By SUE SUCHYTA
Dearborn actor Michael Suchyta, 20, will play the lead role of Sebastian in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” as part of the Dec. 1 launch of The Little Door Theatre, 21045 Van Dyke in Warren.
Owner and artistic director Shannon Hurst, 22, of Warren, who plays the lead role of Viola, impressed audiences as Helena in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2014 at the Players Guild of Dearborn.
The classically trained actress and Wayne State University graduate said owning and directing her own theater company has been a dream of hers since she was a child, and her ultimate goal is for it to become Warren’s first fully operational professional theater company.
The first season in the intimate 100-seat theater includes “Twelfth Night,” which runs Dec. 1 to 11, followed by Chekov’s “The Seagull” Jan. 5 to 15, Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” Jan. 26 to Feb. 5 and Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters” Feb. 23 to March 5.
Ibsen’s “Ghosts” runs March 30 to April 9, with Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” April 27 to May 7, a One Act Festival May 11 to 21 and Brown’s “The Last Five Years” June 15 to 25.
Hurst said she selected shows for her first season that have impacted and inspired her as an actress.
“Each show reflects a different part of the human experience, whether it be in a comedic or dramatic way, and has changed my life for the better,” Hurst said. “I hope to do the same having these shows in my first season.”
Hurst said starting a season with a Shakespearean play gives actors a chance to experiment with their characters without restrictions or playwright expectations.
“I have no desire to change the language of the show, but rather to heighten it to reach a modern audience,” she said.
Although she is setting it in the 1990s, Hurst said “Twelfth Night” will not lose its classic features.
“My directing style is ‘go big, or better yet, go bigger,’” she said. “With a show like ‘Twelfth Night’ I have lots of room to encourage my actors to take their characters and their actions to a whole new level.”
Others in the cast include Craig Ester of Warren as the Duke of Orsino, with Maggie Alger of Port Huron as Olivia.
Carlos Westbrook of Fenton plays Malvolio, with Jason Garza of Troy as Sir Toby, Dan Drobot of Redford Township as Sir Andrew and J.M. Ethridge of Eastpointe as Maria.
Michael Mieke of Clinton Township plays Feste, with David Musselwhite of Royal Oak as Antonio and Valentine, Danielle Peck of Clawson as Fabiana and Tim Falk of Armada as the captain, officer and a priest.
Meike said “Twelfth Night” is a play celebrating the 12th night of Christmas, with the show’s characters getting drunk, singing and making fun of authority figures.
He said aside from the challenge of Shakespeare’s language, the characters and situations are complex and universal.
“When I approach one of Shakespeare’s characters, the language actually helps me as an actor by forcing me to to carefully examine every line not just to decipher what is being said, but also to understand what is driving that character through the entire play,” Meike said.
Alger said although the lines are outwardly an intimidating form of English, they are relatable when translated through the performers.
“Although seemingly difficult and antiquated, Shakespeare’s plays are so full of life and passion,” Alger said. “Watching people who are passionate perform Shakespeare takes away a lot of its intimidation factor.”
Garza said Shakespeare is still the gold standard when it comes to character and language.
“My talent is tested not only by how well I am able to read into the rhythms, meanings and poetry of the language, but also how effectively I choose to portray these clearly for an audience.
“The characters are so vibrant and interesting, and they say so many wonderful, and horrible, and ironic things that it is so fulfilling as an actor.”
Etheridge said Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read in an English class.
“Don’t worry about getting every word; no one ever does,” she said. “Get the gist of it and go with the flow. You’ll understand more than you think you will.
For more information, go to facebook.com/littledoortheatreco.
PLAYERS GUILD HOLDS AUDITIONS FOR ‘ARSENIC AND OLD LACE’
“Arsenic and Old Lace” auditions will take place Nov. 14 and 15 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, with registration beginning at 6:30 p.m. and auditions starting at 7:30 p.m.
The show, directed by Paul Bruce, runs Jan. 13 to 29, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees.
Audition forms and conflict calendars are available on the Guild’s website for downloading at playersguildofdearborn.org/auditions.
The show, by Joseph Kesselring, focuses on Mortimer Brewer’s two charming elderly aunts, who run a boarding house for lonely old men, and the sisters’ elderberry wine that plays a key role in their murderous benevolence. Add in Mortimer’s brother Teddy, who thinks he is Roosevelt, sinister Jonathon Brewster, evil plastic surgeon Einstein and other colorful characters, and you have a laughter-filled story.
HILBERRY PRESENTS BRAM STOKER’S ‘DRACULA’
Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre presents Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” just in time for Halloween, with performances Oct. 21 to Nov. 6 at the theater, 4743 Cass in Detroit.
The play unfolds as terror haunts the streets of Victorian London when a Transylvanian vampire comes to town in search of fresh prey.
Charles Morey, who adapted the novel for the stage, also directs the production.
“My intent in writing this adaptation was to translate Stoker’s extraordinary novel to the stage in a manner that was as faithful as possible to the plot structure, characters, thematic concerns, tone and sensibility of the original,” Morey said.
Santino Craven plays Dracula, with Michael Phillip Thomas as Van Helsing, Michael Manocchio as Harker, Kyle Mitchell Johnson as Seward, Antonia LeChe’ as Lucy and Mary Sansone as Mina.
Tickets are $25 to $30, with $10 student rush tickets with valid identification the day of the performance.
For tickets or more information, call 313-577-2972 or go to theatreanddance.wayne.edu.
SPOOKTACULAR ‘MISCAST CABARET’ IN SOUTHGATE
Southgate Community Players present “Miscast Cabaret,” a spooktacular Halloween fundraiser, from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix Toledo Road in Southgate.
Cost is $15, and includes finger foods, the first beverage, and entertainment. The event is for ages 21 and older.
The entertainment will feature Halloween and Broadway favorites performed in a way never before seen.
For tickets or more information, call 734-282-4727 or go to scponstage.com.