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ROCHESTER - Metro Detroit will welcome its newest professional theater June 3 when Epicenter Theatre Group presents its inaugural production, Glengarry Glen Ross at The Varner Hall Studio Theatre on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester.
The enthusiasm, motivation, and determination behind the creation of Epicenter Theatre Group stems from 32-year-old Michigan manufacturing entrepreneur Marco Zaccagnini. Marco graduated from Oakland University's Department of Music, Theatre and Dance in 2006. Not unlike many Michigan residents, Marco made the most of his job opportunities and joined the family business to work alongside his brother, Tonino Zaccagnini. After Marco's five-year hiatus from theater - and working through one challenge after another in his personal and professional life - the dream of acting resurfaced and the motivation to capitalize on the dream of creating a theater company re-emerged.
Marco approached veteran thespian Bill Premin, now vice president and artistic director of Epicenter Theatre Group, and asked if this dream of beginning such a theater group could translate into reality. Premin instantly shared Marco's enthusiasm about the theater group, and Marco began researching and connecting with old contacts that would soon prove to be key to the success of Epicenter Theatre Group's creation.
Marco meticulously put together a board of eight like-minded, ultra-talented individuals that share the vision of creating a professional theater company that provides Michigan's top theatrical talent from all walks of life. The diverse group brings multiple perspectives and experiences to live theater, and they hope to tap into and provide opportunities for Michigan's underground theater community.
Stefan Mantyk, technical director and Epicenter board member, articulated that there is a considerable lack of opportunity in Michigan for professional quality theater, and he hopes to create more opportunities for talented individuals to take part in the upcoming projects that Epicenter Theatre Group has brewing on the burner.
Steven O’Brien, general manager and Epicenter board member, says that this particular group contains a certain mystique and professionalism that is unparalleled. Another board member and Epicenter Theatre Group's communications director, Marius Iliescu, will bring a unique Eastern European flair to Epicenter Theatre Group's productions. He hopes to connect with the audience by embracing powerful and sometimes socially unsettling classic plays.
Paul Jagoda, Epicenter Theatre Group's scenic design director, will bring a creativity and artistic vision that will make each set come alive by utilizing his extensive architectural background.
Altogether, the group is comprised of multi-faceted individuals, many of whom graduated from Oakland University. The members of Epicenter Theatre Group have joined forces to not only produce unequaled professional theatre, but to share proceeds from the group's endeavors to Oakland University's various programs of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.
Marco looks forward to the success of Epicenter Theatre Group, and in return, hopes to inspire current and future students of Oakland University to pursue an education and/or career in the performing arts. Marco also anticipates providing opportunities within his theater group for students currently involved in the performing arts program at Oakland University.
The diverse and talented Epicenter Theatre Group will live up to its potential and hype by showcasing a variety of plays, such as (but not limited to) Death of a Salesman, The Odd Couple, Noises Off, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Fantasticks. The theater-going public can also look forward to staged readings, improvisation, sketch comedy, various theater workshops, festivals of plays, children's and reader's theater.
Marco has carefully chosen Glengarry Glen Ross as Epicenter Theatre Group's flagship production to reflect on the current Michigan cut-throat job market and recent real estate crisis. Marco plays Richard Roma, who is a fast-talking epiphany of a conniving, ruthless salesman. He hopes that the audience will connect with the ferociousness and unwavering guerilla tactics Richard Roma uses to survive in a suffering real estate economy.
Marco will be accompanied by six other cast members trying to sell an American dream to reluctant buyers in an infinite struggle to keep their jobs.
Epicenter Theatre Group encourages people to come and experience this dark comedy and feel the tension and utter desperation of Glengarry Glen Ross's complex characters.
Glengarry Glen Ross, a play by David Mamet and produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, will be presented by Epicenter Theatre Group at The Varner Hall Studio Theatre, located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester. Performances are June 3 through June 12. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Marco and Epicenter Theatre Group would like to thank the following sponsors: J.Lauri Filmworks, EpoxyMaster, Oakland University, Michigan Movie Magazine and Pegasus Taverna of Greektown.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. To purchase tickets or make a donation, please visit www.epicentertheatregroup.org. You can also find Epicenter Theatre Group on Facebook and Twitter.