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By |2006-09-21T09:00:00-04:00September 21st, 2006|Entertainment|

Professional Theater News from Around Town:

Detroit Opera House and Royal Winnipeg Ballet present ‘Dracula’

DETROIT -The Detroit Opera House will open its 2006/2007 DaimlerChrysler Dance Series Thursday, Sept. 28 with a ballet with bite: Mark Godden’s “Dracula,” danced by Canada’s spectacular Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Burned into the public psyche over the last one hundred years, the name Dracula evokes dread and horror, but most of all, fascination. A legend, a classic novel and the subject of countless movies, the story is now brought to life in the first full-length ballet by Mark Godden.

Godden, one of Canada’s foremost young choreographic talents, has firmly rooted his “Dracula” in the tradition of Bram Stoker’s famous novel, but uses expressive dance and a unique sequence of events to tell the chilling tale of Lucy Westenra, Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker and the, now infamous, Count.

The production features exceptional sets and costumes by Paul Daigle, complete with flying bats, dancing, menacing gargoyles and a host of special effects designed to give the contemporary gothic ballet a seductive and powerful appearance. The dancers of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet bring the story to life with masterful artistry, set against music by Gustav Mahler (excerpts from symphonies #1, #2 and #9). Inventive lighting design by David Morrison completes the stage for “Dracula’s” chilling tale.

Elizabeth Miller, Professor Emerita at Memorial University of Newfoundland and internationally recognized Dracula scholar, will host pre-dance discussions at the Detroit Opera House, one hour prior to each performance.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet will also host a special dance master class at the Detroit Opera House, Saturday, September 30, at 11:00 a.m. Call 313-237-3251 for more information.

Tickets for “Dracula” at the Detroit Opera House, Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 (Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29 and 30 at 8:00 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 2:00 p.m.), range in price from $28-$100 and are available at the Detroit Opera House ticket office at 1526 Broadway, Detroit; by phone at 313-237-7464; or online at

Patrons attending the Saturday evening performance can receive a $10 discount on tickets (at the door) by attending in a Dracula inspired costume.

‘An Evening with Jeff Daniels’ at the Macomb Center

CLINTON TWP. – The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is pleased to welcome Jeff Daniels on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. in “An Evening with Jeff Daniels.” The Michigan-bred entertainer is best known as an actor who lists over 30 films on his resume, yet brings his guitar and sense of humor as his primary tools for the evening. With song titles like “If William Shatner Can, I Can Too,” “Blue Valient” and “The Lifelong Tiger Fan Blues,” Daniels’ songs are stories with a slice of humor and honesty that take a page from his own life and career.

Daniels has been writing songs and playing the guitar for over 30 years, and self-released his debut CD “Jeff Daniels Live and Unplugged – To Benefit the Purple Rose Theatre.” Also an accomplished playwright and director, Daniels founded the theatre in his hometown of Chelsea to provide a venue for actors, writers and directors to develop their talent in a greenhouse environment. Although he started singing to raise money for the Purple Rose, there is no doubt that Daniels’ well-rounded talent will make this an evening to remember for all those who attend.

“An Evening with Jeff Daniels” at the Macomb Center is sponsored by Extra Space Storage, Integrated Design Solutions and The Vernier Restaurant.

Ticket prices range from $35-$45 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 at any Michigan Meijer store. For additional information call 586-286-2222 or visit

StarBrite Presents jazzy new dinner theater venue for ‘The Last Resort’

SOUTHFIELD – StarBrite Presents Dinner Theater celebrates the opening of its fourth season with a strong leadoff in Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s comedy, “The Last Resort”, Sept. 29 through Nov. 18 and a move to large and acoustically superior quarters in the Uptown Eatery, 19701 W. 12 Mile just east of Evergreen in Southfield.

“We’re excited about our new partnership with Uptown Eatery owner Johnny Cannon,” says Royal Oak resident and StarBrite artistic director Randy Magner, who seized the opportunity to move his successful dinner theater production company to Southfield after the sale of his previous venue in Fraser. “We are planning to stay on at Miles World, and have shows lined up for the rest of the season.”

Cannon, a long-time Southfield resident who also owns the New Center Eatery in Detroit, sees the partnership with StarBrite as a dramatic draw for his new Southfield restaurant, banquet facility and jazz lounge. The Uptown Eatery celebrated its grand opening in January 2006.

Dinner theater shows are on the restaurant’s lower level, and theatergoers can enjoy an after-dinner drink in the Uptown Eatery’s upper level lounge with live hot jazz or cool blues music.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Uptown Eatery become the local hot spot with a full menu of entertainment options,” says Cannon about his effort to give back to the community in which he grew up.

“The Last Resort” is Foster’s collaboration with Ontario-based composer/lyricist Leslie Arden and the latest in a string of successful musical murder mysteries staged by StarBrite. The quirky spoof centers on the story of a New York restaurateur and Mob informant who hides out and attempts to establish a new identity in a run-down hotel in Saskatchewan. He worries as he wonders which one of the hotel’s guests might be a hired gun out to get him.

The cast includes J. Michael Morgan as Nick Galeazzo, Elizabeth Perkin Moen as Angela Miller, Bob Schilling as Inspector Closely, John Arden McClure as Trent Balfour, Yvonne Dulecki as Freda Heitz and Nancy Florkowski and Magner as Liz and Sid Barzini. Stefanie Satchik doubles as twins Juila and Jessica Youngstead.

Cyndi Dulecki directs this production and Emily Driscoll is the production’s music director.

Dinner theater shows are Friday and Saturday evenings. Cocktails and dinner are at 6 p.m. and curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Three-course dinner and theater, including tax, cost $39.95 per person. StarBrite patrons can chose among entrees that include pan-seared tilapia, chicken marsala, steak, pasta and the house specialty, chicken and waffles.

Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 248-423-1452 for reservations or 248-390-5443 to ask about group discounts. Additional information can be found on line at

‘Movin’ Out’ moves in to Fisher Theatre Nov. 1

DETROIT – “Movin’ Out,” the Tony Award-winning new musical conceived, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp and based on 24 classic songs by Billy Joel, is movin’ in to Detroit at The Fisher Theatre on Nov. 1 – 19. This engagement of “Movin’ Out” will mark the triumphant return of the show that critics say revolutionized musical theatre as we know it

Told through the choreography of Twyla Tharp and more than two dozen of Billy Joel’s hit songs, “Movin’ Out” is the story of lifelong friends through two turbulent decades that change them and the world around them forever. Songs like “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and “Pressure” all come together to weave a musical backdrop which beautifully complements Tharp’s innovative choreography. The songs and dance take audiences through a poignant narrative comprised of three main elements: post-World War II idealism, the Vietnam War and its subsequent unrest, and finally, survival.

Many will recognize “Movin’ Out’s” main characters, as they come straight from Joel’s lyrics. There’s Brenda and Eddie from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” Tony and Sergeant O’Leary from “Movin’ Out,” Judy from “Why, Judy, Why,” and James from “James”–and their story is told completely through dance, with no dialogue whatsoever. “Movin’ Out” is “a story told without language,” Tharp says. “The movement and the action tell the story–the experience, the emotional resonance, comes from action rather than language.”

Ticket prices for the Detroit engagement range from $28 – $78 through Ticketmaster and the Fisher Theatre Box Office.

Proceeds from the Nov. 1 and 2 evening performances will benefit JARC, a Michigan nonprofit, nonsectarian organization serving people with developmental disabilities and their families. Ticket and benefit information is available by calling 248-538-6611.

For additional information, call 313-872-1000 or visit

New holiday show seeks local choirs to perform at Fox Theatre

DETROIT – Detroit’s new holiday show, “Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS,” presented locally by Fifth Third Bank, makes its Detroit debut Nov. 17 – Dec. 30 at the Fox Theatre. n keeping with holiday tradition at The Fox, local choirs will have a chance at becoming part of this new holiday spectacular.

Olympia Entertainment is looking for talented metro-Detroit choirs to sing at the Fox Theatre before designated performances of “Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS.” Auditions for choirs will be held starting at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 at the Fox Theatre. Interested choirs must register by 5 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Members of each winning choir will receive one complimentary ticket to the show on the night of their performance, and all choir members may invite their congregations, schools, family and friends to purchase main floor tickets at a discounted rate.

For more information or to register, call 313-471-3099.

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