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By Amy J. Parrent
Posted: March 6, 2014 at 9:20 a.m.
It's not every day you get to pet a baby Dryosaur, admire the big peaceful hulk of a dino called Titanosaur or face down the fearsome T-Rex. But that's the excitement in the Fisher Theatre show "Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live," an interactive prehistoric adventure.
It's like a safari tour through ancient Australia, starring extraordinarily real creatures brought to life on stage by talented puppeteers. Members of the audience observe and interact with a menagerie of insects, mammals and, of course, dinosaurs like those that inhabited the Southern Hemisphere millions of years ago.
"We bring five to six children onstage, as well as an adult volunteer," said one of the show's puppeteers, Anthony Orifice. "We also go into the crowd."
Sound effects are created via built-in MP3 players as well as microphones inside the larger creatures. Orifice said the puppeteer can make a sad or angry noise, which is fed through electronic distortion, helping the puppeteer convey the animal's mood.
The cast of five includes host Aimee Louisanne and four "wranglers," puppeteers Hallie Goodman, Kelley Selznick, Orifice and a swing, Jackson Eather.
Maybe the only thing better than watching the creatures come to life is getting to play them onstage, and to have the job title "Wrangler/Hero Puppeteer." (Hero puppeteers are those who are actually inside the larger featured creatures.)
It's a good gig for someone who started out in the biz playing a styrofoam bowling pin. Orifice, a 25-year-old Long Island native, first got into puppetry after college when he landed a mascot gig promoting a Times Square bowling alley.
"I was the anthropomorphized Pinny,'" he said. "I found out I liked doing it, liked interacting with people. I wanted to find out more about puppetry. I thought if I can wear a cheap piece of foam and play a bowling pin, what could I do with a higher level of puppetry."
He then got a gig at a dinosaur park in Secaucus, New Jersey, operating various hand puppets and the T-Rex hero puppet.
"Puppetry is one of the oldest forms of performance," said Orifice. "Before language, cavemen used rocks and sticks to act out the hunt. It (puppetry) deserves its time on the national stage."
Similar to other such shows of recent years (such as "War Horse," which played the Fisher earlier this season), the wrangler/puppeteers are visible to the audience.
Orifice said that Scott Wright, co-founder and artistic director of the company that created the show, "wants to foster knowledge of puppetry, too. We want kids in the audience to look at it as not-real, to wonder How does it work' from an engineering point of view."
Despite this attempt to encourage understanding that it's simply make-believe, the show can occasionally be a little too real to some of the youngest audience members. "A couple of theaters we played in Florida had to change some seat cushions after the show," Orifice said.
And although they're certainly not trying to frighten their youngest fans, he said, "As a performer, if you scare them you are doing your job. Your puppet is so real."
But he stresses, the show is about "empowering children, to let them know the show is for them, to make it special, the best day of their life."
And does he ever encounter a young know-it-all who challenges the show's accuracies? In a word, yes. Orifice who himself was obsessed with dinos as a kid, said, "I can tell the kids today know more. With all the scientific research that's been done the past 10 to 15 years, kids will know more than I did at that age."
But he stresses, "The sheer wonderment of the show" is not just for the youngest set.
"Some of the adults who attend are just as amazed as the children," he said. "After one show I talked to a 70-year-old woman who was in love with the triceratops. I have yet to see a child as excited as she was."
He has his own reasons to be excited about playing the D. Detroit is the home of an active puppeteer community, and he looks forward to meeting members here, as well as possibly visiting the puppet collection at the DIA.
And then there's this: "I'm a Red Wings fan," said Orifice. "I collect Red Wings memorabilia. I grew up during the '90s, watching Steve Yzerman, Federov, McCarty, Lidstrom. I own Cleary and Helm jerseys. If it's still cold in Detroit next week, I've got my Red Wings jerseys to keep me warm."
SHOW DETAILS: "Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live" comes to the Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, March 12 - 16: Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday matinees at 11:30 a.m.; Saturday matinees at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Babes in arms not admitted to this event. The show runs between 45 - 75 minutes with no intermission. Tickets: $19-39. For information: 313-872-1000 or www.broadwayindetroit.com.
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April 22-May 4, 2014
Posted: March 6, 2014 at 8:42 a.m.
DETROIT - "Sister Act," the family-friendly, over-the-top spectacle with nuns that rock, opens at Detroit's Fisher Theatre on April 22 for a limited engagement. The Broadway In Detroit show will run through May 4. Tickets will go on sale online Sunday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m. and at the Fisher Theatre box office on Monday, March 10 at 10 a.m.
When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won't be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her fabulous disco-ness and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon it's nun-on-the-run time, but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of her newly found sisterhood.
Based on the mega-hit feature film, "Sister Act" features an original Alan Menken/Glenn Slater score with a vast inspiration of musical styles from Motown, soul and funk to great big disco anthems and Barry White inspired musical comedy.
"Sister Act" features scenery by Klara Zieglerova, costumes by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Natasha Katz, and sound by John Shivers. The music department includes musical supervisor Michael Kosarin, music director Brent-Alan Huffman, and orchestrations by Doug Besterman.
Sister Act received five 2011 Tony Award nominations: Best Musical, Best Original Score (Alan Menken (music)/Glenn Slater (lyrics)), Best Book of a Musical (Cheri & Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane), Best Actress in a Musical (Patina Miller) and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Victoria Clark).
"Sister Act" is produced by Whoopi Goldberg, Stage Entertainment and Troika Entertainment, featuring an original score with music by multi-Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winning composer Alan Menken ("Little Shop of Horrors," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid" and "Enchanted"), lyrics by Tony and Academy Award-nominee Glenn Slater ("The Little Mermaid"), and a book by multi-Emmy Award winners Cheri and Bill Steinkellner ("Cheers") with additional book material by Tony and Olivier Award nominee Douglas Carter Beane ("Xanadu," "The Little Dog Laughed"). Directed on Broadway by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks ("Guys and Dolls," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Smokey Joe's Cafe"), the production features choreography by Tony and Olivier Award nominee Anthony Van Laast ("Mamma Mia," "Bombay Dreams") and is based on the Touchstone Pictures motion picture "Sister Act" written by Joseph Howard.
Performance times for "Sister Act," appearing April 22 May 4 at the Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd., in Detroit, are:
Tickets for "Sister Act" start at $40 (includes parking and facility fees) and go on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.broadwayindetroit.com on Sunday, March 9 at 10 a.m. and at the Fisher Theatre box office on Monday, March 10 at 10 a.m. Tickets for the special Open Captioned performance may be purchased in person at the Fisher Theatre box office or by phone at 313-872-1000, ext. 0. A limited number of premium seats will be available through Ticketmaster and at the box office. For group sales (12 or more) please email email@example.com or call 313-871-1132.
Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.
Broadway In Detroit and Michigan Education Savings Plan present "Sister Act Kids' Night on Broadway," with pre-show activities beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23 in the Fisher Theatre lobby. Kids will have the opportunity to make their very own crafts courtesy of Arts & Scraps, interact with cast members, sample free ice cream from Treat Dreams while supplies last, and much more. For Kids' Night, with the purchase of every adult ticket, families will receive one kids ticket free (18 and under) on select seat locations. Kids' Night tickets are limited and pre-show activities are subject to change. For details and to purchase tickets online, visit www.broadwayindetroit.com/kidsnight.
For more information, please visit www.broadwayindetroit.com.
Posted: March 5, 2014 at 6:28 p.m.
ROCHESTER - Meadow Brook Theatre is proud to partner with Oakland University's Center for AutismOUCARES on Saturday, March 22 at 6 p.m. for an evening dedicated to raise money for autism services at OUCARES.
Meadow Brook Theatre will be presenting "Falling" by Deanna Jent. "Falling" boldly explores the dynamic and complicated reality of a family with an autistic young man. When a relative comes to visit, the entire family is thrown out of equilibrium, with everyone trying to balance what is best for them.
The play bravely speaks the truth about love and family, and about hopes and dreams. The work is semi autobiographical and based partially on the experiences of the playwright. Jent will be joining OUCARES ticket holders for an open discussion following the fundraising performance.
Autism is believed to be a result of a neurological disorder that affects the brain's normal functioning. It is a lifelong disability that has no known cure. It is not a mental illness, but rather a spectrum disorder which means symptoms and characteristics appear in a wide variety of combinations ranging from mild to severe. It is important to remember: "When you've met one person with autism, you have only met one person with autism."
Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum a ten-fold increase in prevalence over the last 40 years. The rise in prevalence has dramatically increased the demand for services that OUCARES offers the autism community.
With the funds raised through this special partnership with Meadow Brook Theatre, OUCARES will be able to continue to offer programs that help to improve quality of life for someone that is on the autism spectrum.
"Partnering with other non-profit organizations gives us a chance to give back to the community around us. This is a great opportunity to make a difference by supporting the works of another organization, especially one who shares our home right here on the campus of Oakland University," said Cheryl Marshall, MBT's managing director. "We are hoping for a great turnout for this and every performance of 'Falling.'"
Exclusive OUCARES seating is available by purchasing tickets at www.oakland.edu/oucares. Each ticket of $50 will reserve a seat at Saturday's opening night performance, while also making a generous donation to help OUCARES continue its work providing autism support services. OUCARES ticket holders will also be invited to stay after the performance for an open discussion with the playwright Deanna Jent.
"We are thankful that Meadow Brook Theatre is raising autism awareness by presenting 'Falling' and grateful to them for giving us this opportunity to help raise funds for the many OUCARES programs that we provided for individuals with ASD and their families," said Kathy Sweeny, OUCARES director. "As a nonprofit organization, without this kind of generous support we would not be able to do what we are able to do."
Fundraiser tickets MUST be purchased directly through OUCARES. For tickets or information about OUCARES, please visit www.oakland.edu/oucares.
Regular tickets for Saturday evening's or any other performance of "Falling" are available by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com.
More season and show information is available at www.mbtheatre.com.
Posted: March 3, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.
DETROIT Beginning March 10, Detroiters will once again have an opportunity to win funding for their arts projects through the Knight Arts Challenge, offering a share of $3 million for arts and culture projects that engage and enrich the city. The deadline for the contest, now in its second year, is April 7.
"The depth and diversity of ideas submitted last year thrilled us and are a testament to the artists who are helping to push the city forward," said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation. "We can't wait to see what the community pitches us this year."
The challenge is open to everyone artists and artist collectives of all types, businesses, established arts institutions, and any individual who has a great idea for the arts. The application, which will be available at www.KnightArts.org, consists of just one question and is deliberately designed to be simple to encourage nontraditional applicants.
There are only three rules for the challenge:
Knight Foundation representatives will answer questions about the challenge during five town hall meetings throughout the city in March. A full schedule is below.
Last year, Detroiters submitted more than 1,400 applicants the largest number per capita in the contest's three-city, six-year history. The 56 winners received $2.1 million in funding to help shape Detroit's future through their arts projects.
First year winners included Mosaic Youth Theatre, which will launch a program that integrates the arts into every element of elementary school curriculum; PuppetART Theater, which will challenge modern perceptions of puppetry by bringing together art groups for a mini-festival; and Maison LaFleur, an artist who will use the contemporary art movement Afrofuturism as a vehicle for social change. For a full list of winners from last year's Knight Arts Challenge Detroit, visit Knight Foundation's website.
The challenge is part of a $19.25 million investment in the Detroit arts that includes support for the three-year challenge, providing funding, exposure and momentum to smaller arts efforts, and $10.25 million to some of the city's premiere cultural institutions: the Arab American National Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit School of Arts, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre and the Sphinx Organization.
Below is the schedule of community Q&A sessions. All events begin at 6 p.m.:
Date: Monday, March 24
Location: Hamtramck Public Library
Address: 2360 Caniff St., Hamtramck
Co-host: HATCH Detroit
Date: Tuesday, March 25
Location: 555 Gallery
Address: 2801 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit
Co-host: 555 Gallery and Southwest Solutions
Date: Wednesday, March 26
Location: The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Address: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
Co-host: The Charles H. Wright Museum and several partners, including Wayne State University
Date: Thursday, March 27
Location: The Virgil A. Carr Center
Address: 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit
Co-host: Arts League of Michigan
Date: Friday, March 28
Location: Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp.
Address: 19800 Grand River Ave., Detroit
Co-hosts: Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp.
Girl Talk: The Musical
May 1-11, 2014
Posted: March 3, 2014 at 4:31 p.m.
DETROIT "A Girls Night Musical: Girl Talk" is Louise Roche's follow-up fun, fabulous and everything female "Girls Night Musical" experience. The musical is bound to get ladies on their feet and dancing in the aisles once again when it plays at the City Theatre for 10 performances from Thursday, May 1 through Sunday, May 11.
Roche's latest "Girls Night Musical" incarnation is throwing the biggest party radio has ever seen, and we want you to be part of the live studio audience! After 10 years on the air, the hosts of "Girl Talk" have decided to go out with a bang. Join them as they dish, reminisce and break into plenty of songs by artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Underwood and more in this show that The Advocate says is "'Sex and the City' meets Chelsea Lately.'" Theatermania calls it "Perfect for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, divorce parties, or just an exciting evening out with the ladies."
British playwright, author and television producer Roche has written and produced six other plays, including "Girls Night" (UK Tours 2003, '04, '06), "Bobby and Johnny" (UK Tour 2005), "Girls Behind" (UK Tour 2005), "Checkout Girls" (Milton Keynes 2005), "Lucky Balls" (Milton Keynes 2002) and "Milton Keynes The Musical" (2002). Her novel, "Glutton for Punishment," is published in paperback, and her television writing includes "Where The Heart Is" and "Doctors."
Tickets ($38) go on sale Saturday, March 8 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. Charge tickets by phone at 800-745-3000. Groups of 8 or more can receive $5 off by calling 313-471-3099.
For additional information, call 313-471-6611.
Posted: March 3, 2014 at 7:37 a.m.
SPRINGFIELD What A Do Theatre is proud to announce its fifth season, hand selected by artistic director Randy Wolfe and an amazing production staff.
Featuring five productions, including one New Artist Series, this lineup is meant to have audiences entertained and engaged.
Audience members will find themselves questioning the deeper meaning of love, politics and life as a whole. Each show takes a snap shot of a larger picture, allowing audiences to lose themselves in the complexity of the human relationships being displayed on the stage.
This compelling season is sure to deliver with its classic shows adapted into new and extraordinary visions.
Regular priced tickets are $20, with discounts for seniors, students and military. Flex 5-pack passes, or triple play can be purchased in advance and offer flexibility and savings up to 15-percent off single ticket prices. These passes can be used for any main stage performance during any production.
Tickets can be ordered in advance through www.whatado.org, or by contacting the box office at 269-282-1953.
What A Do is located at 4071 West Dickman Road in Springfield, Michigan.
For additional information, please contact a What A Do representative at Whatadopr@gmail.com.
What A Do Theatre 2014-15 Season
Adapted by Robert Owens from the novel by George Orwell
This new stage adaptation follows a disturbing an provocative production of a conceptualized future society, where Big Brother is always watching and everything that is not prohibited is compulsory.
Anne Of Green Gables
Adapted by Alice Chadwicke from novel by L.M. Montegomery
Matthew Cuthbert and his sister Marilla, agree to adopt a boy to help with farm work, but are sent a young teenage girl, Anne, instead. She quickly captures her adoptive father's heart with her imagination and intriguing viewpoint on life, but must work harder to win over Marilla's stern personality.
The Trip to Bountiful
By Horton Foote
Feb. 13-28, 2015
Set in the 1940s, a elderly women is bound and determined to outwit her son and daughter-in-law by leaving Houston, Texas, where her son is keeping her, and won't allow her to travel alone. She eventually finds a medium in which to travel to Bountiful, and along the way befriends a young woman, whom she tells of her younger years.
How I Learned to Drive
By Paula Vogel
This play explores the ideas of control and manipulation through the sexual relationship between Lil' Bit and her aunt's husband Uncle Peck.
By Peter Morgan
This production is based on a series of televised interviews that former U.S. President Richard Nixon granted broadcaster David Frost in 1977. The interviews cover the entirety of his administration including Watergate.
Fireside New Play Festival
March 9-12, 2014
Posted: March 2, 2014 at 5:34 p.m.
ANN ARBOR - Performance Network Theatre's Fireside New Play Festival is an opportunity for audiences to see the hottest plays they've never seen and share their feedback for the playwrights beginning Sunday, March 9 and running through Wednesday, March 12. All performances begin at 7 p.m.
In its 13-year history, the Fireside New Play Festival has launched over 20 plays to full productions across the country. The Festival consists of a series of staged readings in which the actors have rehearsed reciting from the scripts to present a playwright's brand new work.
Staged readings of scripts in development give audiences the first look at promising new American plays, and with post-show feedback sessions after each reading, the comments may even help to shape their future!
This festival features works by Joseph Zettelmaier, Colby Halloran, David MacGregor, and David Wells and R. MacKenzie Lewis.
Admission to The Fireside New Play Festival is pay-what-you-can. Reservations can be made at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, online at www.performancenetwork.org, or at Performance Network Theatre (120 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48104) Monday Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturday 11.a.m. - 6 p.m.
The Fireside Festival is generously underwritten by Joseph C. Walters.
Lineup: Fireside New Play Festival March 2014
by Joseph Zettelmaier
Sunday, March 9 at 7 p.m.
When lonely Michigan fisherman Earl Hobbs catches and decides to keep a Channa Marulius in his fish tank, the invasive "Great Snakehead" becomes the target of a DNR investigation. Soon, overachiever agent Eden Selkirk arrives on the scene, with a dragnet and an attitude as toothy as the fish itself, threatening Earl's status quo, his peace of mind, and his favorite fishing hole.
Bird of Passage
by Colby Halloran
Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m.
A new play about a real short story, about an actual fishing accident, "Bird of Passage" pivots on the unlikely friendship that develops between Lawrence Sargent Hall, author of "The Ledge," and a lonely writer who shares his house off the coast of Maine. This haunting tale invokes a story John Updike called "timeless a naturalistic anecdote terrible in its tidal simplicity and inexorability."
The Antichrist Cometh
by David MacGregor
Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m.
John is an advertising exec who's having a bad day. While examining his receding hairline, he notices what is either a very strange birthmark or the numbers 666 emblazoned on his forehead. When an old fraternity brother arrives with his evangelical fiancee in tow, the conversation turns to "revelations" about John's past, and all hell breaks loose just in time for dinner.
by David Wells and R. MacKenzie Lewis
Wednesday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
"Irrational" is a true ancient Greek mathematician love-and-death musical. Pythagoras was a gangsta. With his cult of fervent followers, he built a sect on the premise that divinity is found in the harmony of ratios the rational. When one of their own, Hippasus, discovers irrational numbers, he blows a hole in the Pythagoreans' world and crosses the wrong philosopher/mathematician.
Posted: March 2, 2014 at 8:47 a.m.
FERNDALE The acclaimed production of "Angels in America," now playing at The Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale, will play an additional weekend. Four performances have been added, with a new closing date of Monday, March 17.
Although the story is told over two full-length plays ("Part 1: Millennium Approaches" and "Part 2: Perestroika"), The Ringwald is presenting "Part 1: Millennium Approaches" (for now).
Joe Bailey directs a cast that includes Bailey Boudreau, Meredith Deighton, Brenton Herwat, Chris Jakob, Travis Reiff, Matthew Turner Shelton, Cara Trautman and Jamie Warrow.
The production is designed by Alexander Henderson Trice and Dan Morrison.
"Angels in America Part 1: Millennium Approaches" opened Friday, Feb. 21 and plays through Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday nights, with 3 p.m. Sunday matinees.
Ticket prices are $20 for Friday and Saturday performances, $15 for Sunday shows, and Monday nights are half off the original ticket price at only $10 a ticket. Student Rush Tickets ($15 Fri/Sat, $10 Sun) are available at the box office the day of the show with valid student ID.
Tickets can be purchased at www.TheRingwald.com or at the theater box office. The Ringwald box office opens 45 minutes before performances and tickets can be purchased with cash or Visa/Mastercard.
The Ringwald is located at 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, MI 48220.
Lightwire: The Show
March 9, 2014
Posted: March 1, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.
COLDWATER - Lightwire Theater, known for its signature brand of dazzling visuals, poignant storytelling and music designed to evoke imagery, brings "Lightwire: The Show" to Tibbits on Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m.
Audiences will recognize the unique performance from "America's Got Talent" on which the group was a semi-finalist. According to Tibbits executive director Christine Delaney, "We are so fortunate to be able to present this outstanding group for our community. I know everyone will be amazed. It is such a fun show."
Set on a dark stage in a completely dark theater, "Lightwire: The Show" uses illuminated characters to create a fascinating adventure. Audiences of all ages will enjoy birds growing 16 feet tall, aliens taking the life force from other beings and cats fighting with light sabers.
The story follows an exiled young bird and his extraordinary power. Banished from his tribe, he sets off on his own adventure as an alien species seeks to dominate and destroy their planet and perhaps him too. Along the way, he develops an unlikely friendship with an outcast warrior cat and other creatures as they work together to try and save their planet.
Lightwire Creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp met while dancing in Twyla Tharp's Broadway show "Movin' Out." An immediate connection was made as they discovered their mutual love of art, theater and technology. After coming across a product called EL wire, the lights turned on. "EL wire" is short for electroluminescent wire. Unlike black lights, the technology can be powered by batteries and requires no theatrical lighting. The possibilities seemed endless. Together with their wives Eleanor and Whitney they began to develop puppetry based creatures that quickly gained personality.
Relocating from New York to Ian and Eleanor's hometown, New Orleans, they continued the creative process. It was there, in the Katrina-ravaged city, that the first show began to take shape. The result, after years of engineering and development, was "Darwin the Dinosaur." Truly unique and visually dazzling the show used electroluminescent creatures to light up the darkened stage. Originally created in partnership with Detroit's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, that first show was performed all over the Americas and Europe for enthusiastic audiences of all ages.
The current production, "Lightwire: The Show," features 60 "larger-than-light" characters, a creative music score ranging from classical to pop and an epic adventure great for the entire family.
Tickets are $28, $26 for Tibbits members, and $16 for students. All prices include fees. Tickets are available on line at www.Tibbits.org or by calling 517-278-6029.
Elvis (Dan Van Pelt) and Krissi Putansu backstage at the 2013 Spotlight on a Cure.
Posted: Feb. 27, 2014 at 11:55 a.m.
PONTIAC - Professional and amateur entertainers will be performing in Spotlight on a Cure, a fundraiser for Huntington's Disease on Saturday, March 8 at the Lafayette Grande Ballroom.
"This is going to be the best year yet," exclaims Amber Frampton, one of the hosts of this event. "We have a ton of new acts and a new judge's panel."
"It's a big year for us," says co-host Krissi Putansu. "This is our fifth year, and we have more acts and more laughs lined up. My mom and so many others are affected by this horrific disease, but we are energized knowing we are getting closer (to a cure) with each passing year."
Spotlight on a Cure was started in 2009 by Frampton and Putansu. The outgoing duo wanted to do a charity benefit for Huntington's Disease, which is a neuro-degenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems. It typically becomes noticeable in mid-adult life. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea. Putansu's mom has been living with the disease for nearly 20 years. The girls wanted to raise money and awareness to fund research to hopefully find a cure.
"Our event has grown so much over the years," said Frampton. "We have the large ballroom again so we can hold as many people as possible."
Along with a great night of entertainment, appetizers, 50/50 raffle, silent auction and cash bar, Spotlight on a Cure offers a chance to support and acknowledge those who have been affected by Huntington's Disease. Spotlight on a cure is accepting donations for prizes for raffles. If you are a superstar performer and want to be part of the entertainment, contact Frampton.
Spotlight on a Cure is March 8 at the beautiful Lafayette Grande Ballroom at One Lafayette Street, in Downtown Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tables of eight can also be reserved for $130. (All tickets include appetizers). For ticket information call Krissi Putasnsu at 586-822-1730, Amber Frampton at 586-530-6762, or visit www.hdsa.org/events/12355/details.html and select "Register."
Antony and Cleopatra
Shakespeare in Detroit
March 15-22, 2014
Jennifer Cole as Cleopatra and Jonathan Davidson as Antony rehearse a scene from Shakespeare in Detroit's upcoming production. Photo: SiD
Posted: Feb. 27, 2014 at 8:29 a.m.; updated March 5, 2014 at 3:11 p.m.
DETROIT - After a successful debut presentation at Grand Circus Park last summer, Shakespeare in Detroit will present its second production, "Antony and Cleopatra," at Recycle Here in New Center. The uniqueness of the facility inspired the concept for SiD's site-specific "Antony and Cleopatra."
Recycle Here provides drop-off recycling services in the city of Detroit. It is also an artist's village with murals painted on the walls throughout the facility and an art park just around the corner.
"I saw a performance at the recycling center and I was really inspired by the aesthetic and Matt Naimi a great advocate for art here in the city," says SiD's artistic director and founder, Sam White. "It's an epic-sized space with a really interesting visual quality that's perfect for reimagining Rome and Egypt."
SiD's venue for its upcoming production also inspired unique costumes with many of them, along with several set pieces and props, made from recycled materials. The costumes were created by local costume designer Cal Schwartz.
"Antony and Cleopatra" is sponsored by The Whitney and Midtown Detroit, Inc. who are providing heating components for the industrial space, and Sit On It Detroit who are donating a portion of the seating for the theater's patrons.
"Our sophomore production is truly a grassroots project with elements of the show provided by local organizations, our unique venue and many of our friends, family and community members helping make this show possible," says White.
Antony and Cleopatra is directed by Detroit-resident Kyle Grant.
Showtimes for "Antony and Cleopatra" are Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, March 16 at 3 p.m.; Friday, March 21 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, March 22 at 7 p.m. Performances will be held at 1331 Holden St. in Detroit. Parking is located on both Lincoln and Holden. There will be heating for the show, however audience members are advised to dress warmly and comfortably to accommodate the warehouse environment.
Attendees are asked to pay a strongly suggested minimum donation of $10 for entry. Find us on Facebook and signup for updates at www.ShakespeareinDetroit.com.
About Shakespeare in Detroit
Shakespeare in Detroit made its debut at Grand Circus Park in August 2013 during a one-night-only performance of "Othello." The history-making performance included a cast of all local actors with attendance reaching approximately 500 Detroiters. The company was founded by Detroit native Samantha White.
Tao: Phoenix Rising
March 15, 2014
Posted: March 6, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.
CLINTON TOWNSHIP - Athletic movements and vibrant costumes meet explosive Taiko drumming and innovative choreography in "Tao: Phoenix Rising." Celebrate this thrilling and fresh interpretation of the ancient art form of Japanese drumming at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts Saturday, March 15 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
"Tao" offers a young and exciting take on this traditional Japanese art form, performed by men and women who have trained for years in the mountains of Japan. With its whirlwind martial arts displays, pulsating rhythms and energetic choreography, there is no wonder "Tao" has been seen by more than five million spectators in 400 cities worldwide. The performers move with extraordinary precision and deftly play a variety of instruments, from koto, the traditional Japanese harp, to flute and an array of drums in all shapes and sizes. From the first beat, you will be captivated.
Tao: The Martial Art of Drumming is a Japanese drum and dance ensemble formed in 1993 that combines music and dance to reflect Japanese tradition, as well as incorporates Korean, Maori and Indonesian influences. While some songs are traditional, most are modern compositions created by the performing members. Many of their performance pieces include solely percussion instruments, and in some cases, only taiko drums, while the shinobue (Japanese flute), bamboo marimba, gongs, and the koto (a horizontal harp) are incorporated as centerpieces to a particular segment of the show.
The stars of "Tao" live and train at a compound in the mountains of Japan, reaching the highest skill level only after years of intensive study and training. Critics have raved about the precision, energy and stamina of the performers, each of whom brings non-traditional flair to the group by drawing on their diverse backgrounds, including musicians, gymnasts and composers. Since 2012, global fashion designer Junko Koshino has also collaborated with "Tao" to unite fashion and entertainment, making performances even more awe-inspiring.
When "Tao" was established, a benchmark goal was also established one million tickets sold. "Tao" achieved this in seven and a half years. Then "Tao" made an appearance in 2004 and 2005 at the world-renowned art and music festival in England, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Among the 1,800 groups gathered at the festival, only "Tao" holds the honor of top ticket sales for two consecutive years. A world tour then began, including an appearance at the Vancouver Olympics. Since then there has been no stopping them.
Tickets are $38 gold circle, $33 house, $20 for students and $15 for children 12 and under. Seniors and military save $5 off regular priced tickets. Purchase tickets in person at the Macomb Center box office Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Friday noon - 6 p.m. Tickets and additional information, including a complete season schedule, are available online at www.MacombCenter.com or by calling 586-286-2222.
The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is located on Macomb Community College's Center Campus at 44575 Garfield Road in Clinton Township, Michigan 48038.
Posted: Feb. 26, 2014 at 8:40 a.m.
GRAND RAPIDS - The nation's first ever community-wide festival of laughter, "Gilda's LaughFest," has announced plans to kick off this year's festival by inviting the community to help set another Guinness World Record on Thursday, March 6, for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark. The Community Kickoff will take place at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids and will include giveaways, a photo booth, and all world record participants will receive official LaughFest sunglasses, which are being supplied by Baudville. The world record attempt will be followed with opening night events at downtown restaurants and a free comedy preview show.
The current Guinness World Record for largest number of people wearing sunglasses in the dark was achieved in July 2012 by 1,642 participants at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
"This year's festival kickoff with our attempt to break another World Record is going to be seriously fun. This free event will help set the stage for 10-days of laughter for the health of it," shared Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda's LaughFest and Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. "And, what better way to shun the winter blues than with the optimistic donning of bright yellow sunglasses!"
Last year, 1,532 individuals joined LaughFest and donned false mustaches to set the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people wearing fake mustaches at a single venue. In 2012, 607 people wore chicken beaks and performed the chicken dance to set the record for the greatest number of people wearing animal noses. In 2011, 925 rubber chickens were tossed in downtown Grand Rapids, shattering the previous record of 265 set near Boston.
March 6 LaughFest Kickoff:
The free opening night preview comedy show will be held at the Pyramid Scheme (68 Commerce Ave.) at 10 p.m. and will include a sneak peak of local, regional and national comedians who will be featured during the 10-day festival. A suggested $5 donation to Gilda's Club will be collected at the door. Fast passes are available for these shows at LaughFest Central, which will guarantee the holder a seat at the show as long as they are seated 15 minutes prior to start time.
Tickets are also available for the Clean Comedy Showcase at The BOB at 8 p.m. that night tickets are $17.50 and $32.50 (includes dinner.)
"LaughFest 2014" will be held in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland from March 6 through March 16. "LaughFest" headliners include Jay Leno, Jim Gaffigan, Lily Tomlin, Sinbad, Mike Birbiglia and Chris Tucker. Other acts announced include Maria Bamford, Miranda Sings, Todd Barry, Rory Scovel, and Nick Thune, The Tenderloins, Judah Friedlander, Jen Kirkman, Blackout Diaries, and the stars of MTV's Guy Code. New and returning activities include FUNderwear 5K, Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, and People and Pets. Showcases and competitions include Best of the Midwest, National Stand-up Comedy Showcase, and Clean Comedy Showcase.
Gilda's LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids in 2011. Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 55,000 attendees per year. Proceeds from the festival will go to support the free cancer, grief, and emotional health programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. Visit www.laughfestgr.org, or call 616-735-HAHA (4242) to learn more about "Gilda's LaughFest."
Posted: Feb. 24, 2014 at 5:29 p.m.
DETROIT On Friday, Feb. 21, following the opening of Ken Ludwig's show-biz comedy, "Moon Over Buffalo," the Hilberry Theatre Company announced its 2014-15 season, the 52nd for the cornerstone institution in Midtown Detroit.
From Shakespeare's perfect love story "Romeo and Juliet" to Congreve's droll wit in "The Way of the World" to "An Enemy of the People," Ibsen's masterpiece reimagined by Arthur Miller, the Hilberry continues its trademark commitment to exhibiting the classics.
The Hilberry Company also offers three of the best comic romps written in the last half century: the 2008 Tony-winning revision of the classic French farce "Boeing-Boeing," the dazzlingly wordplay of David Ives in "All in the Timing," and "The 39 Steps," a celebrated spoof of Hitchcock's film classic of the same title.
Together, these have a combined 19 Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations and five wins.
Season tickets are on sale now. To subscribe, call 313-577-2972 or visit the Wayne State University Theatre and Dance Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock in Midtown Detroit.
Subscribers are an integral part of the Hilberry community, and they enjoy up to 35-percent off single ticket prices, priority seating, exchange privileges, lost ticket insurance, free coffee, a complimentary subscription to our newsletter, and an invitation to the annual Subscriber Party and Open House, which will take place on March 30, 2014.
Hilberry Theatre 2014-15 Season
By Marc Camoletti
Sept. 19 Oct. 4
Translated by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans
French bachelor Bernard lives a happy, structured life according to strict airline timetables the American stewardess for breakfast, the Italian one for lunch, and the German for dinner! The 2008 revised translation won two Tony Awards.
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Oct. 24 Dec. 13
Shakespeare's riveting romantic tragedy tells the tale of star-crossed lovers and the life of hatred and violence between their feuding families. One of the best loved and most performed of Shakespeare's work, the Hilberry has scheduled 10 morning matinees intended for area school groups.
All in the Timing
By David Ives
Nov. 21 Jan. 31, 2015
Six hilarious one-acts from renowned playwright David Ives. From chimpanzees composing the complete works of William Shakespeare to the complexities facing minimalist composer Philip Glass while buying a loaf of bread, it's non-stop madness! Winner of the 1993-1994 Outer Critics Award for Best Playwriting.
The Way of the World
By William Congreve
Jan. 16 March 7
Marriages of convenience and inconvenient marriages are propelled along on a wave of spectacular wit in Congreve's mockery of upper-class foibles. This Restoration comedy is a Hilberry premiere.
An Enemy of the People
By Arthur Miller, adapted from Henrik Ibsen's play
Feb. 20 March 28
Two brothers' dispute over safety and civic duty divide their town. Who will gain the support of the public and who will become an Enemy of the People?
The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan from the movie of Alfred Hitchcock
April 10 25
This hilarious spoof of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller will have you laughing from start to finish. The Drama Desk and Olivier Award winner blends frenzied performances and wildly inventive stagecraft with spies, murder, and some good old-fashioned romance!
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