Lions, Lies and Possessed Puppets: Never a dull moment on local stages

Photo by Brandy Joe Plambeck The Ringwald Theatre presents Robert Askins' “Hand to God,” with Joshua Daniel Palmer as Jason Feb. 17 to March 13 at the theater, 22742 Woodward in Ferndale. For tickets or more information call 248-545-5545 or go to TheRingwald.com.

Photo by Brandy Joe Plambeck
The Ringwald Theatre presents Robert Askins’ “Hand to God,” with Joshua Daniel Palmer as Jason Feb. 17 to March 13 at the theater, 22742 Woodward in Ferndale. For tickets or more information call 248-545-5545 or go to TheRingwald.com.

Front_RowFrom possessed toys to double lives, local venues offer a tempting and meaningful array of shows.

A foul-mouthed, demonic sock puppet brings Tony Award-nominated “Hand to God” to the Ringwald, while duplicity takes center stage in Oscar Wilde’s satirical farce, “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Little Door Theatre. For family fare, Disney’s “The Lion King” offers a lavish production at the Detroit Opera House.

Possessed puppet pivotal to plot

A Christian puppet ministry takes a walk on the wild side when an anxious teen’s sock puppet takes on a profane, irreverent life of its own in the Ringwald’s production of “Hand to God.”

Riverview native Taylor Morrow plays Jessica, with Mike McGettigan and Michael Suchyta, both of Dearborn, as Pastor Greg and Timmy, respectively.

Directed by Brandy Joe Plambeck, the show also features Joshua Daniel Palmer of West Bloomfield Township as Jason, and Dyan Bailey of Hamtramck as Margery.

The show runs 8 p.m. Feb. 17, 18, 20, 24, 25 and 27, and March 3, 4, 6, 10, 11 and 13; 7 p.m. March 5; and 3 p.m. Feb. 19 and 26 and March 12 at the Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward, Ferndale.

Tickets are $10 opening night and Mondays; $20 on Fridays and Saturdays, and $15 on Sundays. The Feb. 19 performance is a “pay as you go” matinee, with donations accepted at the close of the show.

Tickets are available at the box office 45 minutes prior to each performance, and online at TheRingwald.com. Students are offered a $5 discount Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with valid identification.

Little Door Theatre presents ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

“The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde’s witty Victorian farce, reveals double identities used to escape social obligations as the Little Door Theater continues its opening season of stage classics.

The show runs 8 p.m. Feb. 23 to 25, March 2 to 4, and 2 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 5 at the theatre, 21045 Van Dyke in Warren.

David Musselwhite of Royal Oak plays Jack Worthing in town, and “Ernest” in the country, a double life which he said contributes to the play’s humor.

“The ridiculous circumstances lead the audience to laugh, and lead the characters to happiness,” he said. “Wilde’s humor is timeless, because it relies on inherently funny persons and situations.”

Musselwhite said the show contains situations with which audiences can identify – like being grilled by a snooty parent of someone you wish to date.

“The show may be set in the past, but the dynamics ring true and (are) hilarious today because they are so human,” he said. “The acting and dialogue shine. It really is a showcase of Wilde’s comedic brilliance and the acting chops of this talented cast.”

The show, directed by Andrew McMechan of Birmingham, also features Daniel Drobot of Redford as Algernon Moncrieff; Danielle Peck of Clawson as Gwendolen Fairfax; Shannon Hurst of Warren as Cecily Cardew; J.M. Ethridge of Eastpointe as Lady Bracknell; Marc Rosati of Royal Oak as the Rev. Chasuble; Amy Martin of Sterling Heights as Miss Prism; and Greg Corcoran of Royal Oak as Lane and Merriman.

Tickets are $15. To order, call 586-344-7655 or go to ldtearnest.brownpapertickets.com. For more information, go to littledoortheatre.com.

Disney’s ‘Lion King’ offers fine family fare

The national tour of Disney’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical “The Lion King” runs through Feb. 26 at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit.

The family-friendly show offers amazing costumes and a fast-paced, beautifully designed production.

Attendees don’t need children to appreciate the show – the story is rich in meaning, and fills the house with familiar music as it offers so much to see one doesn’t know where to look next.

The actors on stilts magically become giraffes in front of one’s eyes, and even the aisle seem like an on-ramp for Noah’s ark at key intervals.

This isn’t a movie brought to life – the show stands on its own merit, and offers music not offered in the Disney movie. It is also a wonderful way to introduce children to the magic of live theater.

Tickets start at $25. To order, call 800-982-2787 or go to ticketmaster.com or broadwayindetroit.com. For more information about the show, go to LionKing.com.