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Posted: May 18, 2013 at 8:25 a.m.
ANN ARBOR The Children's Theatre Network of Performance Network Theatre invites audiences to gather on Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m. for the perfect family summer kickoff, "Jamie and Jordan," a baseball-themed musical about health and friendships with book and lyrics by Kim Carney and music by Gene Gaunt.
This hilarious musical tale teaches children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and healthy friendships. Born in the same hospital on the same day, neighbors Jamie and Jordan are lifelong best friends. When a twist of fate (and an ankle!) separates them, they learn that healthy choices are worth the extra effort.
Parents and guardians will love the educational content and the positive message, and kids will love the entertaining songs and humor, as well as the free milk and snack reception in the lobby after the show.
Children's Theatre Network is committed to providing education and entertainment to children and families in a safe environment. Although the Children's Theatre Network Saturday Series is coming to a close over the summer, the learning will continue with the Build-A-Play two-week workshop from July 8-18. Suited for children ages 7 to 11, students will learn improvisation, movement and storytelling from Children's Theatre Network director Becky Fox and writer/actor Anne Rhoades.
In addition to its Saturday Series, the Children's Theatre Network provides classes and workshops, engages in school outreach with the revolutionary "Get in the Game" program, and tours its shows to area schools and communities. For more information or to sign up, call 734-663-0681.
Tickets to "Jamie and Jordan" are $7 for children, $10 for adults, and $20 for a family package of four. Tickets may be purchased at the door, online at www.performancenetwork.org, or by calling 734-663-0681.
Performance Network Theatre is located at 120 E. Huron, Ann Arbor.
Posted: May 16, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.
YPSILANTI After 15 years of bold works for the stage, the Blackbird Theatre could use a drink. The innovative company is inviting the public to Frenchie's in Ypsilanti, in beautiful Depot Town, for a night of celebration. The event gets underway Friday, May 24 at 6 p.m.
"It's a great way to kick off our 15th season," says founder Barton Bund. "Ypsilanti is where we started this company, and it's only fitting."
The evening will be informal, a chance to catch up, and hear about plans for the new season. "We open 'Cymbeline' in June in West Park," says Bund. "Who ever thought we would be doing outdoor Shakespeare? It's going to be great. And we're getting ready to unveil plans for fall. We're as ambitious as we've ever been. We've been in various venues, different incarnations, but we haven't lost our sense of adventure."
With over 50 productions under its belt, the company has come a long way since its beginnings in downtown Ypsilanti. The Blackbird has played on numerous stages from Ann Arbor to Detroit, started an annual Shakespeare festival, and continues to look ahead.
"No doubt we've changed," says Bund. "We're smarter than we were when we started out. We were a bunch of kids! But time goes by, you continue to surround yourself with good people, you keep pushing further and further creatively, and the thing takes on a life of its own. You turn around, 15 years have passed, and you still have a million things you want to do. You still have good people around you who inspire you. You realize you're onto something, you're doing the right thing.
"We want to produce Shakespeare in a new and innovative way. But that's only part of what we do. We want to create new plays too, new musicals, different kinds of events. We want to put things on stage we've never seen before. We want to create theater that is uniquely ours, and we've been blessed to have had this chance, to make theater in this community. We're ready for more."
Frenchie's is located next to Sidetrack Bar and Grill, at 54 E. Cross St. in Ypsilanti.
Posted: May 16, 2013 at 7:59 a.m.
KALAMAZOO - After five seasons of success, Farmers Alley Theatre's new sixth season looks to be the most exciting and music-filled season in its history! With four outstanding musicals, two Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights, and an exciting partnership with the Gilmore Festival, Farmers Alley Theatre looks to continue its excellence as West Michigan's only year-round professional Equity theater.
The sixth season opens with the songs of music legend Johnny Cash in the new musical "Ring of Fire." With a slick combination of gifted vocalists and musicians, "Ring of Fire" tells the life story of one of America's greatest singer/songwriters, climaxing in a concert that will both move and exhilarate! Featuring countless hits from "The Man in Black", make sure you "Walk the Line" to "Ring of Fire" this fall.
November brings the emotional and heartfelt play "Collected Stories" from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies ("Time Stands Still," "Dinner with Friends"). Brought to Broadway in 2010, this story of two female authors asks the moral question: Is it suitable to use your friend's personal life for your own creative process? Bookmark "Collected Stories" on your calendar this coming November.
Farmers Alley Theatre's famous Cabaret Series returns this December with the musical "I Love a Piano," featuring the works of a man who had said about him, "He has no place in American music. He is American music." Irving Berlin. Following the journey of a piano as it moves in and out of American lives from the turn of the century to present day, "I Love a Piano" features some of the greatest songs ever written, including "There's No Business Like Show business," "God Bless America," "Blue Skies," "White Christmas" and, of course, "I Love a Piano". Performed in a cabaret setting with desserts and coffee, this rousing new show is the perfect way to spend an evening this holiday season.
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, "Clybourne Park" takes up residence this February at Farmers Alley Theatre. Told in two acts in the same Chicago house 50 years apart, "Clybourne Park" begins with a white family selling their home to a black family, the first to move into the neighborhood. 50 years later, a white couple looks to buy the house in what has now become an all-black neighborhood. Filled with surprising humor and raw emotion, "Clybourne Park" is one theatrical experience that is sure to move all audiences.
Farmers Alley is excited to announce the return of its Children's Series with "Pinkalicious The Musical!" Based on the popular children's book, Pinkalicious is an energetic little girl who loves all things pink. When she eats too many pink cupcakes she develops Pinkititis, a condition that renders her pink from head to toe. Can she return to normal or is she doomed to be pink for all time? Kids of all ages will be entertained and enlightened as an ensemble of adult actors turns Downtown Kalamazoo pink with "Pinkalicious" in March 2014!
Farmers Alley Theatre is proud to announce its collaboration with the Gilmore Festival, with the haunting and musical play, "Old Wicked Songs." In 1986 Vienna, a young Jewish pianist has come to study. But before he begins his piano instruction, he must first take singing lessons from the harsh, anti-Semetic Professor Mashkan. As the play unfolds through the poetry of Heinrich Heine and the music of Robert Schumann, secrets are revealed, and these two men from different generations find they have much more in common than they think. "Old Wicked Songs" will run this April and May throughout the duration of the Gilmore Festival.
June brings one of the defining shows in musical theater history to Farmers Alley Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret." A perfect fit for our intimate space, "Cabaret" is a dark and gritty look at the rise of Nazi power in 1931 Berlin, set against the teaming nightlife of The Kit Kat Klub. As powerful today as when it first opened on Broadway in 1966, "Cabaret" contains some of the most famous characters and songs of the last 50 years, including "Wilkommen," "Maybe This Time," and "Tomorrow Belongs to Me." Welcome to the "Cabaret" this summer at Farmers Alley!
The final show of the season is "[title of show]," and yes, that is the title of the show! A fresh and funny look at contemporary Broadway, "[title of show]" is a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical. Everybody got that? No? Not to worry, "[title of show]" is performed in the same satiric and tongue-in-cheek style as past hits "The 39 Steps" and "Urinetown." So even if you don't know the Tony Awards from Toni Braxton, you'll be sure to love the zany and offbeat "[title of show]" that closes the season in July/August 2014.
Season subscriptions will be available for purchase this summer.
For more information, call Farmers Alley Theatre at 269-343-2727 or log on to www.farmersalleytheatre.com
Farmers Alley Theatre is located at 221 Farmers Alley in Downtown Kalamazoo.
Lisa Melinn and Jaye Stellini in "Upon the Heath" from "BoxFest Detroit 2010." Photo: Chuk Nowak.
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 7:35 a.m.
DETROIT - The producers of BoxFest Detroit are pleased to announce "BoxFest Detroit 2013," an annual theater festival that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors. The festival will run the first two weekends in August. More information regarding location, dates and times will be announced shortly.
BoxFest Detroit is an annual theater festival that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors. It has served and continues to function as a springboard for many women and their directing careers. Directors who have participated in past festivals have gone on to pursue graduate studies at highly competitive universities, become directors at professional theaters, and form their own successful theater and production companies. Proceeds from the event are given to one or more directors as a scholarship to help further her career, and the winner of the audience vote competition is given the opportunity to direct a show with Planet Ant Theatre's Late Night Series.
"BoxFest Detroit 2013" will be produced by Molly McMahon serving as artistic director, Kelly Rossi as executive director and Carrie Morris as producer. "Expect to see some changes at this year's festival, as our home for the past five years, The Furniture Factory, is no longer a theater space," McMahon says. "While we've enjoyed using that space, we look forward to creating a new home for BoxFest Detroit. Also, as early as last fall, artists began contacting us about this year's festival, and we're excited to see what these practitioners who have never participated before will bring to the table."
The festival seeks to attract burgeoning directors who have had few opportunities to direct for an audience, yet it also allows more seasoned directors the opportunities to showcase their talents. BoxFest Detroit is able to remain relevant because it helps cultivate a network for, as well as foster an exchange of learning between, its directors.
Preparations for the 2013 festival are well under way, and the producers are seeking artists to fill nearly all positions. Directors, playwrights, actors, designers and technicians interested in participating in "BoxFest Detroit 2013" should visit www.boxfestdetroit.com and click on the "Contact" link to send producers an e-mail. In the e-mail please include your name, contact information and how you would like to be involved in the festival. All interested directors and playwrights must respond by June 10. Designers and technicians must respond by June 17. Actors must respond by June 21, and general auditions for directors will take place shortly thereafter. All positions are volunteer.
For more information about BoxFest Detroit, please visit www.boxfestdetroit.com.
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 7:15 a.m.
DETROIT - The times are a changin' and so are The Wiggles. After 21 years of entertaining children around the globe, The Wiggles will introduce three new cast members, including the first-ever female member, Emma Watkins. These vibrant new Wiggles will bring the "Taking Off!" worldwide tour to the Fox Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 22 in support their new album of the same name (now available on Razor & Tie). "The Taking Off!" DVD is slated for release later this summer, and a new television series will debut on Sprout in the fall.
Always educational and entertaining, The Wiggles includes a fun group of people and characters including Blue, Red, Yellow and Purple Wiggles, with Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog and Henry the Octopus on board for an extra wiggly good time. "The Wiggles are all about getting kids to eat healthy and moving through dance. They're known for delighting generations of children and families who are captivated by their unique brand of music, fun and learning," said Paul Field, managing director of The Wiggles.
Founding member Anthony Field, known as the Blue Wiggle noted, "The new cast will truly connect with today's generation."
New members Simon Pryce (Red Wiggle), Emma Watkins (Yellow Wiggle) and Lachlan Gillespie (Purple Wiggle) round out the group of talented musicians and entertainers. Anthony added, "Their energy and dedication to the brand is invigorating, and we are especially thrilled to add our 'First Lady' Emma who, literally, has been a fan since she was a little girl. It was her dream come true."
Paul went on to say, "Little girls finally have a female Wiggle to look up to. In Australia, the 'Mini-Emma-Army' is becoming a national phenomenon with girls coming out in droves to each show dressed up as Emma in replica outfits complete with lots of bows."
This will be the first time that North American audiences will get to meet the new line-up and hear new music, as well as sing along to their favorite hits all incorporated into their live show. "Taking Off!" features 21 new feet-stomping songs, including the catchy soon-to-be favorite "Do The Propeller!" as well as "Beep! Beep! Buckle Up!" "Emma (with the Bow in Her Hair)" and classics such as "Rock-A-Bye Your Bear" and "Get Ready To Wiggle."
The Wiggles have sold more than 23 million DVDs and videos, 7 million CDs, and 8 million books worldwide and touched the lives of millions of children and families around the world. Major celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Martin are among their many fans. They have performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and on several national TV shows including "The Today Show," "The View" and "Fox & Friends." The New York Times declared The Wiggles as "the band that rocks the cradle," and Time mused, "The Wiggles may be singing and dancing their way into the heart of a toddler near you."
Tickets ($18, $24.50, $34.50 and $75 VIP) go on sale Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at www.OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge) at all Ticketmaster locations and www.Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call 800-745-3000. Groups, of 8 or more, save on select seats by calling 313-471-3099.
For additional information, call 313-471-6611.
By Carolyn Hayes
Posted: May 14, 2013 at 12:02 a.m.
Opening weekend has come and gone, and with it the seismic shift from top-secret preparation to public dissemination and discussion. This is where things get unpredictable. For the past several weeks, I've been largely able to guide the dialogue about my experience with "Brimstone and Treacle." But as of Friday night, people have seen this critic perform. And that by rights sets off a larger conversation ... in which I won't have my customary say.
In my planning and speculation for this venture, I must have separated the internal parts from the external ones. In essence, time management, character development, and memorization were things I could control, so they felt tangible; audience enjoyment and reviewer opinions were outside of my purview, and so I kept them in my mind as abstractions. I kept my blinders on all the way through the opening performance; for me, it was a run of the show like we'd been doing all week, except with a surge of nervous adrenaline and a few pauses for laughter thrown in. While onstage, the audience was just a few dozen blurry shapes (huzzah for not wearing glasses during the show!); but offstage, they turned into familiar faces, with mouths that said congratulatory things and asked questions, and fingers that typed words that boiled down my precious immersive work into a few succinct paragraphs.
I want to take a moment here to acknowledge my colleague, John Quinn, for slyly chatting me up at another performance a week prior and never letting on that he'd ultimately be my reviewer for EncoreMichigan.com. When his review our first, and the only one published thus far was posted online last Saturday afternoon, I asked someone else to read it and tell me what it said. Even now, I can't say I've been able to study it in any meaningful way. After three years honing my criticism, I like to believe I can read into my contemporaries' words until their assessment of a production aligns with my own, even when our ultimate opinions fundamentally differ. But now, I'm more acutely aware than ever of how different my actor's take on this play (a meaningful entity that slowly took shape over hours and weeks of stop-and-start punctuated by careful dissection) must be from his critic's view (seeing the thing once from beginning to end).
This has easily been the biggest hurdle of my experience thus far: being on the other side of the conversation. To spend so much time with a single text and craft it into something that you want other people to see requires a substantial proprietary component, but that's only part of the journey. In order for a production to have a healthy performance life, it needs to fulfill its viewers and spark discourse that entices other people to come and see it, and such discussion means relinquishing the ultimate control that was possible during the play's nascent stages.
Yet if a play is meant for an audience to enjoy, then the critic's single take is actually more relevant to the viewer's experience; I just may have trouble engaging with it while I'm still immersed in the world of the production. Over the past few days, I've made deliberate progress away from thinking of the play as "ours," and reframe my thinking to remember the importance of how the thing appears from the outside, rather than how it feels to those of us inside it.
In all, though, this is but a small bit of dissonance within an experience that has been just as enjoyable and rewarding as I had hoped. Most of the trappings of performing have come back to me easily, and most all of them welcomed. The work of rehearsing was as exhilarating as I remembered, and the experimentation and discoveries came part and parcel with the team building that makes a cast into a family. I also dearly missed the secret backstage parts kept far from viewers' eyes, like palling around in the green room in costume or answering "Thank you, five" to the stage manager's call.
When under the guise of the Rogue Critic, I'm grateful to sneak in some backstage time whenever I'm invited (an unofficial policy I refer to as "vampire rules"), but this weekend crystallized for me the vast difference between theater being one's realm and a particular theater being one's home. I'll cherish being at home at the Ant for the next three weeks, on that set and in that company, because I know this is a production-specific feeling once the show is over, the others will move on to their next projects, and I'll resume my place as a spectator and analyst, looking in.
About Carolyn Hayes
Carolyn Hayes has been a regular contributor to EncoreMichigan.com since January 2013. She is appearing in "Brimstone and Treacle" at Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck through June 1. Her writing appears here as well as at The Rogue Critic (Web: www.roguecritic.com; Twitter: @SPOTtheRogue).
Posted: May 13, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.
DETROIT - As part of its mission to reestablish and expand Detroit's theater district, Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company has chosen plays by Michigan natives and current Michigan residents to stage as part of a festival to take place May 24-26 at The Abreact Performance Space.
Attendees will see a reading of each play and are encouraged to participate in a workshop-style discussion afterward. Several plays that have been read in past staged reading festivals have gone on to be produced in the region, and this event gives audience members an opportunity to become a part of the process of developing plays for eventual production. Followers of past staged reading festivals will see some familiar names as well as new ones!
Admission is by donation only.
The Abreact Performance Space is located at 1301 W. Lafayette, #1301, Detroit 48226.
For additional information on the 2013 Staged Reading Festival featuring Michigan playwrights, contact Frannie Shepherd-Bates or visit www.magentagiraffe.org.
Schedule: 2013 Staged Reading Festival
Friday, May 24
By Audra Lord
Directed by Nancy Kammer
A parent's suicide provides the backdrop for this exploration of isolation, identity and assimilation in a family of Korean immigrants living in America. Inspired by a true story.
Saturday, May 25
By Andrew Morton
Directed by Phil Bolden
Daniel is 15, has just lost his father, and is sleeping on a couch in his aunt's basement in Flint. After a violent outburst at his new school, his social worker Michelle suggests he spends a week working in an urban garden in the middle of the city with her father, Bobby. A week soon turns into a few months, and as the two men work together over the summer, they form an unlikely friendship and begin to help each other heal some old wounds.
A Play by Franco Vitella
By Franco Vitella
Directed by Jonathan Davidson
Playwright Franco Vitella attempts to write a play, but has no idea what it's about or how it ends. As the writer struggles through starts, stops and revisions, a group of actors attempt to perform the show without incident. "A Play by Franco Vitella" destroys theatrical barriers by blending characters with their real-life counterparts and examining what it means to be an actor, writer, and audience member.
The Friday Afternoon Bucket List of Booze
By Maureen Paraventi
Directed by Angie Kane Ferrante
A group of longtime friends gathers regularly to sample exotic kinds of alcohol, laugh and talk about everything - romantic dilemmas, caring for elderly parents, the joy of menopause - everything except for the fact that one of them is dying. Ultimately they have to confront this hard truth and the effect it has on all of their lives.
Sunday, May 26
The Antichrist Cometh
By David MacGregor
Directed by David Woitulewicz
A happily married couple is getting ready to host a small dinner party when the husband makes the surprising discovery that he just might be the Antichrist. Should the party go on as planned, or should he start making plans for the Apocalypse? Or perhaps a festive combination of the two?
Love is Strange
By Sean Paraventi
Directed by Matthew Turner Shelton
"Love is Strange" explores a heartfelt, yet deeply disturbed relationship between two lovers with a horrifying hobby. As the story reaches its climax, everything we think we know about victims and predators is called into question. We're forced to look for the answers in our own dark places. This play contains mature content. No minors will be admitted without a parent present.
In "Next to Normal," Aubrey Fink (Natalie) and Rusty Daugherty (Henry) are handed unusual lunches from Diane Hill (Diana) as John DeMerell (Dan) realizes things aren't quite normal in the family. Photo: Diane Hill
Posted: May 13, 2013 at 8:50 a.m.
WEST BLOOMFIELD When Two Muses Theatre producers decided to stage the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Next to Normal," they knew they would need some additional support. "We're still functioning without any operational grant money after two years, depending on the kindness of the ticket-buying public, along with contributions from few loyal local businesses," producer Diane Hill explained. "We're growing our audience with every show, but a musical will stretch our budget limits by about $6,000, due to the extra costs inherent in pulling off a musical production such as a music director, musicians, additional lighting equipment, audio gear, musical score rental fees, and considerably higher licensing fees."
But that didn't deter Hill or co-producer Barbie Weisserman. To compensate, they decided to launch a Kickstarter Campaign, a crowdfunding method focused on social media.
The producers chose Kickstarter because of its all-or-nothing policy no money changes hands if the goal is not met, reducing the risk for both creators and backers. But the most interesting twist to the Kickstarter program is that there are different rewards for differing funding levels.
According to Weisserman, "Kickstarter is not a charity, and we're not begging for your money. This campaign gives the audience some great rewards for getting involved in the project."
That's where other Michigan theaters stepped in to show their support - through ticket donations from their own theaters. Backers at certain levels will earn two tickets to "Next to Normal" and two tickets to other theaters, including Meadow Brook, Tipping Point, Performance Network and The Jewish Ensemble Theatre. Detroit Repertory Theatre even donated a season ticket to the cause. (Theaters wishing to contribute in any way should contact Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Other rewards include personal dedications projected on a video screen prior to every performance, a walk-on part in the Two Muses Holiday show, or pledger names showcased in various ways, such as on the Two Muses backer wall, or in a program ad, or engraved on a theater chair.
The largest reward earns a command performance of a show chosen from Two Muses Theatre's next season. The backer supplies their own audience.
Supporters will also receive priority tickets to the Red Carpet opening night of "Next to Normal" on June 7, including a Meet and Greet Afterglow with live entertainment, light appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages.
CLICK HERE to pledge. The Kickstarter Campaign will end June 6. "Next to Normal" will be performed every weekend in June.
Two Muses Theatre is a nonprofit, professional theater dedicated to providing opportunities for female artisans and women in theater. All funds raised from performances go directly into maintaining the theater.
For more information, visit www.twomusestheatre.org.
May 16 - June 16, 2013
Posted: May 12, 2013 at 11:58 p.m.; updated May 14, 2013 at 12:10 a.m.
The Williamston Theatre, mid-Michigan's award winning professional theater company, is thrilled to present the world premiere of "10:53" by Michigan playwright Annie Martin. Tickets for this quirky, thoughtful comedy, which begins previews May 16, are now on sale.
The worst part of a hospital waiting room is normally the waiting, but in the midst of a prolonged family medical crisis, Kathryn regards the waiting room as a welcome refuge from her increasingly chaotic life. However, the real world quickly invades her new home away from home, and she's surrounded with her over-the-top family life, rebellious, love-struck daughter and a mysterious stranger who, oddly, shows up at the same time every night. What happens when the universe decides our lives need a shaking up, whether we like it or not? Will Kathryn get drawn into the ridiculous comedy, drama and potential romance swirling around her beloved waiting room? Or will she burrow deeper into her seclusion from the world
"10:53" contains mature language.
Michigan playwright Annie Martin returns to Williamston, which produced the world premieres of her plays "Maidens, Mothers and Crones: Voices from Women of the Midwest" and "Home: Voices from Families of the Midwest" (both co-written with Suzi Regan), "Oedipus" (adaptation co-written with Tony Caselli) and "Flap." Awards have included a Thespie Award and Pulsar Award for Best Original Script ("Maidens, Mothers and Crones") and a 2011 Wilde Award for Best Drama ("Oedipus").
The cast of "10:53" consists of Sandra Birch ("Oedipus," "Home: Voices From Families of the Midwest"), Julia Garlotte, John Lepard ("This Wonderful Life," "And The Creek Don't Rise") and Zachera Wollenberg.
The director is Williamston Theatre's artistic director Tony Caselli ("End Days," "boom"). The production team includes set design by Bartley Bauer ("The Understudy," "This Wonderful Life"), lighting design by Daniel C. Walker ("boom," "Dead Man's Shoes"), costume design by Holly Iler ("The Usual: A Musical Love Story," "And The Creek Don't Rise"), sound design by Michelle Raymond, and prop design by Bruce Bennett ("Shirley Valentine," "boom"). The stage managers are Stefanie Din and Nan Luchini.
"10:53" begins with five preview performances starting Thursday, May 16. During the first four previews, audience members will have the opportunity to take part in the process of creating a show by participating in a talkback session with the director following each performance. The official opening night is Friday, May 24, with the show scheduled to run through Sunday, June 16. Performances will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., with additional 3 p.m. matinees on Saturdays starting May 25.
Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can for Thursday, May 16. Remaining preview tickets are $15. Starting opening night, tickets prices are $25 for Friday and Saturday evenings, $22 for Saturday and Sunday matinees, and $20 for Thursday evenings. Discounted rates are available for senior citizens (65 and older), students (with a valid student ID) and groups of 10 or more (booked at least one week in advance).
Tickets can be ordered by stopping by the theater or calling 517-655-SHOW (7469), Tuesday Friday from noon 6 p.m. or on-line by visiting www.williamstontheatre.org.
"10:53" is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Williamston Theatre is located at 122 S. Putnam Street in downtown Williamston. Patrons will find ample parking on the street and in several municipal lots throughout the city. The theater is located in Downtown Williamston (exit 117 off of I-96) just south of Grand River Avenue.
Love, Loss and What I Wore
Michigan Theatre (Jackson)
May 16, 2013
Posted: May 11, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.
JACKSON - Aware Inc., Script in Hand, and Wild Women Productions have teamed up to prove that a great show is always in fashion with the one-night-only performance of "Love, Loss and What I Wore." The show uses clothing, accessories, and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories that all women can relate to.
"Love, Loss, and What I Wore" is a play written by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the 1995 book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman. It is organized as a series of monologues for five women. The subject matter of the monologues includes women's relationships and wardrobes and at times the interaction of the two, using the female wardrobe as a time capsule of a woman's life.
Performing the monologues will be well-known local performers: Ann Holt, Kerrie Manders, Lori Pelham, Carrie Jay Sayers, and Sandy Sykes.
The show has been produced on six continents and in more than eight countries. It began a national tour in the United States in September 2011 in Chicago. It made an encore performance in Paris in January 2012, and now Wild Women Productions and Script-in-Hand in association with Aware Inc. are proud to be able to share the experience with the Jackson community on Thursday, May 16 at the Michigan Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and available at the door or in advance via Aware's website, www.awareshelter.org.
The performance is supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Jackson County.
The Michigan Theatre is located at 124 N. Mechanic Street, Jackson 49201.
Aware Inc. strives to eliminate domestic and sexual violence, while promoting social change and empowering survivors by offering shelter and services.
Posted: May 9, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.
DETROIT - Matrix Theatre Company offers an exciting lineup of plays for its 2013-14 main stage season, which includes themes on the plight of urban education and unlikely friendships, as well as a story asking probing ethical questions on creative freedom. The season also includes the popular Detroit Dreaming Film Festival, which, in its second year, will add an extra day to its weekend programming.
Nilaja Sun's provocative play, "No Child...," running Sept. 20 through Oct. 13, utilizes humor and heartbreak to portray a realistic yet optimistic look at the plight of urban education in a failing inner city high school. These stories are told through the eyes of 16 different characters, including teachers, students, parents, administrators, a janitor, and a security guard.
"Visiting Mr. Green" by Jeff Baron will be performed Nov. 1-24 and is a provocative story of a young, gay man sentenced to six months of community service for almost hitting an elderly man with his car. His service assignment is to regularly visit that same man, an orthodox Jew, once a week. An unlikely friendship forms between the two men as they get to know each other and is immediately tested as each man's secrets unfold.
"Collected Stories" by Donald Margulies, running Feb. 21 through March 16, 2014, explores the relationship between Ruth, a renowned writer and college professor, and Lisa, Ruth's student and protege. As Lisa grows as a writer and eventually becomes Ruth's colleague, she publishes a novel that threatens their relationship and poses a major ethical question regarding creative freedom.
The highly successful Detroit Dreaming Film Festival is back this year, with four days of films all with a special connection to Detroit. The Festival runs Jan. 30 through Feb. 2.
Matrix Theatre Company is proud to once again present its Second Stage Series! This season's productions will include two original plays written and performed by the Matrix School of Theatre students, a musical cabaret performance by Kate Brennan, and a staged reading directed by Matrix Theatre's own Dr. Shaun Nethercott.
The ticket prices for the main stage productions range from $15 to $20. Pricing for the film festival is $7 per block. Group rates are available for most shows. For further information on Matrix Theatre Companys 2013-2014 season, go to www.matrixtheatre.org or call 313-967-0599.
Posted: May 9, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.
PINCKNEY Livingston County residents Steve DeBruyne and Matt Tomich have a plan to bring Michigan's newest live theater company to the village of Pinckney. Located in the Livingston County community at 135 E. Main Street, the building was originally erected in the 1850s to serve as a vaudeville-style theater and opera house. In the 1900s, the building became the village hardware store, a boxing auditorium, and most recently a bar and grill. DeBruyne and Tomich plan to have their Dionysus Theatre double as an exciting live performance venue and an intimate 120-seat dining room.
The name Dionysus comes from the Greek god of the same name. Dionysus was considered the god of many things, including theater. A patron of the theater, Greek myths say that when Dionysus went abroad he was accompanied by muses who, with their songs and dances, delighted the heart of the god. Dionysus was honored with a festival called the City Dionysia in which tribes competed with each other in performances, and the best show would have the honor of winning the contest.
DeBruyne and Tomich plan to offer up to six professional productions at The Dionysus Theatre - or The Dio, as it's affectionately being called by the founders - including musicals and plays. All tickets will include a delicious dinner buffet in addition to the live performance. The productions will feature actors from Michigan, joined by other professionals from New York and Chicago to ensure unmatched quality in the Livingston County area.
The pair is well suited to the theater business. DeBruyne is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and has been a working actor for over 10 years, performing regionally as well as travelling with the Broadway touring company of "The Full Monty." He has directed and served as artistic director for another theater in Michigan, and has been nominated as Best Actor in a Musical twice in the state. Tomich received his Master's Degree in Business from Michigan State University in addition to working in the local theater scene as an actor, stage manager and designer.
In addition to providing stellar live theater entertainment and delicious food, The Dio will also offer educational opportunities for youths as well as employment opportunities for actors, production team and office staff.
For up to date information on upcoming shows, auditions, job opportunities and more, visit www.diotheatre.com or "Like" Dionysus Theatre on Facebook. Ticket information is coming soon.
Brian Marable as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Posted: May 9, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.; updated May 10, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.
ANN ARBOR - Performance Network Theatre is proud to present three community discussions regarding its current production of "The Mountaintop" by Katori Hall, an imagined portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last night on earth. These discussions, to be held Monday, May 13 at 6 p.m.; Sunday, May 19 at 4 p.m.; and Sunday, June 2 at 4 p.m., are open to the public to facilitate dialogue about the play's innovative take on Dr. King's final hours.
Reservations are not necessary for the "Baton Passes On: Community Discussions" on May 13 and June 2. "Backstage Cafe" reservations can be made at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, by e-mail at email@example.com, 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 Baton Passes On: Community Discussion
6 p.m. Monday, May 13 at Performance Network Theatre
Performance Network Theatre invites the acclaimed civil rights historian Matthew Countryman and associate professor of theater and writer-in-residence at the University of Michigan OyamO (a.k.a. Charles F. Gordon) to lead a comprehensive discussion regarding the themes of "The Mountaintop." Due to the complexity of "The Mountaintop," Performance Network Theatre offers perspectives from both historical and theatrical sources. This event is perfect for the historic and/or theater enthusiast who is interested in discussing and analyzing Katori Hall's unique depiction of King's last night on earth and the tools she used to create the story. It is not a requirement to see the production of "The Mountaintop" before attending the discussion. This event is first come, first serve. Seating is general admission.
About the panel:
Matthew Countryman is faculty director of the University of Michigan's Arts of Citizenship program and is an associate professor of History and American culture, where he teaches modern U.S. and African-American history and comparative race relations. Countryman is the author of "Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia," which won the 2006 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians for the best book on the subject of civil rights history. His research interests include African-American social and political movements, comparative race and ethnicity, and United States politics.
OyamO's plays have been performed in theaters across the country, including the Yale Repertory Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Working Theatre, the Public Theatre, Negro Ensemble Company, the Arena Stage Theatre, the Goodman Theatre of Chicago, the Kennedy Center in D.C., and many more. He is also a past member of the NEA Professional Nonprofit Theatre Panel and was a 1998 panelist for the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund of San Francisco. He has received fellowships from the Berrilla Kerr, Guggenheim, Rockefeller and McKnight Foundations, as well as grants from the Ohio and New York State Arts Councils and three NEA fellowships. OyamO received his M.F.A. in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and is a member of PEN, Dramatistis Guild, New Dramatists (alumni), the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Writers Guild East, the O'Neill Playwrights Center, and the Black Theatre Network. With HBO, he has written an episode for the "Famous Black American Anthology" and a TV adaptation of "I Am a Man." He was a site monitor for the NEA and is a former vice president of the board of directors of The Theatre Communications Group. He wrote a musical based on the history of Detroit, the research funds for which were provided by UM's OVPR through its Arts For Citizenship program. The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit commissioned him to write two plays, one on the civil rights movement in Detroit, "City in a Strait," produced May 2007, the other on the Fisk Jubilee Singers, "Sing Jubilee," for a May 2008 production at the Detroit Institute for the Arts. Join Performance Network Theatre to explore The Mountaintop with these fascinating individuals.
Backstage Cafe: Where Artists Share Their Creative Caffeine
4 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Performance Network Theatre
$10/$5 for students and seniors
Join us in the Performance Network Theatre's lobby for an in-depth conversation exploring the nuances of making theater from the artist's perspective while sipping complimentary coffee from Mighty Good Coffee and Roastery. Associate artistic director Carla Milarch interviews Brian Marable on portraying a historical icon. "Brian Marable does not imitate Martin Luther King, and thereby creates a solid, real character. In a final speech we hear the fiery skills that marked the career of, arguably, the greatest orator of the 20th century, but Marable has made it all his own," John Quinn of Encore Michigan. Backstage Cafe is the perfect event for cultural gurus and aspiring theater professionals. Only 20 seats; reservations suggested.
About the Artist
A native Detroiter, born and raised, Brian Marable is a graduate of Cass Technical High School's Performing Arts Department and attended Wayne State University as a theater major. Marable has appeared in productions such as "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and "Old Settler" with Plowshares Theatre Company, "Take Me Out" and "Piano Lesson" at Performance Network Theatre, "Superior Donuts" at the Purple Rose Theatre, and the award-winning Best Play of the Year (2003) "Jesus Hopped the A Train" with African Renaissance Theatre Company. Join Milarch and Marable to discover the genius behind his original portrayal of one of the greatest figures in American history.
The Baton Passes On: Community Discussion
4 p.m. Sunday, June 2 (after the final performance of "The Mountaintop") at Performance Network Theatre
Join diversity-centric children's theatre personality LaRon Williams for the final community discussion for "The Mountaintop" at Performance Network Theatre. Williams will offer his extensive experience as a nationally acclaimed African-American theater professional to examine the play's unusual plot devices and complex characters and how they affect the depiction of King's last night on earth. This event is first come, first serve; seating is general admission.
About the speaker:
LaRon Williams is a nationally acclaimed, award-winning storyteller who has toured the country with his highly participatory music-spiced program of traditional and original tales crafted to improve literacy, foster cooperation, build self-esteem, and deepen our understanding of the ideal of American democratic inclusion.
Cole Burden has joined the cast of "Stargaze," a one-night-only fundraiser for Mason Street Warehouse and the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
Posted: May 8, 2013 at 6:33 a.m.
SAUGATUCK Adding to an already star-studded cast of Mason Street Warehouse alumni who also represent the best talent on Broadway, the Saugatuck Center for the Arts has announced that Cole Burden will replace Andrew Samonsky at "Stargaze," the SCA's annual performance benefit scheduled for May 18.
Samonsky was just cast in the new Broadway production of "Somewhere in Time," according to SCA executive director Kristin Armstrong. "While we are sad that Andrew will not be able to join us at 'Stargaze' because of his new production schedule, this is what happens when you work with this level of talent. However, we are delighted to share that another Mason Street Warehouse alum and Broadway powerhouse, Cole Burden, has been added to the 'Stargaze' cast."
Burden made his MSW debut in "Evita," and has toured nationally in "Les Miserables." Additional past credits include performances in "Applause," "Legally Blond," "Sweeny Todd" and "Grey Gardens," as well as television and film appearances.
Burden joins the "Stargaze" cast of fellow Mason Street alumni: Bryonha Parham ("Ain't Misbehavin"); Nick Cartell ("Altar Boyz"); and Gina Milo ("Lucky Stiff," "Marvelous Wonderettes" and who will be in this year's production of "Xanadu"). The evening will also introduce a new star to the SCA stage: Mamie Parris, who has starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of "Wicked."
The star-studded evening will begin with cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres by Chef Christine Ferris at 6:30 p.m., and the live performance starts at 8 p.m. The program is a mix of solos, duets and group numbers, spanning genres from Broadway favorites to current pop hits.
"This is going to be an incredibly special evening," says SCA artistic director Kurt Stamm. "The performance will really offer something for everyone the lineup will include a high energy rendition of everyone's favorite pop song originally performed by Fun, to a spectacular group number taken from 'Jersey Boys.'"
The hand-selected cast brings a wide array of talent to the stage through their Broadway and national touring careers. "Gina Milo has performed as Eponine in 'Les Miserables,' Bryonha Parham was part of the Broadway revival of 'Ragtime,' and Nick Cartell was in the original Broadway production of Scandalous,'" says Stamm. "Bringing this much talent to the stage for one night only is something we've never done before. If you love theater, performance and live music, this is a must-see show."
The evening will also include an over-the-top live auction, including vacations to the always-sunny Puerto Vallarta or St. Maarten, and an original work of art by Cindy Peterson. All proceeds from the event are supporting affordable and accessible live performances and theater at the SCA year-round.
Tickets are priced at $150 per person; dress is cocktail attire. Space is limited; tickets may be purchased at 269-857-2399 or online at www.sc4a.org.
Mason Street Warehouse and Saugatuck Center for the Arts are located at 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck.
By Carolyn Hayes
Posted: May 6, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
"Carolyn Hayes (Patricia Bates) is "
Carolyn is a little rusty.
Carolyn is unworthy.
Carolyn is more afraid of you than you are of her.
Carolyn is having the usual trouble delivering the exact right message through her cast bio.
Carolyn is so excited to be a part of "Brimstone and Treacle," although she'd rather not say why, exactly.
Carolyn hesitates to even mention that you might know her best as a theater critic, because upon reading that, you immediately started adjusting your expectations and handicapping her upcoming performance, even before you finished reading this sentence.
Carolyn tries only obliquely mentioning her experience as a theater critic, which those who know her as The Rogue Critic and read her on EncoreMichigan.com will see for the equivocal spin that it is. For those who don't know her from Adam, this same sentence will make them wonder if this is stunt casting.
Carolyn would like to put paid to any preconceived assumptions of stunt casting, without talking about the situation specifically enough to raise any new assumptions of stunt casting.
Carolyn finds herself in an especially strange predicament, in that her brand recognition chiefly lies in "The Rogue Critic," and who knows how many viewers might not even make the connection if they just read "Carolyn Hayes."
Carolyn briefly decides, screw it. Rogue Critic, Rogue Critic, Rogue Critic. In fact, while you're waiting for the show to start, why don't you pull up roguecritic.com on your smart phone and browse around? Mama wants page hits.
Carolyn appeared out of nowhere, like one of those feral wolf-children, and after this show will disappear back into the ether from whence she came. It's best not to think about it. In fact, don't even look at her, please.
Carolyn is now obliged to encapsulate her spotty, meager performance history in a single deft sentence.
Carolyn never mentions her education in these things any more, which she hopes will keep you from noticing that she doesn't have a theater degree. Which is probably something that only people without theater degrees notice about bios.
Carolyn was previously a performer, or so the legend goes, but most of the venues where that supposedly occurred have since closed, or been converted to a fondue restaurant or torn to the ground, which makes the rumors difficult to verify.
Carolyn would list her favorite roles, except her entire resume could reasonably fit in that space, so "favorite" in this case would be awfully misleading.
Carolyn previously appeared in a Planet Ant show in 2004, but don't think about that for too long because the blurb for this show refers to her character as the "teenaged" daughter and it's embarrassing.
Carolyn's previous performance experience is so outdated (and at least two were understudy gigs) that most of the shows and companies sound made up now, and let's face it, from there it's a short step to saying she DOES SO have a boyfriend, he just lives in Canada so you don't know him.
Carolyn has a tendency to get self-deprecating in these situations, but she is tremendously proud of this show and her part in it and, once again, please stop looking at her.
Carolyn has now reached the point in her bio that generally calls for humorous personal trivia and expressions of gratitude.
Carolyn lives in Ann Arbor with her mortgage.
Carolyn could crack all kinds of sideways jokes about her character and the events of the play, but she doesn't like being even tipped off about parts of the show in a bio, and this is one area where she holds firm.
Carolyn also enjoys distance running, knitting, and bellowing at the television, but not all at the same time.
Carolyn extends thanks to Dave for the amazing opportunity, Don for the green light, Erin for being superlative in every way, Clem for writing down the blocking, Sonja for the trips down South, Patrick for giving up the Hamm's, Kirsten for the cookies, Gap Body for making a perfectly useless "support" garment, her chiropractor, highlighters, bananas, coffee for all the right reasons, alcohol for all the wrong ones, her incredible mom for everything in between, the Planet Ant ceiling for always being there, and you for supporting live theater.
Carolyn would have thanked the most important people of all for informing her performance in fundamental ways, but that would be giving away too much.
Carolyn's actual program bio numbers just 71 words. She is almost as proud of that feat as she is of the show itself. Opening night is Friday no turning back now, her name's in the program.
About Carolyn Hayes
Carolyn Hayes has been a regular contributor to EncoreMichigan.com since January 2013. She will be appearing in "Brimstone and Treacle" at Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck, running May 10 through June 1. Her writing appears here as well as at The Rogue Critic (Web: www.roguecritic.com; Twitter: @SPOTtheRogue).
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