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By | 2006-06-29T09:00:00-04:00 June 29th, 2006|Entertainment|

Professional Theater News from Around Town:

‘Citizen Improv’: True tales from Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje

ANN ARBOR — On July 5 at 8 p.m., Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje will be the guest monologist for “Citizen Improv,” an improv comedy show playing every Wednesday at Improv Inferno in Ann Arbor.
“Citzen Improv” is an improv show that celebrates the uniqueness of the individual and turns common experience into hysterical comedy. At “Citizen Improv,” the guest monologist, the Citizen for that evening, tells three stories. These are true stories from the person’s life, and serve as the basis for a series of comedy improv scenes that follow each story. The scenes, while humorous, never make light of the Citizen or cast the Citizen in a bad light. The Citizen serves as the muse for the show, not the butt of the joke. At the end of the evening, the Citizen delivers an epitaph, summarizing any thoughts, feelings, or life lessons they’d like to share with the audience. The show is very fun and very funny.
The show was created by Improv Inferno Artistic Director, Dan Izzo. “The purpose of the show is to reduce the distance between the audience and the performers, and between the Ann Arbor community and our artistic community. The show uses improv comedy to speak to the common humanity and common experience in all of us. We take someone’s life and uniqueness and celebrate it and elevate it. It’s unbelievably cool, and extremely funny,” said Izzo. “I’m particularly excited with having Mayor Hieftje do the show. Obviously it’s quite a feather in our cap to have him do it. But it’ll also be extremely cool to see someone of such stature willing to laugh and have a good time. If I weren’t in the show, I’d be in the front row.”
“We’ve had a lot of great Citizens, but this is our first person of standing from Ann Arbor. We’re really excited to hear what the Mayor will come up with and find the funny in it,” said “Citizen Improv” cast member John Hartman.
“Citizen Improv” delivers true tales with a twist, every Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $5.
Improv Inferno is located at 309 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor.
For reservations or information call 734-214-7080 or visit the website,

BoarsHead Theater extends deadline for Summer Youth Conservatory

LANSING – Lansing youth can experience the wonder and excitement of the world of theater by registering for BoarsHead’s Summer Conservatory for Young People 2006.
Two conservatory classes are still open for budding actors. Due to popularity, the class deadlines have been extended until June 30.
Masks and Myths is a lively conservatory program that helps youth develop the skills of concentration and improved self-esteem. Through games and adventure stories, young actors will create masks and work in popular myths to form workshop performances on the final day of class. This class is suitable for participants ages 7-11. Masks and Myths runs on Monday-Friday, July 10-19. This conservatory class will begin at 10 a.m. and run until noon.
The Junior Musical Conservatory takes blossoming “triple threat” performers and helps them hone their skills in acting, singing and dancing. Enthusiastic participants will learn a variety of musical theater techniques and discover new ways of thinking about the craft. These skills will be showcased in a final performance on the last day of class. The Junior Musical Conservatory is suitable for performers ages 12-15. The class runs from Monday-Thursday, July 10-27 from 1-5 p.m.
For more information on the BoarsHead Summer Conservatory classes, or any of the theater’s educational or Internship programs, please contact Lamont E. Clegg, director of education at 517-484-7800 x. 103.

Stratford Theatre News:

‘Harlem Duet’ begins previews at the Stratford Festival

STRATFORD, ONT. – The Stratford Festival of Canada’s production of Djanet Sears’s blues tragedy “Harlem Duet,” with Karen Robinson as Billie and Nigel Shawn Williams as Othello, began previews June 20 at the Studio Theatre.
In an ingenious twist on Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Othello’s first wife, Billie, breaches the thin lines between love, anguish and revenge, when Othello leaves her for a white woman, Mona. To Billie, this betrayal is not just personal but also political and cultural – with profound implications that resonate across two centuries of North American history.
The Stratford Festival’s production of “Harlem Duet” is directed by playwright Djanet Sears, with sets and costumes designed by Astrid Janson. The lighting designer is Paul Mathiesen and the composer is Allen Booth. James Binkley is the fight director.
The production also features Barbara Barnes-Hopkins as Magi, Walter Borden as Canada and Sophia Walker as Amah. The musicians are Robert Bardston and Bryant Didier.
“Harlem Duet” opens June 29 and plays in repertory until September 22.
Tickets are available at 1-800-567-1600 or online at

‘The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead’ begins previews at the Stratford Festival

STRATFORD, ONT. – The Stratford Festival of Canada’s presentation of Robert Hewett’s acclaimed Australian play “The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead,” with Lucy Peacock portraying seven different characters, began previews on Tuesday, June 27 at the Studio Theatre. In the one-woman production, an adulterous husband, a meddlesome neighbor and a dropped ice-cream cone are among the circumstances that combine to shatter the life of suburban housewife Rhonda Russell – whose loss of control ricochets through the lives of all the characters.
“The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead” is directed by Geordie Johnson, with sets and costumes designed by Michael Gianfrancesco. The lighting designer is Kimberly Purtell, the sound designer is John Lott and the composer is Stephen Woodjetts. The video designer is Craig Macnaughton.
The production is now in previews and opens June 30. It plays in repertory until September 24.
Tickets are available at 1-800-567-1600 or through

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