Musical favorites headed to local stages

Photo by Libby Dinwiddie/42nd Parallel Photography. The Open Book Theatre Company in Southgate opens its second season with Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play “The Shadow Box, with Jaclynn Cherry (left) of Madison Heights, Wendy Katz Hiller of Ann Arbor, Lisa Melinn of Berkley, Dennis Kleinsmith of Lathrup Village, Bailey Boudreau of Ferndale, Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township, Ethan Kankula of Wyandotte, and Sean Paraventi of Redford Township. The show runs through Oct. 3 at Penelope's Venue, 12219 Dix Toledo Road in Southgate. To order tickets, call 734-288-7753 or go to theshadowbox.bpt.me. For more information, go to openbooktheatrecompany.net.

Photo by Libby Dinwiddie/42nd Parallel Photography. The Open Book Theatre Company in Southgate opens its second season with Michael Cristofer’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play “The Shadow Box, with Jaclynn Cherry (left) of Madison Heights, Wendy Katz Hiller of Ann Arbor, Lisa Melinn of Berkley, Dennis Kleinsmith of Lathrup Village, Bailey Boudreau of Ferndale, Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township, Ethan Kankula of Wyandotte, and Sean Paraventi of Redford Township. The show runs through Oct. 3 at Penelope’s Venue, 12219 Dix Toledo Road in Southgate. To order tickets, call 734-288-7753 or go to theshadowbox.bpt.me. For more information, go to openbooktheatrecompany.net.

By SUE SUCHYTA

Whether the theme is spooky, scary or mysterious, October marks the opening shows for several local theaters.

Wyandotte Community Theatre presents “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 and 30, and 11:50 p.m. Oct. 23, 24, and 31 at the James DeSana Center for Arts and Culture, 81 Chestnut St. in Wyandotte.

To do the Time Warp again, order tickets at 734-931-6105 or go to eventbrite.com/e/the-rocky-horror-show-2015-tickets-18222605303.
For more information, go to rockyinthedotte.com.

TNT Productions presents “Night of the Living Dead” at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Oct. 17 and 18 at the James DeSana Center for Arts and Culture, 81 Chestnut St. in Wyandotte.

Tickets are $15, and $10 for students and active military personnel.

The show, directed by Tommy Wojtala and produced by Tim Wojtala, is based on the 1968 cult hit and classic film.

The show features Allen Park residents Nick Mullins as Johnny and Tom, and Carrie O’Connor as Karen; Joy Zouzaneas of Lincoln Park as Judy; Kevin Bencik of Wyandotte as Harry; and Kirk Hayhurst of Southgate as the newscaster.

Also Barbara Day of Belleville as Helen; Tommy Stoll of Brownstown Township as the main zombie; Dinah Tutein of Rockwood as Ben; and Joanne Robertson of Romulus as Barbara.

Numerous local actors play various zombies.

Acting Out Productions presents “Clue the Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31 at the Royal Majestic Theatre inside Trillium Academy, 15740 Racho Road in Taylor.

Tickets are $10 presale; and $15 for adults and teens, and $12 for children 12 and under at the door.

For tickets or more information, call 734-558-3208, or go to actingoutdownriver.com.

The popular game and characters comes to life as a musical, and the audience help deduce who is the killer, and what weapon they used in what room.

LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS ANNOUNCE UPCOMING SEASONS

At last weekend’s Dearborn Area Theatre Association’s “Random Acts of Theatre” several local high schools published their upcoming seasons in DATA’s playbill.

Divine Child High School presents “The Crucible” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12, 13, and 14, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 15. The spring musical is “The Phantom of the Opera” at 7:30 p.m. April 21, 22 and 23, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 23.

Dearborn Heights Crestwood High School presents the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in November, followed by “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” in December. The spring musical “The Little Mermaid” will run in April.

Dearborn High School presents its annual student-directed scenes Oct. 7 to 10, followed by the musical “Chicago” Feb. 25 to 28. The play “Almost Maine” runs April 20 to 23.

‘DIRTY DANCING’ COMING TO THE FISHER

“Dirty Dancing – the Classic Story On Stage” makes its Detroit premiere Oct. 20 to Nov. 1 at the Fisher Theatre. Tuesday through Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 7:30 p.m. Sunday shows, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are available by calling 800-982-2787 or at broadwayindetroit.com or ticketmaster.com.

The film’s screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein, knew that fans watched the movie over and over again, and realized that there was an opportunity for a stage play to engage its loyal fans.

“I began to think that what they really wanted was to share more intensely in the event, to step through the screen and be there while the story was happening,” Bergstein said. “Its natural form was the theater – audiences watching live bodies dancing here and now in the present – on the log, on the bridge, on the dance floor and in the staff quarters at Kellerman’s.”

Bergstein said she was able to add more Baby and Johnny scenes for the stage, and more dancing.

The stage play also introduces the story to younger audiences, Lionsgate Television COO Sandra Stern said.

“The latest stage incarnation will introduce ‘Dirty Dancing’ to a whole new generation of fans,” Stern said, “and we expect the stage play to prove yet again that nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

The North American tour is directed by James Powell, with choreography by Michele Lynch, based on the original choreography by Kate Champion.

The stage musical features the hit songs “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.”

Set in the summer of 1963, 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is vacationing in the Catskills with her parents and older sister. Baby is drawn to the racy dance moves and rhythmic tempos in the staff quarters, and is eager to become part of the scene, especially when she discovers Johnny, the resort’s sexy dance instructor. As Johnny and Baby are drawn to each other, a passion ignites that makes her his leading lady both onstage and off.

For more information, go to us.dirtydancingontour.com.

MATRIX OPENS SEASON WITH ‘A KID LIKE JAKE’

The Matrix Theatre Company opens its 2015-16 season with “A Kid Like Jake,” a thoughtful look at parenting and family in a complex and competitive world.
When two young parents try to get their 4-year-old son into an exclusive Manhattan kindergarten, Jake’s fondness for Cinderella and dressup are called into question, and his parents are forced to consider what is “normal” in a complex world of gender, privilege, and class issues.

The story comes to the stage at a time when transgender as well as gender nonconforming issues are in the headlines.

“I am glad that we are able to explore this issue through the story of a child’s experience,” Matrix artistic director Megan Buckley-Ball said. “We hope this production will promote a lot of serious conversation about the subject.”
Directed by David Wolber, the cast includes Patrick Hanley, Kaitlyn Valor-Bourque, Krystle Futrell and Allison Megroet.

The show runs 8 p.m. Sept. 25 and 26, and Oct. 2, 3, 9 and 10, and at 2 p.m. Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 and 11 at the Matrix Theatre, 2730 Bagley in Detroit.

Tickets are $15 to $20. To order, call 313-967-0599 or go to matrixtheatre.org.