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By |2018-01-15T19:55:26-05:00October 12th, 2006|Entertainment|

Review: ‘The Last Resort’

Dinner theater moves ‘uptown’ with comical murder mystery

It’s amazing how things can change over a two-week period – and sometimes for the better!

In one recent press release it was announced that StarBrite Theatrical Productions would soon open its fourth season of dinner theater productions with “The Last Resort” at Miles World Restaurant in Fraser. Another press release followed two weeks later announcing the show would instead open at the Uptown Eatery in Southfield. (The Fraser location, home to StarBrite since 2005, was sold recently, the press release stated.)

From a purely selfish perspective, I applaud the venue change. (Southfield is a heck of a lot closer for me to get to than Fraser is!)

But more importantly, it’s a great move for both the production company and its patrons.

For not only is the Uptown Eatery centrally located in Metro Detroit and easy to get to from pretty much everywhere – it’s located on Twelve Mile Road just a few hundred feet east of Evergreen – the basement performance space offers StarBrite a much larger thrust-like stage on which to perform. And the L-shaped room provides a much more intimate seating arrangement that allows everyone to be fairly close to the action. (I couldn’t tell, however, whether or not an unfortunately placed supporting pole near the stage hinders the sightlines for some patrons. It didn’t appear to, thanks to some creative seating placement.)

Plus, the numerous compliments I overheard last Friday night regarding the entrees were quite positive – and they smelled great, too. (I only wish someone nearby had ordered the Jazzy Soul Chicken & Waffles – the house specialty. It sounds intriguing!)

What HASN’T changed, however, is the breezy, light-hearted entertainment presented by StarBrite.

Unlike some dinner theaters in Detroit’s past that strived to stage upscale or thought-provoking shows, StarBrite’s approach is to make their audiences laugh – and they’ll do pretty much anything to get them. This ain’t Shakespeare – nor do they try to be; instead, StarBrite’s goal is to offer a night of delicious food and plenty of easy, good-natured laughs at a reasonable price, and in that they certainly succeed.

“The Last Resort” – the inaugural show at the Uptown Eatery – is yet another dinner theater staple: the musical-comedy murder mystery. Written by popular Canadian playwright Norm Foster with music and lyrics by Leslie Arden, successful New York restaurateur Nick Galeazza has been taken into the witness protection program by the FBI after testifying against a local mobster. Under the protection of the lovely agent Angela, he finds himself temporarily hiding out in a rundown hotel in Saskatchewan. The two are posing as Ed and Wanda Willoughby, and as you’d expect of any spoof worth its salt, the rest of the guests are the typical sorts who populate such stories: the sneaky, widowed hotel owner, the poet who fancies himself a lothario, the married couple there to celebrate their 24th anniversary and the twin TV anchors on their way to the reading of their father’s will.

As the nervous Nick describes it, the place is “a Hilton for henchmen”! And any one of them could be a mobster there to rub him out!

Someone DOES get murdered, of course. After all, this IS a murder mystery. So in comes the seemingly not-too-bright Inspector Closely to solve the crime. But is the answer as obvious as it might seem?

Most of the clues are apparent, of course, and playwright Foster has plenty of fun unfolding them. Sure, the laughs ARE cheap – the Inspector’s name should make THAT obvious – but that’s to be expected. However, don’t be surprised if you miss a clue or two – at least for a while – or think an actor messed up some lines. Watch and listen closely: That’s all part of Foster’s clever plan.

And the songs? Although most are serviceable at best – which is probably a good thing, since most the actors are NOT polished singers – the opening number “In Saskatchewan” and its sister in the second act, “Death in Saskatchewan,” capture the tone of the show quite well, and the tune will stick with you for hours. (Eighteen and counting, so far…)

So how does the production fare under the direction of Cyndi Heins? For the most part, just fine.

But what’s sometimes missing is the sense that this IS a spoof and not a straight murder mystery. I suspect that’s because some actors fear broadening their characters in such a small space. (Acting teachers often tell their students to “bring their characters down” when performing to an audience seated only a foot or two away.) That shouldn’t be a concern, however, since these characters are WRITTEN as broad caricatures, and the script’s humor begs for larger-than-life portrayals. As it stands now, some of the show’s best humor is lost – which might explain why I was the only one laughing at certain times during the show. (I knew I was watching a spoof, even if others in the audience did not.) Because SOME actors tackled their comedic roles so seriously, the audience responded in kind.

So here’s my tip to the otherwise talented performers: Loosen up and have FUN with your roles – within reason, of course – and ALL the laughs will come forth quite naturally!

The Bottom Line: A smart move for StarBrite and an entertaining debut at the Uptown Eatery!

“The Last Resort” Staged by StarBrite Presents Dinner Theater at Uptown Eatery, 19701 W. Twelve Mile Rd., Southfield. Presented Fri.-Sat., through Nov. 18. Tickets: $39.95, includes three-course dinner and show. For information: 248-423-1452 or

Professional Theater News from Around Town:

Compiled by Donald V. Calamia

Matrix revises, revives ‘Boomtown 1925’

DETROIT – “Boomtown 1925,” an original play about Detroit’s Jazz Age, returns to the stage Oct. 19, but in a new location: the Boll Family YMCATheatre.

From 1922 to 1927, Detroit’s population grew from 250,000 to one million people. From all over the globe, people came together to create a new city and a new way of life. “Boomtown 1925” is the story of five women from five cultures who come together at Gus’ All Night Diner across the street from the Ternstedt plant in Southwest Detroit. There, they share troubles, laughs and food as they invent the city that created the 20th century.

This original play, written by Matrix Collective Playwrights Workshop, is directed by Matrix Theatre Company Executive Director Shaun S. Nethercott.

The play captures the excitement and transformation that marked the 1920’s in Detroit. The Great War was over, the Jazz Age had begun. Prohibition turned ordinary people into criminals. And women were on the forefront of change: Suffragettes had just secured the right to vote, and women were in the factories in record numbers, but Flappers were the image of the modern woman. They painted their lips, drank in speakeasies, and danced the Charleston. Join the five women who chose Southwest Detroit to be their home.

“Boomtown 1925” will be presented Oct. 19-Nov. 12 at the Boll Family YMCA Theatre, 1401 Broadway, Detroit. Performance times are Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $15. They available at the door or in advance by calling Matrix Theatre at 313-967-0599. Group sales are also available.

Micky Dolenz reigns as Charlemagne in ‘PIPPIN’ at Wharton Center

EAST LANSING – The exhilarating new production of Pippin by Stephen Schwartz, composer of Wicked and three-time Oscar winner, is coming Oct. 17 to East Lansing’s Wharton Center.

Mischievous, magical, humorous and captivating, Tony Award-winning “Pippin” is the lively coming of age story of Charlemagne’s oldest son. A surprise waits around every corner as Pippin wanders through the worlds of politics, love and war before finding his true calling. A fantastic tale, “Pippin” is packed with dazzling and imaginative songs such as “Magic to Do,” “Corner of the Sky” and the audience sing-along “No Time at All.”

“Pippin,” part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center series, is produced by Goodspeed Musicals, winner of two Tony Awards for outstanding regional theater, and home of the American musical at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. The musical, which debuted on Broadway in 1972 and ran for five years, was a collaboration of Broadway giants, boasting the talents of young composer Schwartz, the explosive energy of actor Ben Vereen and the vision of legendary director/choreographer Bob Fosse. The production garnered five Tony Awards, (for lighting design, scenic design, best actor, choreography, and directing), and won rave reviews.

This vivid re-imagining of “Pippin” retains the wit, style and charm of the original production, while infusing it with a contemporary approach. Once again there is “magic to do,” this time with fascinating new sets and costumes, plus the added attraction of “cirque-like” acrobatics.

Micky Dolenz, part of the musical phenomenon The Monkees will perform the role of Charlemagne, with Joshua Park (Broadway’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and off-Broadway’s “Streets of New York”) in the title role of Pippin and Andre Ward (Broadway’s “Saturday Night Fever”) as the Leading Player.

While best known for his role as Micky in the television show “The Monkees” (1966-1968), Dolenz has continued to work in show business as an actor, writer and director. In 2002, he expanded his reach to Broadway when he took over the role of the villain, Zoser, in the Tim Rice and Elton John musical, “Aida.” Other theater credits include the national tours of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “Grease.” Additionally, he wrote and directed “Bugsy Malone” for the London stage.

Dolenz began his career as a child star at the age of six, with the television series “Circus Boy.” With his portrayal of a struggling band member in the hit television show “The Monkees,” Dolenz and his counterparts Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, achieved international acclaim. During the late 1960s, the band recorded several number one albums, and during the 1970s and 1980s the group gathered for various reunions, playing sold-out shows around the country and overseas.

“Pippin” opens Tuesday, Oct. 17 at East Lansing’s Wharton Center and runs through Sunday, Oct. 22.

Tickets are $25-$58.

For tickets or further information, call Wharton Center at 517-432-2000 or log on to

One-man show featuring Steve Solomon comes to Music Hall

DETROIT – The wildly popular “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy” starring Steve Solomon opens Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. The show will continue through Oct. 20.

As the name suggests, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy,” is a riotous comedy featuring the many talents of Steve Solomon performed in a unique one-man show format. With over two hours of hysterical material, Steve combines comic voices, sound effects and astounding characters to bring alive a myriad of people from all walks of life. Also included in the show are musical interludes that showcase even more of Steve’s talents. The show has met with rave reviews and great audience acclaim throughout the country.

Solomon, who wrote, stars in, and originally scored the music for the play, is a Brooklyn native who learned the art of dialects firsthand growing up in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay. He weaves different dialects, crazy characters, original music and impersonations into a performance fit for any comedic audience. He has headlined throughout the United States and Europe for over 20 years from clubs, cruise lines and corporate conventions to comedy concerts and international TV appearances.

Tickets are $22.50-$27 and can be purchased via phone at 313-887-8501, at the Music Hall Box Office or at

‘Three MO’ Tenors’ to bring amazing voices to The Whiting’s stage

FLINT – The Whiting proudly presents the awe-inspiring musical talents of “Three MO’ Tenors!” These classically trained, versatile tenors take center stage on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m.

“Three MO’ Tenors,” which showcases and celebrates the versatility of African-American tenors, first came to national prominence in 2001 when it was televised by PBS’ “Great Performances.” Each evening, “Three Mo’ Tenors” take their audience on a passionate musical journey of operatic music, jazz, gospel, soul, spirituals, new school, Broadway and the blues. The tenors have developed a rousing musical repertoire with extraordinary breadth, and through song and explosive choreography, elevate the stature of African American Tenors in the music world. Due to the vocal demands of the show, the tenors have six singers in two casts. The Tenors performing at The Whiting are Duane A. Moody, James Berger, and Victor Robertson.

A special pre-glow performance by Flint’s Gospel quintet, Uplifted, will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of The Whiting.

The Whiting is located at 1241 E. Kearsley Street in Flint, just off I-475 between the University of Michigan Flint and Mott Community College on the Flint Cultural Center campus.

Ticket prices range from $18 to $34. Student Rush tickets are available to college and high school students for $12 on the day of the performance with student ID (limit 4).

Tickets are available by phone at 810-237-7333 or 888-8-CENTER or online at

Wharton Center hosts playwright, actor, poet Sarah Jones

EAST LANSING – The Wharton Center proudly welcomes Sarah Jones, the Tony Award winning playwright, actor and poet, to the Pasant Theatre Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Jones’ multi-character solo shows include the critically acclaimed Broadway hit “Bridge & Tunnel,” “Surface Transit,” “A Right to Care” and “Women Can’t Wait!” For the 2006-2007 Art on the Edge and Beyond Fringe Festival, Jones will perform a new rendition of the many personalities she inhabits in “Bridge & Tunnel,” which was originally produced off-Broadway by Oscar winner Meryl Streep. The show went on to become a critically-acclaimed, smash-hit on Broadway.

Jones’ career has taken her from a sold-out run at The Kennedy Center to tours of India, Europe and South Africa to performances for such audiences as the United Nations, members of the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court of Nepal. Her multicultural cast of characters has always been a reflection of her diverse audiences.

A proud Queens, New York native, Sarah attended the United Nations International School and Bryn Mawr College where she was the recipient of the Mellon Minority Fellowship. She returned to New York and began writing and competing in poetry slams at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. There she developed her first show, “Surface Transit,” which was presented at The American Place Theatre and PS122. Her next piece, “Women Can’t Wait,” was commissioned by Equality Now to address the human rights of women and girls. A subsequent commission by the National Immigration Forum yielded “Waking the American Dream,” the inspiration for “Bridge & Tunnel.”

Most recently, Jones has been commissioned by the WK Kellogg Foundation for a piece entitled “A Right to Care,” which tackles themes of inequality in health.

Jones has also received grants and commissions from Lincoln Center Theater, The Ford Foundation, and theater honors including an Obie, a Helen Hayes Award, two Drama Desk nominations, HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival’s Best One Person Show Award.

She also received an NYCLU Calloway Award in recognition of Jones as the first artist in history to sue the Federal Communications Commission for censorship. The lawsuit resulted in reversal of the censorship ruling that had targeted her hip-hop poem recording, “Your Revolution.”

A regular uncensored guest on public radio, she has also made numerous TV appearances on HBO, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN, and in her own special, “The Sarah Jones Show,” on Bravo.

Jones lives in New York with her creative partner and husband Steve Colman.

Tickets to the show are $23.

For tickets or other information, call Wharton Center at 517-432-2000 or log on to

Boll Family YMCA hosts Stratford Theatre residency events for entire family

DETROIT – The Boll Family YMCA will host actors from the famed Stratford Theatre Festival in a unique series of workshops entitled “Family Room” on Nov. 4.

The classes in scene study, music and dance and stage combat are the only public events for the six day Michigan Stratford Theatre Residency.

The interactive workshops will provide insights into the essential elements that contribute to the live theatre experience. The activities are designed as a hands-on experience for children age eight and older and their parents.

The workshops take place on Nov. 4 at the Boll Family YMCA, located at 1401 Broadway in Detroit, adjacent to the Broadway People Mover Station.

Classes are $10 each for general public and $5 each for YMCA members. They are limited to 25 people per event. Registration is required.

To register call the Boll Family YMCA at 313-309-9622.

‘STOMP’ returns to the Macomb Center Oct. 19

CLINTON TWP. – “STOMP,” the international percussion sensation, makes its triumphant return to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township Oct. 19-21. Show times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.

After playing to sell-out crowds for over eleven seasons, “STOMP” continues its phenomenal runs with one North American touring company, two productions overseas – a permanent London company and a European tour – and the New York company’s continuous sell-out run at The Orpheum Theatre, which celebrated its 12th anniversary in February. From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, “STOMP” has grown into an international phenomenon over the past eleven years, having performed in over 350 cities in 36 countries worldwide.

The young performers “make a rhythm out of anything we can get our hands on that makes a sound,” says co-creator/director Luke Cresswell. Stiff-bristle brooms become a sweeping orchestra; Zippo lighters flip open and closed to create a fiery fugue; wooden poles thump and clack in a rhythmic explosion. “STOMP” uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – trashcans, tea chests, plastic bags, plungers, boots, and hubcaps – to fill the stage with compelling and infectious rhythms.

“STOMP” is directed and created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.

Ticket prices range from $40-$50 with discounts available for students, senior citizens and groups of 20 or more.

To purchase tickets visit the Star Tickets PLUS office at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts or any Michigan Meijer stores.

For additional information call 586-286-2222 or log on to

The wait is over: 2005 Tony Award winner is coming to Detroit Dec. 12!

DETROIT – The Tony Award-winning musical of 2005, “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” is coming to the Fisher Theatre for a limited four-week run Dec. 12 – Jan. 6, 2007. Tickets will go on sale October 13 at the Fisher Theatre box office at 7 a.m. at a special “Monty Python’s Spamalot Tickets On Sale Event.”

Anyone who attends the event might want to bring a packed suitcase, as one lucky person and a guest will win a trip to fly immediately to New York City with 94.7 WCSX Morning Show host Lynne Woodison to see the Broadway production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” Other fun prizes will be given away to waiting ticket buyers. A free Spam breakfast will be served, plus the first 100 people in line will receive their very own coconut shells.

Tickets to the Detroit engagement of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” will also be available for purchase through Ticketmaster starting at 10 a.m. by calling 248-645-6666, in person at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at

Lovingly “ripped-off” from the internationally famous comedy team’s most popular motion picture, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot” is the winner of three 2005 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Director (Mike Nichols), as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Musical.

The original cast recording recently won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Sold-out since it opened March 17, 2005, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” has remained the hottest ticket on Broadway, continuing to break box office records at The Shubert Theatre.

Directed by Mike Nichols, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” features a book by Eric Idle, based on the screenplay of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” by Monty Python creators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, with music and lyrics by the Grammy Award-winning team of Idle and John Du Prez. Casey Nicholaw is the choreographer.

Telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail, the musical features a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight.

Ticket prices for the Detroit engagement of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” range from $30-$85.

For additional information, call the Fisher Theatre at 313-872-1000 or visit

Stratford Theater News:

Stratford celebrates Richard Monette’s farewell season

STRATFORD, Ontario – A king who loved too late, a moor who loved too well, a lawyer who loved his ideals and a classical hero with a love for adventure are among the characters that populate the 14 plays on the Stratford Festival of Canada playbill for 2007. Artistic Director Richard Monette announced the new season Oct. 4 themed ‘The Outsider’.

Monette said, “Artists by definition are outsiders in society and this is my tribute to all artists. Characters such as Lennie Small, Shylock, Othello and Atticus Finch are all struggling either to be accepted by society or to change it.” Monette added that along with four Shakespeare plays and one revival, the 2007 playbill has nine works never seen before on Stratford stages.

“Not only is 2007 packed with distinct and exciting works, but it is also a season-long celebration of Richard Monette’s creative genius,” said Board Chair Kelly Meighen. “At the end of next season, Richard will have contributed 14 seasons as artistic director, making him the longest serving artistic director in the Festival’s history.”

When Monette takes his bow as artistic director after the final performance of the 2007 season, he will leave behind a glorious legacy of achievements. During his tenure, Monette consistently brought together the finest artists to breathe life into some of the most compelling dramatic works. Under his leadership the Festival established the For All Time Endowment Fund, now just shy of its $50 million goal, which will secure the future of various activities such as artist training, new play development, education initiatives and capital projects. In founding the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training, Monette ensured that the Festival took the lead in training young actors in classical theatre arts. The Festival and Avon theatres were renovated under his guidance. To mark the Festival’s 50th season, Monette oversaw the creation of the fourth stage at Stratford, the Studio Theatre.

“I created the Endowment to ensure the financial security of the Festival,” said Monette. “To make sure the audiences return to the Festival in the years ahead, I encouraged the production of plays that families can enjoy together. The Birmingham Conservatory and the New Play Development programs will secure our artistic future. I want to leave the Festival on solid ground when it comes to audiences, artists and finances.”

“King Lear,” featuring and directed by Brian Bedford, will open the 2007 season. “It’s time for Brian to do Lear,” said Monette. “His many fans are waiting for it. It is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play and the ultimate challenge for an actor.”

Canadian film and stage actor Graham Greene will make his Stratford debut as Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” directed by Richard Rose. Monette will have the distinction of directing Stratford Festival’s 200th production of a Shakespeare play, “The Comedy of Errors.” Perhaps the most well known outsider of all time, “Othello,” directed by David Latham and featuring Philip Akin in the title role, will round up Shakespeare’s works for the season.

Donna Feore will direct and choreograph Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration, “Oklahoma!” “It has incredible music,” said Monette. “It’s the granddaddy of musicals.”

Gershwin’s “My One and Only,” directed and choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld, will play at the Avon Theatre. Berthold Carriere will be the musical director for both shows.

There will be two American classics in the 2007 season. John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” will be directed by Martha Henry and feature Graham Greene as the gentle giant Lennie Small. Susan H. Schulman will direct the tale of another outsider in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

The Studio Theatre will showcase four modern works. Peter Hinton will direct “The Odyssey,” Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott’s Caribbean take on the Greek epic. David Edgar’s “Pentecost” will be directed by Mladen Kiselov. “Shakespeare’s Will” by Vern Thiessen tells the story of Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway, an outsider in her own right. It is a one woman show featuring Seana McKenna directed by Miles Potter. Another one woman show, “The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead,” will return to the Studio stage after selling to packed houses in the 2006 season. The show features Lucy Peacock and is directed by Geordie Johnson.

Of Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband,” a play he will direct himself, Monette said, “It reminds us that things never change. The rich stay rich, the poor get poorer and political scandals are always with us. It is very timely.” Brian Bedford will play a cameo in this production as a tribute to Monette.

Diana Leblanc will direct Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance.” The show will see Stratford veteran William Hutt return to the stage to be part of Mr. Monette’s last season. “I owe Richard a great deal,” said Mr. Hutt. “When he took over in 1994 I was in my 70’s and he could have asked me to take a bow. Instead he found challenging roles for me and lengthened my career.” Insisting he is not coming out of retirement, Hutt added, “I am only keeping the promise I made to Richard two years ago, that I would act in his last season.”

As part of the celebration of Monette’s last season as artistic director, the Stratford Festival will also release his memoirs in the spring of 2007.

For complete season information, log on to

Community Theater Corner:

The Coffee is Hot at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents Eric Bogosian’s biting comedy, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” Oct. 20, 21, 27, & 28 at A2CT’s Studio Theater at 322 W. Ann St. in Ann Arbor.

Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and 10:15 pm.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, directed by Andy Jentzen, is an edgy, frenetic riff on pop culture and the information age and showcases Bogosian at his fuming and foul-mouthed best. Originally performed off-Broadway as a monologue, this production features five talented actors taking on several characters who interact with each other and the audience.

“Coffee” is the premiere production of A2CT’s new Studio Series, which focuses on new or edgier works performed in an intimate setting. The cast includes Ross Freeland, David Babcock, Paddy Ash, Lyn Davidge, and Victoria Army.

“Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” contains adult themes and language and is intended for mature audiences.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $15 for Gold Section seating.

Tickets are available at the A2CT office at 322 W. Ann St, by calling the office at 971-2228 or at the door.

Additional information is available by visiting

Trenton Village Theatre presents world premiere of original musical

TRENTON – The Trenton Village Theatre announces the world premiere of a new musical, “House of Sourdhes,” to benefit the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center. The story of intrigue and romance is set against the backdrop of the Byzantine Empire and Persia.

The show opens Oct. 20 and runs weekends through Oct. 29. A special fundraising gala will be held Thursday, Oct. 26.

“House of Sourdhes,” with book, lyrics and music by the local creative team of Julie Hollar Bernick and Jeff French, is a tale of a lost king, an exiled princess, a fallen cleric and a treacherous legacy. Set during a time when justice was a pawn of those in power, a man with a stolen past sees beyond prejudice and risks everything to discover his birthright. Inspired by the woman he loves, he finds a way to use the power of love to right wrongs and set the truth free.

The original musical features two-dozen cast members, 20 main songs and four main dance segments, including Middle Eastern, ballet, and musical theatre dance. The richly costumed drama is a through-sung adventure/romance with spoken dialogue.

“House of Sourdhes” is directed by Dianne Bernick and produced by Joy Dubin, with vocal music direction by Tom Kabala and choreography by Jane Beier.

The cast includes: Lia Moore as Airyana; David Roberts as Daniel; Mike Hammonds as Sebastian; R. Darrow Bernick as Rhogan; Emily Tyrybon as Komesina; Tamara Walter as Kallista; Jeff Powers as Jasper; Janet Vogel as Signora; Ryan Alexia as Kazim; Dinah Tutein as Tsura; Nicolas Thornton as Bardas; J. Pat McElligott as the Magistrate; and Sara Mikota as Syblinne.

The dancers and chorus include: Nick Candea; Molly Zaleski; Emily Flesch; Sara Barnes; Lauren Bjerk; Julienne Kobylasz; Joseph Thompson; Divinna Rosales; Brad Mayo; and Stephen Stewart.

The production staff includes: Barb Rzucidlo, assistant producer; Karen Kabala, costume design; Richard Alder, music conductor; Doug Richter, set design; Cary Cornett, sound design; and Chris Lusko, lighting design.

Regular performance dates for “House of Sourdhes” are Oct. 20-22 and 27-29. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. Proceeds from all performances will benefit the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center.

The Trenton Village Theatre is located at 2447 W. Jefferson in Trenton.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Also scheduled is a special “Grand” Celebration Fundraising Gala on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. to raise funds for a new grand piano for the center. Gala tickets begin at $25. Benefactors can also participate in the “Buy a Key” Grand Celebration. A $100 donation buys an ebony key, and $200 buys an ivory key. A $500 donation buys pedals, while $1500 buys a piano bench.

Tickets may be purchased by phone at 734-671-2202, or on-line, using Paypal, at

K’zoo Civic adds yet two more performances to ’42nd Street’

KALAMAZOO – “42nd Street,’ which opened the Civics’ 78th season, has proven to be so popular that two more performances have been added to meet the demand for tickets. Originally scheduled to play in the Civic Auditorium through Oct. 7, the musical had already been extended through Oct. 8. But on Sept. 27, due to heavier than expected activity in the box office, it was decided that two more performances were needed to meet the customer demand. The added performances are as follows: Friday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.

According to Managing Director Kristen Chesak, “We couldn’t be happier with the response to ’42nd Street.’ Our cast, crew and production team have worked very hard, and I’m thrilled with the way the community has supported their efforts.”

Tickets for “42nd Street” are selling briskly and can be ordered by calling the Civic Box Office at 269-343-1313 or by visiting the Civic online at

A2CT seeking directors for 2007-08 Season

ANN ARBOR – The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is currently looking for directors for its 2007-08 season. Civic produces six adult productions, musicals and non-musicals, each season.

All directors interested in A2CT’s next season should submit a resume and a one-page summary of the show and the director’s vision of the production. Up to five titles can be submitted per director.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.

Submissions can be mailed to or dropped off at the A2CT office, 322 W. Ann St., Ann Arbor, MI, 48104.

Applications, guidelines, a list of titles and additional information are available at the A2CT office or online by visiting

The play selection committee will hold director interviews in December 2006. The 06-07 season and directors will be chosen by February 2007.

For additional information, call or visit the A2CT office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at 734-971-2228, or visit the website at

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