Warm up to riveting drama and side-splitting comedy

Photo by Chuk Nowak Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre Company presents parts one and two of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angels in America,” with Quint Mediate as Prior Walter. “Part I, Millennium Approaches” runs Feb. 8 to 24 at the theater, 4743 Cass, Detroit. For tickets or more information call 313-577-2972 or go to theatreanddanceatwayne.com.

Photo by Chuk Nowak
Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre Company presents parts one and two of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angels in America,” with Quint Mediate as Prior Walter. “Part I, Millennium Approaches” runs Feb. 8 to 24 at the theater, 4743 Cass, Detroit. For tickets or more information call 313-577-2972 or go to theatreanddanceatwayne.com.

Keep winter’s chill at bay with a play – whether you choose a dynamic drama or a laughter-filled romp, the action on stage will take you away from the weather’s wrath.

HILBERRY PRESENTS COMPLETE ‘ANGELS IN AMERICA’

Wayne State University’s graduate Hilberry Theater Company continues its season with Tony Kushner’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning two-part drama “Angels in America.”

“Part One: Millennium Approaches” runs 8 p.m. Feb. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23; 7 p.m. Feb. 14 and 21; 2 p.m. Feb. 9, 13 and 16, and May 11; and 3 p.m. Feb. 24 and May 5.

“Part Two: Perestroika” runs 8 p.m. April 26 and 27, May 3, 4 and 10; 7 p.m. May 2 and 9; 2 p.m. April 27 and May 1 and 4; and 3 p.m. May 12.
Parts one and two will run the same day on May 5, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and May 11 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Hilberry Theater, 4743 Cass, Detroit.

In Part One, set in 1985, Prior Walter, a young gay man living in New York City, is diagnosed with AIDS. His boyfriend, Louis, who is struggling with his own diagnosis and fears, abandons him. Walter struggles on his own until he is visited by ancestral angels, who herald the advent of a fierce angel.

During the same time period, a conservative Mormon young man who has not come out is offered an enticing job in Washington, D.C., by his mentor and McCarthyist lawyer Roy Cohn, but his wife, Harper, who is struggling with an illness of her own, doesn’t want to move.

Part Two continues to explore the complex and capricious world of homosexuality, race and AIDS in the 1980s in the United States. Walter is losing hope as he fights his illness, and is hesitant to become the prophet to whom the angels allude.

Cohn is diagnosed with “liver cancer,” and is cared for by Belize. Joe’s wife Harper has disappeared, and his mother arrives to try to put her family back together in what has been called “an epic tale of love, loss and destiny.”

Director Blair Anderson said “Angels in America” has fascinated him for the past 25 years, and while Kushner subtitled the play “A Gay Fantasia,” he feels the label is misleading.

“It is not restricted to the gay world, but rather explores a unique cosmos where humans are ‘angels,’ and angels are human,” Anderson said.

He said the plays are both historical and contemporary, embracing social, political and religious aspects while looking at the characters’ passions and ambitions.

“Kushner has created a specific yet ambiguous cosmology where characters are angelic, and angels are lost and searching for purpose,” Anderson said. “All elements of Kushner’s ‘Fantasia’ – his fantastic cosmos – can only happen on stage, where the production obeys its own theatrical laws.
The cast includes John Bergeron as Roy Cohn; Lynnette Call as Hannah Pitt, Ethel, Henry, rabbi and angel; Jacob Chapman as Louis; Quint Mediate as Prior Walter; Matt Smith as Joe Pitt/Prior 1, the Eskimo, Mormon father and Angel Europa; Sarah Summerwell as Harper Pitt, Martin Heller and Angel Oceana; Jasmine Walker as an angel, Emily, Sister Ella, a woman, voice of Orrin, Mormon mother and a taped voice; and Tobias Wilson as Belize and Angel Africanii.

The production contains simulated sexual activity and full-frontal nudity.

Tickets are $26, with a $5 discount for seniors, faculty, staff and alumni, and an $11 discount for students with identification. For tickets or more information, call 313-577-2972 or go to theatreanddanceatwayne.com.

CENTER STAGE PLAYERS STAGE FANTASY ‘STEFANIE HERO’

It’s no fairy tale when Princess Stefanie must watch over her siblings and deal with a dragon, evil sorcerer, magic and a mysterious knight in P.S. Center Stage Player’s fantasy “Stefanie Hero.”

The youth theater production runs 7 p.m. Feb. 14, 15, 21 and 22 in the auditorium of the JoBrighton Skills Center, 4460 18th St., Wyandotte.

Directed by Penny Siler, the cast includes: Meghan Perkins of Allen Park as King Andrew; Evelyn Langlotz of Brownstown as a stagehand; MaryKate Lassiter of Newport as Sofron Isba, a baby dragon; Riverview residents Aubrey Diebold as Princess Stefanie, and Molly Pelkey as Queen Harriet Ann; Rockwood residents Megan Sarnowski as Swan Debra, and Tilly Oppelt as a stagehand; Southgate resident Sheldon Hall as Prince Ian; Trenton residents Ava Chef as the Scarlet Knight, and Zoe Chef as Princess Matilda; and Wyandotte residents Adam Bedikian as Leopold T. Bosco, a villain, Harmony Bedikian as Horace, the sorcerer’s assistant, Kathy Bedikian as Madame Zhenobia, a dragon, Julia Petrowski as the Swanlet; Landon Petrowski as Prince Zack, and Angela Wolf as the audience plant.

Tickets are $12, with a $2 discount for seniors and students, and a $7 discount for children age 12 and younger. For tickets or more information, call 734-771-0590 or go to pscenterstageplayers.com.

GET READY TO LAUGH WITH SCP’S PRODUCTION OF ‘PLAY ON!’

A theater troupe coping with a playwright’s constantly changing script, a disastrous dress rehearsal and a calamity-filled opening night generates laughter in the Southgate Community Players production of “Play On!”

The show runs 7 p.m. Feb. 8, 9 and 15, and 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at Davidson Middle School, 15800 Trenton Road, Southgate.

Directed by Rian McDonald, the cast includes: Stacy Mero of Canton Township as Violet Imbry/Diana Lassiter; Jeanne Edwards of Grosse Ile Township as Phyllis Montague; Lauren Crosman of Rockwood as Marla “Smitty” Smith/Doris the maid; Elisha Kranz of Romulus as Aggie Manville; Trenton residents Michael Lomas as Saul Watson/Dr. Rex Forbes, and Jema McCardell as Geraldine “Gerry” Dunbar; and Wyandotte residents Jessica Breeding as Louise Peary, Chuck Ingram as Henry Benish/Lord Dudley, Josie Stec as Polly Benish/Lady Margaret, and Michael Stecas Billy Carewe/Stephen Sellers.

Tickets are $18, with a $3 discount for students and seniors. For tickets or more information, call 734-282-4727 or go to showtix4u.com/events/15785.