Opening the new season at Society Hill Playhouse and playing through Dec. 7 is Til Divorce Do Us Part — The Musical.
It is the true story of a Broadway producer’s wife who is suddenly deserted by her husband after decades of marriage.
Determined to celebrate a new chapter in her life, she turns to her friends who sing, dance and laugh their way through the effects of divorce and into self-discovery, especially her two best friends, Audrey and Suzi.
Actor, director, singer, theater arts educator and sometime model Michelle Pauls plays Suzi.
“Audrey and I sort of think of ourselves as her muses, guiding our good friend on her journey through song and dance, most of it tongue-in-cheek but with a message, which is to rely on your friends to help you through the hard times,” Pauls explained.
Originally from Allentown, Pauls admitted she came to Philly because of an ex-boyfriend.
“I followed him here, and because he was an actor, I decided to study acting, too, eventually getting my B.A. in communications and theater from Penn State.”
But even after their relationship dissolved, Pauls said she was hooked.
“First, I was just doing the whole thing as a lark. I really wasn’t serious. But after the breakup, I began to feel empowered by my abilities, much like the character in this play.”
And, much like the main character in the play, Pauls did succeed, first starting the Walking Fish Theater with her husband, Stan Heleva, and acting in many of the productions there, as well as conceiving, co-writing and directing many of the theater’s original productions.
She also created and was head teaching artist of the storytelling performance outreach program Of Mythic Proportions, which won the Barrymore Award for Educational Excellence and Community Service in 2010. She’s also been featured on TV, and appeared in many local theater productions.
When available, Pauls can also be seen on QVC.
“I’m not sure what I prefer doing,” she said. “But I do know that part of my mission is to continue to work with talented people who help me grow creatively, which is what I’m doing now by appearing in this show. Everyone is extremely talented, which helps me as a performer.”
Pauls is also a company member of Bright Invention — The White Pines Ensemble, a new, long-form improvisation company that performs in Elkins Park and Center City.
“For me, the best part of what I do today is being able to make choices as to the direction of my work,”she explained. “I love the idea of being able to create work that many of us will benefit from.” ••
For times and ticket information, call 215–923–0210.