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Meadow Brook Theatre 50th anniversary benefit with special guest

Article:9754; Posted: May 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

Meadow Brook Theatre will host Tommy James and The Shondells on July 18, 2015 for the Theatre’s fundraising event "Black Tie on the Blacktop." The event includes a pre-glow reception, strolling dinner one-night-only concert with the band, silent--and live auction sponsored by The Village of Rochester Hills; featuring a fender guitar, provided by Limelight Music, Rochester Hills and signed by Tommy James!

The fundraiser will kick-off Meadow Brook Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebration and all proceeds will benefit the theatre. Tommy James and the Shondells will be performing such hits as "Crimson And Clover,""Mony Mony,""Hanky Panky,""Crystal Blue Persuasion,""I Think We're Alone Now," And "Draggin' The Line."

Audiences can enjoy a pre-concert reception beginning at 6:00 PM with strolling dinner by Applebee's, BD's Mongolian BBQ, Better Made, Busch's Market, Buddy's Pizza, Coldstone Creamery, Cottage Inn Pizza, Don's Backyard BBQ, Fieldstone Vista Grille & Catering, Lelli's of Auburn Hills, On The Boarder, Whole Foods, BRAVO!, Kona Grill, Victoria's Delights, Lafayette Market, Ridley's Bakery and Café, Mitchell's Fish Market, Better Made, Busch's Market and cocktails by Manny's Liquor & Fine Wine! The pre-glow will also include a silent auction and a car show.

Attire for the event is black-tie creative–flip flops and cocktail dresses, tuxedo t-shirts, sneakers or keep it classic--the choice is yours!

Tommy James & The Shondells will perform at 8:00, Saturday, July 18. The event will be at Meadow Brook Theatre, 207 Wilson Hall, Rochester, MI 48309. Tickets Range from $85 to $125, with sponsorship opportunities still available. All proceeds benefit the theatre. Tickets can be purchased by calling 248-377-3300, online at or in person at the Meadow Brook Theater box office.

Sponsors of the event include the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild, Lincoln of Troy, LeConte Fine Men's Apparel, AMI, Automated Media, Inc., Michelle’s Bio-Tech Linen Services, Tim & Mary Caughlin, Callahan Muffler & Brake, Crittenton Hospital and Medical Service, Gary & Nancy Greve, Holly Powell & Gus Kott, Hall & Hunter Realtors, Huntington Ford, Cheryl and Larry Marshall, Ron & Theresa Meegan, Ann V. Nicholson, David Peven; Meadow Brook Insurance, Ramco-Gershenson, Inc., Skinnovations; Rochester, The Village of Rochester Hills, and Dr. Nancy Warren & Ronald Zimmerman.

Meadow Brook Theatre, a 501(c)3 organization, which relies on philanthropy, is located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. For sponsorship information, or more information about this event or MBT please visit or call 248-377-3300.


Tipping Point annouces 9th season lineup

Article:9752; Posted: May 29, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.; updated May 29, 2015 at 3:02 p.m.

Tipping Point Theatre entertained over 12,000 people last year alone and over 95,000 since opening their doors in 2007. Their Northville and Metro Detroit patrons have enjoyed 40 shows, during 225 weeks for a total of over 1,100 performances.

The theater's ninth season has a lineup of plays filled with strange bedfellows and unexpected alliances, so their audiences get to watch the fun up-close and personal as the characters search for common ground and maybe discover how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

"The Foursome" by Norm Foster (September 17--October 25, 2015). From the playwright of "The Love List" and "Looking" comes a comedy about four old school friends, home for a reunion, playing a round of golf. At each tee they catch up on what has happened in their lives since the old college days. A family man, a con artist, a millionaire, and a TV ad salesman, the friends--at least they were back then--discover that their lives have taken them in very different directions.

The Michigan premiere of "Kalamazoo" by Michelle Kholos Brooks & Kelly Younger (November 19--December 20, 2015, with a New Year's Eve event Dec. 31). In this love story, two mismatched seniors are forced into internet dating by their children. But after their crazy, margarita-filled first date, they discover love isn’t any easier the second time around. A co-production with Jet Theatre.

"The Odd Couple" (Female Version) by Neil Simon (January 28--February 28, 2016). Unger and Madison are at it again in Neil Simon’s famous update of his contemporary comic classic! Slobbish and easygoing Olive Madison has invited the girls over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit. But when uptight, neat freak Florence Ungar shows up, who has just been separated from her husband, the game is over before it gets started. The pair ultimately decide to room together, but Olive’s simmering frustration with Florence’s passive-aggressive dithering comes to a full boil when two single brothers from upstairs join the mix.

"Rounding Third" by Richard Dresser (March 31--May 8, 2016). A tumultuous, hilarious journey of two Little League coaches through an entire season, from their first tentative meeting to the climactic championship game. Don is the tough, blue-collar, win-at-all-costs veteran coach whose son is the star pitcher. Michael is a newcomer to baseball, who believes that the job of the coach is to make sure everyone has fun. Don thinks they should be teaching the kids how to win. Out of conflicting philosophies on competition, character, and punctuality, the real issues of the play emerge: How should we raise our children? Do we protect our children as long as possible? Or do we prepare them to be tough enough to win? A co-production with Williamston Theatre.

The Michigan premiere of "Stella and Lou" by Bruce Graham (June 2--June 26, 2016). On a quiet night at Lou’s bar, two kindred spirits navigate changing times and past relationships. Lou is just about to close up his bar for the night when Stella walks in. Stella, a divorced emergency room nurse has just returned from visiting her new grandchild in Florida, and reveals an unexpected surprise and an even more startling suggestion to her friend. Despite their differing ideas of romance, deep down they know that they need each other. But can Stella convince Lou that he is enough to keep her from moving away? Or will Lou’s inability to move forward further complicate their relationship? Stella and Lou is an intimate exploration of friendship, forgiveness, and the longing for companionship that grows with the passage of time.

The Michigan premiere of "American Wee-Pie" by Lisa Dillman (July 21--August 21, 2016). Meet Zed, a middle-aged textbook editor who finds himself back in his sleepy, Midwestern hometown of Gardensend to tidy up his deceased mother’s affairs. On his way to his Mother’s house, he inadvertently steps into oncoming traffic. He’s pulled from harm’s way by Linz, a long ago forgotten high school classmate. This chance encounter makes him re-think his big city job, setting him off on a culinary and personal journey. He agrees to join her and French baker husband, Pableau, in their gourmet cupcake emporium, where he finds a sweet victory in a second chance at life.

Tipping Point Theatre performances begin at 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with matinees at 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. We will also offer one special Wednesday matinee for each of our six productions. Ticket prices range from $26 to $33.

TPT is located at 361 E. Cady Street, in downtown Northville, Michigan just one block off of Main St. Founded in 2007, we are a not-for-profit, professional live theatre company, dedicated to producing plays that excite, enlighten and enrich audiences. Our mission is to foster human interactions and relations, creating a unifying, yet personal experience through affordable, professional theatre performances and community outreach. For more information, visit their website at


Purple Rose announces 2015-2016 season--its 25th

Article:9747; Posted: May 29, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

The Purple Rose Theatre Company (PRTC) announces its 2015 / 2016, 25th Anniversary season, which will feature a world premiere play by Purple Rose founder, Emmy Award- winning actor & award-winning playwright, Jeff Daniels, a world premiere by PRTC associate artist, Matt Letscher, and a Purple Rose take on two beloved classic comedies.

The theatre company’s 25th professional season will include: "The Casting Session" by Jeff Daniels, "The Odd Couple" by Neil Simon, "Gaps in the Fossil Record" by Matt Letscher, and "Morning’s At Seven" by Paul Osborn.

Eight low-priced previews will begin each run, followed by press opening night during the second week of each engagement. Regular performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday matinees at 3:00 p.m. with added performance dates to be announced. All performances will be held at The Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, Chelsea, Michigan 48118.

Frank and Ron are two middle-aged actors who have been competing for the same roles in New York City and beyond for thirty years. Join us for this hilarious world premiere comedy by Jeff Daniels that explores the lengths to which actors will go to get the part. "The Casting Session" will hold a fourteen-week engagement from Thursday, September 17 to Saturday, December 19, 2015. Directed by PRTC artistic director Guy Sanville, the cast includes David Daoust (Lansing, MI), Tom Whalen (Royal Oak, MI), and Erika Matchie Thiede (Chelsea, MI). "The Casting Session" contains adult language.

Two suddenly single pals--a sloppy sportswriter and a neat freak news writer--strain their friendship by turning roommates, but patterns of their own disastrous marriages begin to reappear with hilarious results. Neil Simon’s beloved classic, "The Odd Couple," will run for ten weeks from Thursday, January 21 through Saturday, March 26, 2016. Directed by PRTC resident artist Lauren Knox, the cast will feature David Bendena (Chelsea, MI), Chris Lutkin (Dearborn, MI), David Montee (Traverse City, MI), Michelle Mountain (Grass Lake, MI), Jim Porterfield (Northville, MI), Rhiannon Ragland (Gregory, MI), Guy Sanville (Chelsea, MI), and Tom Whalen (Royal Oak, MI).

When Jane brings home the much older, soon-to-be father of her unborn child, Mom thinks that she’s kidding. What starts as a practical joke turns into a thoughtful exploration of what it is that we pass down through the generations. Is it more than just DNA? "Gaps in the Fossil Record" by Matt Letscher will hold a seven-week engagement from Thursday, April 14 through Saturday, May 28, 2016. Directed by PRTC artistic director Guy Sanville, the cast of "Gaps in the Fossil Record" will be announced at a later time. This play contains adult " Morning’s At Seven" is the story of an extended family living in close proximity, anchored by four aging sisters, Cora, Arry, Esther and Ida. They’re ensconced in a familiar dysfunctionality suspended in place by decades of secrets and deceptions. Join us for this hilarious, classic comedy about the joys and frustrations that every close family knows only too well. "Morning’s At Seven" by Paul Osborn will run for twelve weeks from Thursday, June 16 through Saturday, September 3, 2016. Directed by PRTC resident artist Michelle Mountain, the cast will feature Ruth Crawford (Ann Arbor, MI), Susan Craves (Clarkston, MI), David Daoust (Lansing, MI), Priscilla Lindsay (Ann Arbor, MI), Hugh Maguire (Ann Arbor, MI), Laural Merlington (Grand Rapids, MI), Rusty Mewha (Plymouth, MI), Rhiannon Ragland (Gregory, MI), and Tom Whalen (Royal Oak, MI).

Founded in 1991 by actor and Chelsea native, Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose Theatre Company is the home of world-class, original American theatre. The PRTC is a professional theatre company with roots in the Midwest that takes a handcrafted, artisanal approach to producing new and classic American plays that are nothing less than one-of-a-kind experiences. The PRTC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional theatre operating under a Small Professional Theatre agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association.

Tickets for groups of 12 or more are available for purchase starting July 13, 2015. PRTC donors of $250.00+ can purchase tickets approximately 2 months before each show opens with tickets going on sale to the general public two weeks later. Ticket prices range from $12.00 - $43.00 and reservations can be made by calling The Purple Rose Theatre Company Box Office at (734) 433-7673 or online at


A year makes big difference to Ann Arbor's Performance Network

by David Kiley

Article:9745; Posted: May 29, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

A little more than a year ago, the Performance Network in Ann Arbor, a much loved theater venue, suspended operations amidst a production of "Richard III," removed the staff and announced a $250,000 deficit. What a difference a year can make.

The PN’s board this week, as it winds up a solid season, released an open letter, updating its fiscal condition, its plans, reviewed the improvements it has made in operations, but also renewed its urgency for community support.

“The challenges faced by the Board of Directors and the new management team are indeed deep-seated and have left an indelible mark on the Network's financial situation,” said PN Board president, Ron Maurer. “We are working hard to rise above the circumstances making great strides towards recovery and forging ahead,” he added.

“Unquestionably, however, the Network needs continued and increased financial support from you, the community, to make your theater a long term success,” said the open letter.

In the past year since the financial debacle hit the theater, new management has worked hard to utilize the space better and more often to bring in additional ticket revenue. According to Maurer, about half the theater’s budget is met through ticket revenue and 50% through donations and corporate support.

PN is concluding a very strong season during which it produced “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Stones In His Pockets,” “Salvage,” “Yellowman,” “Gift of the Magi,” and “This Wonderful Life.” In addition, it has had concerts, poetry slams and open-mic nights. The venue had 150 active nights in its first 250 days after being re-organized under the management of John Manfredi and Suzi Regan.

While Performance Network is back on its feet, its future remains a bit uncertain. It has a lease on its Ann Arbor space under extremely favorable terms, but that ends in 2020 when the building’s owner will likely raise the rent. Ann Arbor’s downtown real estate values have been surging with several buildings recently selling for big dollars. In fact, Ann Arbor as a whole is one of the top six fastest growing real estate markets in the U.S. Appreciating real estate values and improved economy are good for theater business, but not so good for theater rents.

Since the Performance Network hit its financial wall a year ago, two new theaters have opened up in Ann Arbor—Theatre Nova, founded by former PN artistic staffer Carla Milarch, and Kickshaw Theatre, founded by Julia Glander and Lynn Lammers. It’s getting crowded in Ann Arbor for theatre supporters and donors.

For now, though, enjoy the riches of lots of good theatre, and hope there is room for everyone.

Read Performance Network's open letter.


Van Singel Fine Arts Center 2015-2016 season will include "Driving Miss Daisy"

Article:9742; Posted: May 27, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

On Thursday, March 31, 2016, the Van Singel Arts Center will present "Driving Miss Daisy"

Clarence Gilyard, from “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Matlock,” and Sheree J. Wilson, from “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Dallas,” star in this 1988 Pulitzer Prize and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning play.

This much loved play is a warm-hearted, humorous and affecting study of the unlikely relationship between an aging, crotchety white Southern lady, and a proud, soft-spoken black man. With race relations in the news almost daily these days, this masterpiece of a play becomes ever more poignant.

Tickets for "Driving Miss Daisy" are $42.50 for adults, and $22.50 for students. To reserve seats, visit the Van Singel Fine Arts Center box office Monday through Friday, 12 pm to 5 pm, or call 616.878.6800. The Van Singel Box Office Summer hours June 11 through August 29, will be Monday through Wednesday only, 12 noon – 5pm. The Van Singel Fine Arts Center will be closed June 25 through July 12, 2015.

Only12 minutes south of Grand Rapids, the Van Singel Fine Arts Center,is located at 84th & Burlingame SW, just 1.5 miles west of US-131 in Byron Center. The venue is at the east end of the Byron Center High School complex. For more information go on-line to


"Clybourne Park" at Two Muses will spark debate on race issues

Article:9734; Posted: May 27, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

"Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play sure to stimulate much debate on social issues past and present. It plays at Two Muses Theatre in West Bloomfield from June 5 through June 21.

The provocative play deals with race, real estate, and the volatile state of each, now and in the past. It draws fascinating parallels between the two acts that are set 50 years apart, and one ensemble of actors plays two sets of characters. Act One is set in 1959 as nervous neighbors try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two takes place in the same house, but in present day, and the predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification. The Pulitzer Prize jury described Clybourne Park as "a powerful work whose memorable characters speak in witty and perceptive ways to America's sometimes toxic struggle with race and class consciousness."

On Sunday June 7th, Two Muses Theatre will host a talkback following the matinee of Clybourne Park to allow audiences the opportunity to discuss the parallels between the gentrification and racial issues explored in the play and the gentrification and racial issues experienced by Detroiters and Michiganders at large. The panel will feature local artists and activists who will share their own thoughts and reflections as well as foster conversation for the audience to share their own ideas.

Performances run weekends, June 5-21 on Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. General admission advance tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students and senior citizens (62+) or $2 more at the door. Discounted advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 248-850-9919 during box office hours, Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm.


Date announced for The 2015 Wilde Awards: Aug. 31

Article:9726; Posted: May 21, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.; updated May 26, 2015 at 7:58 a.m.

The 14th annual Wilde Awards will return to its pre-Labor Day roots when Michigan’s professional theater industry comes together Aug. 31 at The Berman Center for the Performing Arts in West Bloomfield to celebrate the best performances, technical achievements and productions of the 2014-15 season.

Presented by, a web-based media company owned by New Roads Media, The Wilde Awards are the Mitten State’s only state-wide media-sponsored professional theater awards.

The ceremony’s move back to late August is the direct result of feedback received from throughout the community, said co-creator and producer Donald V. Calamia. “Last year, we moved the show to September and changed the review season to August through July, which made sense when we were owned by the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance and were operating under a different financial model,” Calamia said. “What we didn’t fully consider was the timing of the ceremony and how a mid or late September date would be in conflict with so many shows scheduled to open pretty much at the same time.

Attendance at last year’s ceremony was down considerably from previous years, Calamia noted, as several theaters scheduled rehearsals or technical runs that night. “And that meant that many people--including numerous nominees--couldn’t be with us. And since our goal is to bring the community together that night and not find ways to prevent them from attending, we listened to the feedback and decided to return the ceremony to its traditional slot.”

What’s also changed, again, is the review season. “For the first 12 years of The Wilde Awards, we based our nominations and awards on shows our critics reviewed from mid-May to Mid-May,” Calamia said. “For last year’s awards, when we decided to move the date of the ceremony to September, we also changed the season from August to July, which is pretty close to a traditional theater season. But that caused an interesting dilemma for us: Because the prior season ended in mid-May and the new season began in August, that meant we had to extend the review season from 12 to 14 months to make sure we included shows produced in the otherwise-orphaned June and July of 2013. And the result was that the summer theaters competed against themselves across two different seasons.”

This year, however, the problem is just the opposite. “For this year’s awards and from this point forward, our review season is June through May,” Calamia said. “But since June and July of 2014 were included with last year’s awards, nominations this year will include the months of August 2014 through May 2015 only, which means the summer theaters that had all of their shows reviewed last year in June or July won’t have any shows considered for an award this year.”

It’s not a perfect solution, Calamia, noted. “But it allows us to make a one-time re-adjustment to get us back on track for the future. And we’ve been doing a lot of thinking how we can acknowledge the affected summer theaters so they aren’t totally left out of the awards. We’re open to suggestions!”

The confusion of the past couple of years will end when the new review season starts June 1, Calamia said. “That’s when, for the first time in a couple of years, the season will run a full 12 months. And it will stay June through May for many years to come.”

What won’t change, said executive producer and EncoreMichigan publisher and editor-in-chief David Kiley, is The Wilde Awards’ commitment to celebrate the best work produced by Michigan’s professional theaters. “As the new owner of and one of its newest critics, I’m excited to be a part of The Wilde Awards process. We have so many great shows on our stages every year, and it’s an honor and a privilege to acknowledge the people responsible for the best performances, productions and designs of the previous season.”

And, of course, the event’s unique spin on awards shows will remain the same, as well. “It’s not called ‘One Wilde Night’ for nothing, and that will certainly be the case once again this year,” Kiley said. “As always, we have several surprises in store and some great entertainment planned for The 2015 Wilde Awards, and we suspect a memorable night will be had by all who attend the show. And that’s always been the goal of the ceremony: to have a great time while honoring the best work produced by our theaters.

The 2015 Wilde Awards will be sponsored in part by co-founder Pride Source Media Group, publishers of Between The Lines. Additional details regarding the event--including the nominations--will be announced Friday, June 19.

For more information about The Wilde Awards, call at 313-537-4860.


BoxFest Detroit 2015 seeks submissions for August festival showcasing women directors

Article:9727; Posted: May 22, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

BoxFest Detroit is an annual theater festival that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors. It has served and continues to function as a springboard for many women and their directing careers. Directors who have participated in past festivals have gone on to pursue graduate studies at highly competitive universities, become directors at professional theaters, and form their own successful theater and production companies. Proceeds from the event are given to one or more directors as a scholarship to help further her career, and the winner of the audience vote competition is given the opportunity to direct a show with Planet Ant Theatre's Late Night Series.

In 2014 after more than a decade in existence, the future of BoxFest Detroit was uncertain. Producers downsized last year’s offering, producing only one weekend of plays, the “BoxFest Detroit Workshop” fundraiser, to support a full festival the following year. The producers of BoxFest Detroit are pleased to announce BoxFest Detroit 2015, an annual theater festival that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors. BoxFest Detroit 2015 will run Fridays and Saturdays, August 21 - 29 at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff Ave, Hamtramck, MI 48212.

In addition to the money raised at the “BoxFest Detroit Workshop,” BoxFest Detroit has received integral support from a number of key sponsors. Planet Ant Theatre, Dramatically Richer Productions, Jerry Belanger, and the Park Bar have all provided generous support to BoxFest Detroit 2015.

“We are so grateful to all of our sponsors because their gifts have made our 2015 festival possible,” says Molly McMahon, artistic director. “We look forward to returning to Planet Ant for this summer’s festival to have some fun and provide opportunities for our deserving directors.”

BoxFest Detroit is the only festival of its kind in the state and focuses solely on providing women directors opportunities to showcase their work and to gain necessary experience required for success in the field. The festival seeks directors of all skill levels to participate and early career and established directors are invited to participate. The festival is also accepting submissions from playwrights and actors. Directors and playwrights must submit by June 1. Actors must submit to audition for directors. Auditions will be held on Tuesday, June 23 from 7pm - 10pm at Planet Ant Theatre. More information about submissions and the festival is available at

Photo: Elizabeth Jaffe in "Peaches," directed by Amanda Grace Ewing, at BoxFest Detroit 2013. Photo credit: Kelly Rossi


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