Dearborn-trained dancer on “So You Think You Can Dance;”

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Photo by Sue Suchyta
Brian Townsend (third from right) is the 2013 Dearborn Area Theatre Association Hall of Fame inductee. The annual awards presentation features the number “A Weekend in the Country,” shown here, from Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” as performed by the Players Guild of Dearborn cast.

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By SUE SUCHYTA
Dearborn-trained dancer Amy Yakima, 19, of Northville, a long-time student of Loni Lane at the Noretta Dunworth School of Dance in Dearborn, won a spot in the Las Vegas round of “So You Think You Can Dance” after impressing the judges in a recent Detroit audition at the Fillmore.

Episode two of season 10, first shown May 15, featured Yakima, who has been dancing since she was 3 years old, along with her father, Dan Yakima; her mother Mary Beth; and her sisters Emma and Lauren, who were in the audience to cheer her on.

When judge Nigel Lythgoe heard Amy say that her father took “dads’ jazz,” a class for fathers at NDSD, he called Dan down to the stage to demonstrate what he knew.

After joking that he was glad Amy was a better dancer than her father, Lythgoe praised her extensions, and said he could find nothing wrong with her dancing, which he said annoyed him.

Judge Mary Murphy called her performance “spectacular,” while judge Stephen “Twitch” Boss praised her emotion and passion as he announced Amy was advancing to the next round of competition in Las Vegas.

Also featured in the episode was Jade Zuberi of Dearborn Heights, who also advanced to the next level of competition.

DATA NAMES TOWNSEND TO HALL OF FAME
Brian Townsend is Dearborn Area Theatre Association’s 2013 Hall of Fame inductee. A playwright, actor and active volunteer with several local theater groups, Townsend most recently performed in the quintet in Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” at the Players Guild of Dearborn.

Memorable roles performed locally include Raymond McKay in “Return Engagements,” Max Bialystock in “The Producers,” the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” the Man in the Chair in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Yvan in “Art,” Millet and the Widow Tillou in “Is He Dead?” and Albert Peterson in “Bye, Bye, Birdie.”

He also played Lenny Ganz in “Rumors,” Finch in “How to Succeed…,” Sancho in “Man of LaMancha,” Algernon in “The Importance of Being Ernest” and Amos Hart in “Chicago.”
Townsend wrote three comedic plays produced locally: “Therapy,” “Is This Seat Taken?” and “Pass the Ducks.”

DATA President Marybeth Oravec said four local children – two from PGD and two from the Dearborn Heights Civic Theatre will be recognized for their work with the summer 2012 local youth summer shows. The 2013 DATA college scholarships are also awarded.

DOWNRIVER ACTORS GUILD YOUTH THEATER PRESENTS ‘THE JUNGLE BOOK’
The Downriver Actors Guild Youth Theater presents the Disney musical “The Jungle Book” at 7:30 p.m. May 31, June 1, 7 and 8, and 3 p.m. June 2 and 9.

The show features two different casts. All performances are at Out of the Box Theater at 1165 Ford Ave. in Wyandotte.

Tickets are $10 and are available by calling 313-303-5269 or online at www.downriveractorsguild.net.

SOUTHGATE HOLDS AUDITIONS FOR ‘SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK’
Auditions for “School House Rock” for the Southgate Community Players are at 7 p.m. June 9 and 10, with registration beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Corner Playhouse, 12671 Toledo-Dix Road in Southgate.

“School House Rock” focuses on new teacher Tom, who is nervous about his first day in front of a class. When he tries to relax by watching television, characters representing parts of his personality emerge from the set and urge him to win over his students with imagination and music. Featured songs include, “Just A Bill” and “Conjunction Junction.”

Performances are at 7 p.m. Sept. 20, 21, 27 and 28 at the Corner Playhouse. For more information, go to www.scponstage.com.

MATRIX THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘DREAMING AT DAYBREAK’
The Matrix Theatre Company will present “Dreaming at Daybreak” from 8 to 9 a.m. May 22 in Alumni Hall at Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols in Detroit.

The mission of Matrix is to use the transformative power of theater to change lives, build community and foster social justice.

The free, one hour breakfast fundraising event features several youth performances and the latest announcements and news about Matrix programs.

For more information, call 313-967-0999, Ext. 1, or go to www.matrixtheatre.org.

JET EXTENDS RUN OF ‘MY NAME IS ASHER LEV’
“My Name is Asher Lev” will run through May 25 at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, 6600 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield.

A new play festival will introduce the works of four playwrights in June and early July at both the West Bloomfield and Oak Park Jewish Community Centers.

For more information about JET performances, call 248-788-2900 or go to www.jettheatre.org.

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