August 2015

No Time for Sergeants

Author: Barbara Clark

My only background with the military is based on my dad and three brothers, none of whom served in action. Dad said he wanted to be in the Navy, but when they asked him what branch he wanted to be in, they put him in the Army! My three brothers were all weekend warriors for the Army, Air Force and Marines. Brother Greg who was the Marine, told me he got caught eating a package of crackers, and his sergeant punished him by making him eat another package, cellophane and all!

May River Theatre’s presentation of No Time for Sergeants won’t feature any cracker eating, but a warm and funny rendition of the story of country bumpkin William Stockdale who had an unlimited amount of common sense.

No Time for Sergeants is a 1954 best-selling novel by Mac Hyman, which was later adapted into a teleplay on The United States Steel Hour, by Ira Levin, starring Andy Griffith. An expanded version of the play, written by Ira Levin, opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre in 1955. Griffith reprised his role, and Don Knotts made his Broadway debut as Corporal Manual Dexterity. Griffith was nominated for a Tony for Best Featured Actor, and it ran for 796 performances, closing in 1957.

In 1958 Warmer Brothers released the movie version of the military play, and Griffith once again reprised his role along with Don Knotts and most of the original Broadway cast. In the fall of 1964, it debuted on television with Samuel Jackson in the leading role as Andy Griffith left to do his Andy Griffith Show. Not able to hold on to its own opposite the former No Time for Sergeants star, it was trounced in the ratings and only lasted one season.

The play chronicles the misadventures of a country bumpkin named Will Stockdale who is drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and assigned to the United States Army Air Forces. Hyman was in the Army Air Forces during World II when it was part of the U.S. Army.

Mark Erickson, a newcomer to the May River Theatre stage, will play the lead role of Will Stockdale. Other lead actors include Matt Dennis playing Ben Whitledge; Ron Ruckle, Sergeant King; Rob Tillison, Irvin Blanchard; Gary Ventimiglia, Pa Stockdale; Bill Andrusic, General Pollard and Vince Scott, General Bush.

The show is directed by Jim Kadra, who last directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Ron Ruckle is assistant director. The show is produced by the May River Theatre Company, Inc., written by Ira Levin and presented by special arrangement with of Dramatist Play Service, New York, NY.

No Time for Sergeants opens August 14 and will play three weekends through August 30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. All tickets are $25 and are available by calling the box office, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., (843) 815-5581.

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