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'Tomorrow' comes soon to Wharton

Annie
Wharton Center
Dec. 16-21, 2014

Posted: Nov. 28, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.

EAST LANSING - Wharton Center is proud to announce that the new U.S. National Tour of "Annie" will play Dec. 16–21 in the Cobb Great Hall. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of "Annie" will be a brand- new physical incarnation of the iconic Tony Award-winning original.

The original production of "Annie" opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever. It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, has been performed in 28 languages and has been running somewhere around the world for 37 years.

The beloved score for "Annie" includes "Maybe," "It's the Hard Knock Life," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," "Easy Street," "I Don't Need Anything But You" and the eternal anthem of optimism, "Tomorrow."

"Annie" has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards for their work. Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who will incorporate selections from her father Peter Gennaro's 1977 Tony Award-winning choreography.

The celebrated design team includes scenic design by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt ("Act One," "The Scottsboro Boys," "Rock of Ages"), costume design by Costume Designers Guild Award winner Suzy Benzinger ("Blue Jasmine," "Movin' Out," "Miss Saigon"), lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington ("Chicago," "Annie," "White Christmas") and sound design by Tony Award nominee Peter Hylenksi ("Rocky," "Bullets Over Broadway," "Motown"). The lovable mutt Sandy will once again be trained by Tony Award honoree William Berloni ("Annie," "A Christmas Story," "Legally Blonde"). Musical supervision and additional orchestrations are by Keith Levenson ("Annie," "She Loves Me," "Dreamgirls"). Casting is by Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, Joy Dewing Casting ("Soul Doctor," "Wonderland," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"). The tour is produced by Troika Entertainment, LLC.

This brand-new production features a 25-member company. In the title role of Annie is Issie Swickle, a 9-year-old actress from Davie, Florida, making her tour debut. Gilgamesh Taggett will star as Oliver Warbucks. In the role of Miss Hannigan is Lynn Andrews. Also starring in the tour are Ashley Edler as Grace, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily and Allan Ray Baker as FDR. Sunny, a 4-year-old rescue terrier mix, stars as Sandy.

The Orphans are Angelina Carballo, Adia Dant, LillyBea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, Lilly Mae Stewart and Isabel Wallach.

Performances of "Annie," appearing Dec. 16-21 at Wharton Center's Cobb Great Hall, located on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, are as follows:

Tickets to see "Annie," part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Series, are $34-69 and are available online at www.whartoncenter.com, at the Auto-Owners Insurance Ticket Office, or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.



 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: Nov. 27, 2014

Howell's Melissa Gilbert and Tim Busfield talk about their romance, plans for a theater company and more – Thee Ann Arbor News (Nov. 27, 2014)

Melissa Gilbert and Timothy Busfield talk about being Grand Marshals of Howell's Fantasy of Lights Parade – The Ann Arbor News (Nov. 25, 2014)

Performance Network celebrates the season with 'Gift of the Magi' and 'This Wonderful Life' – The Ann Arbor News (Nov. 24, 2014)

Scrooge, Elphaba light up local stages for the holidays – Detroit Free Press (Nov. 26, 2014)

Frannie Shepherd-Bates on making a difference with Shakespeare in Prison – Detroit Theater Examiner (Nov. 15, 2014)

'Elf the Musical' kicks off the holiday season with a 'syrupy sweet' show – Kalamazoo Gazette (Nov. 26, 2014)


 

Live radio show captures timeless magic

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
UDM Theatre Co.
Dec. 5-7, 2014

Posted: Nov. 27, 2014 at 11:46 a.m.

DETROIT - The Theatre Company at University of Detroit Mercy invites you to recall the enduring charm and heartwarming message of Frank Capra's 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life" with its special holiday production of "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" by Joe Landry. Seven actors share in recreating the beloved characters of this classic story as it unfolds on a sound studio set during the Golden Age of Radio, complete with zany sound effects, colorful 1940s glamour and a few fresh surprises.

"It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" opens Dec. 5 at the Grounds Coffehaus in the lower level of the Student Life building on the UDM McNichols Campus located at 4001 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48221. Performances are at 8 p.m. Dec. 5-7 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 7.

"It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" retells the tale of George Bailey, a man on the brink of desperate deeds with a wish that he'd never been born. Through the efforts of his guardian angel, Clarence, George is shown that his actions throughout life have made a great difference in the lives of others, bringing George to realize, he has truly lived a wonderful life.

"You've seen the movie, now experience 'It's A Wonderful Life' in a different way," says director David Regal. "It's a unique presentation of this traditional Christmas story, set as a 1940s radio drama, and complete with plenty of holiday spirit."

The cast of "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" features UDM faculty, alumni and current students who bring over 55 characters to life, live on the radio. Faculty members Dr. Arthur J. Beer and Dr. Heather Hill-Vasquez work together with theater major and Geraldine Regal Memorial Scholarship recipient Greg Ettleman (seen in "PVT Wars" and "The Best of Enemies"), theatee minor Claire Hardy (seen in "This is How It Goes," "Somebody Nobody," "The Best of Enemies"), UDM student Ashe Lewis (seen in "Memory House") and UDM student Gineara Hannah, along with '08 Theatre Company alum Matt Klug (cast member at Motor City Improv) to round out the all-UDM troupe. Regal, an award winning director, is a founding member of The Theatre Company, where he currently serves as artistic director and UDM faculty member.

Individual tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for discount admission (seniors, UDM and Marygrove faculty and staff, alumni, donors and Detroit residents). Student admission (with ID) is $10, and UDM and Marygrove Student admission is $5 (with ID). Group rates are available.

Individual tickets are now on sale and can be purchased and printed online by visiting www.UDMarts.com. Patrons can also order tickets over the phone by calling 313-993-3270. Ticket Office hours are Tuesday - Friday, noon - 5 pm. The Ticket Office will open 45 minutes prior to curtain at the UDM Grounds Coffeehaus.

The Theatre Company at University of Detroit Mercy is celebrating its 44th season. Like past and future seasons, The Theatre Company continues to integrate the intellectual, spiritual, ethical and social development of its students and community. The Theatre Company always seeks to bring theater that entertains, provokes, and encourages dialogue. For more information about the Company please visit us at theatre.udmercy.edu.


 

Black Friday sale at Miller Auditorium

Posted: Nov. 26, 2014 at 5:40 a.m.

KALAMAZOO - Miller Auditorium is proud to offer amazing savings again this year with its annual Black Friday sale. Keeping tradition with great sales the day after Thanksgiving, on Friday, Nov. 28, tickets for our remaining PNC Broadway in West Michigan, Broadway Plus and Lake Michigan Mailers Spotlight Series performances will be two for $55 or two for $30 while supplies last.

The Miller Auditorium Ticket Office will open for in-person sales from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and phone sales from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 28. Tickets will be available for purchase online beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 28. The sale will continue while supplies last.

For online sales on www.millerauditorium.com beginning at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 28, codes will be required to unlock Black Friday savings. To purchase discounted tickets, select a performance and use the interactive maps to select seats. Guests then click "Check Out" and select delivery method. (Note: For shows taking place within 10 days, please select "Will Call.") Enter the discount codes BF30 and/or BF55, depending on desired ticket selection, and payment information to complete purchase. Once billing information is entered, guests may complete their purchase. Some restrictions apply to these offers. Please see the detailed ticket offer lists below.

The Black Friday deals are valid for all remaining events in Miller Auditorium's 2014-15 season, though some restrictions apply. Seats are available in most seating zones and offer is good while supplies last, up to 200 tickets per show (unless otherwise noted). So don't delay! Tickets make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers.

Two for $30 tickets (quantities limited to 200 total tickets per show unless otherwise noted):

Two for $55 tickets (quantities limited to 200 total tickets per show unless otherwise noted):


 

Cyber Monday sale on select shows

Posted: Nov. 24, 2014 at 2:39 p.m.

DETROIT - Give the gift of entertainment this year as Olympia Entertainment announces its Cyber Monday buy one, get one ticket offer on select shows. From holiday hits to award-winning Broadway productions, attending an event creates memories that last a lifetime.

The Cyber Monday offer is available for one day only on Monday, Dec. 1 from 3 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. The Cyber Monday offer is valid on select price levels and performances. The offer is not valid on previously purchased tickets and some restrictions and fees may apply.

To take advantage of the offer, customers can use the promo code "GIFTS" at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, visit www.OlympiaEntertainment.com/cybermonday.

Olympia Entertainment's Cyber Monday Offer includes:

To learn more about Olympia Entertainment, visit www.OlympiaEntertainment.com.


 

Theatre Nova brings new life to Ann Arbor's historic Yellow Barn

Photo: Michael Shuster Photography

Posted: Nov. 24, 2014 at 7:22 p.m.

ANN ARBOR - Three Ann Arbor community groups - The Greenroom; The Yellow Barn Events and Classes; and Theatre Nova, Ann Arbor's newest professional theater - will share The Yellow Barn, a 2,500 square foot space located at 416 West Huron, in an innovative space-sharing partnership that will bring 42 weekends of cultural programming to Ann Arbor's bustling downtown, along with workshops for playwrights, yoga, tai chi, chi gong and other classes, and a Monday night church geared toward artists.

Plans to convert the space are being formed in order to turn the barn, already a viable concert venue, into a unique, 85-seat "micro-theater" 24 weeks out of the year. Once finished, the Yellow Barn Theatre will be another affordable small theater space, in addition to the limited venues around town. The group also plans to make the space available to other local theater groups on a rental basis.

This unique collaboration began with a meeting in September of the supporters and members of The Yellow Barn, the group responsible for programming a diverse array of cultural events into that space for the past five years, including live music concerts from Chicago Afrobeat to local rapper Lucas Digia, classes, Sunday sacred music gatherings, and much more. The purpose of the meeting, an email said, was "to find people who will have the energy to carry the mission of the Yellow Barn forward."

The small gathering of people that showed up to the meeting on Sunday, Sept. 14 included the volunteers and members of The Yellow Barn, and another organization that shared the space, The Greenroom, a church dedicated to being a "creative force for the creator God." Sitting in a circle in a sunny corner of the 2,500 square foot barn, a rustic and distinctive bohemian structure complete with wooden floors, barn-wood beams, and two giant wooden church pews leaning against the wall, the group gathered to brainstorm a way forward after a financially difficult year.

While this unique venue was a favorite with students, townies and artists alike, the group had fallen just short of making ends meet, and many of the dedicated board members and volunteers running the daily operations could simply not keep up the level of energy and personal investment that had carried the group this far. Fresh horses were needed, and fresh ideas as well.

Also in the group that Sunday was Ann Arbor actress and director Carla Milarch, founding artistic director of the newly formed Theatre Nova, a new-concept theater company focused on new plays and playwrights, and finding innovative approaches to the challenges facing small non-profit theaters today. She had toured the space just days earlier, on an invitation from her friend and long-time theater colleague, Scott Crownover, pastor of The Greenroom.

"Theatre Nova was looking for a space to produce its season," Milarch says. "We had looked at various other venues, and not found anything ideal. Everything was either too small or way too big, and all of the rental venues were pricey. We had also scoured the commercial real estate pages only to find that everything was out of our price range. We hadn't really been at it long enough to be discouraged, but let's just say that the reality that space for small theater companies in Ann Arbor was scarce had hit home in a big way."

Then Milarch got the call from Crownover, letting her know that The Yellow Barn space had been listed for rent. The Yellow Barn group, while in discussions with the landlord, had not had enough confidence in its direction forward to put any concrete offers on the table, and Crownover had been following the formation of Theatre Nova and its quest to find a space.

The tip was well-timed, and Milarch met Crownover at the barn days later and toured the building. What she saw excited her.

Two days after that, Milarch was back with long-time colleagues and friends David Wells and Dan Walker, co-founders of Theatre Nova, and a tape measure. Walker, who has designed and overseen installation of six theaters, including Performance Network, and who is the producing director of Theatre Nova, brought his computer, took a look around, and hours later, the team had the first draft of an 85-seat thrust theater in their hands.

Almost two months later, on Nov. 13, Milarch and Theatre Nova signed a five-year lease with West Huron Properties, with The Greenroom and The Yellow Barn as co-tenants. Yellow Barn board member Karl Diez, who is a local musician and sound engineer at The Yellow Barn, says there's a lot of synchronicity in this partnership. "When Theatre Nova told us that they were interested in partnering with The Yellow Barn Events and Classes, we began to see a way forward that was beneficial for everyone. By splitting the programming weeks down the middle and sharing the rent and utilities, Theatre Nova gains a permanent space to produce its shows, our events and classes fill in the spaces when they are rehearsing the next show, and The Greenroom stays on Monday nights. We've even discovered that the times that are hard for them to program, are our best times for concerts, and vice-versa. It's really a win-win-win."

Theatre Nova managing director David Wells, a nationally award-winning playwright and associate artist of the group, said, "With commercial space at a premium, space-sharing is going to be key for a lot of arts organizations. The partnership at The Yellow Barn is a model of this new way forward. The overhead is lower for everyone, and we still all have access to enough programming weeks to fulfill our artistic missions."

Walker adds, "Theatre Nova will be able to provide a full season of five shows, running between three to five weeks each. The landlord gains more financially stable tenants, and we all have the headroom to focus on growing our organizations in a sustainable and measured way. What's more, we can become a part of the solution to the space problem for local theater companies, so it will be a big win for the community as well."

With the ink still fresh on the lease, the groups are now working on a layout for the space that is versatile enough to accommodate the needs of all of the groups, and fundraising to do the theater installation and a necessary ADA bathroom installation. It's also working on scheduling its densely packed performance calendar.

Genevieve Compton, the new administrative manager of The Yellow Barn Events and Classes, says, "We're using our Google calendars like crazy right now, figuring out who is in which space when, and what logistics need to be worked out to make it all run smoothly. There are challenges, but the groups are really working together harmoniously in a true spirit of collaboration. The energy on this project is really good, and feels like it was meant to be. Aside from January, when we will be doing the renovations, there will only be five weekends in 2015 where you won't be able to come see something at The Yellow Barn."

West Huron Properties manager Cathy Kimmel agrees, adding, "We are very excited to welcome Theatre Nova to our eclectic community of tenants, and we are thrilled that this newly formed partnership will allow The Yellow Barn Events and Classes and the Greenroom to stay active and fulfilling their missions in Ann Arbor."

As the three organizations move forward in this collaboration, in pursuit of all their individual missions and their shared goal of a robust and vibrant multi-use theater and arts space, one thing is certain: The Yellow Barn will continue to hold a cherished place in the community.

Pastor Crownover, who made the call that got the ball rolling, sums it up nicely. "From the very beginning, The Greenroom's desire was to create a space where creativity and faith come together. And we've found that that desire has resonated profoundly for those who have been searching for new and fresh ways of experiencing God in their lives. The Yellow Barn has played a huge part in cultivating that experience. We're so excited to be a part of a community that will continue to bring creativity to this unique and wonderful space."


Theatre Nova:
Carla Milarch, artistic director
Daniel C. Walker, producing director
David Wells, managing director
Emilio Rodriguez, literary manager
www.theatrenova.org

The Yellow Barn:
Karl Diez, board member and event booker
Genevieve Compton, board member and administrative manager
Joel Robbins, board member and curriculum coordinator
www.ouryellowbarn.com

The Greenroom:
Scott Crownover, pastor
Denise Crownover, creative leader
www.thegreenroomchurch.com

Box office:
734-635-8450


 

Riverbank Theatre debuts with lavish musical

Mame
Riverbank Theatre
Dec. 5-21, 2014

Posted: Nov. 24, 2014 at 5:53 a.m.

MARINE CITY – "Mame" opens the new Riverbank Theatre as a preview to the 2015 season! Come and get a look at the newly remodeled state-of‐the-art space.

"Mame" is a lavish musical set in New York during the Great Depression. It tells the story of Mame Dennis, an eccentric bohemian woman of wealth whose life is interrupted when the son of her late brother comes to live with her. Through the trials and tribulations of finding and losing love, and the ups and downs of the struggling economy, Mame tries her best to keep up her usual fabulous flair and share it with those around her.

"Mame" is based on the novel, "Auntie Mame," by Patrick Dennis, with a book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee and unforgettable music and lyrics by Jerry Herman.

Nancy Arnfield directs this cast of 24 local area actors. Kathy Vertin stars as Mame Dennis, accompanied by Christy Kriedler as Vera Charles, her "Bosom Buddy." Gabriel Rowland takes the stage in his first professional role as Young Patrick. The live orchestra is under the direction of Paul Decker.

Performances of "Mame," appearing Dec. 5-21 at the new Riverbank Theatre, located at 358 S. Water St., Marine City, are as follows:

Tickets ($20) are available at www.riverbanktheatre.com or by phone 810-278-1749.


 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: Nov. 23, 2014

Dexter's Encore Theatre revisits Christmas TV specials past with 'Christmas Caroled' – The Ann Arbor News (Nov. 20, 2014)

Star is as upbeat as a sugared 'Elf' in touring holiday musical coming to Miller Auditorium – Kalamazoo Gazette (Nov. 21, 2014)

Comedy play 'Sister's Christmas Catechism' coming to Frauenthal – Muskegon Chronicle (Nov. 23, 2014)

The next stage: Acorn Theater hoping non profit status will ensure venue's long-term survival – The Herald-Palladium (Nov. 23, 2014)


 

Buy one get one free Black Friday offer at Performance Network

Posted: Nov. 22, 2014 at 9:07 a.m.

ANN ARBOR - To celebrate the holidays and the revitalization of Performance Network, the theater is offering a special buy one get one free ticket offer on Black Friday, Nov. 28. The offer is good for any performance of any show in the season, including the two holiday shows opening next week that are co­produced by Detroit sports and entertainment executive, Tom Wilson.

The remaining shows of the 2014-15 season include:

This Wonderful Life
Nov. 25­ - Dec. 18
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday only
Written by Steve Murray, directed by Tony Caselli and starring award­-winning actor John Lepard, "This Wonderful Life" is a one-­man tour-de-force adaptation of the classic film about George Bailey and Bedford Falls.

Gift Of The Magi
Nov. 28­ - Dec. 21
Friday, Saturday, Sunday only
Written by Annie Martin and directed by Suzi Regan, this world premiere two-­person play journeys through both a traditional and contemporary retelling of the classic O. Henry story, "The Gift of the Magi." Starring Alysia Kolascz and Barton Bund, "Gift of the Magi" explores the idea that while the holiday season is a time of abundance, the most important gift we can give and receive is love. Produced in cooperation with Etico Productions.

Yellowman
Jan. 15 - Feb. 15, 2015
A 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama, this is a two-person multi-­character love story by Dael Orlandersmith and directed by Lynch Travis about an African­-American woman who dreams of life beyond the confines of her small town Southern upbringing and the light­-skinned man whose fate is tragically intertwined with hers.

Stones in his Pockets
March 5­ - April 5
This award-winning comedy by Marie Jones and directed by Suzi Regan features two thirty-­somethings who meet when working as extras on a big American movie being shot in Ireland. Charlie's video shop in Ballycastle has gone bankrupt and Jake has returned to Kerry after a futile few years in the U.S. The movie is a wonderful break from worrying about their futures until the harsh realities of rural life break through.

Salvage
April 23­ - May 24
Written by Joseph Zettelmaier and directed by Joseph Albright, "Salvage" is the story of a shy owner of a collectables store in Detroit who finds his staid existence turned topsy­ turvy when a mysterious women enters his life with valuable items that just should not exist anymore. This is the Michigan Equity premiere of the 2014 Jeff Award Recommended show and reunites author Zettelmaier and director Albright.

Other Desert Cities
June 11 - July 12
Written by Jon Robin Baitz, Brooke returns home to Palm Springs after a six­-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother and her aunt. Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history­ one they don't want reopened. In effect she draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it.

For information on tickets, productions and events at the Network or to donate, please go to www.pntheatre.org or call the box office at 734-­663-­0681.

Performance Network Theatre is located at 120 E. Huron St, Ann Arbor.


 

Help a worthy cause beginning this holiday weekend

Posted: Nov. 23, 2014 at 8:52 a.m.

DETROIT – Equity and Friends Fight AIDS will commence its annual campaign to raise monies for Michigan AIDS and HIV organizations on Thanksgiving weekend. Equity and Friends Fight AIDS, or E.F.F.A., has been raising funds for non‐profits such as AIDS Partnership Michigan and Michigan AIDS Coalition since 1991. The annual collection starts Thanksgiving Weekend in honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. Theaters across Southeast Michigan will be appealing to audiences after their performances to donate to this very special cause.

As of this writing, participating theaters include Detroit Repertory Theatre, Performance Network Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre, Williamston Theatre and The Jewish Ensemble Theatre. Other theaters are expected to join the campaign over the coming months.

In the '80s, Actors' Equity Association members came together and started Equity Fights AIDS, a nation‐wide program bringing theaters together annually to raise money for AIDS awareness and research. Equity and Friends Fight AIDS began in 1991 when Detroit area Actors' Equity Association members decided to create a campaign that would raise funds for Michigan-only AIDS organizations. As such, Michigan theatergoers are asked to donate whatever they can as they leave the theater after the performance, knowing their money will go to support local HIV/AIDS organizations.

E.F.F.A. will also accept donations by mail. Make a check or money order out to EFFA and send it to EFFA c/o Detroit Repertory Theatre, 13103 Woodrow Wilson Street, Detroit, MI 48238 or call Leah Smith at 313-208‐6358 for more information.

Actors' Equity Association is the union of professional stage managers and actors.


 

Shop Floor's newest project works with international students

Posted: Nov. 20, 2014 at 6:57 p.m.

FLINT - As part of its 2014-15 programming season, Shop Floor Theatre Company is planning a new project that will expand its outreach and programming to encompass the international college student population. The title of this project is "Immigrant U: Our Story Our Way- An Original Play and Documentary about the Experiences of International Students in American Universities."

In keeping with the organization's values and commitment to inclusion, this project constitutes a much-needed effort to engage diverse communities that may not have the resources to participate in arts and cultural activities offered by other local institutions.

The students will facilitate dialogue sessions and compile data as they tell their stories about leaving their homelands and entering college in America.

"Immigrant U" will be written, produced, co-directed and performed by international college students. This production is intended to increase understanding about international students in the U.S. and provide a snapshot of their experience attending American universities.

"Immigrant U: Our Story Our Way" will premiere in late summer and early fall of 2015.

Other Shop Floor projects include:

This season was made possible in part by generous funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

For more information about Shop Floor Theatre, log on to www.sftco.org


 

Angels step up for benefit concert

Acorn Benefit Concert
The Acorn Theater
Nov. 29, 2014

Posted: Nov. 20, 2014 at 6:24 p.m.

THREE OAKS - Due to a financial shortfall, The Acorn Theater was planning on shutting down after the 2014 season. However, some angels offered assistance to keep the theater operating through 2015 and beyond. Acorn Theater veterans Anne Harris, Cathy Richardson and Katie Todd who have performed in the space since it opened have stepped forward and offered to perform a benefit concert on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. to help keep the doors open. Allen and Lynn Turner also stepped forward and offered to host a post-concert reception at their farm in Three Oaks.

Harris and Richardson team up again to rock out on The Acorn stage with Todd opening. These three amazing women are talented, beautiful and charismatic - and they are donating their time to help support The Acorn Theater.

An option when purchasing tickets: Turner is throwing an after party at his barn, open bar and food included! Tickets are $25 general admission; $35 for the first three rows. A $50 ticket includes preferred seating and post show-party starting at 9:30 p.m. at Turner's barn with open bar and food.

For tickets and information, call 269-756-3879 or log on to www.acorntheater.com.

The Acorn Theater is located at 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks, MI 49128. A full-service bar and other refreshments are available.



 

'Robocop!' parody returns in 2015

Robocop! The Musical
City Theatre
Feb. 19 - March 1, 2015

Posted: Nov. 20, 2014 at 6:40 p.m.

DETROIT – Go Comedy! Improv Theater presents one of its most successful shows, "Robocop! The Musical" at the City Theatre from Thursday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, March 1, 2015.

"Robocop! The Musical" first debuted at Go Comedy! in June 2010 when it was titled "RoGoCop! The Musical." Following the show's initial engagement, Go Comedy! began planning for the show's return, improving on the original production. In order to do that, Go Comedy! joined forces with the non-profit GrooveBox Studios to launch a fundraiser campaign on Kickstarter.com. Seeking to raise $5,000, the three-week online campaign successfully raised more than $6,000 from over 100 donors.

"Robocop! The Musical" is a live, musical parody of the iconic film, "RoboCop," and an original production with book by Sean May and music by May and Ryan Parmenter. A fun, hilarious, re-imagining of the tale of a robotic police officer who protects a futuristic Detroit from crime, "Robocop! The Musical" features such songs as "Armchair Nightmare," "I Don't Know (How To Love A Robot)" and "It's Not Easy Being Gay When You're a Gangster."

Performances of "Robocop! The Musical," appearing Feb. 19 through March 1, 2015 at the City Theatre, located inside Hockeytown Cafe at 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit, are as follows:

Tickets ($29.50) go on sale Friday, November 21 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at www.OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge) at all Ticketmaster locations and www.Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call 800-745-3000. Groups of eight or more receive discounts on select shows by calling 313-471-3099.

For additional information, call 313-471-6611.


 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: Nov. 20, 2014

'Motown' show wraps up blockbuster Detroit run – Detroit Free Press (Nov. 17, 2014)

Tenor happily awaits boos after 'Madame Butterfly' – The Detroit News (Nov. 12, 2014)

Hilberry Theatre adds 'All in the Timing' to repertoire – The Detroit News (Nov. 18, 2014)

'Elf: The Musical' brings a manic Merry Christmas to stage in Grand Rapids – The Grand Rapids Press (Nov. 19, 2014)

Here's the next generation of stand-up standouts coming for LaughFest 2015's 'Best of the Midwest' competition – The Grand Rapids Press (Nov. 18, 2014)

Seth Rudetsky helps local actors hone audition skills – Observer & Eccentric Newspapers (Nov. 20, 2014)

A radio take on 'It's a Wonderful Life' – South Bend Tribune (Nov. 20, 2014)


 

Novi mall partners with blockbuster musical for 'wickedly' spellbinding specials

Posted: Nov. 20, 2014 at 9:16 a.m.

NOVI - A 'wicked' partnership is brewing between Twelve Oaks and Broadway's biggest blockbuster, "Wicked," now in its 11th year on Broadway. "Wicked" flies back to the Detroit Opera House Dec. 10 – Jan. 4, 2015

From Nov. 21 – Dec. 14, visitors to Twelve Oaks can delight in the "World of Wicked" museum display, special offers from retailers, weekend giveaways, and other "Oz-some" exclusive offerings to celebrate this worldwide theatrical sensation.

Winner of over 100 international awards, "Wicked" is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy dropped in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood; the other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. "Wicked" tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

"Wicked" has been declared "A Cultural Phenomenon" by Variety and "The Best Musical of the Decade" by Entertainment Weekly. "Wicked" currently has nine productions around the world, in New York, London, Japan, Australasian Tour, South Korea, Latin America, a U.K. Tour, and two concurrent North American National Tours. Since its New York premiere a decade ago, "Wicked" has grossed more than $3.4 billion worldwide and has been seen by more than 42 million across the globe. "Wicked" has been performed in more than 100 cities in 13 countries (U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, and Mexico) and has thus far been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish and Korean.

"The 'Wicked' partnership builds on successful promotions done at several other Taubman centers," says Twelve Oaks marketing and sponsorship director Emily Taucher. "We're delighted to be bewitched by Wicked this holiday season."

Through Dec. 14, Twelve Oaks has some terrifically 'wicked' offers that can't be found anywhere else. The spellbinding specials include:

Twelve Oaks Mall is a major regional shopping center located in Novi at I-96 and Novi Road. The center features nearly 200 shops and services along with Nordstrom, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, JC Penney, Sears and the Lifestyle Cafe Food Court. Shopping hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Preview the stores, the styles and the sales at www.shoptwelveoaks.com.

"Wicked," Broadway's biggest blockbuster, will return to the Detroit Opera House, Dec. 10 – Jan. 4. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations (including the Ticketmaster Retail Outlet location at the Twelve Oaks Center Court Guest Services Desk), by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at www.ticketmaster.com/wicked or www.broadwayindetroit.com and at the Fisher Theatre and Detroit Opera House box offices.


 

MBT to host rock legends for 50th anniversary benefit concert

Posted: Nov. 20, 2014 at 8:53 a.m.

ROCHESTER - Meadow Brook Theatre will host Tommy James and The Shondells on July 18, 2015 for the theater's fundraising event, "Black Tie on the Blacktop." The evening includes a pre-glow reception, strolling dinner and one-night-only concert with the band. The fundraiser will kick-off Meadow Brook Theatre's 50th anniversary celebration, and all proceeds will benefit the theater.

Tommy James and the Shondells have sold over 100 million records and have been awarded 23 gold singles and nine gold and platinum albums. The group 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."

"We're so excited to have this amazing group performing at our event," said Cheryl Marshall, managing director. "This is going to be an evening no one will want to miss. We're going to have this fantastic band, food trucks, classic cars and more!"

Audiences can enjoy a pre-concert reception with strolling food and wine beginning at 6 p.m., with the concert performance at 8 p.m. 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!

The show and pre-glow will both be at Meadow Brook Theatre, 207 Wilson Hall, Rochester, MI 48309. Tickets range from $85 to $125, with exclusive early sponsorship opportunities available. All proceeds benefit the theater.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 248-377-3300, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Meadow Brook Theater box office.

Early sponsors of the event include the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild, Michelle's Bio-Tech Linen Services and Lincoln of Troy, as well as Callahan Muffler & Brake, Gary & Nancy Greve, Tim & Mary Caughlin, Holly Powell & Gus Kott and Manny's Liquor Shoppe.

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


 

Wharton seeks playwrights for 19th Annual Young Playwright’s Festival

Posted: Nov. 19, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

EAST LANSING - High School students across the state are invited to submit a one-act play to be juried in the 19th Annual Young Playwright's Festival. The Young Playwrights Festival is a collaboration between MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts & Creativity at Wharton Center and the MSU Department of Theatre.

Twelve semifinalists are chosen, and from those 12 the jury will select the six finalists whose plays will be produced. The six finalists will be assigned a professional theater mentor who will assist the playwright with revising their play. Each finalist will receive a $200 award and a staged production of their play performed by the MSU Department of Theatre at Wharton Center. The other six semifinalists will receive a $100 award.

To enter students must complete an application available online at www.whartoncenter.com/ypf. All entries must be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 1 to be included in this year's festival.

On Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 2 p.m. in Wharton Center's Pasant Theatre, the six finalist's plays will be performed. The performance is free and open to the public with first-come, first-served seating. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. A second performance is scheduled for Monday, May 18, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. for high school students. All high schools are invited to attend. Reservations for the Monday school show must be made in advance by contacting Laurie Briseño of Wharton Center's Education Department at 517-884-3141.

Professional mentors for 2015 include: Seth Gordon, associate artistic director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Joe Giardiana, theatre artist, New York City; Stephen Skiles, Xavier University; Pam Sterling, associate professor of theater, Arizona State University; Carol North, former artistic director at Metro Theatre of St. Louis; and Edward Daranyi, resident teaching artist/theater director, Stratford Festival of Canada.

Please contact Laurie Briseño at 517-884-3141 with any questions.

The 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival is made possible in part by Mid-Michigan MRI, the MSU Department of Radiology and Wharton Center Inner Circle.


 

Now open: Online talent search for local performer to win featured role in 'Cirque Dreams Holidaze' at the Fox

Posted: Nov. 19, 2014 at 8:35 a.m.

DETROIT - Make your holiday dreams come true with "Detroit's Got Cirque Dreams Talent." Cirque Dreams is looking for Detroit's best aspiring talent to feature on-stage with a customized role during their "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" spectacular at the Fox Theatre, Tuesday, Dec. 16 through Saturday, Dec. 20 as part of the Fifth Third Bank Fox Theatre Series.

The winner of "Detroit's Got Cirque Dreams Talent" will work with Cirque Dreams professionals, be featured in "Cirque Dreams Holidaze," showcase their talent in a starring role and perform in a custom designed costume. Additionally, the winner will receive four complimentary tickets for the Tuesday, Dec. 16 show at 8 p.m. and a special discount to share with friends and family.

An online casting call is now open until Sunday, Nov. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Aspiring acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, dancers, singers and any performer with a special talent who has ever dreamed of performing in a Broadway show is encouraged to audition for the chance to share the stage with the internationally renowned Cirque Dreams company.

Contestants should email their video submissions to nqaccr5gnxp9@m.youtube.com. Submission videos should be no larger than 25MB. The subject line of the email should be "(Your Name) Cirque Dreams Submission," and the body of the message should include your name, age, home city and explanation of why you would be a great candidate for "Detroit's Got Cirque Dreams Talent". Please do not include contact information, as it will be posted to YouTube. Email contact information to oe.contest@gmail.com.

A winner will be selected and notified the week of Dec. 1. The winner must arrange their own transportation to and from the theater and be available for rehearsals Tuesday, Dec. 16.

For complete contest rules, visit www.olympiaentertainment.com/dreams.

Created and directed by world-renowned circus impresario and Broadway director, Neil Goldberg, "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" is the perfect holiday gift for families and audiences of all ages. It's a new cirque show, Broadway musical and family Christmas spectacular all in one!

This year's production at Fox Theatre is one of three tours performing in over 50 cities throughout the United States before "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" opens in New York 2015. For more Fox Theatre event information, please visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.


 

'Holiday Jazz' to raise funds for Williamston Theatre

Posted: Nov. 18, 2014 at 9:04 a.m.

WILLIAMSTON - Williamston Theatre will present "Holiday Jazz: A Fundraiser for the Williamston Theatre" on Tuesday, Dec. 9. All tickets are $50 and are now on sale. A pre-concert reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

"We're really excited about this event," said artistic director Tony Caselli. "We love it when we can find ways to showcase the talents of amazing musical artists on our stage. It's going to be a terrific concert, and will really get the audience in the holiday spirit."

The performers will be LSO Jazz Band Members Ed Fedewa on bass, Jeff Kressler on keyboard and Joe Luloff on saxophone. They will be joined by vocalist Elizabeth Kunc. The program will include favorite holiday songs interpreted in the jazz style.

Ticket holders are invited to arrive at the theater one hour before the concert begins for a reception of wine and light hors d'ouevres with the staff and board of the theater.

The Williamston Theatre is a professional, non-profit live theater located in Downtown Williamston. In September, the American Theatre Wing recognized it as one of the 12 most promising young theaters in the country with its National Theatre Company Grant Award. Its upcoming production is "Miracle on South Division Street" by Tom Dudzick, running Nov. 28 – Dec. 28.

Tickets to "Holiday Jazz" may be purchased by calling the Williamston Theatre box office at 517-655-7469 during regular box office hours, or online at www.williamstontheatre.org. Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and one and one-half hours before each show time.



 

Go Comedy! celebrates six years with holiday laughs

Go Comedy! Improv Theater
Complete schedule
Nov. 20 - Dec. 28, 2014

The current Go Comedy! Resident Cast.

Posted: Nov. 17, 2014 at 11:46 a.m.

FERNDALE - As Go Comedy! celebrated its six-year anniversary on Nov. 13, the award-winning improv theater is putting the final touches on its sixth original holiday show, "Hashtag The Holidays," opening Thursday, Nov. 20.

In the fall of 2008, the former Ferndale Secretary of State office was transformed into Go Comedy! Improv Theater - a catalyst for hundreds of original shows, a robust improv academy and an incubator for innovation, inspiration and integrity. Today, Go Comedy! is home for hundreds of improvisers, at least 30 improv troupes, and a weekly schedule of award-winning programming that has garnered local and national recognition.

The theater's signature show continues to be "The Go Comedy! All Star Showdown," which has played on Friday and Saturday nights continually for six years. Featuring members of the Go Comedy! resident company, "The All Star Showdown" puts two teams of improvisers in an improv competition tailored to challenge their abilities, think on their feet and give audiences a roaring good time. The cast also plays for audience members who take home fabulous prizes when their team wins. It's a night of hilarious laughs and great times! Tickets are $18

As it has done for the last five years, Go Comedy! is set to skewer all things festive in its newest original comedy, "Hashtag The Holidays." From family gatherings to obligatory company holiday parties, no hall is left undecked and no stocking unstuffed in this hilarious holiday romp. Written by and featuring RJ Cach, James Cerini, Suzie Jacokes, Tim Kay, Heather Sejnowski and Dez Walker with additional writing by Lisa Jacokes, Peter Jacokes and Aaron Johnstone, "Hashtag The Holidays" is directed by Pj Jacokes and Tommy LeRoy, with assistance from Aaron Johnstone. Performance times are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings Nov. 20 - Dec. 20. Tickets ($20) are on sale now.

Go Comedy! is bringing back last season's hilarious original comedy "Frosty!" Wednesday evenings in December. It has been 10 years since the children from the small town of Armonk have seen their friend Frosty the snowman. And now they are home from college, on winter break, during the first snow fall of the season. Frosty returns from the North Pole to find the kids have grown up into young adults, and things are not quite as simple as they once were. This original late night show is written by Erik Heilner and Andrew Seiler. "Frosty" appears Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 10 & 17. Tickets ($10) are on sale now.

Tickets for all Go Comedy! shows ($5-$20) are available now online at www.gocomedy.net and beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday in person at the Go Comedy! box office.

Go Comedy! Improv Theater is located at 261 East Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, MI 48220.


Go Comedy! weekly schedule: November & December

Wednesday, Nov. 19
8 p.m. - Fuzzballs Comedy with Puppets ($10)
9 p.m. - Go Labs: Beta Testing ($7)
10 p.m. - StandProv, improvised stand up comedy ($5)

Wednesday, Nov. 26
8 p.m. - Hangover's Eve ($10), special evening featuring the improv troupe Eye Candy and others.

Wednesdays, Dec. 3, 10 & 17
8 p.m. - Frosty ($10)
9 p.m. - Go Labs: Beta Testing ($7)
10 p.m. StandProv ($5)

Thursdays, Nov. 20, Dec. 4, 11 & 18
8 p.m. - Hashtag The Holidays ($20)
Go Comedy! will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Fridays, Nov. 21, 28, Dec. 5, 12 & 19
8 p.m. - Hashtag The Holiday ($20)
10 p.m. - The Go Comedy! All Star Showdown ($18)
12 a.m. - Name This Show (free)

Saturdays, Nov. 22, 29, Dec. 6, 13 & 20
8 p.m. - Hashtag The Holiday ($20)
10 p.m. - The Go Comedy! All Star Showdown ($18)
12 a.m. - Name This Show (free)

Sundays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28
Sundays are $10 in advance or pay-what-you-can at the door
7 p.m. - Fresh Sauce, Go Comedy!'s open improv jam
8 p.m. - The Sunday Buffet, featuring the area's best improv troupes and weekly drink specials at the Go! Bar
10 p.m. - A Couple After Ten
Go Comedy! will be closed on Nov. 23


 

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