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Professional Theater News from Around Town:
Jewish Ensemble Theatre proudly announces 18th season
WEST BLOOMFIELD – The Jewish Ensemble Theatre is pleased to announce its ambitious 2006-2007 season. The season includes two musicals, a special appearance, a classic mystery and one show yet to be announced.
The JET will open its 18th season of award winning professional theatre with “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! The Allan Sherman Musical.” Spun off the hilarious song parodies originally written by Allan Sherman, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!” is the story of Barry Bockman and his beloved, Sarah Jackman. The story follows Barry from birth, to summer at Camp Granada, to marriage, to suburbia and the shopping mall, and to retirement in Florida. Directed by Kayla Gordon, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!” plays August 22-September 17.
JET will continue its season with the classic murder mystery, “An Inspector Calls,” by J.B. priestly and directed by Christopher Bremer. Set before World War I, Inspector Goole calls on the wealthy Birling family to investigate the death of a young girl. “An Inspector Calls,” considered a modern masterpiece, runs October 17-November 12.
To conclude the 2006 year and ring in 2007, JET will be producing its second musical of the season, “Jaques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” Directed by Mark A. Lit, this musical transforms Jaques Brel’s ideas and music about life, love, war and peace into a thrilling musical experience that features a diverse blend of ballads, tangos, boleros and rock. “Jaques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” will run December 5-January 6, 2007. There will also be a special New Year’s Eve performance.
JET’s fourth show to be announced at a later date will be directed by Gillian Eaton and run from January 23-February 18.
To close the 2006-2007 season, JET is proud to announce that Max Wright will be featured in “Old Wicked Songs” directed by Evelyn Orbach. Wright, a Detroit native, is best recognized for his work as Willie Tanner on the hit television show, “ALF”. He also appeared in “Twelfth Night” as Sir Andrew Aguecheek on Broadway and was a 1998 Tony Award nominee for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his work as Pavel Levedev in “Ivanov”. “Old Wicked Songs” is the story of a young Jewish-American piano prodigy who has traveled to Vienna to escape writer’s block. While there he is assigned to work with an elderly vocal teacher with what seems to be a disturbing and suspicious past. “Old Wicked Songs” runs April 17-May 19.
Season subscriptions are currently on sale. General admission ticket prices range from $29-$39. Discounts are available for seniors and students, and $17 rush tickets can be purchased when available one hour before performances.
For more information or ticket reservations, call the Jewish Ensemble Theatre at 248-788-2900.
MSW welcomes new members to its board of directors
SAUGATUCK – Mason Street Warehouse, an uptown theater in downtown Saugatuck, is pleased to announce Gail Babel, Cherry Emery-Rafferty and Kenneth Horjus have joined its board of directors.
Babel, of Holland, has been involved with Gross Point Theatre since 1990. She also volunteers at Douglas and Longfellow Elementary schools.
Emery-Rafferty, of Parchment, Michigan, is director of Gallery 344 in Kalamazoo, and is also curator for art publishing company, Visionnaire Arts. She served on the board for the Arts Council of Kalamazoo.
Horjus, of Zeeland, is an attorney with Cunningham Dalman and has been in private practice for ten years. He’s also served on the boards of The Grand Rapids Jaycees, The Grand Rapids Jaycees Foundation and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts.
Managing Director Ricki Levine is extremely pleased with the addition of such diverse and professional members to the Mason Street Warehouse Board.
Saugatuck, located on the coast of Lake Michigan, is a town that USA Today describes as “the art coast of Michigan” and is one of Michigan’s prime summer tourist destinations.
The Mason Street Warehouse is a professional, Equity, non-profit 501(c)3 theater.
Tickets to 2006 Mason Street Warehouse productions range from $20-$33 and are available at the MSW box office or by calling 269-857-4898.
For more information, visit http://www.masonstreetwarehouse.org.
Unique Opportunity for Children:
Camp Broadway auditions for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
NEW YORK — Camp Broadway, an award-winning theater company creating special events, themed experiences and educational programs for children, teens and families, is seeking 600 performance-loving kids, ages 10-14, to participate in a five-day program in New York City and to perform the opening number of the 80th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that will be televised on NBC-TV on November 23 beginning at 9a.m.
Auditions will be held at Music Hall, 350 Madison Avenue, in Detroit on Saturday, July 29, starting at 10 a.m.
Camp Broadway has been selected to perform the parade’s opening number, “Give Me A Drum!,” written by Michael Feinstein with lyrics by Bill Schermerhorn Macy’s creative director. It celebrates kids being in the Parade and the fantasy world of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This opening number will be choreographed by Broadway veteran Tony Parise. Camp Broadway has created a special one-week program leading up to the parade performance, including a series of Broadway workshops, classes and rehearsals to prepare the kids for the nationally televised performance.
For the past decade, Camp Broadway has offered theater-loving kids across America the opportunity to participate in exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in live theater. Working collaboratively with Broadway’s most distinguished performers, writers and designers, Camp Broadway has hosted more than 65,000 students at pre-theater workshops and special events. The company has provided tens of thousands of children the opportunity to work side-by-side with Broadway professionals at year-round performing arts programs. Camp Broadway’s participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the highlight of a busy year.
Those auditioning should bring a completed application, wear dance shoes and comfortable clothes and be ready to dance. The children will learn a combination by a Broadway choreographer. In addition to the general audition, Camp Broadway is looking for 100 tap dancers, so interested applicants should bring tap shoes.
Camp Broadway, recipient of the 2002 Standing Ovation Award from the Educational Theatre Association, is a theater arts education and audience development company dedicated to helping educators, students and families to experience theater in creative and meaningful ways. Programs are designed to serve the unique needs of both the education and theater industry by connecting professional artists with young audiences, ages 6-17, throughout the year.
If accepted, the program fee is $695 per participant, not including travel or housing.
For audition applications, program details and additional audition cities and dates, visit http://www.campbroadway.com.
Community Theater Corner:
Sunsets to produce lesser known Shakespeare comedy
LANSING — Sunsets with Shakespeare is pleased to announce that its second show of the summer season will open August 3. The show, “Measure for Measure,” will run August 3-6 and 10-13 in the Lou Adado Riverfront Park Sunbowl, located directly behind the Lansing City Market on the River Trail.
This will be the second show Sunsets has produced in the Sunbowl this summer, returning free, live theater to the downtown venue for the first time in 15 years.
“Measure for Measure,” which is one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays written between Hamlet and Othello, is a dark comedy exploring the concept of morality, the law and its implementation. Director Caleb Probst has placed this production in a modern mythic Vienna with similarities to Washington D.C.
Probst is returning to Lansing to direct this show from Chicago, where he now makes his home. Originally from Okemos, Probst was graduated from Okemos High School in 2000. He has since graduated, cum laude, from Syracuse University and toured nationally playing Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet.” He recently completed a tour of Chicago schools playing Romeo once again. Probst also trained at the Globe Theatre in London.
The production will feature Okemos High School drama teacher Marc Vickers as the Duke; Haslett High School graduate and current New York University Tisch School for the Arts student Laura Dulic as the chaste and moral Isabella; and Todd A. Heywood, artistic director of Sunsets with Shakespeare, who plays the rigidly moral Angelo.
Also featured are Michael Mahoney as the Provost; Tod Humphrey as the killer Barnadine; Benjamin Hancock as Pompey; Andrea Silva as Mistress Overdone, J.C. Kibbey as Claudio; Erin Cline as Juliet and Kate Compton as Esculas. Lindsay Palinsky as Adrianna, Robyn Stegman as Elbow the Constable, Addie Ulrey as nun, Alejandra Ortega as servant and Sarah Hauck as servant complete the cast.
The show will be costumed by Wendy Baugh, with a set design by Caleb Probst.
The show is made possible by the generous donations and support of WSYM Fox 47, SAM’s Club, The City of Lansing, Cooley Law School, The Michigan News Agency, PSI Insurance, and the Greater Lansing Council for the Arts.
For more information, theatergoers can call 517-290-9125.
Unique summer theater troupe presents an evening of hilarity
WATERFORD – Barebones Theatre Productions will present “Nothing Serious,” a collection of short comedic plays by Rich Orloff, August 3-5 at 8 p.m. The performances will be held at the Starlight Theatre in the Summit Place mall in Waterford.
In “Nothing Serious,” Orloff explores love, death, sexism, feminism, marriage, divorce, the womb, playwriting, Adam and Eve, Disneyland and Antarctica. These delightful plays are sure to tickle the funny bone and spice up the summer nights.
Directed by Nick Ager, Heidi Bennett, Kristin Phillips, Frank Sawa and John W. Rutherford, the cast of 13 includes: Nick Ager, Heidi Bennett, Alexi Bolton, Scott Howell, Natalie Hurdle, Valerie Inwald, Stefan Kukovec, Michael Miller, Kristin Phillips, Frank Sawa, Dave Strong, Katy Van Maanen, Megan Wright and Chin Yang.
Barebones Theatre Productions is the brainchild of Artistic Director/Producer John W. Rutherford of Rochester Hills. Rutherford, a theatre teacher at W.E. Groves High School in Birmingham, started the summer troupe in 2000 after hearing complaints from his alumni theater students that there were few summer theater opportunities for college students. “They weren’t interested in doing the standard summer fare of big musicals and over-produced fluff. They wanted a challenge, something that wasn’t being done by every community theatre or college summer theatre program in the area,” said Rutherford. That’s when he decided to start Barebones, a theater company dedicated to creating stimulating, thought-provoking summer theatre.
Barebones’ focus is on the creative process, not on big budget productions. Rutherford also chooses scripts that are mature and off-the-beaten-path: pieces he can’t do at the high school level.
The rehearsal process is also unique. The cast works together to create the best performances possible, constantly offering feedback and experimenting with their characters and interpretation. “It is truly an ensemble effort and to work with such talented actors is the highlight of my summer,” said Rutherford.
Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or by calling 586-292-2738 for advanced reservations. “Nothing Serious” contains some adult language and content.