With theaters throughout the state throwing open their doors on the 2008/09 season beginning this week, there are plenty of entertainment choices ahead for patrons of all ages and backgrounds. So here are a few things you might want to consider as you decide where to spend your hard-earned dollars:
SUBSCRIBE: If you’re a regular at any of our local theaters, you can save a few bucks by becoming a subscriber. Not only do you spend less money, you’re also helping the theater by giving them your money up-front – which allows them to better manage their budgets. There’s little to lose and plenty to gain – for both sides of the transaction. And theaters often provide a plethora of extras to their subscribers as a way to thank them for their support. So what do you have to lose?
VOLUNTEER: Yes, money is tight – but that’s no excuse to stop attending the theater. Most theaters couldn’t survive without the help of volunteers, and one way to see every show at your favorite theater for free is to volunteer to usher, take tickets or perform some other important task on a show night. The theaters will love you, and you get to see a play for free. So what’s the downside?
EXPERIMENT: Last year, 122 professional and amateur theaters from around the state sent me press releases to plug their shows. How many of those have you attended? Habits are easy to form, I know, and I suspect most theatergoers become comfortable and complacent attending certain theaters. But why not make an early New Year’s resolution and promise that this season you’ll get to at least ONE theater you’ve never been to before? If you only attend the Fisher, the Fox, Meadow Brook or the Gem, expand your horizons by sampling the Detroit Repertory Theatre, The Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Performance Network, Plowshares Theatre or The Purple Rose Theatre Company. Or – like I love to do – visit one of our smaller companies that are often at the forefront of producing new, rarely produced or edgier fare, such as The Abreact, Blackbird Theatre, Breathe Art Theatre Project, Planet Ant or The Ringwald. Or the new companies that are popping up, such as Dog Story Theater, GoComedy! and The Cast Productions. Then there are the many civic, community and collegiate theaters to choose from. It’s not as if the choices are few and far between – so pick one (or a handful) and get ready for an exciting adventure into the unknown. I bet you’ll be pleased you did!
ARM YOURSELF (WITH INFORMATION): So how do you go about finding out WHERE all these theaters are – and what plays they’re producing? Simply log on to www.EncoreMichigan.com, where you’ll find the most comprehensive information about the state’s professional theaters. Featuring original stories and links to other media, the site is updated almost every day (and often multiple times a day) with up-to-the-minute news, show previews, commentary and show listings. Plus, the theater critics post their reviews within 24 hours after attending the shows. You can’t get much fresher than that! So check it out – and then follow through with that early New Year’s resolution. You – and the theaters – will be glad you did!