Troy Civic Theatre to perform ‘Farce of Habit’ beginning March 4


By Blythe Alspaugh

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TROY — Audiences looking for a laugh can find them in abundance at the Troy Civic Theatre beginning this weekend.

“There’s a lot of physical comedy, and it’s very fast-paced with a lot of entrances and exits. It’s very fast-moving,” said “Farce of Habit” Director Steve Dietrich.

“Farce of Habit” is a farce written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. The show takes place at the Reel ‘Em Inn, a fishing lodge in the Ozarks. The proprietor, D. Gene Wilburn, is looking forward to a peaceful weekend on the lake, which is thwarted by his wife Wanelle’s attempts to white-knuckle her way through caffeine withdrawal, his son Ty’s marriage with his wife, Jenna, falling apart, his sister Maxie getting caught in an undercover police assignment—and that’s just his family. With a colorful assortment of guests including a gaggle of nuns, a nationally-known radio host, a retiree anxious to cut loose, a supposed stalker, it only throws things into more chaos.

Oh — and there’s an axe murderer, who may or may not be a guest at the cabin, on the loose.

“Farce of Habit” stars Jessica Suba as Wanelle Wilburn; Mike Maxson as D Gene Wilburn; Scott Atkinson as Jock McNair; Julie Zalar as Maxie Wilburn Suggs; Madison Wells as Jenna Sealy Wilburn; Chris Nelson as Ty Wilburn; Michael Schumacher as Huddle Fisk; Jennifer Kaufman as Sister Myrtle Agnes; and Andrea Wintrow as Barb Stratton.

“We’ve got a great director. He gives really good direction—if you’re not sure about what you need to do, he tells you,” Zalar said.

Dietrich, who has directed the show once before in Lima, was eager to bring it to Troy’s stage. He proposed it to the board when they were deciding the current season and it was taken on for the first show of 2022.

“I enjoyed it very much and decided I’d like to see it brought down here,” Dietrich said.

One of the challenges that came with directing the show a second time around was understanding that while a few things were done differently, it doesn’t necessarily make them wrong. Additionally, the cast chosen for the show made mounting it a pleasant undertaking.

“They really made this easy. They were ready a week ago—I really didn’t have to work very hard with this group,” Dietrich said. “When you act with other good actors, it makes you better, and it probably made me a better director.”

For Jennifer Kaufman, this is her first time reprising a role; like Dietrich, she was also in Lima’s production of “Farce of Habit,“ where she first played Sister Myrtle. She’s glad to be back in the Habit a second time around for the TCT’s production of the show.

“I had such a good time the first time, I signed up for seconds,” Kaufman said. “Every once in a while, you get those characters that you never knew you’d enjoy so much, and I’ve just had a ball playing with her, and Steve let me do it twice.”

Farce of Habit runs March 4 through March 6 and March 11 through March 13, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 each and are available online at or by calling the box office at 937-339-7700.

The cast and crew will also be at a special Meet and Greet at Moeller Brew Barn in Troy directly after the performance on Sunday, March 6. All audience members from all shows are welcome to join them.

“Farce of Habit” is produced by special arrangement through Dramatists and is sponsored by Outlook Financial.

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