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We're off to see the Wizard at Tibbits

The Wizard of Oz
Tibbits Popcorn Theatre
Aug. 1-2, 2014

Photo: Stevens Puppets

Posted: July 26, 2014 at 4:49 p.m.

COLDWATER – The popular L. Frank Baum story "The Wizard of Oz" gets a fresh telling when it's brought to life by Stevens Puppets in the next Tibbits Popcorn Theatre production playing at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2 at Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater.

World leaders in the puppetry arts for over 80 years, Stevens Puppets bring this classic tale to life with artfully hand-carved wooden marionettes and a musical score audiences will be humming all the way home. The performances are fully-staged productions with beautifully hand-painted scenery that help give life to the miniature actors, weaving a spell of childhood over audiences of all ages.

Lions and Tigers and Puppets, oh my! The charming marionettes transport audiences from Kansas to Oz where the heroine, Dorothy, befriends the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. Together they set off on a journey to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz while evading the delightfully silly Wicked Witch of the West.

Puppeteers Dan and Zan Raynor have over 20 years of experience in their unique craft. Predecessor Martin Stevens created the original production of "The Wizard of Oz" in 1966. Stevens was a Peabody Award winning, preeminent American puppeteer and founder of the Puppeteers of America. With his wife, Margi, he created ground-breaking touring marionette shows that are featured in books, in museums and on tour. His marionettes and stage design have influenced generations of puppeteers in America and abroad, often cited as artistic benchmarks and industry standards. The Raynor family has carried on the tradition established by Stevens and painstakingly restored the marionettes and sets to continue their world renown presentations.

The presentation is sponsored by the Coldwater Exchange Club. Popcorn Theatre's live, professional performances have been entertaining audiences and introducing live theater to the youngest of theatergoers for generations. Popcorn Theatre is made possible through the generosity of Dr. Jon and Seibra Herbener and Dr. Nichole Ellis.

Stevens Puppets' "The Wizard of Oz" will be at Tibbits Opera House for just two performances. Tickets are $7, with a $2 per ticket fee for credit cards. Tickets include popcorn and juice at intermission. Popcorn is donated by Dr. Ed Lake and Dr. Young Yoon and juice is donated by McDonald's of Branch and Hillsdale Counties.

Tickets are available at www.Tibbits.org, by phone at 517-278-6029 or at 14 South Hanchett Street, Coldwater. Box office at the theater is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and one hour before show time.

For more information, call 517-278-6029.


 

Barn lets the sunshine in again

Hair
Barn Theatre
Aug. 5-17, 2014

Posted: July 28, 2014 at 8:59 a.m.

AUGUSTA - The Barn Theatre proudly presents "Hair," the first and most famous of rock musicals, with music by Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. Barn Producer Brendan Ragotzy directs "Hair" for the fourth time, having made his directorial debut with the 1989 production, then reviving his hit for the 1995 and 2005 seasons. It will be the Barn's sixth time to offer this history-changing musical!

This year's production of "Hair" features the entire Barn company and stars favorites ­­­­Jamey Grisham as Claude, Kevin Robert White as Berger, Melissa Cotton as Sheila and Eric Tsuchiyama as Woof. Barn guest artists include Donica Thornton (last seen in the Barn's 2005 "Hair") as Dionne, and newcomers Khnemu Menu-Ra as Hud, ­­­­­Dwayne Everett Johnson as Ronny, as well as tribe members Toni Martin, Raven Dockery and Rendell De Bose.

"Hair" grew out of the emotional turmoil of the Vietnam War years and addressed itself blatantly and irreverently to a world that needed to be jolted. It is a loosely structured musical exploring the loves and antics of a tribe of hippies on the night before one of them is to be inducted into the Army and shipped to Vietnam. These hippies and flower children welcome the dawning of the Age of Aquarius by opposing the draft, the work ethic, and accepted standards of behavior and dress. "Hair" focuses on the brotherhood of man, the human body, love and peace. Though "Hair" is known as a musical of the late '60s, it questions the standards of morality, sexuality, individualism, racism, violence, drug use, loyalty, and social acceptance which remain problems in the America of today.

The "American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" (as it was billed) was first presented on Oct. 27, 1967 at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre, and later moved to a Broadway nightclub called Cheetah. It later moved to Broadway for an engagement at the Biltmore Theatre, where it ran for 1,750 performances. Galt MacDermot's incredible score is the key to "Hair"'s vitality and excitement. Five of the show's songs – "Aquarius," "Let the Sunshine In," ""Hair"," "Good Morning, Starshine," and "Easy to be Hard" - are forever established in the international pop music repertory.

"Hair" is directed by Brendan Ragotzy and choreographed by Jamey Grisham. Musical direction by Matt Shabala. Kerith Parashak is scenic designer, and Michael Wilson Morgan has designed costumes. Properties are designed by Bethany Edlund, and lights are designed by Paul Collins. Sam Silva is sound designer. Technical direction is by Nick Hoovler. Garrylee McCormick is hair/wig designer.

"Hair" runs Aug. 5 - 17. Performances are Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m.

Check out the renovated Rehearsal Shed Lounge! Stop in before the main stage show, at intermission, and after the show for refreshments, snacks, wings, nachos, and Plainwell ice cream, as well as free, after-the-show entertainment!

Tickets are $35 for all performances. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted. Group rates available. New this season: Kids Prices are $25 for kids 12 and under.

The Box Office is open daily 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Tickets may now be purchased on the internet or on your smart phone via PayPal at www.barntheatre.com. To reserve tickets at the Box Office, call 269-731-4121.

The Barn Theatre is located on M-96, west of Augusta.


 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: July 27, 2014

Theater entrepreneur brings children’s books to life at Somerset – The Oakland Press (July 23, 2014)


 

Festival celebrates Detroit's independent and alternative art scene

Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts
Aug. 2, 2014

Passalacqua. Photo: Doug Coombe

Posted: July 27, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.

DETROIT - On Aug. 2, Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, an outdoor celebration of site-specific performance and installation art, will fill the courtyards, sidewalks, storefronts and gardens in and around Artist Village Detroit with engaging site-specific work from 3-9 p.m. Sidewalk celebrates the architecture, culture and artistry of Detroit places through site-specific performance and installation.

Sidewalk Festival of the Arts is the brainchild of dance instructor and youth director Ryan Myers-Johnson, who brings together an avalanche of diverse cultural genres while keeping that Detroit flavor. Sidewalk's mission is to promote visual and performing arts in Detroit by transforming public, unique and under-used property into non-traditional performance venues. Sidewalk stimulates pedestrian traffic and engagement in unique Metro-Detroit places by re-purposing space for live visual and performing arts. Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts is an annual event that promotes place-making and creative use of space in Detroit.

Detroit is internationally renowned for its unique architecture and rich artist heritage. Sidewalk will present the work of a diverse collection of dance companies, theater troupes, musicians, and visual artists who are making non-traditional and avant-garde work specifically informed by the landscape and culture of the city.

This year's festival will include site-specific theater, pop-up Shakespeare, modern dance, house dance, interactive art, experimental jazz, progressive hip hop, and spoken word. A big focus will be on interactive artwork, which includes an interactive cardboard art installation - a 30-foot fiber art "Art Tunnel" that people can walk through. Other highlights include:

Artist Village Detroit is located at 17340 Lahser Rd., Detroit, MI 48219. Admission is a suggested $10 donation.

For up-to-date festival information, log on to www.sidewalkdetroit.com.



 

Double fun as Satori Circus explores dream world

...poems we tell ourselves...
Satori Circus
Aug. 1-2, 2014

Posted: July 26, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.

DETROIT - On Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2, Satori Circus will perform a new original performance art piece titled "...poems we tell ourselves..." in front of two audiences, in two different spaces at the Tangent Gallery / Hastings Street Ballroom.

"...poems we tell ourselves..." is an entirely new performance piece, with all original words, music and visuals. Different from other Satori Circus' performances, this delves into the dream world of a single person whose life is black and white, much like their dreams.

In our dreams we can escape; we can maneuver freely; we can become something else; we can live out our fantasies; we can become the super hero - or the anti-hero; we can defy all time and logic. This is where up is down and down is up, and that constant question lingers: "Is this real or a dream?"

In collaboration with dear friends Brian Dambacher ("Funy As Hell," "63mins"), Tim Suliman ("Moses:39," "Child-Proof"), Sean Redenz ("63mins," "Damned") and Antonio Cosenza, "...poems we tell ourselves..." has culminated into a time-morphing performance, where situations occur on two separate stages. While a live performance is unfolding before one audience, the other audience is being fed a video stream of that particular piece. Then, before the other audience knows what is happening, the live performance comes to them and the previous audience witnesses the event as a video stream. This performance is continuously changing form, changing space and keeping the audience on both sides on their toes.

Be prepared for the unknown and come with an open heart and head to witness a hybrid of performance art rarely seen in the Metro Detroit. We guarantee that you have never seen anything like this - and you may never again. Sometimes, journeys end where they begin and begin where they end.

There will be two performances of "...poems we tell ourselves..." each night, in two different spaces. No two shows will be alike – and no one audience will see the same thing.

Performances are at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Aug. 1 and 2; doors will open 30 minutes in advance of each performance.

Tickets are $10 at the door; $5 more if staying for a second performance in a different space.

Tangent Gallery and Hastings Street Ballroom are located at 715 E Milwaukee St., Detroit, MI 48202.

For more information, call 313-873-2955 or log onto www.tangentgallery.com. For more information about Satori Circus, log on to www.satoricircus.com.



 

Encore LIVE! - Talking creativity (and more) with Marc Evan Jackson (and more) of the Detroit Creativity Project

Beth Hagenlocker, Marc Evan Jackson and Margaret Edwartowski.

Posted: July 24, 2014 at 4 p.m.

It's no secret that Detroit has served as a splendid training ground for young thespians who studied their crafts, got their starts in show biz, and then moved east or west to pursue their dreams. While many leave and never come back - and oftentimes rarely acknowledge their roots - others return time and again to give back to the community that nurtured their talents.

In recent years that's been especially true of Metro Detroit's close-knit improv community, which has seen luminaries such as Larry Joe Campbell, Keegan-Michael Key, Josh and Nyima Funk, and Jaime Moyer head west - only to reappear on local stages from time to time, often for a good cause.

That's also true of Marc Evan Jackson, whose work at the Second City Detroit and the popular improv troupe The 313 has made him a local audience favorite. Ever appreciative of his time in Metro Detroit, Jackson and his wife, Beth Hagenlocker, have created the Detroit Creativity Project, an innovative program designed to empower and inspire young people through the art of improvisation.

To find out more about this unusual project, host Donald V. Calamia met with Jackson, Hagenlocker and local improv legend Margaret Edwartowski who is responsible for implementing the program in her role as director of arts for the Y-Arts division of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit.

Encore LIVE! - it's like radio, but over the internet! A production of EncoreMichigan.com. Produced for EncoreMichigan.com by Barton Bund and Tony Caselli. Theme music by the World Famous Love Machine.

CLICK HERE for other listening and downloading options.

THERE'S MORE: CLICK HERE for more information about the Detroit Creativity Project!

AND EVEN MORE: CLICK HERE for complete information regarding the Detroit Improv Festival!

Click here to comment on this podcast


 

MOT expands main stage outreach in Metro Detroit

Posted: July 24, 2014 at 3:20 p.m.

DETROIT - Michigan Opera Theatre announces two additional venues, the Berman Center for the Performing Arts and Detroit Institute of Arts' Detroit Film Theatre, for performances of its co-production of "Frida" with the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in March 2015.

MOT's "Frida" will open at the Macomb Center March 7-8, followed by performances at The Berman Center on March 21-22 and Detroit Film Theatre on March 28. The opera's run will be in tandem with the DIA's exhibition, "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit." The project marks MOT's first main stage opera to be performed in all three Metro Detroit counties - Macomb, Oakland and Wayne.

"Community engagement is a principal theme for Michigan Opera Theatre. Through the opera 'Frida,' three new partnerships reflect a new era for artistic collaboration in Southeastern Michigan," said Wayne S. Brown, MOT's president and CEO.

"For some years I have had the desire to produce this opera by Rodriguez, and when I learned that the DIA was mounting an exhibit about Frida and Diego, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to provide the community with a musical dimension to this most fascinating character," said Dr. David DiChiera, MOT's founder and artistic director.

Robert Xavier Rodriguez's "Frida" focuses completely on the tumultuous life of its title character, Frida Kahlo. At the age of 18, Kahlo was on a bus that collided with a trolley car, causing her injuries that would lead to a lifetime of medical procedures and pain, and would inspire her to create some of the most compelling paintings of the 21st century. Kahlo's marriage to famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, the artist who created Detroit Industry for the DIA, was a source of both inspiration and heartache. The opera celebrates Kahlo's vivacious spirit, talent, sexuality, and fragility in scenes filled with wide-ranging music as complex and colorful as Kahlo's artwork.

Full details of the project, including an announcement of community partners, sponsors, casting and production information will be released Aug. 26.


Robert Xavier Rodriguez's Frida

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m.

The Berman Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m.

DIA's Detroit Film Theatre
Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.


 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: July 24, 2014

Meet Ann Arbor's 2 newest theater companies: Spinning Dot Theatre and Pointless Brewery & Theatre – The Ann Arbor News (July 24, 2014)

Mosaic Youth Theatre choir wins gold, silver at world games – The Detroit News (July 22, 2014)

Bringing Shakespeare to Detroit's renaissance – The Detroit News (July 24, 2014)

Getting schooled: Breakout hit Chicago play 'Exit Strategy' comes to Three Oaks theater fest – The Herald Palladium (July 24, 2014)


 

'Gilda's LaughFest' announces 2015 festival dates

Posted: July 24, 2014 at 8:25 a.m.

GRAND RAPIDS – The nation's first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, "Gilda's LaughFest," announced this morning the festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary March 5-15, 2015. Also, announced today are preliminary results of an economic impact study from Grand Valley State University. The study indicates "LaughFest" created a $3.2 million economic impact on the region.

"We are excited as we ramp-up efforts for our fifth year," said Joanne Roehm, festival director. "Last year more than 50,000 individuals purchased tickets to 'LaughFest.' We are happy with the results for 'LaughFest,' but we are extremely pleased to show the economic impact 'LaughFest' has created for Grand Rapids and the region."

"LaughFest," the nation's only 10-day community-wide festival of laughter, attracted 50,000 attendees from across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom during its fourth annual event. The festival features laughter in all its forms, from stand-up comedy and improv to film, music and a variety of seriously funny stuff.

Other highlights from the economic impact study show $1.7 million in new spending occurred in the region, with spending by individuals from outside Grand Rapids increasing 50 percent this year compared to last year. Per-person spending during 2013's 'LaughFest' was $34.48 and increased to $49.97 during the festival's 2014 event, a 45-percent increase. The per-person spending takes into account such items as lodging, meals and transportation costs, which are additional to the costs associated with buying tickets to "LaughFest" shows.

"When LaughFest began in 2011, our goal was to create a festival of laughter for the health of it that would not only raise awareness for the programs of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, but raise awareness for the West Michigan region," said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. "We are thrilled the numbers presented by the economic impact study show that 'LaughFest' is a primary reason individuals are visiting the region."

For more information about Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, please log on to www.gildasclubgr.org


 

Introducing Performance Network's new 2014-15 season

Posted: July 23, 2014 at 3:22 p.m.; updated July 23, 2014 at 9:25 p.m.

ANN ARBOR - After a short reorganizational hiatus, Performance Network Theatre is back with a new 2014-15 Season. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 4, and all current subscriptions will be honored.

Season subscriptions will be available from $110-$165; single tickets per performance will range in price from $22-$41.

As the theater resumes operation, a new ticketing system is being implemented and phone service resumed. Patrons wishing to purchase season or individual tickets may call 734-663-0681 or visit www.performancenetwork.org beginning Monday, Aug. 4.

For patrons who missed shows because of the suspension of activities, details will be announced soon regarding accommodations.

Performance Network Theatre is located at 120 E. Huron in Downtown Ann Arbor. For more information on Performance Network Theatre, please visit www.facebook.com/pntheatre or email pnet618@gmail.com.


Performance Network 2014-15 Season

Driving Miss Daisy
by Alfred Uhry and directed by John Manfredi
Sept. 25 - Oct. 26
In 1948, the son of an elderly Southern matron hires a chauffeur for his mother, and over the next 25 years the relationship between the matron and the chauffeur blossoms into one of respect and friendship as the civil-rights movement brings changes to the old South. Featuring James Bowen.

This Wonderful Life
by Steve Murray and directed by Tony Caselli
Nov. 18 - Dec. 17: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays only
You know, the movie - that one about George Bailey and Bedford Falls. That 1946 black-and-white film directed by Frank Capra with James Stewart as George Bailey. That quirky Christmas story that's become a classic for so many generations. This story of "This Wonderful Life" is performed by a lone man and played with absolute brilliance by John Lepard.

and

Gift of the Magi
written by Annie Martin with music by Suzi Regan
Nov. 28 - Dec. 21: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays only
This two-person play journeys through both a traditional and contemporary retelling of the classic O. Henry story, "The Gift of the Magi." While the holiday season is a time of abundance, the most important gift we can give and receive is love. A Performance Network world premiere directed by Suzi Regan.

Yellow Man
by Dael Orlandersmith and directed by Lynch Travis
Jan. 15 - Feb. 15, 2015
A 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama, this is a two-person multi-character love story 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
by Marie Jones and directed by Suzi Regan
March 5 - April 5
This award-winning comedy features two 30-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. A recent three-time Tony Award nominee, "Stones" won the Irish Times/ESB Irish Theatre Award for Best Production and two Olivier Awards for Best New Comedy and Best Actor.

Salvage
by Joseph Zettelmaier and directed by Joey Albright
April 23 - May 24
The shy owner of a collectibles store in Detroit 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. This show reunites the winning team of author Zettlemaier and director Albright.

Other Desert Cities
by Jon Robin Baitz
June 11 - July 5
Brooke Wyeth 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 - a wound they don't want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it.


 

MSF opens current season, announces the next

Posted: July 21, 2014 at 7:05 a.m.

JACKSON – The Michigan Shakespeare Festival opened its 20th anniversary season July 19 with an acclaimed production of Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." The audience rose for a standing ovation for the production directed by MSF artistic director Janice L. Blixt and featuring Shawn Pfautsch as the brilliant and tormented prince.

Earlier in the evening, Blixt announced the addition of Robert Kauzlaric - director of 2011's "Tartuffe," 2012's "Love's Labour's Lost," 2013's "She Stoops to Conquer," and this season's upcoming "Cymbeline" - to the Festival's select group of artistic associates. "It is an honor to join this family of talented and inspiring artists," said Kauzlaric. "For the past four summers, MSF has been such a supportive environment of artistic challenge and growth for me, and I'm delighted to call it one of my homes. Jan and her entire team are making magic happen here, and I'm thrilled to be part of it."

In addition to thanking the Festival's sponsors and supporters, including the Festival underwriting Weatherwax Foundation, Blixt also announced the line-up for the 2015 Season: Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a new adaptation of a combined "Henry IV, 1 & 2," and Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 comedy "The Rivals," to be direct by Kauzlaric. "'Midsummer' is one of Shakespeare's funniest and most beloved comedies, and I can't wait to bring our spirit and style to the production," said Blixt, who is directing the two Shakespeare productions next season. "I've wanted to bring more of the histories to the MSF stage - but they can be off-putting to theatergoers who seem to think they might be more documentary than drama. The 'Henry IV''s are, at their heart, a family drama between a father and son."

The current season's "Hamlet" runs through Aug. 17 at the Baughman Theatre of the Potter Center, 2111 Emmons Rd. Jackson. "The Importance of Being Earnest," currently in previews, opens Saturday, July 26, while "Cymbeline" begins previews July 24 and opens July 27. All three shows run in repertory.

Tickets and more information are available at www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com.



 

With its owner closed, what’s the future of Encore Michigan?

Posted: June 30, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.

So what's a new-fangled internet-based arts-oriented media company supposed to do when its parent organization decides to go out of business? That's the question being discussed at EncoreMichigan.com these days, following the unexpected news that the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance would close down operations effective July 1.

META, a membership-based non-profit service organization created to promote and advocate for Michigan's unionized professional theaters, was formed in 2010 through a partnership between the Cultural Alliance for Southeast Michigan and the Michigan Non-Profit Association, with funding provided by the Kresge Foundation and the Ford Foundation. It acquired EncoreMichigan.com as an independent affiliate in fall 2012 from Pride Source Media Group. The decision to close META was made at its June 25 board meeting.

"Both META and Pride Source have pledged to assist us in keeping EncoreMichigan.com alive," said co-founder and executive director Donald V. Calamia, who was notified of the closure shortly after the board meeting. "Our conversations so far have led to temporary, stop-gap solutions to keep us fully functioning and funded through at least the end of July. But after that? We haven't a clue."

EncoreMichigan.com is the premier source for free, up-to-the-minute news and information about the state's professional theaters, with original content created by a dedicated team of veteran freelance journalists. Established in 2008, EncoreMichigan.com switched to a membership-funded financial model upon its acquisition by META – which has been a source of contention within the professional theater community ever since.

"While a handful of theaters chose not to become a member, which means they lost their coverage on the site, that was the best way we could come up with to fund the site, given the fact that over the previous few years pretty much every funding source we approached said they loved us, but had no way to fit our uniqueness into their existing programs," Calamia said. "None of them knew what to do with us."

And while the membership model worked – for the most part – Calamia acknowledged it's not a long-term solution. "So that's where we are now – without much time to come up with an answer: What IS the best possible solution? Or is this the universe's way of telling us there's no demand or need for what we do?"

With less than 48 hours since he was informed of the board's decision, Calamia said there are three options currently being looked at. "The first is to find one, two or three major supporters and sponsors to underwrite EncoreMichigan.com, hopefully for the long-term. (The budget is between $30,000 and $50,000 per year.) The second is to find another non-profit to adopt us under a similar plan to which we operated under META. Or if that's not possible, the third – and most time consuming, costly and difficult – is to create a new non-profit for EncoreMichigan.com, complete with a small working board, whose job it would be to fundraise and manage the financial operations of the company."

With that said, however, "We'll listen to any and all suggestions and offers from anyone interested in helping us solve this puzzle."

Despite META's closure, users and members of EncoreMichigan.com will see no difference when they log onto the website throughout the month of July, Calamia said. "The site will still be updated daily, our critics will still be out reviewing shows throughout the state, and the calendar listings will still be current. From all external appearances, it will be business as usual."

But behind the scenes? "It will be a madhouse," he laughed.

And after July 31? "That's unknown territory at this point. But as of right now – barring any unforeseen circumstances, of course – my plan is to keep updating the site daily with press releases and calendar listings through the month of August. Luckily our membership year ends August 31 and we hadn't begun soliciting for the new season. But with no budget to work with, the few commitments we have for August and beyond are on hold for now, and so we ask that our member theaters bear with us as we work through resolving this unexpected situation." Calamia said.

The only exception to the timeline, Calamia noted, pertains to the 13th Annual Wilde Awards, scheduled for Sept. 22 at The Berman Center for Performing Arts in West Bloomfield and sponsored by Pride Source Media Group. "As of right now, that's still on the schedule. Keep watching EncoreMichigan.com for complete details."

Although the road ahead seems bumpy, Calamia is confident that somehow EncoreMichigan.com will remain online and fully serving ALL of the state's professional theaters while continuing to expand its readership. "There's nothing like us out there, and so to lose us would mean a valuable resource would be gone for good. We thank our member theaters, the theater community as a whole, and our readers for their continued support these past six years. And with their help, we can continue to provide a much-needed service for many years to come."

About EncoreMichigan.com
EncoreMichigan.com is a web-based media company focused on Michigan's professional theater industry. Established in 2008, it is the state's premier source for free, up-to-the-minute news and information about this often-ignored segment of the arts community. Designed as a one-stop shop for consumers, industry professionals and others with an interest in the performing arts, EncoreMichigan.com is updated daily and packed with informative interviews, insightful reviews, comprehensive show listings, thoughtful commentary, audition notices, podcasts and much, much more. Original content is created by a dedicated team of veteran freelance journalists and theater professionals. In addition to material created exclusively for EncoreMichigan.com, links are also provided to reviews and stories of interest that appear in other local and national online publications. Together, this makes EncoreMichigan.com the most complete source for professional theater news anywhere in Michigan. EncoreMichigan.com is media partners with CBS Detroit, IXITI, MLive, New Monitor, and Pride Source Media Group.

THERE'S MORE: CLICK HERE for additional information regarding META's closure!


 

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