Meet the Cast – Jazz Duet in a Minor Key

Katelin Maylum (Karyn) is a third-year BA theatre student. Recent credits include the Feminist Collective of Detroit’s Vagina Monologues. This is her first show at WSU.

Doug Lubaway (Charles) is a third-year BA theatre major. Previous WSU credits include Our Town and Fantasio.

Katelin Maylum (left) Doug Lubaway (right)

Katelin Maylum (left) Doug Lubaway (right)


Meet the Directors – Katelyn Foster, Shannon Hurst, Kelly Robinson, and Lisa Youngs

Katelyn Foster  Foster

Katelyn is in her fourth year at Wayne State University studying theater and German.  She was last seen on the Bonstelle Stage as Mrs. Webb in Our Town. She is very excited to be directing for the first time in the Studio Theater. Next year she will be studying abroad in Germany and interning at Rationaltheater, an independent theater in Munich.

Katie is the director for The Crate by David Sterritt, playing February 28 and March 6 and 8 at the Heck-Rabi Festival.

Katie in rehearsal

Katie in rehearsal

HurstShannon Hurst

Shannon Hurst is a third year BFA acting student who is excited to be working on the Heck-Rabi Festival for the third year in a row! Previously, she stage managed two Heck-Rabi productions: The Diary of Herbie and Madge and A New Play by Neil Simon. WSU acting credits include The Crucible, The Woman in Black, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Shannon is directing Genius, or Crazy? by Megan Barbour. See it February 27, and March 1 and 7 at the Heck-Rabi Festival.

Shannon in rehearsal

Shannon in rehearsal

RobinsonKelly Robinson

Kelly is a fourth-year BFA acting major. WSU credits include Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Hairspray, Broken Glass and Bat Boy.

Kelly’s show, For the Kids by Brent Griffith, will run every night of the Heck-Rabi Festival, February 27-28 and March 1 and 6-8.

Kelly in rehearsal

Kelly in rehearsal

YoungsLisa Youngs

Lisa is a senior BFA acting major. She has been seen at WSU in Savage in Limbo, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Arabian Nights and this semester’s Birth and After Birth at the Studio Theatre. She is ecstatic to try the directing hat on for size with Jazz Duet in a Minor Key!

Jazz Duet in a Minor Key by Topher Payne will run every night of the Heck-Rabi Festival, February 27-28 and March 1 and 6-8.

lisa in rehearsal

Lisa in rehearsal

Heck-Rabi Festival: A History

Furnishings, 2010

Furnishings, 2010

Since the first competition in the 2001-02 Season, the Heck-Rabi Festival has provided an opportunity for young playwrights to see their work produced at the Studio Theatre since the first competition in the 2001-02 Season. The featured plays are selected from entries to the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition, sponsored by a collaboration between the Department of Theatre and Dance and the English Department at Wayne State University. Finalists in the competition receive a reading in the fall, and winners are selected for full productions at the Festival each spring.

Brutelles, 2005

Brutelles, 2005

Winners of the very first annual competition in 2002 included Supertrain by Fred Shahadi, a graduate of the Hilberry Graduate Repertory Training Program; Mirror Images by Mildordean Luster, who was, at the time, the Director of Arts Education at the Detroit Repertory Theatre; and Saturday Night at the Agora by Christopher W. Grant, another Hilberry graduate, who also went on to place in the second annual Heck-Rabi Competition.

The Festival continues to provide production and scholarship opportunities to playwrights since that first season.  This year’s winning plays will be featured at the Festival February 27-March 8. Tickets are available at

Supertrain Fred Shahadi
Mirror Images Milfordean Luster
Saturday Night at the Agora Christopher W. Gilbert
The Real Thing Joshua Eikenberry
At Ease Eddie Collins
There Were Roses Christopher W. Gilbert
Life Game Blair Franklin
Storm Warning Isaac Williams, Jr.
Cutting In Andrew Huff
The Brutelles Ian Drife
Just Enough Time Tony Bozzuto
The Milkman Ian Drife
Drinks and Dancing Carly Germany
Sheepish Love Justin Vidovic
Zoo Swan Danielle Etienne
Absolute Value Pietro
Waiting with Beckett Christopher M. Bohan
Bleeding Red Michael Brian Ogden
Stop Your Ears Andrew Charles Lark
The Kings of Unionville James Kuhl
Help Wanted Dylan Stuckey
Dog Girl Suicide Lauren Reynolds
Easy As Hard Can Be Alan Ball
Furnishings Gregory Bailey
All Kinds of Men Erman Jones
The Diary of Herbie and Madge Dave Toomey
Poinsettia Blues Carollette Phillips
Her Edmund Alyn Jones
A New Play by Neil Simon David Toomey
Hurts So Good Carollette Phillips and Edmund Alyn Jones
Chiseled Laura Heikkinen
For the Kids Brent Griffith
Jazz Duet in a Minor Key Topher Payne
Genius, or Crazy? Megan Barbour
The Crate David Sterritt

Meet the Playwright – David Sterritt, “The Crate”

David Sterritt

David Sterritt

David is a Certified Teacher through the Society of American Fight Directors and founded the A-Town Throw Down in Atlanta, Ga. in 2011. He is currently pursuing his MFA in acting at Wayne State as part of the Hilberry Repertory Theatre. He recieved his BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and studied at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia this past summer receiving his Advanced Theatre Training Certificate.  Some Hilberry Credits include Billy (The Cripple of Inishmaan), Constantine (Big Love), and Kenny in the Michigan premiere of Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit. Select Atlanta credits include Hamlet the Musical, Macbeth, Twelfth Night and Richard III at the Shakespeare Tavern; Slasher at Actor’s Express, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Fabrefaction Theatre Company.

David Sterritt in the Hilberry Theatre production of A Doctor In Spite of Himself, 2013. Photo by Bruce Giffin.

David Sterritt in the Hilberry Theatre production of A Doctor In Spite of Himself, 2013. Photo by Bruce Giffin.

You can see David’s play The Crate at the 2014 Heck-Rabi Festival in the Studio Theatre, February 28 or March 6 or 8.


REVIEW: ‘The Arabian Nights’ by Mary Zimmerman proves the power of a story well told

Reviewed by Patty Nolan, The Examiner

Click HERE to read the review on the Examiner’s website.

Yesmeen Mikhail as Scheherezade and Luke Rose as Shahryar  in "The Arabian Nights" at The Bonstelle Theatre.Photo credit:  Patrick Pozezinski

Yesmeen Mikhail as Scheherezade and Luke Rose as Shahryar in “The Arabian Nights” at The Bonstelle Theatre.
Photo credit: Patrick Pozezinski

If you’re like most Americans, any mention of the “1001 Arabian Nights” conjures Technicolor images inspired by Disney. But Sinbad, Ali Baba, Aladdin and the Genie are nowhere to be seen in the Bonstelle Theatre’s new production of “The Arabian Nights.” And for good reason.

When Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman adapted the collection of ancient Persian, Indian and Arabic tales into a resonating stage play, she deliberately left out the stories we know best. Instead of focusing on the fantastic, her funny, anachronistic retelling reveals and revels in the humanistic. Produced during the Gulf War, Zimmerman used the beloved, centuries-old stories to show audiences that, politics aside, we are all very much the same.

View slideshow: ‘The Arabian Nights’

It works. Because we can’t help but understand that we are laughing, or cheering, or feeling sad for the characters in the same way that those ancient people must have.

In this Bonstelle production, directed by WSU PhD candidate Jennifer Goff, we are treated to a colorful, over-the-top show. The scenic design by Leazah Behrens is a lush swirl of carpets, silken drapes, tasseled pillows and all the trappings of an exotic Persian palace. The costumes by Donna Buckley are lavish and clever – designed to help the large cast play multiple roles.

This is still essentially the tale of Scheherazade, the young woman who must weave a new story every night in order to postpone the death sentence imposed by her misogynistic husband, the King Shahryar. But if you’re thinking about bringing the little kiddies, hold off. This version of “The Arabian Nights” is geared more toward the tastes of mature audiences.

The play opens with the king choking his first, unfaithful wife to death. Not so funny. Not so G-rated. These stories include violence, infidelity and even epic flatulence. Apparently, the comedic appeal of a good fart is universal. This show is funny. Surprisingly so. And the huge Bonstelle cast is just wonderful. With each new story that Scheherazade tells, the ensemble brings it to life. Every actor plays multiple roles – some serious, sad and romantic – but many of them are worthy of your favorite bit of slapstick. And we like these characters. We want them to survive, find their true loves and make lots of babies.

And that’s what Zimmerman is trying to tell us. As human beings, our stories are essentially the same. We weep when our hearts are broken. We laugh when someone breaks wind. We yield too often to temptation. But sometimes we do the right thing. And that makes life worth celebrating and sharing. Just like this charming Bonstelle production.

The spectacular Bonstelle company includes: Zyle Christian-Cook (Marcellus, MI) as Butcher and Others, Robert J. Hammond (Troy, MI) as Jester and Others, Ivy Haralson (Belleville, MI) as Perfect Love and Others, Garett Harris (Royal Oak, MI) as Boy and Others, Sharayah Johnson (Birch Run, MI) as Greengrocer and Others, Derell Jones (Detroit, MI) as Pastrycook and Others, Alyssa Lucas (Garden City, MI) as Abu al-Hasan and Others, Sydney Machesky (Allen Park, MI) as Dunyazade and Others, Taylor Morrow (Warren, MI) as Girl and Others, Jackson McLaskey (Mt. Clemens, MI) as Clarinetist and Others, Michael Meike (Clinton TWP) as Wazir and Others, Yesmeen Mikhail (Wyandotte, MI) as Scheherezade and Others, Luke Rose (Harrison TWP, MI) as Shahryar and Others, Laith Salim (Dearborn, MI) as Harun al-Rashid and Others, Nicholas Yocum (Royal Oak, MI) as Madman and Others and Lisa Youngs (Wyandotte, MI) as Sympathy the Learned and Others.

“The Arabian Nights” runs at The Bonstelle Theatre in Detroit through February 17. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12-$15 and are availableonline, by phone (313) 577-2960, or by visiting the Wayne State University Theatres’ Box Office located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

Thanks for Attending ‘The Snow Queen!’

We hope you enjoyed The Snow Queen as much as we enjoyed creating it! Check out our Facebook page for even more photos! Congratulations again to the cast, crew, and entire production team.

Click on any of the photos below to enlarge.


PRESS RELEASE: Arabian Nights

The Bonstelle Theatre Announces Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman to Replace Playboy of the West Indies for the 2012-2013 Season

Arabian Nights - The Bonstelle Theatre, Detroit MI

The Bonstelle Theatre has added Arabian Nights to its 62nd Season!
February 8, 2013 – February 17, 2013


DETROIT – The Bonstelle Theatre announces the addition of Arabian Nights to replace Playboy of the West Indies in its 2012-2013 season, running for a limited engagement from February 8 through 17, 2013. Mary Zimmerman, the Tony Award-winning director, revitalizes an age-old story of a young maiden who must captivate her husband with spellbinding narratives in order to prevent him from executing her. Tickets are $12-$15 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, by visiting, or by visiting the Wayne State University Theatres’ Box Office located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

Mary Zimmerman is the renowned director and playwright behind such plays as Journey to the West, Metamorphoses, Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Secret in the Wings, and Argonautika. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, as well as the winner of a Tony Award for Best Direction in 2002 for her work on Metamorphoses. Her adaptation of Arabian Nights was completed in 1992 and won her a nomination in 1994 for a Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Director of a Play).

The play is directed by Jennifer Goff, a PhD candidate who most recently directed Trouble in Mind and Savage in Limbo at the Studio Theatre, and is making her debut at the Bonstelle Theatre. She expresses her excitement for the play in saying: “Mary Zimmerman’s Arabian Nights is a gorgeous, magical tale about the power of stories to entertain, to heal, and generally to awaken what’s most human in each of us. It’s the kind of play I’m so excited to be doing here and now, because it really is a celebration of diverse cultures and peoples, and how much more we have in common than we may think.”

The cast includes (in alphabetical order)

Zyle Cook (Marcellus, MI) as Butcher, Rahbi Hammond (Troy, MI) as Jester, Ivy Haralson (Belleville, MI) as Perfect Love, Garret Harris (Royal Oak, MI) as Shop Assistant, Sharayah Johnson (Birch Run, MI) as Greengrocer, Derell Jones (Detroit, MI) as Pastrycook, Alyssa Lucas (Garden City, MI) as Abu al-Hasan, Sydney Machesky  (Shelby Twp, MI) as Dunyazade, Jackson McLaskey (Mt. Clemens, MI) as Sheikh, Michael Meike (Clinton Twp, MI) as Wazir, Yesmeen Mikhail (Wyandotte, MI) as Scheherazade, Taylor Morrow (Warren, MI) as Slave Girl, Laith Salim (Dearborn, MI) as Harun al-Rashid, Nicholas Yocum (Royal Oak, MI) as Madman, and Lisa Youngs (Wyandotte, MI) as Sympathy.

About the Bonstelle Theatre

The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style house with a 1,143-seat auditorium featuring a balcony. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of such successful alumni as 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 (313) 577-2960 or visit

Season sponsored by CBS Outdoor, Between the Lines, and Encore Michigan.