Maxinkuckee Players and Singers Put on Variety-Packed Performances
Writer / Lois Tomaszewski
Photographer / Tony Straw
For many people in and around Culver, a summer performance by the Maxinkuckee Players, or perhaps a spring concert by the Maxinkuckee Singers, are favorite traditions. The Players organized in 1980 and the Singers formed in 1982.
Founding Board Member Dan Adams says when the Players were formed, the focus was always to provide an environment that everyone could enjoy – both adults and children. That means every production is carefully screened and adapted to make sure there is nothing inappropriate for the general audience, which often includes multigenerational families or the children involved in the performance.
Fellow Board Member and Players Director Becky Liechty agrees. “We have never done a show that you wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to,” she says.
The first show put on by the Players in 1980 was “Paint Your Wagon.” “The Sound of Music” was the 2022 production. During the COVID-19 pandemic, performances were suspended.
As Adams recalls, the staff of Culver Community Middle/High School was asked by Mimi Kalt (Weirich) as director of the high school’s production of “Finian’s Rainbow” to participate as members of the cast. Adams was a math teacher. The success of that high school performance sparked the idea of a community theater and the Maxinkuckee Players was formed.
Maxinkuckee Players is a true community theater, Adams says. Everyone involved is a volunteer. Performers often make their own costumes or build sets.
Some performances happen with a handful of participants. Other productions require a cast of 60.
When it began, most of the organization’s board and participants were from Culver, but that has changed and the summer production draws performers from throughout the region.
“Our productions are comparable to the professional and semiprofessional theater groups in the area,” Liechty says. “There is a lot of talent in the small towns around here.”
While the summer performance at Culver High School has been something to count on since 1980, this year there will not be a production. A remodeling project at the high school is underway and the group has no other venue available.
It was a difficult decision, Adams says, but necessary given the circumstances. The summer play is expected to return next year.
For the Maxinkuckee Singers, however, rehearsals have started for their spring shows. The concerts feature a variety of musical genres, from standards, comedy, sacred, pop, and medleys of familiar numbers to some newer songs. Like the Players, the performances are entertaining and appropriate for all ages.
In addition to the spring concert schedule, the Singers perform seven public performances in the Culver and Plymouth area during December, offering a wide variety of Christmas selections. The group also performs upon invitation privately, schedule permitting, for various clubs and organizations that want entertainment at special functions.
“This year the musical director has selected music to fit into three sections,” says Wendy Wise, director and incoming president. “The concert will feature patriotic tunes, a variety of Broadway tunes and religious tunes.”
The concert schedule is still being coordinated and dates will be posted on the organization’s website. All concerts will take place in May and there is no cost to attend, although a free-will offering is appreciated, Wise says.
When the Players take to the stage next summer, the Maxinkuckee Players board hopes the audience experiences a quality performance.
“We are looking for the ‘Wow,’” Adams says. “That’s what we are shooting for.”
Whether it’s a performance by the Maxinkuckee Players or the Singers, Adams, Liechty and Wise hope everyone attending comes away with an appreciation for the performing arts.
“Theater arts need to be supported,” Adams says. “That’s the role we have taken on.”
The success of the Players and Singers can be attributed to many factors, but most of all it’s because the group is relatable to the audience.
“People can relate to us because we are real people and we have fun doing this,” Adams says.
For more information on the Maxinkuckee Players and the Maxinkuckee Singers concert schedule, visit maxplayers.org. Email email@example.com, and follow the groups on Facebook and Twitter.