Dearborn theater community celebrates annual achievements

Photo by Sue Suchyta. The Players Guild of Dearborn entertained DATA award attendees May 24 with a rousing rendition from “Seussical the Musical,” which the group recently closed after a four-weekend run.

Photo by Sue Suchyta. The Players Guild of Dearborn entertained DATA award attendees May 24 with a rousing rendition from “Seussical the Musical,” which the group recently closed after a four-weekend run.

By Sue Suchyta

From the Planet of Who to pirate ships, to under the sea, and from Chicago to Paris, the Dearborn area theater community showcased their best and brightest on the stage of the Michael A. Guido Theater at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center May 24 at the 31st annual Dearborn Area Theatre Association Awards Show.

This year, because of the recent decrease in adult community theater productions in the Dearborn adjudication area, the Players Guild of Dearborn felt they were primarily competing against themselves in the adult acting and technical theater categories. The board voted to opt-out of adjudication this year, letting focus shift to the scholastic level acting and technical theater achievements.

Tiffany Mullins and Alex Gojkov kept the audience roaring with laughter as the evening’s witty improvisational masters of ceremony. Their two-person spoofs of PGD’s past season, from “The Miracle Worker” to “The Mousetrap,” earned well-deserved laughter in a house filled with seasoned thespians.

Edsel Ford High School actors performed a scene from their upcoming production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” while Crestwood High School students entranced the house with their colorful characterizations and costumes from “The Little Mermaid.”

Divine Child High School sent chills up one’s spine as they brought Paris to the Motor City with their soulful selections from “The Phantom of the Opera,” while Dearborn High School drama turned up the heat with “Chicago” and all that jazz.

The Players Guild of Dearborn capped off the evening with an upbeat, fast paced and delightful medley from their spring production of “Seussical the Musical,” which closed May 22 after a four-weekend run.

Paul Bruce received the DATA Governor’s Award, and David Reynolds II was inducted in the Dearborn Theatre Hall of Fame.

The Governor’s Award is for members of the theater community who have gone beyond the areas of theatrical performance, direction and design.

Bruce, well known as a composer, director and designer, choreographer, actor and teacher with Dearborn Public Schools, has championed the DATA scholarship program.

He has also taken Salina Middle and Elementary School students to dress rehearsals at the Players Guild of Dearborn, giving many their first introduction to live theater. Many of the students are immigrants for whom English is a second language, and Bruce has instilled in them a love for theater, and is inspiring future actors, technicians and audiences.

“There’s nothing nicer than getting an award for something you like to do,” Bruce said.
He thanked members of the Guild and staff at Salina for helping him bring his students to live theatrical productions.

Reynolds is the fourth member of his immediate family earn the honor, and a third generation recipient. His late grandfather, Gene Reynolds, was inducted in 1991; his late father, David Reynolds Sr., in 1992; and his mother, Diana Reynolds, was a 2000 inductee. His daughter Jade Reynolds is a fourth generation family member active with the Guild.

He is a professional lighting designer, and has designed sets for many local theater productions. He has served on the PGD board many times, and teaches others how to set and run theatrical lighting.

Reynolds said when his father died, he made it his mission to continue his legacy at PGD.
“This award is proof that I have succeeded,” he said.

He said he credits his parents for his work ethic, “no matter how last-minute it may be,” he said amid insider laughter.


The Players Guild of Dearborn presents “Murder Comes to Uptight Abbey” at 8 p.m. June 17 and 18, and 2:30 p.m. June 19 at the theater, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.

Written by Brian Townsend, proceeds from the comedic mystery will help fund PGD renovation projects, including the resurfacing of the parking lots.

Tickets are $15. For more information, or to order, call 313-561-TKTS or go to


The Players Guild of Dearborn will hold auditions for children age 5 to 12 for “The Super Hero Olympics” at 6 p.m. June 6 and 7 at the playhouse.

Rehearsals will be in the evening, with performances Aug. 4 to 7. For more information, and for a down-loadable audition form and conflict calendar, go to


The Downriver Actors Guild presents Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty Kids” with more than 80 children performing in two separate casts at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle in Wyandotte.

Nathan Vasquez of Allen Park directs the show, with Abby Hill-Kennedy of Monroe as musical director and Kayla Chavez of Allen Park as choreographer.

Cast one, with Anna Bruce, 12, of Trenton as Aurora; Madison Ganzak, 12, of Dearborn Heights as Maleficent; and Evan Sartor, 8, of Canton Township as King Stephan performs 7:30 p.m. June 3, 5 and 11, and 2:30 p.m. June 4 and 12.

Cast two, with Elaina Primeau, 11, of Brownstown Township as Aurora; Jamie Paschke, 12, of Dearborn Heights as Maleficent; and Ethan Fink, 8, of Allen Park as King Stefan performs 7:30 p.m. June 6, 10 and 12, and 3 p.m. June 5 and 11.

Tickets are $10. To order, call 734-407-7020 or go to


Southgate Community Players will hold auditions for Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” June 5 and 6 at The Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix Toledo Road, in Southgate, with performances Sept. 23 and 24 at Davidson Middle School, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.

Brad Hardecki will direct, with vocal direction by Tamara Marla and choreography by Holly Knick.

For more information, go to