FARMINGTON — An upcoming community theater production examines the afterlife and how each person is judged.

Theater Ensemble Arts is presenting Mitch Albom's "And the Winner Is" starting at 7:30 p.m. today at the Taurano-Chrisman Performing Arts Center at Piedra Vista High School.

The community theater group puts on three plays each season. This season started in October with Neil Simon's "California Suite" and continued in February with Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love."

"And the Winner Is" tells the story of Tyler Johnes, an actor who is nominated for an Oscar but dies the night before the ceremony.

Johnes bargains with the afterlife's gatekeeper to return to Earth for the awards ceremony.

Seamus, played by Mike Linkous, and Serenity, played by Lauren McNealy, rehearse a scene on Wednesday for "And The Winner Is" at Piedra Vista
Seamus, played by Mike Linkous, and Serenity, played by Lauren McNealy, rehearse a scene on Wednesday for "And The Winner Is" at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

"It's a play about redemption," said Krista Draper, who is directing the play.

She cautioned it is not a play for young children, as Johnes often swears and there are sexual innuendos.

Draper, who has a master's degree in theater, has acted with the ensemble for about 15 years. She said her favorite part of the production was teaching "a whole bunch of new people about theater."

One of the great things about live theater, she said, is there aren't retakes.

In his mission to attend the awards, Johnes pulls his agent, his acting rival, his bombshell girlfriend and his ex-wife into his journey.

Amber Jacquez stars as Johnes' ex-wife, a witty woman with an attitude.

"She goes through all these emotions during the play," Jacquez said.

She said portraying her character's wife range of emotions is the most challenging part of the role.

She is joined on stage by Rylee Thomas, who plays Johnes' rival.

"He's a lot like myself," Thomas said. "My friends like to describe me as cocky."

IF YOU GO

What: “And the Winner Is”

When: 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Taurano-Chrisman Performing Arts Center at Piedra Vista High School, 5700 College Blvd., Farmington

Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.