• Richard Payton as Blanche (left) and Brandy Joe Plambeck as Rose in The Ringwald's 2019 production of "The Golden Girls." Photo: Joe Plambeck

Pop That Cork! The Ringwald Theatre’s First Season at Affirmations Just Might Be Their Queerest Yet

By |2021-07-20T12:16:57-04:00July 9th, 2021|Michigan, News, Theater|

The Ringwald Theatre has announced its much-anticipated 2021-2022 season, the first in their new performance space at Affirmations LGBTQ+ community center.

While the physical location of the theater has changed, The Ringwald still has the “same soul,” according to Brandy Joe Plambeck, the theater’s co-founder and media director. 

“I am sooooooo excited about our new home at Affirmations!” Plambeck writes via email. “We are thrilled to stay in Ferndale just a hop, skip, and a jump from our previous location. We are excited to continue to tell amazing stories and build a new partnership with the awesome folx at Affirmations.”

According to The Ringwald’s artistic director, Joe Bailey, audiences “can expect the same sense of fun and quality, as well as an expansion of our programs and a deeper community connection.”

Serving as a board member, as well as a director, actor, video editor and writer, Dyan Bailey calls The Ringwald “accessible and empathetic.”

“A place like the Ringwald is giving voice to so many stories that people don’t normally have a lot of access to,” she writes in an email to Pride Source. “We are also committed to being an anti-racist theater and more inclusive in casting and directors. I’m excited mostly for all the new people that we will be meeting and working with.”

The new location has logistical advantages as well. “Better parking options, better lobby options, better bathroom options!” writes Bailey. She says that she’s kidding, but those familiar with the previous location will no doubt appreciate these factors as there was no lobby to speak of — one had to go backstage to access the restroom. 

She is looking forward to “A Very Golden Girls Christmas, Vol. 2,” which she co-wrote and will direct. “In this ‘Vol. 2’ we edited the 2019 Woodward Avenue hit show, making it shorter and snappier! It’s the holidays, who has time for a two-act show?” she writes. “We are also excited to do the show at the new space, with one of The Ringwald’s original board members and former Dorothy, Jamie Richards!”

She offers this piece of advice: “Once tickets go on sale for ‘Golden Girls,’ it’s best to buy them quickly. Our run in 2019 was sold out.”

Plambeck is directing this season’s “Ruthless! The Musical,” about a young actress determined to play Pippi Longstocking at any cost. “Spoofing everything from  “The Bad Seed” to “Gypsy” to “All About Eve” to “Mame,” “Ruthless!” is camp with a capital C,” according to The Ringwald’s season announcement.

Plambeck is ready to get back to live theater. “It’s so thrilling and unpredictable!” he writes. “We have all been sitting in front of our TVs and computers for so long, and it is time to connect with an audience and actors in a live space again. The magic of live theater is so magnetic and electrifying, and I can’t wait to hear the first laughter from the crowd!”

The Lambda Award winning “Bootycandy,” which will be directed by Dan Johnson, “weaves together scenes, sermons, sketches, and daring meta-theatrics to create a kaleidoscopic portrayal of growing up gay and Black.”

Johnson tells Pride Source via email that he has spent the last year “trying to champion anti-racism and greater inclusivity in the Michigan theater community.”

Johnson writes that supporting live theater is important, but only live theater that is inclusive and welcoming to all communities. He says that people shouldn’t support live theater “the way that it was: a space that marginalized and neglected so many communities — the BIPOC community, the LGBTQIA+ community, the disability community — and, in many cases, flat-out abused and traumatized so many individuals within those communities. The live theater of the past — actively white supremacist, actively ableist, actively homophobic and transphobic, actively misogynistic — should die screaming.”

That said, Johnson is part of the “live theater of the future,” specifically a Michigan theater of the future. “One that actively seeks to do the work to undo the damage that has been done to so many, on so many levels, and in its place builds spaces that are kinder, safer, more inclusive, more representational, more creative, and just plain more awesome,” he writes. “That is the live theater that people should support, and that is the theater that the Ringwald not only has been, but is now trying even harder (and more joyfully!) to be in the future.”

Also included this season is “Puffs” and “Small Mouth Sounds.” “Puffs” is a Harry Potter-influenced comedy that gives “audiences a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children.” “Puffs” will be directed by Joe Bailey. The Lambda Award-winning “Bootycandy,” directed by Dan Johnson, will “weave together scenes, sermons, sketches, and daring meta-theatrics to create a kaleidoscopic portrayal of growing up gay and Black.” “Small Mouth Sounds,” directed by Kelly Komlen, focuses on “six runaways from city life” on a silent retreat who “confront internal demons both profound and absurd.”

Joe Bailey urges people to support live theater “because we’ve been dormant for so long, and we need the love!”

In addition to buying tickets to shows, there are other ways to support The Ringwald. “We are in the midst of our Comeback Campaign, a fundraising effort to outfit our new space with production essentials,” Plambeck writes. “If you would like to donate, you can do so by going to TheRingwald.com or sending a check c/o The Ringwald Theatre to 290 W. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, MI 48220.

The Ringwald 2021/2022 Season:

Oct. 15-Nov. 1, 2021

“Puffs”

Nov. 19-Dec. 20, 2021

“A Very Golden Girls Christmas, vol. 2 (An Unauthorized Parody)”

Feb. 18-March 15, 2022

“Small Mouth Sounds”

May 6-May 30, 2022  

“Bootycandy”

July 8-Aug. 15, 2022

“Ruthless! The Musical”

 

About the Author:

D'Anne Witkowski
D'Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.