Yakima wins SYTYCD; area theaters launch seasons

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Michele Devins (left), Amanda Aue, Lara Keathley and Debbie Aue perform in the fundraiser “Jerry’s Girls” for the Downriver Actors Guild at Out of the Box Theatre, 1165 Ford Ave. in Wyandotte. All tickets are $15, with the show running for two weekends: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20, 21, 27 and 28, and 3 p.m. Sept. 29. Featured songs include selections from Herman’s musicals, including “Hello, Dolly!,” “Mame,” “La Cage aux Folles,” and “Mack and Mabel.”

Hometown talent is in the spotlight as Northville native and Dearborn-trained dancer Amy Yakima, 19, won the woman’s title on the Fox network’s 10th season finale of the reality series competition, “So You Think You Can Dance” Sept. 10.

Yakima trained at the Noretta Dunworth School of Dance in Dearborn since she was 3 and danced on its competition team.

As the female winner of this season’s SYTYCD title, she will receive over $100,000 in prize money, and embarks on a top-10, 42-city SYTYCD tour, which opens Oct.1 in the Wharton Center on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing. The show plays in Windsor Oct. 4 at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino.

Yakima’s sisters, Emma, 17, and Lauren, 11, continue to dance at NDSD, where they are members of the competitive dance team.

Amy’s parents, Dan and Mary Beth Yakima, and her sisters were in the Los Angeles studio audience Tuesday night when she won, as was Loni Lane Padesky of Dearborn, her dance teacher and owner of the NDSD.

“Jerry’s Girls,” a musical review of the music of Jerry Herman, opens Friday at Out of the Box Theater, 1165 Ford Ave., in Wyandotte.

The cabaret format will serve up show tunes as a fundraiser for the Downriver Actors Guild building fund.

Tickets are $15, with 7:30 p.m. showtimes Sept. 20, 21, 27 and 28, and 3 p.m. Sept. 29.

For more information, call 313-303-5269 or go to www.downriveractorsguild.net.

The show features the vocal talents of Debbie and Amanda Aue of Taylor, Michele Devins and Lara Keathley of Southgate and Jami Mullins of Trenton as they deliver memorable Herman Broadway standards.

Herman wrote the songs for many Broadway musicals, including “Hello, Dolly!,” “Mack and Mabel,” “Mame,” “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “Milk and Honey” and “La Cage aux Folles.”

Featured hits in “Jerry’s Girls” include the title songs, “Hello, Dolly!” and “Mame,” and “I Am What I Am” from “La Cage aux Folles.”

The women perform in cabaret style with piano and percussion accompaniment, with elegant gowns from costumer Roseann Spodeck.

Devins, who also is co-director, said there are many familiar songs.

“The show is a fundraiser for the Downriver Actors Guild,” she said. “People should come out and support us. There are five extremely talented women in this show, and I think they will be very entertaining.”

Debbie Aue, who also is co-director, said people should come see the show because it’s fun and represents the “old Broadway” style, and that it is all the things people remember about big band, big time Broadway.

“Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” runs at 7 p.m. Sept. 20, 21, 27 and 28 at Southgate Community Players’ Corner Playhouse at 12671 Dix Toledo Road in Southgate.

For more information, go to www.scponstage.com.

“Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” follows Tom, a nervous first-time teacher, who uses songs like “Just a Bill,” “Interplanet Janet” and “Conjunction Junction” to win his students over with imagination and music.
Phill Rauch directs, with help from teen assistants Moira McCardell, 14, of Trenton; Brad Hardecki, 16, of Woodhaven; and Abbey Demorow, 14, of Allen Park.

The cast includes Lincoln Park residents Adriana James, 10; Armando Perez, 14; Rahne Olson, 8; and Yazmin Perez, 12. Southgate cast members are Isabel Perez, 9, and Cameron Frank, 10; and Trenton cast members are Duncan McCardell, 9, and Taeryn McCardell, 13.

Gabe Hubbard, 11, is from Taylor, and Taeryn McCardell, 13, and Eleana Moore, 11, are from Woodhaven. Brownstown residents Lucie Douglas, 8, Maddie Douglas, 11 and Nina Nelson, 11, round out the cast.

Opening the Players Guild of Dearborn’s 86th season is “The Fantasticks,” with music by Harvey Schmidt and book and lyrics by Tom Jones.

Directed by Paul Bruce of Dearborn, with musical direction by Paul Abbott of Livonia, the show opens its three-weekend run Sept. 13 to 15, continuing Sept. 20 to 22 and Sept. 27 to 29, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2:30 p.m. Sunday shows.

The Guild theater is at 21730 Madison in Dearborn. For tickets or more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

In “The Fantasticks,” two neighbors, Luisa and Matt, fall in love, but hide the fact from their feuding fathers. However, the fathers are really friends who have hatched a plot – with the help of an acting troupe – to encourage the two teens to fall in love. However, when the couple discovers their fathers’ meddling, their romance may not survive.

The cast includes Kimberly Elliott of Canton Township as Luisa, Michael Bollman of Dearborn as Matt, Mike Moseley of Allen Park as El Gallo, Jeff Flannery of Southgate as Hucklebee, Brian Townsend of Dearborn as Bellomy, Alex Gojkov of Dearborn as the Mime, Tom Sparrow of Allen Park as Henry and Steve Gautreau of Dearborn as Mortimer.

Moseley and Townsend deliver standout performances in their respective roles, and Moseley sings the popular song and nostalgic favorite, “Try to Remember” in a strong, rich voice.

Gojkov, as the Mime, is the unsung hero of the show (no pun intended), often in motion rearranging the brightly painted large wooden cubes, which represent everything from walls to furniture, as well as silently reacting with expressive facial features to the travails of the cast.

Bruce has added special stage magic in his interpretation of the show, so keep alert for colorful and whimsical touches as he delivers the sun, moon and winking stars.

Flannery and Townsend work well together as the scheming fathers, and Sparrow and Gautreau provide comic relief as El Gallo’s hired players.

Elliott and Bollman, a real-life couple, bring much of themselves to the roles of Luisa and Matt, the neighboring teens in love.

The Guild offers another treat with its season opening show: comfortable new — and wider — seating in the auditorium. Audiences will appreciate other building renovations as well.