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By Donald V. Calamia
For decades, professional theater has flourished throughout pretty much every corner of Southeast Michigan - except for Detroit's east side and northeast suburbs. Until recently, Dennis Wickline Productions has had that market pretty much to itself since its inception 30 years ago. Located in Eastpointe at Broadway Onstage Live Theatre since 1994, the popular company is about to open its anniversary season with The Social Security Murders. Founder Dennis Wickline talked recently with EncoreMichigan.com about his company's history and what makes it unique among area professional theaters.
What is your theater's mission statement?
Our Mission is to present quality professional theatrical entertainment in an intimate setting, providing an avenue for actors, directors and artists to be paid for their craft. We are solely supported by ticket sales, and we have been doing it for 30 years!
What are your theater's short-term goals and objectives - such as for the current season?
To maintain our viability in a less-than-perfect economic climate.
What are your theater's long-term goals and objectives?
To keep producing quality theater for our audiences.
What makes your theater different from any of the others in Michigan? What is it about you that is unique?
Broadway Onstage is totally supported by ticket sales. We have to produce material that our audiences want to pay for to sustain ourselves.
What is your programming philosophy? What type(s) of shows does your theater produce on its main stage - and why?
Because we are solely supported by ticket sales, and have to produce material that our audiences want to pay for, we primarily produce mysteries and comedies. We have also presented the occasional drama, a couple of Shakespearean comedies, and several world premiere comedies by local authors.
What other types of programming, if any, does your theater offer - such as theater for young audiences, educational outreach, etc.?
Does your theater offer any classes or workshops - either to the general public or to industry professionals? If so, what are they?
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?
Our philosophy is to cast the best people available to do each production. We have an e-mail audition list of approximately 250 addresses of actors and actresses that have either auditioned for us or requested to be on the list. We also publicize the auditions on our Web site and in the local media.
How does an actor go about arranging an audition?
Our auditions are held twice a year for three productions each time. They are publicized on our Web site and in the local media and through an e-mail notice to our audition list.
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?
No, we don't.
Does your theater accept new play submissions? If so, how does a playwright go about submitting a script for your consideration?
We have. There have been a number of premieres at Broadway Onstage. We accept scripts by solicitation. In other words, the author needs to contact us via e-mail or snail mail with a brief description of the work. We will usually then ask to see a copy for perusal.
What else should we know about your theater, the current season, etc.?
This is the 30th Season for Dennis Wickline Productions, Inc. It is also the 17th for Broadway Onstage. The Social Security Murders is the 111th production there.
Theater name: Broadway Onstage Live Theatre
Business & performance address (including zip code): 21517 Kelly Rd., Eastpointe, MI 48021
Web address: www.broadwayonstage.com
Business office phone (including area code): 586-771-6333
Business office hours of operation: Our phone line is open 24/7.
Box office phone (including area code): 586-771-6333
Box office hours of operation: Our phone line is open 24/7. Our box office is open 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. for matinees) to show time on performance nights, which are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and an occasional Sunday at 2 p.m.
In what year was your theater established: Broadway Onstage opened in June 1994
Company's founders: Dennis and Olivia Wickline, Elynor Wickline, Molly Dodge, Shirley and Roger Shepard, Mickie Pizzimenti, Norman Colbourn, Robert Plociniak
Current leaders or management team: Dennis and Olivia Wickline
Is your theater a non-profit, tax-exempt organization? No
Is your theater wheelchair accessible? Yes
During which months of the year does your season run? July through May
How many main stage productions do you offer each season? Seven
How many OTHER productions or programs do you offer each season? None
How many seats does your theater have? 72
What type(s) of seating is offered to your patrons (ex: general admission, reserved, etc)? It is reserved seating.
In general, what is the price range for your non-discounted main stage tickets (exclusive of service charges and other fees)? $16
Are there service charges or other fees added to the price of the tickets? And if so, what are those charges and fees? No.
Do you offer subscriptions to your main stage season? Yes
Do you offer discounts to senior citizens (and if so, what are the details)? No
Do you offer discounts to students (and if so, what are the details)? No
Do you offer group discounts (and if so, what are the details)? Yes. Groups of 13 or more receive $1 off per ticket, or $15 each. Groups of 21 or more receive $2 off, or $14 each.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept personal checks? Yes.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept credit or debit cards? Yes.
Can tickets to your shows be purchased online - and if so, how? No.
ABOUT DENNIS WICKLINE:
Dennis Wickline is the producer of all shows at Broadway Onstage. He began producing theater in February 1980 at Stouffer's Eastland. This season is his 30th year of producing non-Equity professional theater in the Detroit Metropolitan area. He is the author of a number of plays and musicals, including The Nutcracker's Nuts.
Dennis Wickline Productions opens its 30th season with The Social Security Murders, Friday-Saturday July 23 - Aug. 21 at Broadway Onstage Live Theatre, 21517 Kelly Rd., Eastpointe. Tickets: $14 opening night; $16 all others. For information: 586-771-6333 or www.broadwayonstage.com.
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