Dark Room Productions revisits ‘The Twilight Zone,’ adding laughs with a live parody show

FLINT, Michigan — A popular science fiction television show from the 1950s and 60s is getting a makeover, and with it comes a lot of laughs. Being held at Flint Local 432 (124 W 1st St.), Dark Room Productions presents “The Twilight Zone,” a live parody show running between April 21-April 23, and April 28-30.

The show brings Rod Serling back to life, showcasing local actors and directors who revisit iconic episodes of the TV show live-on-stage. The show includes two original adaptations and several original commercials in between episodes. 

The show is co-produced by Jim Fourinadis and Erin Ohanneson of Dark Room Productions. Ohanneson says pop culture parodies are the perfect kind of entertainment for crowds. She explained that the mission of the production is to not only provide entertainment but to also inspire. 

“What we do is we have two people from the theater community who maybe haven’t directed before, but they have a lot of stage time or a lot of experience that’s related, and we invite them to come and pick an episode from the many available,” said Ohanneson. “They can adapt it any way they want. This year, we have one that’s really modernized and one that comes straight out of the 50s. We like to give a chance to people who might not have a chance to get into the other companies, spread their wings, and direct.”

Local actors from a previous 'Twilight Zone' live parody show at Flint Local 432.Ohanneson says the program has opened its arms to local people, guiding them along the way, and providing opportunities to share their craft and creativity. Some of the performers are new to theater entirely, and others have been off the stage for years. The production proves valuable for both. 

“We have actors who haven’t acted since high school, but they want to be involved. We’ll say, ‘Okay, we’ll give you a shot. Come on down and we’ll see if you blossom,’” she says. 

Past cast members from previous productions have gone on to expand their styles, crossing into different genres, and trying their hand in different capacities, too. “We have one little girl who is ten years old, and she was in ‘The Shining’ as one of the twins. She’s really into what we’re doing, and she wrote a commercial for ‘The Twilight Zone’ this year.”

Ohanneson says seeing things like that are so gratifying, and the reason why Dark Room Productions does what it does.

Local actors from a previous 'Twilight Zone' live parody show at Flint Local 432.This is the third installment of the show series, and the reception has been positive, says Ohanneson. “People who have attended have really appreciated it,” she says of the once-a-year show. Other Dark Room Productions included comedy adaptations of “Young Frankenstein” and “The Shining.” 

This year's show stars Dan Dulin, Samantha Peters, Jimmy Adams, Justin Wetenhall, Alexis Morgan, Hank Reed, Brian Powers, Daniel Gaines, Kari Gaines, Shaena Pohner, Michael Hamilton, Betsi Hagerty, Robb Anthony, George Marzonie, Scarlett Pohner, Olivia Buschur, Rachel Nagy and Joy Bishop as Rod Serling. 

The program is sponsored by the Greater Flint Arts Council Share Art Genesee Grant Program. “Factory Two provides us with props, rehearsal space, and are really wonderful to us. We couldn’t be doing it without them,” Ohanneson says. 

The show has a runtime of a little over an hour, and is relatively suitable for all ages, although there is some adult language.

'The Twilight Zone Live Parody Show' runs from April 21-April 23, and April 28-30 with Friday and Saturday shows at 7 p.m., and an additional Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available online, or at the door. 
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.