The BUM Players basically came into being after and because of the dissolution of the old Brockport Community Players. The BUM Players original founder, Gary Thomas, a veteran of BCP, as well as the prestigious D’Agostino Lincoln Dinner Theater, wanted to continue to put his talents to use. Thomas was also a veteran of SUNY Brockport’s Theater Department. As a leader within the Brockport United Methodist Church, he found support to start a worship-drama group, the BUM (Brockport United Methodist) Players. From there, the group has grown into the only true community theater group left in Brockport. Along the way, many members have joined the fold from those now-defunct groups, including what is now a very strong basic core group.
Brief History of the BUM Players
1990: Birth of BUM Players; First drama performed during worship of Laity Sunday in October.
1991: Because of the success and enjoyment by the congregation of our first attempt, our second drama was performed in place of sermon for Palm Sunday. This became a “tradition” for the next seven years. In other words, we did two short dramas a year-one on Laity Sunday and one on Palm Sunday. Some of the more memorable dramas have been: “The Other Carpenter”, “The Sobbing Stone”, “The Floundering Church”, “The Trial of Jess Goodenough”, “Soldiers and Souls” and “The Key”.
1992: The first ideas of a dinner-theater fund-raising opportunity were explored. We discovered that our program was too young to be supported by enough people to make such a dream feasible at that time.
1997: A big year for the group! Because of a program entitled “Share Your Talents”, which was designed for all church members to share their particular gifts to help the church out of a bit of a financial crunch, our idea of a dinner-theater was resurrected in a scaled-down version as dessert-theater. We committed ourselves to building a stage in the Fellowship Hall, presenting a full-length comedy, and inviting the community. This served three main purposes: as outreach in bringing others into our church, as financial in allowing us to contribute to the “wish list” of church programming, and in allowing us a full outlet for our theatrical talents. The first play, “Scrambled Eggs”, was a huge success and led to this becoming an annual event. Subsequent plays have been: “Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick”, “The Meddlesome Maid”, “Look Who’s Laughing”, and “More Than Meets the Eye”. In April, 2002, the BUM Players presented Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple”. Also in 1997, during Laity Sunday, the BUM Players presented the “World Premier” of the original play written by Gary Thomas. Entitled “Soldiers and Souls”, it was about soldiers discovering God in the midst of the horrors of the Vietnam War.
1998: This year saw the growth of our “Drama Worship” from a couple times a year to the introduction of a more regular “mini-drama” (around 5 minute vignettes) as the introduction of the pastor’s sermon themes. The first occurrence of these was during our church-wide 50-Day Spiritual Adventure entitled “The Church You’ve Always Longed For”.
2001: This year has seen further changes in format. Pastor Theva’s desire to foster the promotion of small groups within the church has led to the BUM Players being made responsible for an entire service once every three months in which they will revert to their sermon-replacing dramas rather than their theme-introducing mini-dramas. This will likely produce challenges, but, with God’s help, challenges we look forward to conquering!
October, 2003: Enlisted by the Brockport Kiwanis Club to assist in a fundraiser for them by performing an audience-participation murder mystery titled “Murder, Maestro, Please”, by Penny Warner.
October, 2004: As an annual event, we again performed an audience-participation murder mystery fundraiser for the Brockport Kiwanis Club, but this one was written by the BUM Player’s own Gary Thomas and was titled “Mask Murder at Mack’s”. He has since written every one of the murder-mysteries.
April, 2008: “Plausible Deniability”. April 25 and 26. May 2 and 3. This was our first full-length comedy written by long-time member, David Hansen.
October, 2016: Our annual murder-mystery for Kiwanis moved from the Sweden Senior Center to our own Fellowship Hall, meaning both our annual comedy and the mystery will both be headquartered in our own church.
December, 2016: Founder Gary Thomas puts the finishing touches on yet another full-length two-act comedy, called “Tavern”, written by one of our members to be performed in April by the BUM Players.
THE BUM PLAYERS COMMUNITY THEATER PLAYS CHRONOLOGICALLY
|SEASON||YEAR||SPRING COMEDY||FALL MURDER MYSTERY|
|1||1996||Scrambled Eggs *|
|2||1997||Aaron Slick from
Punkin’ Crick *
|3||1998||The Meddlesome Maid *|
|4||2000||Look Who’s Laughing|
|5||2001||More Than Meets the Eye|
|6||2002||The Odd Couple|
|7||2003||The Madwoman of Chaillot||Murder, Maestro, Please **|
|8||2004||Breakfast in Bed||Mask Murder at Mack’s|
|9||2005||The Man in the Dog Suit||Death by Debate|
|10||2006||The Sunshine Boys||A Hole in One|
|11||2007||Dying for Laughs||Clean-up in Aisle 13|
|12||2008||Plausible Deniability ***||Incident at
Smith Street Bridge
|14||2010||The Butler Did It||Gone in a Flash|
|15||2011||The Oldtimers Game||Carnival of Murder|
|16||2012||Dear Delinquent||The Brockport
|17||2013||Duck Hunter Shoots Angel||Strange Brew with a
Side of Murder
|18||2014||God’s Favorite||Fallen Rock Zone|
|19||2015||A Point of Order||Lights! Action! Murder!|
|20||2016||An American Comedy||Moon, Mars, and Murder|
* Our first three comedies were in the fall. We switched to the spring in 2000.
**This is the only murder mystery NOT written by Gary “Turk” Thomas.
***Full-length comedy written by BUM Player David Hansen.