Encore Michigan

Open Book opens ‘The Taming’ 9/9-10/9

Show Announcement August 30, 2022

TRENTON, MI–What happens when you lock a liberal blogger, a conservative senator’s aide, and a Miss America contestant in a hotel room? Hilarious mayhem, according to The Taming.

Open Book Theatre Company in Trenton opens their ninth season with Lauren Gunderson’s raucous, all-female, political power-play, running September 9 through October 9. “The Taming is hilarious and thought-provoking,” says director Frannie Shepherd-Bates. “It gives us an opportunity not only to laugh at others (which we’re all doing anyway!), but to laugh at ourselves as well. It provides a point of connection between people all across the political spectrum and highlights both the problems in our political system and possible solutions. It’s political satire that is biting—and optimistic.”

Miss Georgia is out to prove that she’s not just beautiful but can use her platform and her constitutional law degree to improve our country. “Is this a Miss AMERICA competition or what” she asks. The role is played by recent Miss Wayne County Taylor Towers, who can easily relate to the struggles her character faces in being taken seriously. “As a local competitor myself, I was often met with the public opinion that being vapid and friendly was all it took to compete,” she explains. “What most people don’t see is how hard each of the candidates fights to enact real and positive change in their communities. In addition, being that Miss America is a scholarship competition, title competitors are pursuing higher education with a range of serious career goals. By no means are any of the women competing airheaded, as we may have been portrayed in other media; we are all just as intelligent and proactive as Miss Georgia is in The Taming.

Miss Georgia kidnaps a liberal blogger with a wide influence and a powerful conservative senator’s aide and tries to get them to compromise and work together. The play also takes a wacky journey back to 1787 to peek in on our Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention. “This play is asking audiences to laugh at these characters for holding their belief systems too tightly, and in laughing at these characters start to see that maybe there is a bit of themselves they are laughing at as well,” says Stephanie VanAlstine, who plays the blogger, Bianca. “I feel I can really connect to the character of Bianca, because any young person who can say they haven’t felt caught being a performative activist has got to be lying. The number of social media posts I have put up, taken down, edited, re-posted, re-deleted…it’s exhausting and overwhelming. Coming to the realization that your efforts to LOOK like you’re doing something powerful isn’t actually accomplishing anything meaningful is painful and real.”

Open Book Artistic Director Krista Schafer Ewbank rounds out the cast as Patricia, the senator’s aide. “This play is perfect for our times. No political position goes unskewered, and in the absolutely bonkers premise of the show the audience can laugh at others and themselves, and therefore be open to thinking about things in new ways,” she explains. “Comedy has always been used to challenge the status quo, and this show is so smartly written. It packs a real punch.”

Individual tickets are only $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students, with tickets for the opening night gala $35 each. Season tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased online at openbooktc.com or through the box office. More information can be found online or by calling 734 288-7753. The Taming contains adult language.

The play is written by Lauren Gunderson and is directed by Frannie Shepherd-Bates. It features Krista Schafer Ewbank, Taylor Towers, and Stephanie VanAlstine. Lighting design by Harley Miah. Costume design by Lauren Montgomery. Scenic design by Gwen Lindsay. Properties design by Amanda Bates. Sound design by Frannie Shepherd-Bates. Stage managed by Samantha Silva. Scenic Carpenter, Gordon Mosley.


Open Book Theatre Company

1621 West Road, Trenton, MI 48183

734 288-7753


Show tickets: $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors, $15 for students and $35 for opening nights

Sept 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and Oct 1, 6, 7, 8, at 8pm Sundays Sept 11, 18 & 25, and Oct 2 & 9 at 2pm