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Travis Walter is Meadow Brook Theatre's interim artistic director.
By Donald V. Calamia
What is your theater's mission statement?
The Theatre Ensemble Inc., d/b/a Meadow Brook Theatre, is dedicated to creating opportunities for artists and patrons of the arts to participate in live theatrical productions of the highest quality through a variety of professionally produced events.
What are your theater's short-term goals and objectives - such as for the current season?
The short-term objectives for Meadow Brook Theatre are to continue to producing Broadway quality shows at an affordable price for the community and to cultivate the audience so that it grasps many different generations all enjoying theatre together.
What are your theater's long-term goals and objectives?
Long-term objectives for Meadow Brook Theatre include building the audience base, striving always to produce the best quality of shows and really listening to the audience so that all the many different tastes can be found in one season.
What makes your theater different from any of the others in Michigan? What is it about you that is unique?
We are Michigan's only LORT theater (which stands for the League of Resident Theatres, the largest professional theater association of its kind in the United States), and we are on the campus of Oakland University.
Also, our proscenium house allows us to produce larger shows than most.
We also have a very loyal patron base. Many people have been coming since the first season in 1966.
What is your programming philosophy? What type(s) of shows does your theater produce on its main stage - and why?
In the past years, we have tried to mainly produce newer pieces. We want to listen to our audience and give them what they want. However, we also want to show them that a lot of what they like can be compared to what is being produced on Broadway now.
This year we have one world premiere, three Michigan premieres and one Michigan professional premiere. We want to show our patrons that an experience at MBT is a unique one that they can not get anywhere else in Michigan.
What other types of programming, if any, does your theater offer - such as theater for young audiences, educational outreach, etc.?
We have a Children's Series of approximately three shows per year. The shows remaining in the Children's Series are:
This year we will also have a Summer Concert Series:
We also produce a Shakespeare outreach tour. This year it is a production of The Tempest.
Does your theater offer any classes or workshops - either to the general public or to industry professionals? If so, what are they?
We don't have any classes or workshops at this time. However we do rent our space to the Peanut Gallery Players, a non-profit children's theater company that teaches classes and puts on a production at MBT. Information about Peanut Gallery Players can be found at www.peanutgalleryplayers.org.
Is your theater an Equity (union) company?
What is the philosophy you use to cast your shows? From what talent pool(s) do you draw from?
We draw from the local talent pool, but also have a lot of people who come in from out of town to audition.
Our philosophy is always "best person for the role," and I firmly believe in the audition process.
How a person performs at an audition is key. I don't care how many times I've seen them onstage, if they can't prove to me that they are better than someone else at auditions, then I have to go with someone else.
How does an actor go about arranging an audition?
We have general auditions in May/June. All shows are cast from the talent pool that shows up at these auditions.
Does your theater offer an apprenticeship or internship program? And if so, what is the criteria - and how does someone apply for such a position?
We do have an internship program. This year we have seven interns in various fields from production to administration to acting.
Internships will be posted on our Web site, as well as www.backstagejobs.com.
You can send resumes and letters of interest to:
Meadow Brook Theatre
Attn: Sarah Warren, production manager
207 Wilson Hall
Rochester, MI 48309
Does your theater accept new play submissions? If so, how does a playwright go about submitting a script for your consideration?
We accept new play submissions for consideration. Please send to:
Meadow Brook Theatre
Travis Walter, interim artistic director
207 Wilson Hall
Rochester, MI 48309
What else should we know about your theater, the current season, etc.?
The current season includes the Michigan premieres of the hilarious 2008 Tony Award winning comedy Boeing-Boeing and the psychological off-Broadway thriller Mindgame, as well as the new musical Breaking up is Hard to Do featuring the music of Neil Sedaka. There truly is something for everyone this season. The rest of the season is as follows:
Theater name: Meadow Brook Theatre
Business & performance address (including zip code): 207 Wilson Hall, Rochester, MI 48309
Web address: www.mbtheatre.com
Blog address: www.meadowbrooktheatre.wordpress.com
Facebook fan page: Search for Meadow Brook Theatre
Twitter name: mbtheatre
Business office phone (including area code): 248-377-3300
Business office hours of operation: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon on performance days
Box office phone (including area code): 248-377-3300
Box office hours of operation: - Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon on performance days
In what year was your theater established: 1966
Company's founders: John Fernald
Current leaders or management team: Travis Walter, interim artistic director; Cheryl Marshall, managing director; Terry Carpenter, associate director
Is your theater a non-profit, tax-exempt organization? Yes
Is your theater wheelchair accessible? Yes
During which months of the year does your season run? October - May
How many main stage productions do you offer each season? Five in the main season
How many OTHER productions or programs do you offer each season? We have been producing A Christmas Carol every year for 28 years. This annual holiday treat is still everyone's favorite family tradition. This year it runs from Nov. 21 - Dec. 20
We also now have a Children's Series and a Summer Concert Series.
How many seats does your theater have? 584
What type(s) of seating is offered to your patrons (ex: general admission, reserved, etc)? Reserved
In general, what is the price range for your non-discounted main stage tickets (exclusive of service charges and other fees)? Tickets range from $24 - $39 depending on date and time of performance for the regular season.
A Christmas Carol tickets run from $25 - $40
Are there service charges or other fees added to the price of the tickets? And if so, what are those charges and fees? There is one $5 handling charge per order (not per ticket).
In general, what is the price range for your OTHER programs and services? Children's Series is $15 per ticket.
Summer Concert Series is $20 per ticket or $60 for all four concerts.
Do you offer subscriptions to your main stage season? Yes. Season subscriptions are available.
Do you offer discounts to senior citizens (and if so, what are the details)? Senior discounts are available for patrons age 62 or older. The discount rate is 20 percent off the regular price. This discount is not valid for A Christmas Carol.
Do you offer discounts to students (and if so, what are the details)? We offer discounts to students in person at the Box Office with a valid student ID.
The discount is 20 percent off two tickets in advance or $10 per ticket on the day of the show. (limit 2 per ID)
Do you offer group discounts (and if so, what are the details)? Discounts are available to groups of eight or more. The group rate is $5 off per ticket, and for every 15 tickets you buy you get one free.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept personal checks? Yes.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept credit or debit cards? Yes. We accept Visa and Mastercard
ABOUT TRAVIS WALTER:
Travis Walter is an Oakland University alumnus who graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts. Since that time he has been seen onstage at many professional Michigan theaters, including Meadow Brook Theatre and The BoarsHead Theater. After a five-year run of playing Scrooge's Nephew Fred in MBT’s annual holiday classic A Christmas Carol, Travis became a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association and has professionally stage managed at MBT and The Williamston Theatre. Travis created, directed and produced the musical Hey There, Good Times: A Tribute to Cy Coleman in 2001 at Oakland University's Lab Theatre. His play The Pendergrass Fortune or Liars and Moneygrubbers was a featured production of MBT's 2003 Edge of the Brook series and received critical acclaim. His drama Borrowed Heaven, which deals with the serious needs of a family coping with death and alcoholism, was presented at the first annual Michigan Theatre Festival and is currently in negotiations for a full staging. Travis has been involved in several outreach tours, including MBT's A Midsummer Night's Dream tour and The BoarsHead's Get a Handle on your Mitten Tour (a Michigan History showcase). Travis directed Murder by Poe and Beyond the Rainbow last season at MBT.
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