Plymouth Place has played host to a wide variety of activities and events over its 70 years.
But about 20 of the retirement community’s residents had a new kind of experience March 15-16 when an episode a TV show being pitched to various cable networks and other outlets filmed an episode at the LaGrange Park location.
“Family Values: The Series” is a comedic look at members of a dysfunctional family forced through circumstances to live together.
Kendyl Lynch, a 17-year-old Clarendon Hills resident, has a lead role of Annie Peterson, one of the three children of a mother, Maggie, who is forced to move back with her kids to her old town after her husband abandons them. Her retired parents offer their house, which they no longer live in, but the deal includes living with Maggie’s older, gay brother, Matt, who also has been having some bad luck.
The first five episodes of “Family Values: The Series” were shot in the Chicago area, including the recent filming at Plymouth Place.
“I wanted to reach out to the seniors at Plymouth Place, and they have an in-house drama group there,” said Jayson Bernard, who plays Matt and is the show’s executive director. “It was amazing working at Plymouth Place. They were so accommodating; everything worked out very well.”
Bernard took advantage of Plymouth Place’s senior residents by using about 15 as extras and another handful to fill small parts in the episode, which is about Lynch’s character, Annie, being in a beauty pageant.
Richard Best, a longtime La Grange resident who moved into Plymouth Place seven years ago, heads an in-house drama reading group and had a small role in the filmed episode.
“I just show a lot of reaction and emotions,” Best said. “I acted like one of the contestants in the beauty contest is flirting with me. It was a very different experience, and it was a lot of fun. It was very exciting for us to have this experience; everyone laughed quite a bit.”
Lynch initially auditioned for a lesser role in “Family Values: The Series,” but was asked to take a lead role.
“It was really exciting to have that opportunity, and it’s been so much fun working on this show,” the Hinsdale Central senior said. “I really didn’t know anything about the show at first, but it sounded fun and interesting, and it has been a lot of fun. It’s a very funny show.”
Lynch said her character in the show has a life goal of being Miss America.
“I’ve never done any beauty pageants before, but it was a lot of fun doing that episode,” she said. “I can relate as a teenager to Annie because teenage girls are dramatic, but she’s a very different type of personality than I am.”
The five episodes already shot make for one half of the first season of “Family Values: The Series,” Bernard said.
“We’re trying to sell the show, and we’ll do the remaining five episodes of the first season if it gets picked up,” he said. “We do have some interest in it.”
Lynch said she is very hopeful that the show gets picked up and continues.
“I’d be very sad if nothing were to happen with it, but it’s been a wonderful experience for me,” she said. “I’m really proud of the cast, and I love the connections I’ve made.”