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Take an unforgettable ride with Kevin Lepine

Hypnosis Unleashed
Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle
Sept. 23, 2014

Posted: Sept. 15, 2014 at 7:36 a.m.

ROYAL OAK - "Hypnosis Unleashed" returns to Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.

Transparent in every show, hypnotist Kevin Lepine is very passionate about his chosen craft. Raised by two loving adopted parents in Detroit, Lepine discovered hypnosis at a young age. By the time Lepine was 30 years old, he had connected with his biological parents and learned that like him, his birth father had a similar passion for hypnosis and magic.

From Detroit to New Orleans, Lepine has always found delight in entertaining others, and in 2010 he made his way to Las Vegas, where he now stars in "Hypnosis Unleashed." Winner of Best Hypnotist by Las Vegas Review-Journal's 2013 Best of Las Vegas readers poll, Lepine recently celebrated the 500 shows of "Hypnosis Unleashed" at the Night Owl Showroom at Hooters Casino Hotel. Rated one of the top performers in Las Vegas by TripAdvisor reviewers and Yelp Elite alike, Lepine takes audiences on a hilarious ride for an evening of side splitting comedy and astonishing hypnosis, guaranteeing audiences will encounter out of the box experiences without the humiliation factor.

"Nothing beats coming home," Says Lepine. "I started in Detroit, and to be able to play the Comedy Castle where I got my start is always a rush. I couldn't headline Vegas if I hadn't had the Castle to grow."

Lepine is a certified hypnotherapist who started his career helping people with stress relief and relaxation, smoking cessation and weight loss, and continues to offer these services in the form of occasional group sessions, as well as self-help CDs. Lepine earned his hypnotherapy certification through the Michigan Holistic Health Center.

Lepine is a former Eagle Scout and avid supporter of Boy Scouts of America and Make- A-Wish Foundation. In his spare time, Lepine enjoys watching old and new episodes of "Dr. Who" and listening to unique and obscure musical artists from many different genres, including rock, indie, alternative, punk, ska, funk and more.

"Hypnosis Unleashed" is recommended for ages 18 and over only.

Tickets are only $15. To reserve tickets, call 248-542-9900 or log on to www.comedycastle.com.

Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle is located at 310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak.



 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: Sept. 14, 2014

Family musical is a family affair: 'Secret Garden' begins Farmers Alley Theatre's new season – Kalamazoo Gazette (Sept. 12, 2014)


 

Festival expands the possibilities

Detroit Fringe Festival
1515 Broadway
Sept. 16-21, 2014

2014 Wilde Award nominee Julia Lynn Marsh is one of the performers at this year's Detroit Fringe Festival.

Posted: Sept. 14, 2014 at 8:31 a.m.

DETROIT - The Detroit Fringe Festival returns beginning Sept. 16 with a mission to expand the possibilities of Michigan theater. This year's festival will feature musicians, actors, playwrights, dancers, poets and comedians performing at 1515 Broadway Theatre and Cafe in downtown Detroit. The essential question for this year's Detroit Fringe Festival is this: "If young people will spend $100 to see Rihanna perform, what about the theater industry is preventing them from spending $10 to see a play?"

The Fringe Festival hopes to change general audience's view of theater by showcasing work that is outside of the box, including a one-woman show about transitioning, a hip-hop one act about Detroit education, and several 10-minute plays about everything from a man stuck in his ex's basement window to a waitress and truck driver that meet and fall in love at an IHOP.

Featured acts include poet Terrell Murrow of InsideOut Literary Arts, singer James Basum, playwright Paige Vanzo, director Karen Brehmer and Richard Payton.

When asked about why he brought The Fringe back to Detroit, producer Emilio Rodriguez said, "I have seen a lot of my new friends move to bigger cities like L.A., New York and Chicago to pursue the opportunities that those locations offer. I want people to realize that Detroit is a cultivator of powerful works of art that inspire, entertain, engage and enlighten a variety of audiences."

Rodriguez went on to comment about the growing opportunities for young and new artists in Detroit. He wants to push that movement even further and expand upon the opportunities that Shakespeare in Detroit, Puzzle Piece, Theatre Nova, Slipstream, and other new theater companies have created for young artists and their work.

Proceeds and collected donations will be used to fund a training program that provides free workshops to Detroit actors before auditions with the goal of seeing more Detroit artists on local stages and keeping our talented actors in the Metro Detroit area. There will also be a raffle that includes prizes showcasing the talent of Detroit, including a pair of tickets to Two Muses' newest musical and a voice lesson from Broadway actress Naz Edwards.

The Detroit Fringe festival runs Sept 16-21 at 1515 Broadway Theatre and Café, with various acts performing each night. Admission ranges from $5-$10 depending on the night, with a Fringe Pass available to see all events for $40.

The theater is located at 1515 Broadway St. in Downtown Detroit across from the Detroit Opera House.


Line-up: 2014 Detroit Fringe Festival

Tuesday, Sept. 16 "Move in Detroit" $10
A collection of dance pieces from MOY and Angie Johnson followed by an open dance party. 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17 "Play in Detroit" $10
A festival of new plays highlighting Detroit actors, directors, and writers. 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18 "Share with Detroit" $5
An open mic showcasing Detroit's variety of talent and featuring InsideOut Literary Arts Poet Terrell Murrow. 8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19 "Sing with Detroit" $10
A celebration of Detroit's voices featuring Robbie Dwight and James Basum. 8 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20 "Welcome to Detroit" $5
A variety of readings from some of Detroit's newest and future theater companies. Followed by a networking session. 3 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20 "Listen to Detroit" $10
A celebration of LGBT stories from a Detroit perspective featuring Wilde Award nominee Julia Lynn Marsh. Patrons are encouraged to dress up for this masquerade themed LGBT party. 8 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 21 "Laugh with Detroit" $10
A hilarious festival of Detroit's comedy talent featuring Luna Alexander, The Maris(s)as and Wilde Award Nominee Richard Payton. Fringe After Party to follow. 5 p.m.



 

Matrix provides a venue for the venue-less

Posted: Sept. 13, 2014 at 7:47 a.m.

DETROIT - Matrix Theatre Company is introducing Hostel Theatre to provide a venue for those independent theater makers that don't have one of their own. The schedule for Hostel Theatre runs from Sept. 19 – Oct. 12 and features BoxFest Detroit, Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company, and Rumpusroom, three of Detroit's professional theaters, and Jasmine Rivera, an award-winning filmmaker.

"We are very excited about this new addition to our regular theater season," said Megan Buckley-Ball, artistic director of Matrix Theatre. "This venture features events by theater companies, producers or directors who don't have access to their own performance spaces. As a theater that focuses on building community, we feel it is important to make our space available to members of the theater community and provide them with a place to exercise their own artistic visions for Detroit."

The first Hostel Theatre event features the "BoxFest Detroit Workshop" produced by BoxFest Detroit on Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20. An organization that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors, the "BoxFest Detroit Workshop" is a weekend of fully-staged readings directed by 10 of the most innovative and creative women working in Detroit today. Audiences will have the opportunity to discuss each reading in a post-performance "talk back."

The Workshop event is a fundraiser for BoxFest Detroit's 2015 festival. For more information on scheduling, tickets and the organization, visit www.boxfestdetroit.com.

Next, on Friday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4, "The Trail of the Catonsville Nine" is featured. The play - produced by Jasmine Rivera, written by Fr. Daniel Berrigan, and directed by Kate Peckham - tells the story of nine Catholic activists who, in 1968, broke into the draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, removed draft files, brought them out to the parking lot, poured home-made napalm over them, and set them on fire. Berrigan, one of the nine activists charged, based his play on a transcript from the trial. Jasmine Rivera is presenting the readings of this play to support her upcoming film project, "American Prophet."

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, Detroit's Magenta Giraffe Theatre and author Elizabeth Dembrowsky of New York City will partner to present "To Save One," an experimental piece of art that bridges the gap between theater and literature. Dembrowsky's "To Save One" explores the story of an American-born woman and a Romanian-born man who meet in New York, fall in love and want to get married. They have to convince the American government to let them spend the rest of their lives together in the United States. But the story is not just about one couple or one train of thought, or one country. It is about everyone's love, all of our needs, and the hope that grit and hard work will eventually win out. For more information, visit www.magentagiraffe.org.

Rumpusroom closes out the Hostel Theatre series on Saturday, Oct. 11 with a staged reading of "Kayak" by Jordan Hall, directed by Amanda Grace Ewing. Following the reading, three invited local artists will present a panel discussion on the politics of play selection in various Detroit communities. For further information, go to Rumpusroom's Facebook page.

For those interested in renting Matrix Theatre Company's space, contact Buckley-Ball at 313-967-0999, ext. 4.


 

Region's top burlesque performers set to appear at largest burlesque festival in Michigan

Michigan Burlesque Festival
Hastings Street Ballroom
Sept. 19-20, 2014

Chicago's Red Hot Annie is among the performers at the Michigan Burlesque Festival.

Posted: Sept. 11, 2014 at 8:45 p.m.

DETROIT - Burlesque performers from across North America, acrobats, jugglers, aerialists, clowns, singers, magicians, bawdy comedians and more will entertain at the second annual Michigan Burlesque Festival, which will take place Sept. 19-20 at Detroit's Hastings Street Ballroom/Tangent Gallery. Michigan's largest burlesque festival has doubled in size, moving from a one-day, sold-out event to a two-day event filled with the best burlesque from the Midwest and beyond.

"This festival is meant to open people up to the many levels of burlesque. It is so much more than just fancy gowns and garter belts," said Mabel Syrup, co-owner and resident clown of Fancy Pants Arts and Entertainment and co-producer of the festival. "There is true creativity out there in the world, and we want to show everyone that we Michigan folk appreciate all of it. This show is guaranteed to have something for everyone."

Headliners for the weekend will include Chicago's own beloved community chest Cruel Valentine; Windy City Burlesque Festival founder Red Hot Annie; Ohio vaudeville power duo Pinch & Squeal; and Detroit's own beloved superstar, Satori Circus, who is celebrating his 25th year of being Satori.

In addition to this year's all-star cast, the Tangent Gallery will be lined with artists and merchants displaying and selling their crafts, apparel, treats and more. For the first time, workshops on the art and style of burlesque will be hosted by the festival's emcee comedienne, Foxy Tann, and taught by "Detroit's hardest working showgirl," Lushes LaMoan on Saturday of the event. Workshop topics include Fabulous is a State of Mind (noon), Assels & Tassels (2 p.m.) and the FUNdamentals of Character Development (4 p.m.). Classes are $25 each, or $20 each with more than one registration at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/828826.

Tickets are $25 for VIP seating, $15 for general seating, or $25 for a 2-day festival pass at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/820304. General seating, if still available on the night of the events, will be available for $20 at the door.

Hastings Street Ballroom is located at 715 E Milwaukee St, Detroit, MI 48202.

The Michigan Burlesque Festival is produced by Fancy Pants Arts & Entertainment LLC of Ann Arbor. Sponsors for the event are Arbco Records, Brazen Cosmetics, The Feather Place, Get Curious with Safety Girl, The GetUp Vintage Apparel, Ivy's Custom Corsetry, Noir Leather, Ohio Burlesque Festival, The Peacock Room, Underground Sounds, and Vault of Midnight.

For more information, go to michiganburlesquefest.com.



 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: Sept. 11, 2014

Former Performance Network administrators Carla Milarch and David Wolber pursue new paths – The Ann Arbor News (Sept. 8, 2014)

Original superstar: Michigan woman brings Bernhardt musical to East Lansing – City Pulse (Sept. 10, 2014)

Detroit art community mourns loss of Gilda Snowden – Detroit Free Press (Sept. 10, 2014)

Detroit artist Gilda Snowden dies at 60, was 'generous with everybody' – The Detroit News (Sept. 10, 2014)


 

Special VIP Theatre Lover Package announced for 'Angels in America'

Posted: Sept. 11, 2014 at 7:55 a.m.

FERNDALE - The Ringwald Theatre, in coordination with The Emory Restaurant, announces a special VIP evening of great theater and great food for one night only, on Saturday, Sept. 27.

After a highly successful run of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches," The Ringwald Theatre opened its eighth season with both parts of this epic play, "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika" in repertory, working from a newly-revised script that includes new material. Noted as one of the Top Ten Most Anticipated Productions of the 2014 Detroit Fall Theatrical Season by the Detroit Free Press and one of the 5 Shows Not to Miss in the 2014-15 Theater Season by IXITI, this epic journey is not to be missed!

The Emory Restaurant, located just south of the theater at 22700 Woodward Avenue, features locally sourced ingredients and products and proudly supports the surrounding Michigan community. All items on the dinner menu are available for the VIP Theatre-Lover Package and can be viewed at www.theemoryferndale.com/menud.

The VIP Theatre-Lover Package includes:

Cost per person is $65. (Limited number of VIP passes available. Alcoholic beverages and gratuity for dinner not included in package price.)

Tickets for the VIP Theatre-Lover Package can be purchased on The Ringwald Theatre website at www.theringwald.com/tickets or by calling the theater at 248-545-5545.


 

PBS show comes alive in Kalamazoo

Sid the Science Kid Live: Let’s Play
Miller Auditorium
Oct. 9, 2014

Posted: Sept. 11, 2014 at 7:35 a.m.

KALAMAZOO - The popular PBS KIDS television show "Sid the Science Kid" is coming to the live stage. "Sid the Science Kid Live: Let’s Play!" will be at Miller Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale beginning Friday, Sept. 12.

"Sid the Science Kid Live: Let’s Play!" cast and crew will be in Kalamazoo and at Miller Auditorium for a week to put final touches on the production in advance of launching the new North American tour on Oct. 9.

"Sid the Science Kid" comes to life in this incredible live stage experience! Kids and parents alike will be thrilled as Sid, May, Gabriela and Gerald come to town to discover the excitement and curiosities of the world around them. With wonders to discover, Sid and his friends set off on a day of excitement and adventure, as they explore their five senses through fun games and experiments and by asking curious questions and finding fascinating answers. Teacher Susie is also along to keep the music flowing as the kids explore the world around them with audience interactive activities, cooperative problem solving and plenty of laughs to go around. There is even a surprise sixth sense revealed by Teacher Susie. "Sid the Science Kid Live!" will have the whole family cheering, exploring, dancing and excited to figure out more about the great unknown together.

"Sid the Science Kid Live: Let’s Play!" is created for the stage by the imaginative minds of Michael Lewis (veteran Broadway performer and producer of "ImaginOcean"), John Tartaglia (creator and writer of "ImaginOcean" and Tony Award-nominated actor), and The Jim Henson Company.

The "Sid the Science Kid" television series is an educational animated show produced by The Jim Henson Company for PBS KIDS. It uses comedy and music to promote exploration, discovery and science readiness among preschoolers. This landmark production of 66 half-hour episodes debuted on Sept. 1, 2008, and has since been honored with five Emmy nominations and multiple awards including the most recent Cine Golden Eagle Award.

Tickets range from $15-$35 and are on sale beginning Friday, Sept. 12. Tickets can be purchased at www.millerauditorium.com, by phone at 800-228-9858 or 269-387-2300 and in person at the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office.

Miller Auditorium in located on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.



 

WSU sad to announce passing of Gilda Snowden

Posted: Sept. 10, 2014 at 5:24 a.m.

DETROIT - It is with deep sadness that Wayne State University's College of Fine Performing and Communication Arts announces the passing of alumna Gilda Snowden, '77, '79. She died on Sept. 9.

"We are deeply grieved by the loss of Gilda Snowden. Her contributions to our University were many including a significant interest in preserving and promoting the art of the Cass Corridor artists," noted Matthew Seeger, dean of the College of Fine Performing and Communication Arts. "We are grateful for the numerous works she has created. Her legacy will live on in her art and in the memories of her students and colleagues and continue to inspire future generations of painters, printmakers and educators."

A graduate of Cass Technical High school, Snowden held both Bachelors and Masters of Fine Arts degrees from Wayne State University. She taught painting and drawing at the University from 1979 to 1985 prior to becoming a full time instructor at the College for Creative Studies. She taught at CCS for more than 30 years, including administrative roles as chair of the Fine Arts department and the Painting section. She was renowned as the quintessential teacher.

"Gilda has always been passionate about the importance of her experiences at Wayne State as a student. Over the years, she continued to have a positive impact on WSU students, and although she taught elsewhere, we have always considered her a Wayne State colleague. She has had a profound and lasting effect on the Detroit art community," said John Richardson, chair of James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History at Wayne State University.

A beacon in the art community, she began exhibiting her work while still a graduate student here at Wayne. She has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally since 1977, in venues that include the Sherry Washington Gallery, Dell Pryor Galleries, O.K. Harris/David Klein Gallery, GR N'Namdi Gallery, Willis Gallery, Focus Gallery, Detroit Artists Market, Feigenson Gallery, JRainey Gallery, Saginaw Art Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

She was gallery director with the Detroit Repertory Theatre and has curated shows at the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Willis Gallery, Pontiac Art Center, Focus Gallery, Dell Pryor Galleries, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and the Zeitgeist Gallery.

Gilda was honored in July 2009 by being chosen as one of the 18 inaugural artists to receive a $25,000 Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship. Her other awards and honors are numerous and include recognition from the National Conference of Artists, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, New Initiative for the Arts and many others.

Her extensive list of museum and corporate collections include the Detroit Institute of Arts, Ameritech Company, Dayton Hudson Corporation, United American Healthcare Corporation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Detroit Public School System, Neiman-Marcus Corporation, Dykema Gossett, Compuware Corporation and many other businesses and civic entities.

Gilda Snowden was a resident of Detroit and she leaves behind her husband, her daughter and a host of friends, supporters, former students and ardent admirers.


 

Female directors reshape the box to help raise funds for BoxFest Detroit

BoxFest Detroit Workshop
Matrix Theatre
Sept. 19-20, 2014

Posted: Sept. 8, 2014 at 5:47 p.m.

DETROIT – The producers of BoxFest Detroit are pleased to announce the 2014 "BoxFest Detroit Workshop," a weekend of fully staged readings featuring original short and full-length plays directed by women. BoxFest Detroit, an organization that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors, produces this event. The BoxFest Detroit Workshop will perform Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20 at Matrix Theatre in Southwest Detroit.

The event showcases the work of 10 female directors and offers a diverse and fun atmosphere in which to experience and discuss plays by emerging playwrights and what the featured directors have chosen to do with them. The staged readings run the gamut from comedy to drama, from surrealism to puppetry, from full-length pieces to short one acts, and are sure to include something for everyone.

After each box of readings, audiences will have the opportunity to discuss the plays and performances in brief talkbacks.

The 10 plays are directed by Sherrine Azab, Lauren Bickers, K Edmonds, Amanda Grace Ewing, Kennikki Jones-Jones, Michelle LeRoy, Ileah-Mare, Carrie Morris, Frannie Shepherd-Bates, and Sarah Wilder.

"I've jokingly called this event the 'alumni show,' because unlike in past festivals, all of our directors have been involved in previous festivals as directors, designers or actors," said Molly McMahon, artistic director of BoxFest Detroit. "We are really excited to see what these experienced directors bring to the table this year."

The production staff for this year's event includes McMahon and Kelly Rossi, serving as executive director.

The workshop format is a departure from the annual summer festival that many fans expected. BoxFest Detroit suffered a number of setbacks that made producing a full festival this year an impossibility. As a result, the decision was made to produce a smaller, less expensive event and use it to raise funds for next year's festival. The Workshop is one of a number of fundraisers planned to secure funds for upcoming festivals.

"We were disappointed that we are unable to offer awards to our directors this time around since opportunities like those are the entire reason for our existence," said McMahon. "However, because the women of this festival value what we do, they rallied around us to help make sure BoxFest Detroit doesn't end. We are proud to present the work of these dedicated and imaginative women."

Admission is $5 per box and is payable by cash only at the door. For more information, please visit www.boxfestdetroit.com.

Matrix Theatre is located at 2730 Bagley, Detroit, MI 48216.


BoxFest Detroit Workshop Schedule

Box 1: Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
"Dead Men Can't Cook," written by Mags Larson, directed by Carrie Morris
"265," written and directed by Ileah-Mare
"A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes," written by Kate Benson, directed by Sherrine Azab

Box 2: Saturday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m.
"Deeper," written by Jacquelyn Priskorn, directed by Michelle LeRoy
"Fixing Bob," written by David MacGregor, directed by K Edmonds
"Something Greater," written by Kirsten Knisely, directed by Frannie Shepherd-Bates

Box 3: Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
"Just Desserts," written by David MacGregor, directed by Lauren Bickers
"Block Party," written and directed by Kennikki Jones-Jones
"Come On," written by Amy Thomas, directed by Sarah Wilder
"Sixteen Jackies," written by Emma Miller, directed by Amanda Grace Ewing

About BoxFest Detroit
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 formed 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 as a director. A scholarship to attend an Actor Director Lab at the Purple Rose Theatre Company is awarded to one director, and the winner of the audience vote competition is given the opportunity to direct a show with Planet Ant Theatre's Late Night Series.


 

Characters wanted: Help celebrate memories at Tibbits

Posted: Sept. 8, 2014 at 7:59 a.m.

COLDWATER – A unique photography event will capture the beauty of Tibbits Opera House's interior while allowing participants to join in highlighting some of Tibbits theatrical history on Tuesday, Sept. 16 when Dennis James, a local photographer, will create a high-quality 180-degree panoramic from the stage.

In a twist of roles, many of the seats will be randomly filled with some of the characters in costumes and makeup from many of Tibbits past theatrical performances. "I see the shot as kind of a graphical timeline combined with a 'Where's Waldo' concept," says James. "I wanted to offer my experience of panoramic images and light painting to capture the beauty of the Coldwater landmark and came up with the idea of adding the past performers to add something fun and different."

Many volunteers will be needed to be in the photo. Some will also help with the costumes and makeup and others will be the characters in the seats. Those interested in being a part of the photo should contact Tibbits volunteer coordinator Pam at 517-278-6029. Costuming and set up for the photo shoot will begin at 5 p.m., though the actual photo will take place when everyone is ready.

James did a test shoot in August to practice the light painting technique and get an image without anyone in the seats. Because the house lights are much brighter than the walls and seats, James will photograph the images with the house light as dim as possible and create the challenging effect of the lights by painting the walls and seats with a flashlight.

In 1993-94 James offered his photographic expertise to Apple Computers to help in the development of Quicktime VR, a graphic environment that allows the creation and viewing of photographically-captured panoramas through images taken at multiple viewing angles. To photograph Tibbits, Dennis will use a specialized tripod camera mount that revolves around a fixed point with precision stops. Seven photographs will be taken and stitched together using computer software to create the 180 degree image.

Dennis James graduated from Coldwater High School in 1973 and served in the U. S. Navy as a photographer for nine years before being hired by Standard Oil Co. as a senior photographer in Chicago. He lived and worked as a photographer in the Chicago area until he moved home in 2013.

For information about Tibbits Opera House, log on to www.tibbits.org


 

We're still here: The latest in our saga to keep publishing

Posted: Sept. 1, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.

So you might be wondering: What's happening with EncoreMichigan.com? Does it have a future? Or is the end near?

Well, it's now September and we're still here. But for how much longer depends on ideas presented recently by concerned members of the theater community. "Since the announcement of our owner's closure this past June 30th, we've been offered a handful of ideas on what we might do to raise funds to stay alive," said Donald V. Calamia, editorial director of EncoreMichigan.com. "While those suggestions were certainly helpful, only one was a concrete, long-term solution with the potential to accomplish several objectives of ours that have been discussed at various times over the past seven or eight years. The problem, though, is time – there's simply not enough of it to fully develop this plan as quickly as we need it to be."

While Calamia was vague on details – "there are still plenty of details to work out before we can begin to talk about it in public," he said – one thing is for sure: "We'll continue publishing as we always have through the end of September, which will buy us time to continue exploring the plan that's been presented to us."

How is Calamia able to do this? "You can thank The Wilde Awards," he said. "Under the ownership of the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance, The Wilde Awards were used as an annual fundraiser for EncoreMichigan.com, and this year will be no different. The ticket income the show generates will be enough to pay the bills, plus continue to fund Encore through the end of September. But after that, that money's gone – which means we'd better get busy on getting what I'm calling Encore 2.0 underway!"

Encore 2.0, Calamia teased, is a comprehensive plan that should not only keep EncoreMichigan.com alive and publishing, but the breadth of its scope should be of great interest and value to both theatergoers and the state's professional theater community. "But we're going to need help from a variety of sources to pull it off, and I'm not referring to just money. To make this work, we're going to need energy and passion from a cross-section of people from within and without the theater community, and after we have a few 'technicalities' taken care of, we'll be reaching out to everyone rather quickly to ask for their help."

The bottom line, Calamia said, is this: "My goal is for EncoreMichigan.com to once again cover every professional theater in the state without requiring membership fees – and we're implementing that effective this month. But in the long-term, we want to be a major player in helping to grow and expand the market for theater, to assist our theaters with their own development and marketing efforts, and to develop partnerships to make all this happen. And by working together in a collaborative effort by tapping into the diversity of talent and skills we have in this state, I think we can make this happen!"

Keep watching EncoreMichigan.com for future updates.


 

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