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By |2006-10-05T09:00:00-04:00October 5th, 2006|Entertainment|

Professional Theater News from Around Town:

Ruth Mott Foundation awards grant to Flint Cultural Center Corporation for Flint Youth Theatre, Sloan Museum and The Whiting

FLINT – The Ruth Mott Foundation has awarded a $225,000 grant to the Flint Cultural Center Corporation for programs at Flint Youth Theatre, Sloan Museum and The Whiting.

Flint Youth Theatre will undertake “Promoting Tolerance,” a project that will build on its past efforts to address the racial and ethnic conflicts that affect young people and adults in the Flint area. “Promoting Tolerance” will include the staging of “Middle Passage,” an original play that tells a compelling story about slave trading and uses the power of drama and community dialogue to examine the origins of the racial divisions in the Flint area and throughout our society. In a partnership with the New McCree Theatre and the Sylvester Broome Center, FYT will provide eight public performances and 10 school performances in Feb. 2007 as part of African American Heritage month.

FYT will also implement an Education and Outreach Program that includes staging 12 “Learning through Theatre” productions for area K-12 students, each play having its own Educators’ Guide with classroom activities. In addition, FYT will provide outreach activities, such as student and educator workshops, guest speakers and community dialogue sessions.

Sloan Museum will undertake a Community Outreach Initiative focused on the 50th anniversary of Flint’s Great Flood of 1947 and on the 40th anniversary of Flint’s historic 1967 Open Housing Ordinance. In 2007, Sloan will host exhibits on these two topics and will engage the community through workshops, forums and community dialogues and through storytelling and other art forms.

In the coming year, Sloan will also offer presentations of its “Between Midnight and the Promised Land: a Journey on the Underground Railroad” program for area schools. These dramatic sessions will include role playing and will enable students to “walk in the shoes” of freedom seekers escaping slavery through the Underground Railroad. Some of these performances will be followed with arts-based learning sessions for the students.

The Whiting will provide activities and programs related to its 2006 – 2007 Spotlight Series, including performances by high-quality but lesser-known artists, outreach and community engagement activities by visiting Spotlight performers, the continuation of the Introduction to Technical Theater program (that provides opportunities for local high school students to learn the technical aspects of productions at The Whiting), and the continuation of special “pre-glow” performances by local artists prior to selected Whiting performances. In addition, The Whiting will offer a second season of the “Midwest World Fest” (featuring performances, residencies and outreach activities by artists from Somalia and Japan), the continuation of the increasingly-popular “Masters of Jazz and the Blues” series, a Local Artists Commissioned Works Project (offering local artists an opportunity to create works through a request-for-proposals) and an improved “Razzle Dazzle” family series (in partnership with Flint Youth Theatre) that offers larger productions for families with young children on the stage of The Whiting.

“We are very thankful for the Ruth Mott Foundation’s support of these important projects,” said Cindy Ornstein, President & CEO of the FCCC. “These activities will reach out to thousands of people in our community, providing enriching educational and cultural experiences and addressing some vital human relations issues in the Flint area.”

For more information about Flint Youth Theatre activities, call 810-237-1530 or visit

For more information about Sloan Museum’s offerings, call 810-237-3450 or visit

For more information about Whiting programs, call 810-237-7337 or visit

2006 Opera Ball to salute American automobile industry

DETROIT – Michigan Opera Theatre’s 20th annual Opera Ball, to be held Sunday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m., will salute American automakers DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors for their outstanding support of the arts and cultural life of Detroit.

“In this time, when so much of the news from America’s automakers is negative, we wanted to take an evening to focus on the positive, and recognize these great organizations for the support they have given our community, and our organization,” said David DiChiera, founder and general director of MOT. “These corporations have supported Michigan Opera Theatre since day one, and their contributions, both financial and in-kind, have been instrumental in our continued success. Without their support, much of our work – whether it be the restoration of our beautiful home, the educational programs we’ve presented or the artistic endeavors we’ve staged – would not have been possible.”

DaimlerChrysler is the title sponsor of the 2006/2007 DaimlerChrysler Dance Series. Ford Motor Company is the title sponsor of Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2006 Fall Opera Season. Cadillac is the title sponsor of the 2007 Spring Opera Season.

These have been annual sponsorships for all three corporations since the opening of the Detroit Opera House in 1996. Additionally, all three automakers have provided MOT with necessary support for main stage productions, educational programs, community outreach and the restoration of the Detroit Opera House.

The 2006 Opera Ball will be held at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway in downtown Detroit. An opulent affair, the black-tie gala is MOT’s largest annual fundraiser. Revenue from Opera Ball is used to support the company’s main stage productions, as well as educational programs and community outreach throughout the state of Michigan and beyond. In 2005, Opera Ball raised roughly $450,000 in support of these programs.

For 2006, Opera Ball will feature a succulent dinner of medallions of Australian rack of lamb, prepared by Opus One, and entertainment by Mel Ball and Colours. The evening will also include a live auction, with high-end lots including spa packages, travel packages and a variety of unique opportunities for arts lovers.

Reservations for the black-tie gala are $500 per person, and include valet parking along with dinner and entertainment.

To reserve tickets, please contact Heather Hamilton at 313-237-3425.

It’s all in the timing at Mosaic’s Tesserae One Act Play Festival

DETROIT – Among the many unique offerings of the internationally-renowned Mosaic Youth Theatre’s upcoming season, the “Tesserae One-Act Play Festival” is one of the most evolved, certainly the most daring and, at times, the most cheeky.

In its fourth year, “Tesserae” is a theatrical festival presenting eight one-acts at the General Motors Mosaic Theatre, Oct. 13-15. This year brings a collection of challenging, thought provoking and bold performances that are hilarious, unsettling and ripe for reflection. Audiences have come to know the quality of Mosaic’s work and will be treated again to mature performances and the refined technical skills of the Mosaic Acting Company and Mosaic Technical Crew.

The “4th Annual Tesserae One Act Play Festival” will include: “The Still Alarm” by George S. Kaufman; “Dinner” by Richard Markgraf; “Hold for Three” by Sherry Kramer; “Sure Thing” by David Ives; “The Actor’s Nightmare” by Christopher Durang; “Broken Hearts” by Kevin R. McLeod; “Andre’s Mother” by Terrence McNally; and “Falling from Grace” by Jason D. Martin.

Director Breon Arzell, an accomplished Detroit actor and Mosaic alum, is looking forward to the performances. “It’s about time that young people are seen on stage tackling subjects that they deal with in everyday life. This year’s ‘Tesserae’ will be unexpected because of the edgy material the Mosaic Acting Company is taking on.”

All performances are in the General Motors Mosaic Theatre located at 610 Antoinette in Detroit.

The performances are 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14; and Sunday Oct. 15 at 4p.m.

General admission is “pay what you can,” and all tickets are sold on a first come first serve basis. The box office opens one hour before curtain; no advance reservations will be taken.

For further information, call 313-872-6910 or visit

Busch double-bill opens at The Wellington

WINDSOR, ONT. – Charles Busch, author of “Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium” and “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom,” has voiced his approval for the costumes Kelly Ridley created for Korda Artistic Productions’ upcoming Busch double bill. Busch made special mention of Theodora’s crown, calling it “Bernhardtian” in reference to the 19th century Sarah Bernhardt vehicle “Theodora,” written by Victorien Sardou and parodied by Busch.

“Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” and “Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium” mark Korda’s second production of Busch’s work. In 2004, Korda staged”Psycho Beach Party,” the tale of a surfer chick with a split personality disorder. This time, the Korda gang, led by Resident Director Jeff Marontate, is following the adventures of a pair of beautiful blood-suckers from ancient Sodom to modern day Vegas, and of an Empress whose gypsy lover is her husband’s would-be assassin.

“Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” and “Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium” will be performed at The Wellington in Windsor, on Oct. 13, 14, 20, 21 & 22 at 8 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the bar, or reserved by phoning 519-562-3394.

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ comes to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts

CLINTON TWP. – “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the groundbreaking theatrical masterpiece by legendary writing team Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, is coming to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, in Clinton Township Oct. 13 – 14 for three performances.

Friday’s show begins at 8 p.m., while Saturday curtains rise at 2 and 7 p.m.

The first collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be performed on the professional stage, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is one of the most popular and enduring works ever created for the musical theatre. Featuring such notable songs as “Superstar,” “Everything’s Alright” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” earned five TONY nominations.

Set in two acts, the rock musical tells the story of the final seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. “Superstar” dramatizes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the unrest caused by his preaching and popularity, his betrayal by Judas, the trial before Pontius Pilate and his ultimate crucifixion. Perpetually changing the face of musical theatre, “Jesus Christ Superstar” will leave audiences captivated by its power.

Internationally beloved star Ted Neeley, best known for his Golden Globe nominated role as Jesus in the Norman Jewison film of “Superstar” will be headlining this tour. While Neeley has enjoyed a distinguished career in resident theatres throughout America, appearing in a wide variety of productions from “Hair” to the works of Samuel Beckett, he is world renowned for the title role in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Macomb Center is sponsored in part by M-CARE. 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 800-585-3737 or check out the web at

‘An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin” at Wharton Center re-scheduled

EAST LANSING – Lily Tomlin has rescheduled her presentation of “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin,” originally scheduled for Oct. 11, to Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall. Tomlin has been set to star in HBO’s new pilot, “12 Miles of Bad Road” which starts shooting in Los Angeles and Dallas in October.

Patrons who plan to attend the rescheduled performance will simply need to mark their calendars with the new date – Sunday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. – and arrive with their original ticket (s).

Patrons wishing a refund can return their original ticket (s) either in person or by mail, to Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824. Original tickets must be received no later than Friday, Oct. 20. Please allow adequate time to anticipate delays in mail delivery. The ticket (s) price and related fees will be credited based on the original payment method.

MOT presents ‘Broadway Revue II’ Oct. 13-14

FARMINGTON HILLS – Michigan Opera Theatre soloists will perform Broadway’s favorite songs in an intimate setting as part of the City of Farmington Hills Professional Concert Series. MOT artists Maria Cimarelli, Betsy Bronson, Karl Schmidt, and Mark Vondrak will bring music from Broadway’s greatest composers to the great acoustics of the Farmington Player’s Barn Theatre on Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The theater is located at 32332 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

Last year’s popular concert sold out well before the performance. This year, a second concert has been added to increase the opportunity for area music lovers to experience this event featuring selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, and many other great composers.

For over 30 years, MOT has stood for excellence in opera entertainment and education, achieving national stature as one of the country’s 10 largest opera companies. Under the guidance of General Director David DiChiera, with community programs led by Karen V. DiChiera, MOT brings varied musical programs to the entire state of Michigan. The Cultural Arts Division is proud to present these two evenings of excellent musical entertainment.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, Monday -Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

For more information or to charge tickets by phone, call the Cultural Arts Division at 248-473-1857.

Purple Rose Theatre adds fall class to 06/07 schedule

CHELSEA – During the month of November, The Purple Rose Theatre Company has added an Actor Boot Camp to the current class schedule. Registrations for The Actor / Director Lab – the PRTC’s cornerstone class – filled up in record time this year, and, due to the continued level of interest in the Actor Boot Camp, it was the logical choice to provide this opportunity for students still seeking educational opportunities for the fall.

This popular weekend intensive will be held Friday, Nov. 10 from 7 p.m. -11 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

This acting intensive is designed to fit busy schedules and has been described by attendees as “life-changing” and “cathartic.” Taught by PRTC Artistic Director Guy Sanville, the Actor Boot Camp will offer movement, vocal and monologue work, as well as a Q & A with working professionals about essential guidelines for developing a career in the entertainment industry. Participants must be at least 18 years of age due to liability and course content.

Registration is currently being taken, and the class is filling quickly.

Cost for the class is $200, which includes lunch on Saturday.

All classes are held at The Chelsea Center for the Arts, 400 North Congdon, in Chelsea.

Registrations are accepted on a pre-paid first-come, first-serve basis; full payment is required to register.

Participants can register by calling the PRTC administration office at 734-433-7782. Registration forms can also be printed from the PRTC web site:

MOT receives grant to promote positive youth development opportunities

DETROIT – Michigan Opera Theatre is pleased to announce receipt of a $75,000 grant from The Skillman Foundation that will provide opportunities for disadvantaged youth to participate in opera, dance, music composition and writers’ workshops.

MOT is partnering with Franklin Wright Settlements to create a new program,”Building Bridges Through Creativity,” which will give instruction to students ages 11 to 17 in opera, dance, music composition and creative writing. Classes will be open to the community at no cost, and take place after school at Franklin Wright Settlements’ headquarters, 3360 Charlevoix St., in Detroit.

Classes began Tuesday, September 26.

“Michigan Opera Theatre has always been strongly committed to making the arts accessible to the entire community. This program will help us to enrich the lives of countless young people who might not otherwise experience opera or dance,” said Dr. David DiChiera, general director of MOT.

Opera and dance courses will be performance oriented, culminating in a final presentation of the class’ work. Elements of opera will be taught by Karen VanderKloot DiChiera, director of MOT’s Department of Community Programs, and students will present a final performance piece. Dance courses will be facilitated by Karen Prall, professor of dance at Wayne State University and founder and artistic director of Art of Motion Dance Theatre. Music composition courses will be taught by both VanderKloot DiChiera and acclaimed jazz composer and pianist James Tatum. Writer’s workshops will be facilitated by a writer in residence at the prestigious InsideOut Literary Arts Project.

Students participating in the program will also be able to attend opera and dance performances at the Detroit Opera House.

“I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Michigan Opera Theatre to provide our kids with a new learning experience,” said Monique Marks, executive director of Franklin Wright Settlements. “Franklin Wright Settlements has a philosophy to ‘know the neighborhood’ and many neighborhood children view Franklin Wright as their second home. They come to Franklin Wright everyday, regardless of what is taking place, so they will be excited to start this new program. Some have even told me they can’t wait to get started.”

From Our Hallowed Halls of Learning:

Studio Theatre opens season with ‘The Effect Of Gamma Rays’

DETROIT – The Wayne State University Department of Theatre’s Ph.D. Directors’ Series presents its first production of the 06-07 season, “The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds” by Paul Zindel. The show will open at the Studio Theatre (located downstairs from the Hilberry Theatre on the corner of Cass and Hancock) at 8 p.m. on Oct. 12. The production runs through Oct. 21.

The play takes place in an out-of-business flower shop made into the home of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her two teenage daughters, Ruth and Tillie. Beatrice has become reclusive and cynical over the years that have passed since her husband left. Ruth, the older of the two daughters, has begun to shadow her mother’s jaded ways. The younger of the two, Tillie, has begun to show a special talent for science. Tillie is given a set of Man-In-The-Moon Marigold seeds from her teacher, Mr. Goodman, that have been specially treated, and enters them into the school science fair. Tillie is then chosen as one of five finalists for the top prize, which launches the Hunsdorfer family into a profound confrontation with the past.

Playwright Zindel received a degree in Chemistry from Wagner College, where he took a creative writing class, discovered his mentor, Edward Albee and developed a newfound love for story-telling. Zindel taught high school chemistry and physics, and his first staged play, “The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1971. He passed away from cancer on March 27, 2003.

Directed by Ph.D. candidate Aili Marie Smith, the cast includes: senior Katie Clark as Beatrice, sophomore Jessica Green as Ruth, junior Holly Portman as Tillie, senior Sharon L. Brooks as Nanny and sophomore Katie MacKenzie as Janice.

Designers include sophomore Alan Batkiewicz as scenic designer, junior Theresa Hartman as costume designer, freshman Charles Ward as lighting designer and Mike Petrack as sound designer.

Ticket prices range from $8 – $10. Discount tickets are available to all students, senior citizens ages 62 and up and WSU faculty, staff and Alumni Association members.

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