Crestwood’s ‘Addams Family,’ Guild’s ’39 Steps’ are big DATA winners

Photo by Sue Suchyta. Valerie Mangrum Haas was inducted into the Dearborn Theatre Hall of Fame during the annual Dearborn Area Theatre Association Entertainment Awards May 19 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

Photo by Sue Suchyta. Valerie Mangrum Haas was inducted into the Dearborn Theatre Hall of Fame during the annual Dearborn Area Theatre Association Entertainment Awards May 19 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.


Dearborn Heights Crestwood High School’s musical “Addams Family” and the Players Guild of Dearborn’s comedy “The 39 Steps” were major winners May 19 at the member-adjudicated 30th annual Dearborn Area Theatre Association awards ceremony.

Held at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, the packed house was treated to scenes from nominated season shows, including Dearborn High School’s “Damn Yankees,” Edsel Ford High School’s “Once Upon a Mattress,” Divine Child High School’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” PGD’s “Spamalot,” and CHS’s “Addams Family.”

Valerie Mangrum Haas was inducted into the Dearborn Hall of Fame. While joking about being a theater junkie in need of help, Haas touched on funny and poignant moments that resonated with the houseful of thespians.

“The theater can be ruthless sometimes,” Haas said, “but it’s also a place where dreamers dream, and magical things happen with every live performance.

“It’s a place where everyone’s welcome by virtue of his or her desire to make theatrical magic happen. It teaches not tolerance, but acceptance, and openness, and appreciation for God-given talent, and man-made scenic make-believe artistry.

“There is nothing like putting on a show to learn what teamwork is all about. And there is nothing like playing a role to understand the feelings and motivations of your fellow man and woman. There is no place I would rather be than in a theater.”

DATA paid tribute to the late Dale Van Dorp, the “Voice of Dearborn,” with a video photo montage tribute created by Stan Guarnelo, and a recounting of Van Dorp’s many roles.

Greg Viscomi described his first impression, when, as a high school student at DHS, he met Van Dorp, who was then the school’s theater director.

“He was 28, he looked like a movie star, he had this deep, resonant voice, and you couldn’t help but like him, and he was funny, charismatic, and very, very knowledgeable about theater,” Viscomi said.

He mentioned Van Dorp’s many roles, including Lincoln at The Henry Ford and as the “Voice of Dearborn.”
“Dale Van Dorp was one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Viscomi said. “Working on that first production was like taking the world’s best introduction to theater class.”

Viscomi said Van Dorp was one of the city’s favorite sons, but more than anything else he belong to the theater community.

Cynthia Frabutt presented Outstanding Youth in Theatre Awards to six pre-high school-aged youth, while DATA presented college scholarships to five high school seniors.

The youth awards went to Adriana Viscomi and Joey Garza for PGD’s “Into the Woods Jr.,” Madison Ganzak and Jimmy Gordon for “Shrek – the Musical” with the Summer Arts Academy Players, and Liliana Gremel and Cole Haas for PGD’s “Charlotte’s Web.”

Paul Bruce presented DATA scholarships to five area high school seniors: William Dunn of DC; Emma Garber of DHS; Laura Moore of DC; Christian Plonka of DHS; and Grace Sekulidis of DHS.


The Downriver Actors Guild presents the comedy “Noises Off,” as its summer adult production. A two-weekend run opens July 31, with 7:30 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday.

For tickets or more information, call 313-303-5269 or go to

Directed by Lucinda Chavez of Allen Park, the cast includes Katie Suchyta of Dearborn as Dotty Otley; Nick Szczerba of Detroit as Lloyd Dallas, and Southgate residents Trey Allen as Garry Lejeune and Peyton Bias as Brook Ashton.

Kevin Kaminski of Detroit plays Frederick Fellows, with Keri Geftos-Harris of Riverview as Belinda Blair, Tony Primeau of Wyandotte as Tim Allgood, and Jim Wolbrink of Detroit as Selsdon Mowbray.


Henry Ford College presents its annual One-Act Festival Thursdays through Sundays June 18 to 28 at the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center on the main campus, 5101 Evergreen in Dearborn.

Tickets are $7, and due to mature content, attendees must be 18 or older. For tickets or more information, call 313-845-9817 or go to

The One-Act Festival showcases short works with unusual themes, content or style, directed by HFC students.

This year’s festival includes Edward Albee’s “Zoo Story,” directed by Christian Plonka; Peter Appleton’s “Variations,” directed by Reba Neely; Tennessee Williams’ “27 Wagons Full of Cotton,” directed by Anita Holsey-Banks; and A.R. Gurney’s “The Problem,” directed by Josh Nielson.


The Detroit Repertory Theatre presents the world premiere of Thom Molyneaux’s “White Ash Falling 9/11” May 28 through June 28 at the Milan Theatre Company, 13103 Woodrow Wilson in Detroit.

Show times are 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. For tickets or more information, call 313-868-1347, or go to

“White Ash Falling 9/11” follows three actors about to perform in an off-Broadway production about 9/11. As each character is preparing to go on, they share their real-life trauma on that date. It circles around the personal emotions that can impact a person’s work performance, and the clash between internal feelings and the expected external personae.