What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

RaisinInTheSun

A Raisin in the Sun follows the Younger family—Walter, Ruth, their son Travis, and Walter’s mother Lena and sister Beneatha—as they struggle to retain their dignity and realize the American dream.

The family lives in a run-down two bedroom apartment on Chicago’s South Side, and Lena plans to use her recently-deceased husband’s life insurance money to move the family to a house in a nicer part of town. Walter and Beneatha have their own ideas about what to do with the money: Walter wants to invest it in a liquor store while Beneatha wants to use it to pay for medical school. Lena takes a portion of the money to provide the down payment on a house and gives the rest to Walter to invest and put towards Beneatha’s education. When Walter loses the money to an unscrupulous business partner, the family is left with nothing but their new home—which is in an all-white neighborhood. When a representative of the neighborhood association arrives and offers to buy them out, the Youngers must decide whether they will defer their dream for money or move into the house regardless of the resulting racial tension.

A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959 and was the first play on Broadway authored by an African-American woman, as well as the first Broadway play with an African-American director. Lorraine Hansberry drew on many of her own experiences as inspiration for the piece. Hansberry’s family moved into a house in an all-white neighborhood when she was young, and her father was part of a lawsuit regarding racially restrictive housing covenants that was argued before the Supreme Court in 1940.

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance will present A Raisin in the Sun at the Bonstelle Theatre February 12th – 21st, 2016. Please join us for this integral piece of the American dramatic canon. The theatre awaits!

Bruce Norris’ drama Clybourne Park, written in response to Raisin, will be produced at the Hilberry Theatre in February, March, and April of 2016. Read more about Clybourne Park here.

The Underground Theatre is Back for a Second Season: Who’s the Monster Now?!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUNE 24TH 2015
CONTACT: DALE DORLIN
248.554.7504
undergroundtheatre.pr@gmail.com

DETROIT ​– The Underground Theatre will produce and showcase a month long theatre frenzy for a second summer season in the Studio Theatre. The theme for this season is entitled, “Who’s The Monster Now?!”. Each weekend in July will feature one of four exploratory works from the collaborative.

“Who’s The Monster Now?!” opens July 9 with Faustus adapted from Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, followed by A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh, Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph, and She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen. Each work creates a lively atmosphere and is recognized throughout the theatre community as darkly comedic dramas. Tackling themes such as the destructive influence of power in Faustus to the convergence of fantasy and reality with She Kills Monsters, these black comedies intend to spark emotion while inciting laughter.

The collaborative presenting this season is run by students from Wayne State University with the support of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance. As The Underground Theatre reimagines the theatre experience, its vision encompasses fostering a deeper sense of community and creating a safe space to ask honest and important questions, while also looking to the audience as creative partners. Taking this into consideration, each production will feature a post-show discussion with the actors, cast, and crew immediately following the performance. These talks will cover themes and motifs of the plays as well as the creative process.

Kassy Skoretz, one of the founders of the collaborative, comments on the creation of The Underground Theatre, “We started The Underground in order to explore, experiment, and share the work that we love. Theatre is a vital and visceral art through which we ask questions about our reality. Making our own theatre has been so fulfilling and we’re excited to share that with audiences!”

Tickets start at $10 and all are encouraged to subscribe to the entire season for $38! To subscribe or purchase single tickets, call 313-577-2972, or visit the Wayne State University Theatre and Dance Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock. Tickets may also be purchased by visiting http://www.wsushows.com.

The Studio Theatre is an intimate, 110-seat, open-stage theatre in the lower level of the Hilberry Theatre on Wayne State University’s campus that is often used for experimental, student, and classroom productions. Annual programming includes the Student Stage and the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition. For nearly fifty years, the Studio Theatre has presented outstanding theatre featuring WSU undergraduate students.

A Boy, Some Bugs, and One Giant Peach

“Come right up close to me and I will show you something wonderful.”

British children’s author Roald Dahl wrote these words in his beloved novel James and the Giant Peach, published in 1961. This November, the Bonstelle Theatre will present David Wood’s theatrical adaptation of this delightful story.

peach2

James Trotter is a young orphan who lives with his cruel, neglectful aunts until he meets a strange old man who gives James a potion that is supposed to bring him grand adventures. When James accidentally spills the potion on a peach tree, it produces a single, enormous peach, complete with human-sized talking bugs living inside it. These invertebrates–a grasshopper, centipede, earthworm, spider, ladybug, silkworm, and glow-worm–invite James to live with them in the peach, and together they embark on a journey across the ocean. Along the way, James comes to love his unconventional but endearing new family.

James and the Giant Peach runs from November 13 – 22, 2015, and is also offered as a student matinee. We hope you come right up close and allow us to show you a wonderful time at the theatre.

Well that’s a terrible title

Urinetown?

Why on earth would a play have the title Urinetown? Besides the obvious play on the words “You’re In Town,” we can see social satires pushing the boundaries of what is accepted to make a point all throughout history.

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Backstage of Urinetown

After a trip to Paris—in which he thought $300 could last a couple of weeks—turned into an exercise in endurance, Greg Kotis was inspired to write of a city where a monopolizing corporation controlled all the amenities in town. Teaming up with Mark Hollman, they came up with a script that went on to be produced at the NYC Fringe. This production turned into one of the most successful shows at the Festival, leading to a successful Broadway run that began in 2001 and ran until 2004—yielding ten Tony Award nominations and three wins. Interestingly, the only reason the show closed was because the Henry Miller Theatre was scheduled for the renovation that turned it into the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

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Backstage of Urinetown

Having wanted to direct Urinetown since I saw it on Broadway, I am amazed at how pertinent Urinetown still is over a decade after it closed. Though many people pinhole the play as simply poking fun at other musicals, it reaches far beyond that. Yes, it pays homage to many notable plays throughout the musical theatre canon (look for jabs at Les Misérables, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, The Cradle Will Rock, Threepenny Opera, as well as the works of Jerry Herman and Kander & Ebb), but it is most successful at using the satirical form to make commentary on many social ills. Just as Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show comment on political and social issues, so does Urinetown. Themes of police violence, corporate influence on politics, and dissipating water due to drought can easily be imagined being spoken by John Stewart.

Hopefully, through the guise of laughter, we can raise social consciousness just a bit.

Michael J. Barnes
Director

The Bonstelle Theatre satirizes “The 1%” and popular musicals with the wickedly clever Urinetown: The Musical

DETROIT – The Bonstelle Theatre closes its 2014-15 Season at Wayne State’s Midtown theatre with the Tony Award-winning Urinetown: The Musical, playing April 17 – 26.  A hit on Broadway and in London’s West End, the wickedly smart book and lyrics satirize crony capitalism, while the score parodies popular musicals.  Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, it was originally produced on Broadway in September, 2001 by the Araca Group and Dodger Theatricals in association with TheaterDreams, Inc., and Lauren Mitchell.

Photo:  Luke Rose (Bobby Strong), Anna Busse (Hope Caldwell. Photo by Felix Li.

Photo: Luke Rose (Bobby Strong), Anna Busse (Hope Caldwell). Photo by Felix Li.

Set in a dystopian near future, a long-term water shortage opens the door for private control of the scarce water that remains.  All amenities fall under the control of The Urine Good Company and private toilets become a thing of the past.  Residents must be flush with cash in order to flush and it is a “privilege to pee.”  In the tradition of 20th century American cinema, a “little guy against the world” appears and revolution is the order of the day.  Will good prevail?

Smart and sharp-witted, Urinetown mocks not only its subject matter – cronyism, political hackery, hollow heroism, and a bit of Malthusian angst—but also how it goes about delivering its message.  Parodies of musical styles and specific musical titles—from Les Miserables to West Side Story—are the means by which the librettist and composer pursue their targeted victims, even wondering aloud in the script,  “What about a bad title? That could kill a show pretty good.”

Tickets are $20 – $25, with student rush tickets available for $15 on the day of the performance. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 313-577-2960, visiting http://www.bonstelle.com, or visiting the Wayne State University Theatre Box Office located at 4743 Cass Ave. on the corner of Hancock St.

The Cast (In Alphabetical Order)

Luke Rose of Harrison Twp. (Bobby Strong); Anna Busse of Trenton (Hope Cladwell); Garrett Michael Harris of Royal Oak (Officer Lockstock); Taylor Morrow of Warren (Little Sally); Anna Seibert of Detroit (Penelope Pennywise); Kyle Johnson, a Hilberry Acting Company member (Caldwell B. Cladwell). Also featuring: Alexis Barrerra of Hartland; Jacob Boida of Warren; Jordan Allen Fritz of Detroit; Shannon Grant of Livonia; Logan James Hart of Grosse Pointe Woods; Shannon Hurst of Warren; Dante Jones of Detroit; Annie Keris, a Hilberry Acting Company member; Shane Nelson of Windsor, ON; Patrick Roache of Detroit; Kayla Rodriguez of Dearborn Heights; Keira Schmitt of Livonia; Rachel Smith of Detroit; Kendall Rose Talbot of Sterling Heights; Michael Vultaggio of Center Line; and Samantha Lee York of Dearborn.

The Production Team

Michael J. Barnes (Director), Fred Love (Music Director), Cheryl Turski (Choreographer), Max Amitin (Scenic Designer), Sammi Geppert (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Light Designer), Michael Sabourin (Properties Master), Mike Hallberg (Sound Designer), Courtney Rasor (Stage Manager), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director),and Stephanie Slusser (Publicist).

The Bonstelle Theatre

The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style house with a 1,034-seat auditorium featuring a balcony and much of the original Beaux-Arts architecture. The Theatre was built as Temple Beth-El in 1902 and converted to the Bonstelle Playhouse in 1922.

The Bonstelle Theatre Company includes BA and BFA actors, designers, and stage managers in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of successful alumni like Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC’s Law and Order, Lackawanna Blues), Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, ABC’s Desperate Housewives), and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, NBC’s Heroes).  For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts, and corporate packages, please call the box office at 313-577-2960 or visit the theatre’s website at http://www.bonstelle.com.

The Bonstelle Theatre, Where Wayne Plays.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to over 26,000 students.

Calendar Information

April 17 – 26, 2015
Fri. 8:00 PM                        Apr. 17, Apr. 24
Sat. 8:00 PM                       Apr. 18, Apr. 25
Sun. 2:00 PM                      Apr. 19, Apr. 26

Wayne State University presents Move Deeply – The 86th Annual Spring Dance Concert at the Bonstelle Theatre

Adam McGaw and Kara Brody

Adam McGaw and Kara Brody

DETROIT – The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to announce Move Deeply, the 86th Annual Spring Dance Concert showcasing eight engaging and exciting dances by renowned guest artists, faculty, and select students. Performances are Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 – $20, with student rush tickets available for $10 on the day of the performance. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 313-577-2960, by visiting http://www.bonstelle.com, or by visiting the Wayne State University Theatre Box Office located at 4743 Cass Ave. on the corner of Hancock St.

Move Deeply features the captivating and relentlessly energetic master work “Of the Earth Far Below,accompanied by live music and choreographed by the 2014-15 Allesee Artist in Residence, Doug Varone, the director of Doug Varone and Dancers in New York City.  Guest artist Amy Chavasse presents a new work on WSU dance students capturing the idea of being shaken out of the dull rhythms of routine. Meg Paul, faculty member at WSU Theatre, will incorporate scenic drops and contemporary ballet movement vocabulary to build striking stage images. Karen Prall enlivens the program with African dance and drumming with To Sangana. CompanyOne performs a dance by WSU alumnus Aaron Smith that was recently performed in Cleveland, OH as part of the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) theatre events.

The concert also features student choreographed dances selected by the faculty for performance at the 2015 Regional American College Dance Association conference, hosted by Ohio University in March. Seniors Samuel Horning and Dana Yordy present a duet inspired by ideas of consumer culture. Senior Adam McGaw and sophomore Ashlee Merritt perform a touching and viscerally kinetic duet about different experiences of a relationship. Another highlight, also choreographed by senior Samuel Horning, is a group dance investigating family dynamics and connection.

The Production Team

Jeff Rebudal (Dance Area Head),  Meg Paul (Artistic Director), Sean Hoskins (Dance Media & Production Coordinator), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Design), Heather DeFauw (Lighting Design), Amy Schneider (Lighting Design), Peter Lawrence (Sound Design), Allison Baker (Stage Manager), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Patrick Field (Master Electrician), Amanda Schindler (Publicist)

The Bonstelle Theatre

The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style house with a 1,034-seat auditorium featuring a balcony and much of the original Beaux-Arts architecture. The Theatre was built as Temple Beth-El in 1902 and converted to the Bonstelle Playhouse in 1922.

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre & Dance has been a force on the national dance scene since the early 1900s, when Wayne State University was one of the first educational institutions to incorporate dance into its curriculum by founding director Ruth L. Murray. Today WSU students enjoy the dynamic atmosphere of a vibrant and diverse department that concentrates on performance, choreography, dance technology, and dance education. The dance program provides a wide range of national and international performance and choreographic opportunities for dance majors enriched by the dynamic cultural diversity of the City of Detroit.

The Bonstelle Theatre Company includes BA and BFA actors, designers, and stage managers in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of successful alumni like Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC’s Law and Order, Lackawanna Blues), Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, ABC’s Desperate Housewives), and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, NBC’s Heroes).  For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts, and corporate packages, please call the box office at 313-577-2960 or visit the theatre’s website at http://www.bonstelle.com.

The Bonstelle Theatre, Where Wayne Plays.

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to over 26,000 students. The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance is a vital division of Wayne State’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and carries on an 86-year tradition of leadership in dance education.

Calendar Information

Thursday 7:30 PM                            March 12
Friday 7:30 PM                                  March 13

Three Exciting New Plays Featured in WSU’s Heck-Rabi Festival

The 2015 Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Festival will take place February 26–28 at 8 p.m. and March 1 at 2 p.m. at the Studio Theatre, located underground at the Hilberry Theatre at the corner of Cass and Hancock on WSU’s campus. This year’s festival features new works from three promising playwrights who are best known as members of the acclaimed Hilberry acting ensemble.

The Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition and Festival are both named for Louise Heck-Rabi who was a dedicated writer and member of the Detroit literary scene. She created the playwriting scholarship in hopes that young Detroit writers would carry on her passion. The Heck-Rabi Festival is a unique opportunity for emerging playwrights to have their work staged. The Festival is administered by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance and the English Department and features winning finalists from the Writing Competition. This year’s winning plays were selected from six finalists, which were all presented as dramatic readings in the fall. Winning playwrights receive a scholarship and the opportunity to work with undergraduate directors, designers, and actors to realize their visions onstage at the Studio.

For tickets, call 313-577-2972, visit wsushows.com, or stop by the WSU box office located at the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Avenue, Detroit, at the corner of Cass and Hancock.

Dark Monday by Bevin Bell Hall (Nevada City, CA)
Directed by Kendall Talbot (Warren)
This dark comedy pays homage to the art of acting and many of its previous forms.

Featuring: Maggie Beson (Riverview); Ibrahim Karim (Baghdad, Iraq); Kate Martinez (Flat Rock); Graham Todd (Shelby Township)
Stage Manager: Shannon Hurst (Warren)

Good Girls by Sarah Hawkins Moan (North Manchester, IN)
Directed by Taylor Morrow (Warren)
Midlife crises are hard. Especially for a twenty-something whose mom is the one in crisis mode.

Featuring: Hanna Butcher (Taylor); Michaella Mallet (Byron); Donnevan Tolbert (Detroit); Danielle Wright (Lathrup Village)
Stage Manager: Madeline Schnorr (Marshall)

Wallpaper by Brandy Joe Plambeck (Ferndale, MI)
Directed by Carl Bentley (Flat Rock)
Based on the famous short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, a teenaged boy struggles to find his place in his changing family structure.

Featuring: Christianno DeRushia (Jackson); Malcom Harris (Chicago, IL), Clearie McCarthy (Lansing); Graham Todd (Shelby Township)
Stage Manager: Delaney O’Brien (Brighton)

Production team: Scenic Designer, Jon Pigott (Wyandotte); Costume Designers, Alyssa Gawel (Sterling Heights) and Anthony Toney (Sterling Heights); Lighting Designer, John Schmidt (Farmington Hills), Sound Designer, Valerie Frawley (Warren); Producer, Dan Finn (Armada); Production Stage Manager, Allison Baker (Bellefountaine, OH); Publicist, Kevin Replinger (Centennial, CO)

About the Studio Theatre

The Studio Theatre is an intimate, 110-seat, open-stage theatre in the lower level of the Hilberry Theatre on Wayne State University’s campus. it is often used for experimental, student, and classroom productions. Annual programming includes the Student Stage and the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition. For nearly fifty years the Studio Theatre has presented great theatre featuring WSU undergraduate students. With generous support from patrons and donors, the Studio Theatre underwent renovation in 2010. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, and group discounts, please call the box office at (313) 577-2972 or visit the theatre’s website at www.wsustudio.com

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic–programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.

Calendar Information

February 26–28 at 8:00 PM
March 1 at 2:00 PM