Circle Theatre opens 2021 season with ‘The Gin Game’

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The play tells the story of Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, who are two nursing home residents who strike up a friendship while learning to play gin rummy. Courtesy Circle Theatre

Circle Theatre will open its 2021 season with live showings of “The Gin Game” from Thursday through May 16 at the Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Aquinas College.

The play, which stars Shelley Irwin and Stathi Afendoulis and is directed by John Vesbit, tells the story of Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, who are two nursing home residents who strike up a friendship while learning to play gin rummy. The pair begin sharing stories about the lives they led in the outside world until Dorsey starts to win every hand. With Martin’s frustration, the nursing home porch turns into a battleground.

“’The Gin Game’ is not only a powerful and prescient story but will also be one of the very first live play performances in West Michigan since before the pandemic,” Vesbit said.

“Circle Theatre provided me the opportunity to grow as an actor and inspired my decision to move to New York and become a theater professional,” Afendoulis said. “Forty-two years later, I’m back home on the stage that launched my career.”

Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. with the performance beginning at 7 p.m. Matinee shows are scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday and May 16. Social distancing and masks will be required.

Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go directly to supporting local theater through Circle Theatre. To purchase tickets, call (616) 456-6656 or visit Circle Theatre’s website.

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