actor for several years, Westgate has been with the theatre guild for two-and-half-years and was excited to be a part of the Artistas.

“I have a lot of fun doing it,” she said. “The audience gets to laugh for 20 minutes and then move on to the next thing and laugh some more.”

“I first came down to see what (the guild) was all about. Then, they asked me to do hair and makeup. Then, I was asked to serve as the secretary of the guild, and I’m still here doing that.”

A member of the theatre guild for four years, Melissa Langworthy is directing one of the skits for the performance.

“I love doing theatre, and adding comedy, I know putting the two things together makes for a fun time,” she said.

Langworthy said she got interested in the Artistas when Johnson began thinking about the group.

“With David at the head of it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” she said.

Langworthy said she hopes audiences will be ready to laugh and help support the group.

“I hope they get a lot of laughs and have a good time,” she added. “It’ll be a nice break from all the political stuff and other things going on the world right now.”

The shows are set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, at the theatre located at 249 W. Upton Ave., in Reed City.