By BERNIE BELLAN Over the years it’s been a pleasure for me to follow the careers of the talented Frohlinger kids: Alex, Joey, and Becky.
While Joey is no longer performing – after having been active in venues such as Rainbow Stage while he was still living in Winnipeg, he’s now gone on to a successful career in software engineering in Seattle.
Meanwhile, Alex, whose name and picture has graced our pages many times over the years, spends most of her days on the road performing in plays and musicals. (Currently, by the way, Alex is in Philadelphia performing, according to younger sister Becky.)
As for Becky, it was only a little more than a year ago that she co-starred in the very successful WJT production of “Dear Jack, Dear Louise,” in which she played a young woman who carried on a very long wartime correspondence with a man she had never met, but whom she ultimately married.
Now 28, Becky has been performing one way or another ever since she was a young girl. She tells me that she actually attended Gray Academy from kindergarten through Grade 12, but along the way she earned the opportunity to perform in a variety of productions, including at Rainbow Stage, also appearing with both her siblings in a community production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Rady JCC under the direction of Cheryl Bordy (whose husband, Hal, was the executive director of the Rady JCC at the time).
Every once in a while Becky is able to combine the pleasure of returning to her childhood home here in Winnipeg at the same time that she has an acting gig here.
“It’s great to be able to sleep in the same bed I had growing up,” she remarks.
This month Becky will be part of an eight-person ensemble in the Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s production of “A Charlie Brown Double Bill.”
The first indoor holiday show at MTYP since 2019, “Charlie Brown” actually combines parts of two different shows in a one and a half hour show. Many readers are probably familiar with the play, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” but even if you haven’t seen that show, anyone who was born prior to 1965 has likely seen what is now considered one of the all-time Christmas classics, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” featuring music by the late, great Vince Guraldi.
Becky will be playing the character of Lucy Van Pelt in the MTYP show. Over the years though, she’s played a great variety of roles, including stints with the aforementioned Rainbow Stage, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (where she also appeared in a production of “A Way to Heaven.”)
Although “Charlie Brown” is geared toward children age five and up, Becky says it’s a show the whole family would enjoy. The show runs until Dec. 23, so there’s plenty of opportunity to take it in.
When not performing, Becky lives in Toronto where she says she keeps in touch with a circle of friends who all hail from Winnipeg. For a year and a half, in fact, her roommate was another ex-Winnipegger, Meital Kraut, daughter of Karla Berbrayer and Dr. Allan Kraut.
But a performer’s life is a peripatetic one. I asked Becky to give me a rundown of some of her more recent acting jobs – in addition to her performance her in August 2021 in “Dear Jack, Dear Louise.”
Just this past year – in January and February, then again over the summer, Becky performed in two different venues – in Prince George and in Chemainus (which Becky explained to me is a town on Vancouver Island) in a play called “Glory,” which is based on the true story of a Canadian women’s hockey team in the 1930s and 40s.
In that play Becky played the part of a “Jewish girl,” she says. Given that the play is set in a time when anti-Semitism was rampant, Becky notes that the character she played had to deal with an issue that rang home for her. As part of the play characters also had to learn to move like hockey players. Apparently the choreography was so well done that hockey players, including former NHL great Richard Brodeur (known as “King Richard” when he played for the Vancouver Canucks), congratulated the cast members on how well they captured the movements of hockey players.
In between those two gigs, Becky also worked as a dance captain and ensemble for a Kamloops production of “The Wizard of Oz”, where she also served as understudy to the Wicked Witch.
As busy as she is, I asked Becky whether she ever thinks of trying to expand her career beyond the Canadian border? “I feel totally fulfilled here, but of course I will go wherever the work takes me.” she answers.
Of course a performer’s life is filled with uncertainties – not knowing very far in advance where your next job will take you. Becky says she’s very lucky to have been able to return to Winnipeg several times over the past few years to appear in a number of different productions.
As she says, “You can leave Winnipeg, but Winnipeg doesn’t leave you.”