Second annual Wassailfest at Historic Players Playhouse
DETROIT – What happens when you mix a circa 1910 men’s club with Renaissance-period entertainers with over three decades experience inside an historic Mediterranean Renaissance style castle to carry on a great Detroit holiday tradition?
You get “Wassailfest 2004” – two spectacular nights of splendor in the Renaissance Court of Queen Elizabeth I, a gala of period dance, song, music, ambience É and food.
For almost three decades, the Renaissance Dance Theatre of Detroit kicked off the holiday season at the Detroit Institute of Arts, delighting guests with fabulous evenings of Elizabeth feasting, frolic and fun. Last year, the troupe found a new home, Historic Players Playhouse, designed by Player William Kapp of Meadowbrook Hall fame. Built in 1925 for The Players, a theatre club, the building is listed on both the Michigan and Federal historic registers. Its Mediterranean Renaissance design makes it a natural setting for Wassailfest 2004.
Guests are greeted at the heavy oaken doors of the Playhouse by the Queen’s Beefeater Guards in their regal red and gold finery. The Renaissance evening begins in the high-ceiling, oak-paneled Founders Room where guests rub elbows with Sir Francis Drake and converse with Lady Kate Ashley as they enjoy a warming drink before a blazing fireplace. Jugglers, mimes and musicians entertain. Then trumpets announce time to enter the Great Hall, decorated with seasonal greenery and joyful banners among hand-painted murals of historic theatrical scenes.
Once guests are seated, Good Queen Bess and her courtiers enter. The Master of the Revels sets the pace with non-stop delights: elaborately costumed festival dancers perform lively galliards, French brawls and stately pavannes; Michigan’s famous Good Company lend sweet music on authentic Renaissance musical instruments; and a strolling troubadour will delight guests with period ballads.
Before dessert, guests stretch their legs, again in the Founders Room, where they participate in a real-life gripe session with the Queen and her advisors administering fun-filled Elizabethan forfeits, or remedies. More Renaissance merriment and flaming dessert completes the opulent event.
“Wassailfest 2004” will be presented at the Historic Players Playhouse, 3321 East Jefferson, Detroit, on Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $60, seating is limited.
For reservations or information, call the Playhouse at 313-259-3385.
‘Christmas From Dublin Starring The Three Irish Tenors’ comes to Macomb Center
CLINTON TWP. – Celebrate the holidays with a genuine Irish Christmas, as the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts presents “Christmas From Dublin Starring The Three Irish Tenors” on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Filled with songs of the season such as “The Little Drummer Boy”, “Adeste Fideles”, “Silent Night”, “Saviour’s Day” and “O Holy Night”, “Christmas from Dublin” is full of the warmth, charm and music, direct from the Emerald Isle, that continues to enchant audiences throughout the world.
Tickets range from $25 – $35, with discounts available to senior citizens, students, and groups of 20 or more.
For tickets, call Macomb Center for the Performing Arts ticket office by phone at 586-286-2222, on the web at www.MacombCenter.com.
Flint Institute of Music presents annual “Nutcracker”
FLINT – The Flint Institute of Music once again presents the timeless holiday ballet, “Nutcracker,” at The Whiting, Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. The performance features nearly 80 dancers from the Flint School of Performing Arts (FSPA) and professional dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH). The Flint Symphony Orchestra performs the score to this well-loved Tchaikovsky ballet.
This year, audience members will enjoy sparkling new sets inspired by the great ballrooms of Viennese palaces and designed by Scott Dahl of Act II, formerly from the University of Michigan-Flint. The drops for the Snow Scene have been refurbished by University of Michigan-Flint theater students under the supervision of Doug Mueller.
Tickets range from $9 to $28, with a $2 student/senior discount.
Tickets are available at The Whiting Ticket Center, 1241 E. Kearsley St., or by calling 810-237-7333 or 1-888-8CENTER, or online at FlintInstituteofMusic.com.
‘Dirty Dancing’ star returns to Detroit with Complexions
DETROIT – The high flying and ground breaking artists of Complexions will bring their acclaimed modern dance performance back to Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. Actor, singer, dancer and Complexions Advisory Board member Patrick Swayze will host both performances.
Complexions enjoyed standing ovations and critical acclaim at its Detroit performance at Music Hall in 2002. Patrick Swayze, star of the hit film “Dirty Dancing,” introduced the company to Detroit at those performances.
Under the artistic direction of Dwight Rhoden, and featuring one of the world’s greatest dancers, Desmond Richardson, Complexions utilizes its amazingly athletic ensemble in combination with various multi media to express the intensity, freedom and diversity of the 21st century. Musical artists to which Complexions dances in its fast-paced show include Prince, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire. The New York Times raved Rhoden’s choreography is “like hot molten lava; flowing with undeniable power.” The Times also exclaimed “Mr. Richardson is one of the great modern dancers of his time-bravura performer with extraordinary skills.”
Tickets range from $35-$45
Music Hall is located at 350 Madison, across from the Gem & Century Club theatres at the gateway of downtown Detroit’s sports and entertainment district.
Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations or on line at www.ticketmaster.com. To charge by phone, call 248.645.6666.