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The Snug tackles unusual fare

Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star
The Snug Theatre
Sept. 5-21, 2015

Posted: Aug. 27, 2014 at 7:40 a.m.

MARINE CITY - The Snug takes you to good ol' Maynard, Texas! Get immersed in the culture of small-town Texas gals and guys with "Laundry and Bourbon" and "Lone Star" written by James McClure. These two one-act companion pieces center around three discontented wives whose marriages have turned out to be less than what they hoped for and three male counterparts who find themselves drunk behind Angel's Bar one starry summer night.

Not quite the usual Snug fare, these plays provide a touching, funny and sometimes tough look at the effects of war on love, marriage, friendship, loyalty and the attempt to cope with a life that is forever changed.

"Laundry and Bourbon" is set on Elizabeth's porch. Elizabeth (Belinda Hellebuyck) is a housewife whose Vietnam veteran husband has been missing for two days. She is visited by her two gossiping pals, Hattie (Kelly Kennedy), whose rambunctious children wreak havoc wherever they go, and Amy Lee (Krista Haney), born into poverty but now married to money. Drinks are imbibed, and secrets are revealed.

Meanwhile, "Lone Star," named after the beer brand, follows Roy (Matt Siadek), a macho type who had once been a local high-school hero. He is back in town after a hitch in Vietnam and trying to reestablish his position in the community. Joined by his younger brother, Ray (Matt Boucher), Roy sets about consuming a case of beer while regaling Ray with tales of his military and amorous exploits. With the arrival of Cletis (Sean May), the newlywed son of the local hardware store owner, the underpinnings of Roy's world begin to collapse.

Performances dates are Sept. 5 – 21:

Tickets are $20 and are available at www.thesnugtheatre.com or by phone 810-278-1749. Follow the Snug Theatre at www.facebook.com/thesnugtheatre

The Snug Theatre is located at 160 S. Water Street, Marine City, MI 48039


 

Nominations: The 2014 Wilde Awards

Posted: Aug. 26, 2014 at 6:29 a.m.; updated Aug. 26, 2014 at 3:35 p.m.

Best Comedy

Best Drama

Best Musical

Best Opera

Best Original One-Act or Solo Performance

Best of The Bard

Best Theater for Young Audiences

Best Tour

Best Performance – Opera

Best Performance – The Bard

Best Performance, Actor – Comedy

Best Performance, Actor – Drama

Best Performance, Actor – Musical

Best Performance, Actor - Original One-Act or Solo Performance

Best Performance, Actress – Comedy

Best Performance, Actress – Drama

Best Performance, Actress – Musical

Best Performance, Actress - Original One-Act or Solo Performance

Best Teamwork

Best Choreography

Best Design – Costumes

Best Design – Lights

Best Design – Props

Best Design – Sets

Best Design – Sound or Video

Best Music Direction

Best New Script

THERE'S MORE: CLICK HERE for CLICK HERE to read the accompanying story for complete details regarding The 2014 Wilde Awards!


 

UDM Theatre Company announces 44th season

Posted: Aug. 25, 2014 at 2:56 p.m.

DETROIT - The UDM Theatre Company proudly announces its 44th season. Bringing together a group of diverse, passionate and heart-warmingly humorous plays, the 44th season features three main stage plays and one musical in which two are Michigan premieres.

According to Melinda Pacha, the chair of the Performing Arts Department, "The 44th season continues to integrate the intellectual, spiritual, ethical and social development of our students and community." The Theatre Company, she continued, "always seeks to bring theater that entertains, provokes and encourages dialogue."

Opening the season is Mark St. Germain's "The Best of Enemies." Deep friendships can be found and nurtured in the most unlikely of characters in the worst of circumstances.

The Theatre Company marks the opening of the holiday season with Joe Landry's "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play." Based on Frank Capra's classic film, Landry infuses this Christmas staple with new magic and excitement. It is sure to touch your heart and create new memories surrounding this timeless classic.

Overwhelming grief and the fragility of the human condition are presented in Samuel D. Hunter's "The Whale." This new human drama will pull at your heart and challenge your beliefs.

Closing the season we bow to the young and the young at heart with the musical adaptation of "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day".

"We have an exciting season planned, and we want you to play your part with us," Pacha said.

The Theatre Company offers a post-show discussion following the first Sunday performance of each production, focused on social justice themes found in each show. UDM's College of Liberal Arts and Education's Alumni Council partner with the theater to support an afterglow following the first Saturday performance of every production.

"These events at the theater allow our patrons, alumni and community to network," said Greg Grobis, director of marketing and management for the Theatre Company. "It's a wonderful opportunity to connect with other arts-minded supporters while supporting the arts in Detroit."

Season ticket packages are available that include tickets to all four productions. Adults Packages are $50, and Discounted Adult Packages are $45 for seniors, UDM faculty, staff and alumni, and all Detroit residents. The Student Flex Pass is an affordable way for students of any college or high school to attend the entire season for only $20. Season packages must be ordered by calling the UDM Theatre Company ticket office at 313-993-3270

Individual tickets are available for purchase online after Sept. 1 at www.UDMarts.com. Individual ticket prices are $20 for Adults and $17 for seniors, UDM faculty, staff and alumni, and all Detroit city residents. Students and children (no children under the age of 2) are $10; UDM and Marygrove students are $5.

Special group pricing is available for groups or organizations with a minimum of 10 tickets per group. Please contact Lisa Rybak, 313-993-3270 for more information on group reservations

Ticket office hours at Reno Hall 43 are Tuesday - Friday noon - 5 p.m. On performance days, the ticket office opens 45 minutes prior to curtain and stays open through intermission of each performance. For questions or more information email: theatre@udmercy.edu.

Programming subject to change.


2014-15 Season: UDM Theatre Company

The Best of Enemies
Michigan premiere
Sept. 26, 27, Oct. 3, 4 at 8 p.m.; Sept. 28, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.
Performed at Marygrove Theatre
"The Best of Enemies" by Mark St Germain is based on a true story of unimaginable change. Two strong-willed opponents - Ann Atwater, an outspoken Civil Rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the KKK - are challenged by federal mediator Bill Riddick to co-chair a steering committee to facilitate change. Explosive, direct and aggressive, "The Best of Enemies" is a model of how respect, understanding and trust can be delicately forged to resolve deep and bitter differences. Contains mature content and language.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Nov. 7, 8, 14, 15 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 9, 16 at 2 p.m.
Performed at Marygrove Theatre
For almost 70 years, Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" has been an American Christmas tradition. Capturing the timeless magic of that classic film, Joe Landry's "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" invigorates the story with vibrant new color and excitement. "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" will touch the heart, pull at the soul, and create memories that will last a lifetime. A small cast of actors play dozens of characters amid a creative and zany "Radio Play" complete with live sound effects. The audience and the actors share in the buzz and the glamour of an old-time radio adventure.

The Whale
Michigan premiere
Feb. 6, 7, 13, 14 at 2 p.m.; Feb. 8, 15 at 2 p.m.
Performed at Marygrove Theatre
In Samuel D Hunter's "The Whale," we meet Charlie, a man mired in grief and personal conflicts surrounding the loss of his partner, his relationship to his ex-wife and his nearly estranged daughter. Confined to his home due to a physical malady, Charlie reaches out to the people in his life using the tool he knows best: the written word. As 2013's winner of the Lucille Lortel Best Play Award, Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre, and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theatre, "The Whale" is a powerfully emotional piece that reveals one man's great empathy for everyone but himself, with humor, honesty and touching glimpses of human frailty. Contains mature content and language.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
March 20, 21, 27, 28 at 7 p.m.; March 22 and 29 at 2 p.m.
Performed in the Grounds Coffeehaus on UDM's campus
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" is a delightful musical adaptation of the popular children's book that follows feisty Alexander and a series of unfortunate events that occur throughout his day. Waking up with gum in his hair, unwanted cavities and no dessert with lunch are just a few of the obstacles he encounters. Alexander allows audiences of all ages to identify with him and ultimately reveals that bad days happen to everyone - even in Australia. "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" is wonderful entertainment for everyone, from young children through grandparents!


 

The Great Messenger returns to The Ringwald

Angels in America
The Ringwald Theatre
Sept. 5-29, 2014

Posted: Aug. 25, 2014 at 8:39 a.m.

FERNDALE - After a highly successful run of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches," The Ringwald Theatre is thrilled to open its eighth season with both parts of this epic play, "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika" in repertory.

Opening in February, 2014, the original production of "Millennium Approaches" was met with rapturous reviews. And now comes "Perestroika!" Working from a newly-revised script that includes new material from Kushner, Jamie Warrow assumes directing duties to bring the story to a thrilling conclusion.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, "Angels in America" is one of the most outstanding plays of the American theater. Prior is a man living with AIDS, whose lover, Louis, has left him and become involved with Joe, an ex-Mormon and political conservative whose wife, Harper, is slowly having a nervous breakdown. These stories are contrasted with that of Roy Cohn (a fictional re-creation of the infamous American conservative ideologue who died of AIDS in 1986) and his attempts to remain in the closet while trying to find some sort of personal salvation in his beliefs.

For "Millennium Approaches," Joe Bailey will direct a cast that includes Bailey Boudreau, Meredith Deighton, Brenton Herwat, Chris Jakob, Dennis Kleinsmith, Matthew Turner Shelton, Cara Trautman, and Jamie Warrow.

Jamie Warrow directs "Perestroika" with the same cast.

"Angels in America" will begin with performances of "Perestroika" on Friday, Sept. 5 and will play all Saturday evenings, Sunday matinees, and Monday evenings. "Millennium Approaches" will begin the subsequent Friday, Sept. 12, and continue for all following Fridays. There will be two Saturdays in which both parts will play the same day.

Tickets for the all-day marathon will be $29. Ticket prices for all other performances are $20 for Friday and Saturday performances, $15 for Saturday and Sunday matinees, and Monday nights are only $10 a ticket. All students can now receive a $5 discount off the normal ticket price on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances (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 theatre box office. The Ringwald box office opens 45 minutes before performances and tickets can be purchased with cash or Visa/Mastercard.

The Ringwald Theatre is located at 22742 Woodward Avenue in the Times Square of Ferndale.


Performance schedule: 'Angels in America'

Friday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. ($20): Perestroika
Saturday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. ($20): Perestroika
Sunday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. ($15): Perestroika
Monday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. ($10): Perestroika
Friday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ($20): Millennium Approaches
Saturday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m. ($15): Millennium Approaches
Saturday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. ($20): Perestroika
Sunday, Sept. 14 at 3 p.m. ($15): Perestroika
Monday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. ($10): Perestroika
Friday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ($20): Millennium Approaches
Saturday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ($20): Perestroika
Sunday, Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. ($15): Perestroika
Monday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ($10): Perestroika
Friday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. ($20): Millennium Approaches
Saturday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. ($15): Millennium Approaches
Saturday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ($20): Perestroika
Sunday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. ($15): Perestroika
Monday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. ($10): Perestroika


 

JET opens season with sizzle and wit

The Value of Names
The Jewish Ensemble Theatre
Sept. 3 - Oct. 12, 2014

Posted: Aug. 24, 2014 at 8:35 a.m.

WEST BLOOMFIELD - Time may not heal all wounds. Certain actions, in fact, haunt one through a lifetime. The Jewish Ensemble Theatre's production of "The Value of Names" by Jeffrey Sweet guarantees a night of emotional and intellectual engagement, along with plenty of laughter.

This intriguing show tells the story of a legendary Hollywood director, Leo Greshen, who denounced several of his contemporaries, including his best friend, actor Benny Silverman, before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Thirty years later, a retired Benny, who has recouped his fortunes but is still outraged over Leo's betrayal, discovers that Benny's daughter has been cast in one of Leo's current productions. The old antagonists meet again in a clash of titans.

JET is pleased to have appearing together for the first time on its stage the very talented father/daughter team of Kathryn and Thomas Mahard as stars of "The Value of Names." Also featured is Phil Powers. Direction is provided by Yolanda Fleischer.

The performance schedule of "The Value of Names" is as follows:

Tickets range from $41 to $48 with discounts for seniors, students and groups.

JET performs in the Aaron DeRoy Theatre located on the lower level of the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield at 6600 W. Maple Road. There is ample free parking and handicap accessibility.

For reservations and information, please call 248-788-2900 or visit www.jettheatre.org.


 

'Bernhardt' brings Broadway to the Michigan masses

Posted: Aug. 23, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.; updated Aug. 23, 2014 at 12:09 p.m.

The life of Sarah Bernhardt, who is often referred to as the most famous actress who ever lived, is celebrated in the one-woman musical, "Bernhardt on Broadway." Set in the 1890s when the Divine Sarah was at the height of her career, the show - which will be touring the state over the next several weeks - is reminiscent of the Golden Age of Musicals, when you could count on leaving the theater with a tune dancing in your head and a lyric tugging at your heart. This is a "no holds barred" expose about the world's first superstar, the daughter of a courtesan who overcame countless obstacles, formed her own theater company, and traveled the globe performing (in French only) to sold out crowds from Australia to Brazil, Russia to Canada.

Bernhardt had nine extended tours in the United States (where she performed at the Traverse City Opera House), wowing everyone from Theodore Roosevelt to Mark Twain, who once said, "There are five kinds of actresses: bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses - and then there is Sarah Bernhardt." New York City reviewer Paulanne Simmons says Carol Dunitz, who plays Bernhardt, is "a consummate performer," while Michigan reviewer Laura Johnstone says she "channels" the great actress.

David W. Menefee, author of "Sarah Bernhardt in the Theater of Films and Sound Recordings" and an expert on Bernhardt, says, "'Bernhardt on Broadway' by Carol Dunitz captures the essential character of Sarah Bernhardt and serves up the divine spirit of the woman and artist on a plate decorated with toe-tapping tunes."

In the show, "Madame Sarah" addresses the audience in a relaxed and forthright way, talking about her present and reminiscing about her past – personally and professionally. Twelve songs enhance the action and seamlessly contribute to the story that unfolds. This is the disclosure of a woman who captivated several generations of theatergoers, performing over 150 parts during the course of her career. Bernhardt initiated celebrity product endorsements and hobnobbed with royalty on a regular basis. She starred in "Queen Elizabeth," the first feature- length silent film. Receipts from this film's distribution in the United States enabled Adolph Zukor to co-found what is today known as the Paramount Pictures Corporation.

While Bernhardt climbed the ladder to success, she also gave back, always helping others when she could. Among other things, she welcomed her grandmother into her home during her twilight years, volunteered her time for good causes including entertaining troops and selling War Bonds, raised money for Madame Curie when she had no money to build a laboratory after her husband's death, and encouraged Emile Zola to write "J'accuse" that helped to turn the tide with the Dreyfus Affair (and this is all in the show).

Dunitz wrote the music, book and lyrics for "Bernhardt on Broadway." She read close to 100 books about Bernhardt and her times in English and French, as well as countless articles and reviews before starting work on the project. "All my research enabled me to develop a very clear picture of Sarah Bernhardt and the demons that drove her to persist, "Quand Meme" - meaning "against all odds," which was Bernhardt's lifelong motto.

Carol Dunitz has a doctorate in speech communication and theater, and is a professional writer and speaker with numerous books and countless marketing campaigns to her credit. She has been writing music since she was 9 years old. Her love of musicals began when her mother, who often told her she was "a little Sarah Bernhardt," wanted her to see Detroit's Schubert Theatre before it met with the wrecking ball. She bought tickets for the last show to run there, and took her daughter to see Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's "Gypsy."

Upcoming performances of "Bernhardt on Broadway" include:

Foundry Hall
422 Eagle St.
South Haven, MI 49090
Saturday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Aug. 31 at 2 p.m.
$25
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/805107
800-838-3066

East Lansing Hannah Community Center
819 Abbott Road
East Lansing, MI 48823
Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
$28.50 (general admission), $24.50 (seniors)
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/717334
800-838-3066

Dexter Center for the Performing Arts
2200 N. Parker Rd.
Dexter, MI 48130
Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.
$28.50 (general admission), $24.50 (seniors)
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/789167
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/789185
800-838-3066

Royce Auditorium at St. Cecilia Music Center
24 Ransom Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
$28.50 (general admission), $24.50 (seniors)
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/717350
800-838-3066

The "Bernhardt on Broadway" original cast album is available on CD for $15. "Bernhardt on Broadway" T-shirts are $20. CDs and T-shirts can be purchased at scheduled performances of the musical or at www.BernhardtOnBroadway.com.

For further information, please call 312-523-4774 or e-mail CDunitz@BernhardtOnBroadway.com.



 

OTHER VOICES - NEWS & PREVIEWS: Aug. 22, 2014

2014 Pulsar winners – City Pulse (Aug. 20, 2014)

Williamston Theatre hits new landmark with 10,000-guest season – Lansing State Journal (Aug. 21, 2014)


 

Planet Ant announces 2014-15 season and world premiere season opener

Posted: Aug. 22, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.; updated Aug. 22, 2014 at 12:22 p.m.

HAMTRAMCK - Planet Ant Theatre will kick off its 2014-2015 season Sept. 5 with the world premiere of "The Big Story of Lazarus Small" by local playwright Linda Ramsey-Detherage. In addition, the theater is excited to announce its full 2014-2015 season of shows.

As it has done for more than 20 years, Planet Ant continues to highlight local writers, directors and performers this season. The theater's Main Stage Series features full-length original and published works, with an 8 p.m. show time Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Late Night Series presentations feature one-act original and experimental material, with a 9 p.m. show time Friday and Saturday evening.

"As audiences have come to expect from us, our new season comes with a broad range of styles and themes," stated artistic director Shawn Handlon. "The shows we've selected draw from a well of some of the finest talents in Detroit."

Tickets are $20 for Main Stage performances and $10 for Late Night performances. Tickets can be reserved or purchased online at www.planetant.com or in person at the theater on the night of the performance based on availability.

Planet Ant Theatre is located at 2357 Caniff in Hamtramck, MI 48212. It is a non-profit professional theater founded 21 years ago on the principle of artistic freedom and artistic experimentation leading to the growth of community, artistic fulfillment and artistic success. The theater has presented more than 80 high quality professional productions to Ssoutheast Michigan theatergoers, with a commitment to providing the best in theatrical productions that has brought it critical acclaim and awards from across the region.


2014-15 Planet Ant season

The Big Story of Lazarus Small
Sept. 5-27
Planet Ant kicks off its 2014-15 season with the world premiere of local playwright Linda Ramsay-Detherage's hilarious comedy, "The Big Story of Lazarus Small." Having been featured in a local television commercial, Lazarus Small dreams of being a big star. While his wife struggles to pay the bills, his father-in-law strains to keep sane, and his best friend strives to help, fate has other plans for Lazarus. Now he's getting exactly what he's always wanted - just not exactly how he wanted it. Directed by Dave Davies with stage management by David Woitulewicz, "The Big Story of Lazarus Small" features Dyan Bailey, Joe Hamid, Dan Jaroslaw, Lisa Melinn, Joel Mitchell and Patrick O'Connor Cronin. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale.

The complete performance schedule for "The Big Story of Lazarus Small" is as follows (tickets are $20 unless otherwise stated):

The complete schedule also includes:

Oct. 10-25
An original one-act by We Have Your Son
Directed by Michael Hovitch
Late Night Series
Winners of the 2014 Planet Ant Colony Fest, We Have Your Son, will write and appear in an original one-act comedy under the direction of Planet Ant Home Team member Michael Hovitch.

Oct. 31 - Nov. 8
An original one-act by Planet Ant improv students
Directed by Shawn Handlon
Late Night Series
Students from Planet Ant's improv class, The Ant Process, will write and appear in their own original one-act comedy under the direction of Planet Ant artistic director Shawn Handlon.

Nov. 28 - Dec. 20
Invasion!
by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Directed by Molly McMahon
Main Stage Series
Winner of the 2011 Obie Award, "Invasion!" is a tornado of words, images and ideas, all centered around a magical name: Abulkasem. The play assaults our deepest prejudices about identity, race and language. At once hilarious, disturbing and poignant, this deeply subversive play deconstructs a threatening identity - the Arabic male - and forces us to confront our own cultural identity.

Dec. 26, 27, 29 & 31
Bringing Up Baby New Year!
Directed by Shawn Handlon
Late Night Series
An encore presentation! It's never easy to live life in the spotlight, always being fodder for the tabloids and the subject of public scrutiny. It's all the more complicated when your life is only 12 months long. "Bringing Up Baby New Year" is a one-act comedy that chronicles the life and often tumultuous times of a typical Baby New Year, as he yearns to put his mark on time, all while struggling with puberty, a mid-life crisis and old age - each within months of the other. Directed by Shawn Handlon, "Bringing Up Baby New Year" was written by members of the Planet Ant Improv Colony Home Team Dyan Bailey, Lauren Bickers, Dave Davies, Shawn Handlon and Mike McGettigan.

Jan. 30 - Feb. 14, 2015
Armchair Dating
by Margaret Edwartowski
Late Night Series
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Planet Ant offers an original romantic comedy by award-winning playwright Margaret Edwartowski. As Peter and Liz try to maneuver through the game of love, they find they can both benefit from a little side-coaching when their best friends Chuck and Anita do a little Monday morning quarterbacking of the couple's recent match-up.

March 6-28
A Shakespearean Sequel
by Marty Shea and Ian Bonner
Directed by Sara Wolf Molnar
Main Stage Series
"A Shakespearean Sequel" will represent Planet Ant in the Detroit Shakespeare Festival. Based on minor characters from the plays of William Shakespeare, local filmmakers and authors Marty Shea and Ian Bonner explore the world beyond "Hamlet," "Romeo and Juliet" and others.

April 10 - May 2
An original comedy written by and starring Mike McGettigan & Shawn Handlon
Directed by Lauren Bickers
Main Stage Series
The Planet Ant has a rich history of hilarious original comedy plays. This year the theater will bring some of its favorite comedic minds from the Planet Ant family together to create another sure-fire hit using the Ant Process.

May 15-30
Fish Dinner: Enough Already!
by Quintin Hicks
Directed by Dave Davies
Late Night Series
The Wilde Award-winning one-man show, "Fish Dinner" returns to Planet Ant Theatre for the third and final chapter: "Fish Dinner: Enough Already!" Detroit Second City alum Quintin Hicks stretches the limits of character performance and improv to introduce you to a world of unique and unforgettable characters. Side-splittingly hysterical, with pockets of poignant tragedy, expect to see some familiar faces and perhaps a few new ones!

Late Night Saturdays
Throughout this season on select Saturday evenings, Planet Ant will present a late night show featuring a rotating schedule of improvisation. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Improv Mondays
The Planet Ant Improv Colony has generated over 20 original comedies and continues to perform every Monday night in Michigan's longest-running improv comedy show, "Improv Mondays." At 8 p.m. the show kicks off with a guest improv troupe, followed by a performance by Planet Ant's resident Home Team. The night closes with The Ant Jam, an opportunity for anyone to improvise on the Planet Ant stage. Tickets are $5 at the door.


 

Global smash hit returns to Detroit

Mamma Mia!
Fisher Theatre
Oct. 17-19, 2014

Posted: Aug. 21, 2014 at 9:16 a.m.

DETROIT - Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus' "Mamma Mia!," the smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA, returns to The Fisher Theatre for a limited five-performance engagement Oct. 17-19. Tickets go on sale Sunday, Aug. 24.

Seen by over 54 million people around the world, "Mamma Mia!" is celebrating 5,000 performances on Broadway and is the ninth longest-running show in Broadway history. The original West End production of "Mamma Mia!" is now in its 15th year and has celebrated over 6,000 performances in London, while the international tour has visited more than 74 foreign cities in 35 countries and been seen by over 4.3 million people. The blockbuster feature film adaptation of "Mamma Mia!" is the most successful movie musical of all time, grossing $600 million worldwide.

Seen in 38 productions in 14 different languages globally and with a worldwide gross of over $2 Billion, "Mamma Mia!" is acclaimed by the Associated Press as "quite simply, a phenomenon."

An independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, Donna, is about to let go of Sophie, the spirited daughter she's raised alone. For Sophie's wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, Sophie brings back three men from Donna's past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Over 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom and old romances will be rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities.

Inspired by the storytelling magic of ABBA's songs from "Dancing Queen" and "S.O.S." to "Money, Money, Money" and "Take a Chance on Me," "Mamma Mia!" is a celebration of mothers and daughters, old friends and new family found.

The performance schedule for "Mamma Mia!" at the Fisher Theatre is as follows:

Tickets ($39 - $79) go on sale Sunday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster locations; charge by phone by calling 800-982-2787 and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets will go on sale at the Fisher Theatre box office at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25. For group sales (12 or more) please email groups@broadwayindetroit.com or call 313-871-1132.

Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

Special Girls' Night Out dinner and show packages will be available with Broadway In Detroit restaurant partners, including The Whitney, Andiamo Riverfront, The Hotel St. Regis and more. For details on Girls' Night Out Packages, visit www.broadwayindetroit.com/girlsnightout.

For more information, visit www.broadwayindetroit.com.



 

2014-15 Not Just for Kids series announced

Posted: Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:28 a.m.

ANN ARBOR - "Curious George," a brand-new musical based on Margaret and H.A. Rey's bestselling children's books about a mischievous little monkey, will play at the Michigan Theater on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m., the first show in the 2014-15 Benard L. Maas Foundation Not Just for Kids series, presented by Toyota. These family-friendly, literature-based musicals are only about an hour long, which make them the perfect way to introduce children to live theater.

Tickets are $10 for Michigan Theater members and $12 for the general public. You can purchase advance tickets at www.ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster outlets, as well as in-person at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. Season packages and group tickets are also available for discounted prices; visit www.michtheater.org/njfk or call 734-668-8397, ext. 21 for more information.

The Not Just for Kids series would not be possible without generous support from the Benard L. Maas Foundation, Toyota, DTE GreenCurrents, Blue Care Network of Michigan, Nicola's Books, Clonlara School, Biggby Coffee, Kerrytown Market & Shops, and TCF Bank.

The Michigan Theater is located in downtown Ann Arbor at 603 East Liberty Street. Visit www.michtheater.org or call the 24-hour information line at 734-668-TIME for schedule and ticket information.


2014-15 Not Just for Kids season at the Michigan Theatre


Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
Curious George, everyone's favorite little monkey, can't wait for All-You-Can-Eat Meatball Day! But when Chef Pisghetti vows to never cook again, George is determined to get him back on track by entering him in the world-famous Golden Meatball Contest. With every swing and flip, George takes the audience through a musical adventure about friendship, fun, and food. (Best for grades K to 2.)

Junie B. Jones
Saturday, Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m.
The incomparable Junie B. Jones is back! Featuring new tales from her books "First Grader (at Last!)," "Boss of Lunch" and "One-Man Band," Junie B. meets new friends, helps the cafeteria lady, and puts on a half-time show. She says, "This is the bestest musical ever, I tell you! It's got loads of funny songs about the things I do in first grade." (Best for grades K to 5.)

Skippyjon Jones
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.
Skippyjon Jones is a kitten whose alter ego is Skippito Friskito, the greatest chihuahua sword fighter in old Mexico! But when the local pack of puppies is terrorized by a gigantic bee, will Skippyjon be a 'fraidy-cat or the top dog? Based on the beloved kids' book series, this enchanting musical teaches the power of imagination and following your dreams. (Best for grades K to 4.)

Click, Clack, Moo
Sunday, March 15 at 1:30 p.m.
When Farmer Brown declares his farm a "tech-free zone," the cows go on strike and the chickens join them in solidarity. No laptop means no milk and no eggs! Will Farmer Brown give in to the animals' demands? Find out in this hilariously "mooooo-ving" new musical about negotiation and compromise, based on the Caldecott Honor Book. (Best for grades K to 4.)

Fly Guy and Other Stories
Saturday, May 9 at 1:30 p.m.
A chock-full musical revue featuring a wide variety of contemporary and classic children's book favorites, including "Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl," "Diary of a Worm," "Fluffy the Classroom Guinea Pig," "Horace & Morris But Mostly Dolores," "Kitten's First Full Moon," "Lilly's Big Day" and "Paper Bag Princess." (Best for grades K to 4.)


 

PuppetART opens season with fairy tale classic

Sleeping Beauty
PuppetART
Sept. 6-28, 2014

Posted: Aug. 20, 2014 at 5:42 a.m.

DETROIT - We all know that Sleeping Beauty has been cursed by a wicked fairy and is forced to sleep until she is awakened by a kiss from a Prince. Most versions focus upon the Princess' story, but PuppetART's production sheds light on the story of the Prince as well.

This September, find out how the Prince knows of the sleeping Princess, and why he feels destined to rescue her. You can relax and enjoy the show, because this story, as all fairy tales, promises a very happy ending.

This original adaptation is presented as a classical marionette ballet, great for all ages.

In addition to the performance PuppetART's Bill Corrigan will be playing Romantic Period piano pieces from the performance, including works by Hasse, Byrd, Scarlatti and Liszt.

Performances are at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27, plus 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 and 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 28.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For reservations or more information, call 313-961-7777 or log on to www.puppetart.org.

PuppetART and the Detroit Puppet Theatre are located at 25 E. Grand River in Downtown Detroit.

About PuppetART
PuppetART is celebrating 17 years in Detroit this season. The theater was formed by a trio of professional Russian puppeteers in 1995. They began as a touring company and performed throughout Michigan and in other parts of the United States. In 1998, the troupe established its own non-profit theater in Downtown Detroit. PuppetART is the only professional resident puppet theater in Southeast Michigan, offering year-round weekly performances in conjunction with hands-on puppet making workshops, exhibitions and museum tours.


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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