Classic tales open on local stages

Photo by Chuk Nowak. Wayne State University presents “A Christmas Carol,” combining the graduate and undergraduate theater companies, Dec. 2 to 18 at the Bonstelle Theatre, with Christian Anderson (left) as Dick and Belle's husband; Jackson Abohasira as a reveler and man 1; Ernest Bentley as Ebenezer Scrooge; and Michael Vultaggio as Mrs. Fezziwig and a beggar man.

Photo by Chuk Nowak. Wayne State University presents “A Christmas Carol,” combining the graduate and undergraduate theater companies, Dec. 2 to 18 at the Bonstelle Theatre, with Christian Anderson (left) as Dick and Belle’s husband; Jackson Abohasira as a reveler and man 1; Ernest Bentley as Ebenezer Scrooge; and Michael Vultaggio as Mrs. Fezziwig and a beggar man.

By Sue Suchtya

From Shakespeare to Dickens, to Hans Christian Anderson, classic stories are ready to launch local runs.

SHAKESPEARE’S ‘TWELFTH NIGHT’ AT LITTLE DOOR THEATRE

Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” the original “rom/com,” with shipwrecks and mistaken identity, opens Dec. 1,  launching the first season of The Little Door Theatre, 21045 Van Dyke in Warren.
Michael Suchyta, 20, of Dearborn plays the lead role of Sebastian to Shannon Hurst of Warren’s Viola.

Hurst, 22, owner and artistic director, said having her own theater company has been a dream since she was a child, and her ultimate goal is for it to become a fully operational professional theater company.

A Wayne State University graduate and classically trained actress, she 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.”

Craig Ester of Warren plays 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.

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.”

Etheridge said Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read in an English class.

“Get the gist of it and go with the flow,” she said. “You’ll understand more than you think you will.”
The show runs 8 p.m. Dec. 1 to 3, 8 to 10, and 2 p.m. Dec. 4 and 11 at the theater.

Tickets are $15. To order, go to brownpapertickets.com/event/2706184. For more information, call 586-344-7655 or email littledoortheatre@gmail.com. For more information, go to facebook.com/littledoortheatreco.

‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ BRINGS DICKENS TALE TO LIFE

Wayne State University’s graduate level Hilberry and undergraduate Bonstelle companies bring the classic Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol” to life on the Bonstelle stage.

Spirits from the past, present and future the night before Christmas encounter lonely and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to give him a chance to change his life for the better.

Director Tom Aulino, assistant professor of theater, said audiences often forget the story has its origin a classic novel.

“It is easy to forget that the original novel was written by the same man who wrote ‘Great Expectations,’ ‘David Copperfield,’ ‘Bleak House’ and ‘Oliver Twist,’” Aulino said. “It is a joy to bring this story once again to the stage and to listen to it anew through the original words of the great Charles Dickens.”

Playgoers are encouraged to bring non-perishable canned food for Gleaner’s Community Food Bank to each performance, and patrons buying their ticket in person and donating food will receive a $5 ticket discount.
The show runs 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 3, 8 to 10, and 15 to 17;  2 p.m. Dec. 7; and 3 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17 and 18 at the theater, 3424 Woodward in Detroit.

Tickets range from $10 to $30. To order tickets, go to theatreanddance.wayne.edu. For more information call 313-577-3508.

PUPPETART PRESENTS ‘THE SNOW QUEEN’

PuppetART presents “The Snow Queen” Dec. 3, 10, 15, 17, 18, 26, 27 and 28, and Jan. 7, 14, 19, 21, 28 and 29 at the Detroit Puppet Theater, 25 East Grand Blvd. in Detroit.

When the Snow Queen abducts her friend Kai, Gerda begins a dangerous and mystical journey to rescue him, and encounters friends, fiends, flowers and an oversized critical crow. The story shows how deep bonds of friendship can inspire the personal resolve to overcome daunting obstacles.

For tickets or more information, call 313-961-7777, contact boxoffice@puppetart.org, or go to puppetart.org.