Breaking Theater News:
Detroit engagement of 'Discover Theatre!' cancelled
DETROIT – "Discover Theatre!," scheduled to play at the Fisher Theatre March 9-11, has been cancelled due to slow ticket sales. All tickets will be refunded at the point of purchase.
Professional Theater News from Around Town:
Lecture series on Black Theater continues in March
DETROIT – A lecture series discussing "What is Black Theatre" continues March 6 and 7 at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Public Library's Main Branch on Woodward Ave. in the city's Cultural Center. The remaining lectures are:
March 6: "African American Theatre: Perspective and Intent"
Presented by Gary Anderson, producing artistic director, Plowshares Theatre Company
March 7: "The Detroit Theatre Movement! A Powerful Artistic Vision for the Future"
Presented by Oliver Pookrum, founder & artistic director, African Renaissance Theater of Detroit
Broadway Theatre Guild's Gala Benefit is 'Casino La Grand'
GRAND RAPIDS – Broadway Theatre Guild will recreate the ambience of a 1960s Las Vegas casino at Casino La Grand for its gala fund-raiser on Friday, April 13 in the Grand Gallery at DeVos Place. The event wraps around the performance of "The Rat Pack – Live at the Sands" in DeVos Performance Hall, from 5:30 pm to 12:30 a.m., and the show is 8 to 10:20 p.m.
Broadway Theatre Guild is an independent, non-profit 501(c)3 organization. BTG relies on the community's generosity to sustain the Broadway series in Grand Rapids, in order to keep ticket prices affordable for average incomes. Ticket sales cover only half of the expenses to bring the multimillion-dollar shows to DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. The average break-even point for Broadway Theatre Guild on one show is $500,000.
"The Rat Pack – Live at the Sands" is the international hit that played four years in London, breaking box-office records, and is on its North American tour. The show celebrates the famous 1960s nightclub act and songs of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin. Backing up the impersonators is a 15-piece big band on stage with the Burelli Sisters.
Casino games, cocktails, cabaret entertainers and dinner will kick off the gala event on the "60s Las Vegas strip" at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Gallery at DeVos Place. Guests will move to DeVos Performance Hall to see the show, which runs two hours and 20 minutes including intermission. After the show, guests will return to the Grand Gallery for more entertainment and casino games, a cast party, coffee and dessert. Each guest will receive $50,000 in chips that have no cash value, and may enter drawings for various prizes. There will be cash bars throughout the evening, and additional chips may be purchased in increments of $50, which is $50,000 in "funny-money" chips to continue playing games. There will also be a live auction of a few premium items between dinner and "The Rat Pack" show. Guests are encouraged to "come dressed to impress" and black tie is optional. Log on to http://www.bwaygr.org for more details and photos of "The Rat Pack" show, which runs for eight performances April 10-15.
The gala event fee is $100 per person plus the cost of show tickets, which vary based on seating section and range from $22 in balcony to $62 for best seats. Gala event tickets and show tickets must be purchased separately, and may be obtained through Broadway Theatre Guild during office hours Monday through Friday at 122 Lyon St. NW or by phone at 616-235-6285.
BoarsHead Theater receives support for education program
LANSING – BoarsHead Theater is pleased to announce the receipt of two separate grants in support of its arts in education program, one from the Thoman Foundation and one from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
BoarsHead Theater has received a $30,000 grant from the W.B. and Candace Thoman Foundation in support of its Shakespeare in the Schools project. This grant will support the production of "If The Shoe Fits" by Marlene Shelton, a play that introduces Shakespeare to young audiences. The grant will also support classroom workshops and after school activities to enrich the study of "Romeo and Juliet" which is part of the Michigan high school core curriculum. Students will have the opportunity to become familiar with the genius of Shakespeare's language as well applying their own creativity to re-imaging scenes from his classic love stories.
BoarsHead Theater Managing Director Marlene Shelton stated that "BoarsHead is very proud to have been awarded this grant; the study of Shakespeare is a natural for teaching artists. In England, more and more schools are taking the study of Shakespeare out of the English departments and into theater because his plays were meant to be performed, to be heard, rather than to be read. BoarsHead's objective is to enhance the study of Shakespeare and give teachers the tools to approach the subject through theater."
The Lincoln Center in New York City will be sending teaching artists to facilitate integrating the play, "If The Shoe Fits," into a classroom project through workshops with Lansing area teachers. The Thoman Foundation's generosity in supporting this program is truly noteworthy and BoarsHead is extremely grateful.
The Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs consists of a 15-member council that has been appointed by the governor with the express purpose of assisting non-profit organizations throughout Michigan in developing and enriching the arts in their communities. BoarsHead Theater is considered an Anchor organization, and this year's funding will help underwrite the cost of the Shakespeare in the Schools project. BoarsHead's Second Company will have the opportunity to work with, and perform as, teaching artists, spending time in the classroom leading workshops and inviting students to watch them in rehearsal for the Shakespeare play.
Funding from government and private resources are a necessity for educational outreach programs to continue to exist. BoarsHead is very grateful for these two grants that benefit's the young people of greater Lansing.
Theater for Young Audiences:
Kazoo Civic adds a performance to 'Honk Jr.'
KALAMAZOO – In an effort to meet the demand for tickets, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre has added a performance to the scheduled run of their Youth Theatre production of "Honk Jr." Originally scheduled to play in the Parish Theatre March 2 through 10, "Honk Jr." will now close on Sunday, March 11. The added performance is scheduled for Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m.
This delightful re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic "The Ugly Duckling" features a lively score and colorful characters. After being ridiculed by his family and neighbors because of his odd, gawky looks Ugly leaves the farm in search of happiness, only to be pursued by a hungry cat. Lonely and afraid, Ugly must find his way home with only his loving mother Ida searching for him. Along his frightening yet hilarious journey Ugly discovers his true beauty and magnificent destiny, as well as love and acceptance in all its forms. With all of its wonderful humor, charm and a message of tolerance, this heartwarming musical is perfect for audiences of all ages.
According to Ben Zylman, director of marketing and development, the added performance was a result of "an unusually strong demand for tickets" "Rarely, do we have to add performances two weeks prior to a show opening, but our scheduled matinee performances are completely sold out" said Zylman.
Tickets for "Honk Jr." are selling briskly and may be ordered by calling the Civic Box Office at 269-343-1313 or by visiting the Civic website at http://www.kazoocivic.com.
'School House' rocks in Trenton
TRENTON – The Trenton Village Theatre, home of the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center, is a great destination for the family in March when DYPAC opens its 2007 series with "School House Rock Live, Jr." March 9 – 11 and 16 – 18.
Like the classic television series, "Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr." is a hip, entertaining and educational treat that shows young people that learning can be as fun as you choose to make it. If you are child of the 70's or had children in the 70's this show will surely bring back memories!
The Trenton Village Theatre is located at 2447 West Jefferson, Trenton. Friday performances are at 7 p.m., Saturday performances are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.
A special performance where scouts may earn a merit badge is Saturday, March 10, at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $8 Students & Seniors and $10 Adults. Group rates are available for 10 or more.
Call 734-692-7749 for group booking and reserved seating. Purchase Tickets on line at http://www.dypac.com.
Community Theater Corner:
Novi Theatres' "Divine Stella Devine" to provide uproarious look at back stage antics
NOVI – The Novi Theatres' upcoming production of "Divine Stella Devine" presents a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at an aging diva, her upstart challenger and a mismatched cast attempting to rehearse an epic spoof, "Civil War Darlings." The performances will be on Thu. and Fri., Mar. 8 & 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sat. and Sun., Mar. 10 & 11 at 2 p.m. at the Novi Civic Center Stage, 45175 W. Ten Mile Rd., Novi (between Novi and Taft Roads).
According to Debbie Lannen, new performing arts coordinator for The Novi Theatres, "This delightful comedy is different than anything the audience may have seen before. It is sure to be a lot of fun for the entire family."
The Novi Theatres, a division of the City of Novi Parks Department, has enriched the Novi community for more than 16 years. Pursuant to the City of Novi's vision of "enriching lives‚Ä¶building community" and through the leadership of performing arts coordinator Debbie Lannen, The Novi Theatres is committed to expanding acting, vocal and dance opportunities for Novi and the surrounding communities.
Advance tickets for Divine Stella Devine are now on sale for $10 at the Parks Desk in the Novi Civic Center. Tickets will be $12 if purchased at the performance. Due to the popularity of this production, tickets should be purchased in advance to ensure space.
For performance ticket information, call 248-347-0400.