Players Guild of Dearborn presents ‘The Rainmaker’

The Players Guild of Dearborn presents N. Richard Nash’s romantic comedy “The Rainmaker” weekends though March 15. Friday and Saturday night shows are at 8 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees.

 

Tickets are $15. Student discounts (with valid identification) and group discounts are available.

 

The Guild Theatre is at 21730 Madison in Dearborn, southwest of the intersection of Monroe Street and Outer Drive.

 

For more information, call the Guild ticket line at (313) 561-TKTS, or go to the Guild Web site: www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

 

‘FIDDLER ON THE ROOF’ AUDITIONS

 

The Players Guild of Dearborn will hold auditions for the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Registration begins at 7 p.m. The show will run weekends from April 24 through May 17.
For more information, go to the Guild Web site: www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

 

HILBERRY CONTINUES SEASON WITH ‘ALL MY SONS’

 

The Hilberry, Wayne State University’s graduate theater company, continues its season with Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” The show will run in rotating repertory through May 16.

 

The drama, set in the United States several years after the close of World War II, is a story about consequences. Joe Keller’s manufacturing plant allowed defective airplane parts to be shipped, causing many pilot deaths. His partner was sent to prison, while he was exonerated. But Joe Keller may know more than he admitted to — and he may have inadvertently caused the death of his own son.

 

In the midst of the tense drama Miller earned an unexpected laugh from the Detroit audience. When a character commented that Joe’s plant was so big it looked like General Motors, Joe replied, “I wish it was General Motors!” Well aware of the icon’s monumental present woes, the rueful audience laughter rose to a therapeutic crescendo before it subsided.

 

Brian Sage, as patriarch Joe Keller, and Samantha Rosentrater, as his wife, Kate Keller, turn in their strongest performances to date. Alan Ball is sympathetic and likeable as Jim Bayliss, their cynical neighbor caught in an economic straight jacket. Aaron Kirby is idealistically refreshing as the surviving son Chris Keller. Effervescent Christina Flynn lights up the stage as Ann Deever, the ingénue love interest.

 

Costume designer Abeo created some elegant ladies’ dresses, capturing the post-war elegance. The men were nattily attired as well. Jared Cole’s set design was visually appealing, with flat tree silhouettes juxtaposed against a soft skyline that showed the passage of time from night to day like a multi-hued watercolor painting. His slatted, see-through houses offered an interested glimpse into the characters at the periphery of the action.

 

In the hands of the talented cast and technicians, a well as director David Magidson, the Hilberry’s performance is as compelling now as when it debuted in 1947.

 

The Hilberry Theatre is at 4743 Cass at Hancock on the WSU campus in Detroit. For tickets, call the Hilberry box office at (313) 577-2972. For more information, go to www.hilberry.com. To order tickets online, go to www.wsushows.com.

 

HECK RABI WINNERS at the STUDIO THEATRE

 

With free admission, there’s no reason not to see the work of the talented student playwrights, actors and technicians featured in the annual Wayne State University Heck-Rabi showcase. The original work debuting includes Dearborn resident and WSU student Lauren Reynolds’ original one-act play, “Dog Girl Suicide,” which opened Thursday and continues through Saturday at 8 p.m.

 

“Dog Girl Suicide” offers a glimpse into the personal pain of two sisters: Magda, played by Natalie Burtney, and Maria, played by Jessica Green. Maria, the younger sister, seems self-destructive, while her older sister Natalie seems to have her life together. However, the abuse one endured, made worse by the denial of the other, makes the tragedy all the more frustratingly heartbreaking. Jessica Green is a standout as the abused younger sister, and makes the character compellingly personal.

 

“Help Wanted,” by Dylan Stuckey, is set in the 1930s in a small town store. The husband and wife who run the store lose their mind-numbing complacency in the wake of an unexpected visitor and the stirring of an illicit romance. Despite an intriguing premise, the story moved slowly, lacked sympathetic characters, and failed to convince us of the chemistry between the romantic protagonists.

 

“The Kings of Unionville,” by James Kuhl, however, is a warm, delightful comedy. Its characters come alive and captivate the audience with their enthusiasm and energy. The play focuses on a secret society of middle age men who meet to play cards, drink and share camaraderie. When one of their members dies, they debate whether to initiate a member’s son, a young adult.

 

The colorful personalities and quirks of the characters provide much of the entertainment in this slice of life comedy. It also offers entertaining insight into the misperceptions and insecurities between fathers and sons. The ensemble cast features the talents of actors Shane Reinhard, Justin Wagner, Bill Zimmerman, Benjamin Williams, E. J. Assi, and Andrew Sheldon.

 

For more information, call the WSU Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972. There is no charge for admission. The Studio Theatre is located in the basement of the Hilberry Theatre, at 4743 Cass at Hancock on the WSU campus in Detroit.