“Guys and Dolls” hits all the right notes at WSU’s Bonstelle Theatre

By SUE SUCHYTA  –  April 12, 2014


Are you a fan of musical theater? Do your toes tap during the entr’acte? Do you feel a rush of anticipation when the house lights dim and the curtain rises?

If so, head down to the Bonstelle Theatre at 3424 Woodward in Detroit this weekend and catch a well-performed production of Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls.”

The show runs for two weekends, with remaining performances at 8 p.m. April 12, 18 and 19, with 2 p.m. matinees April 13 and 19. There is also a 10 a.m. April 17 school matinee.

Tickets are $20 and $25, and available by calling 313-577-2960 or at wsushows.com.

Directed by Michael J. Barnes, the undergraduate Wayne State theater company packs energy and a nostalgic fifties flavor into a fast-paced show filled with favorite show tunes, excellent song and dance numbers, and a talented cast that maintains an energetic pace.

Set in 1950s New York City, “Guys and Dolls” is a classic American musical comedy with song favorites like, “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Luck Be A Lady,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”

Gamblers, nightclub dancing girls and missionaries mix it up and stymie a local police officer trying to close down the “oldest established” floating crap game in town. Romance is also in the air, as gamblers meet their match with a missionary miss and a determined nightclub doll.

Talent abounds in the cast, from the leads to the ensemble dancers.

Nick Yocum of Royal Oak as gambler Nathan Detroit and nightclub performer Keira Schmitt of Livonia as Adelaide are fun to follow as Nathan tries to extend the 14-year engagement Adelaide is determined to bring to the altar.

Jackson McLaskey of Mount Clemens as Sky Masterson is a delightful mixture of con artist and determined suitor as he pursues straitlaced missionary Sarah Brown, played by Kelly Robinson of Royal Oak, first to win a bet, and then to deliberately lose it as he puts it all on the line to win her heart.

Matthew Miazgowicz of Dearborn is wonderfully endearing as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, one of Nathan Detroit’s sidekicks, whose horse bet boasting starts the singing off strong with Benny, played by Garett Harris of Royal Oak and Rusty, played by Colin Mallory of Lansing in “Fugue for Tinhorns” as the show opens. He also delivers a strong performance in “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”

Choreographers Meg Paul and Jeff Rebudal make magic with the gamblers and the Hot Box girls, having fun and bringing out the best in both the dancers and the theater majors, making the meld smooth and seamless and giving the audience some great numbers to enjoy.  The “Havana” number is a fast-paced favorite, as is the sewer scene “Luck Be a Lady” and the Hot Box girls in the saucy “Take Back Your Mink.”

The set and costumes are as colorful and as vibrant as the cast.  In addition to the wonderful wardrobe of the leads, it is fun seeing the fifties fashion parade that the ensemble sports.

The show closes next Saturday night, so if “Guys and Dolls” is on your hit list, dust off your dice and ante up for a ticket to the “oldest established” crap game on Woodward – you can’t lose!


Guys and Dolls – The Rules of Street Craps

Guys and Dolls rehearsal

Guys and Dolls rehearsal


According to the website http://www.mademan.com/mm/street-craps-rules.html

By: Sidney Johns

Break Studios Contributing Writer

The phrase “street craps rules” is almost an oxymoron. The game is played in back alleys, back rooms and schoolyards around the world. Dating back to the early 1900s, the dice-throwing game is an illegal form of gambling. During the hardest times in United States history, the 1930s, the game flourished along the streets of large cities, including Chicago and New York. The poorest people placed their bets in the hope of making a few dollars more for the week. Mainly, they just lost their grim earnings and went hungry for the week, but a few made a living running and playing the game. Street craps remains illegal in modern times. Those who organize the games can actually be charged with racketeering. Before taking up a friendly game in your home, be sure the shades are drawn and the lights are low. Only invite those you know for sure are not stool pigeons or snitches.

  1. Dice. Street craps rules call for two regular game dice be used. Some sneaky organizers use loaded or trick dice to assure the bet placers lose.
  2. Betting. All bets must be placed when the dice are in the hand of the shooter. Street craps rules are mostly enforced when it comes to betting as it is the key to money changing hands.
  3. Pass. In street craps rules, a bet is placed as a “pass” when the shooter believes the sum total of the dice will be seven or eleven. If the dice hit these numbers, the bettor wins.
  4. Don’t pass. Street craps rules include a “don’t pass” betting option just like in a casino. This is when the bet placer thinks a two, three or twelve will be the total of the dice.
  5. Points. In street craps, if the sum of the two dice is four, five, six, eight, nine or ten, it makes a point. These points act as carry over bets for the next round.
  6. Shooter. There is only one shooter at any given time. In street craps, the shooter is the person throwing the dice. The shooter can bet or pass.
  7. Fingers. According to the rules of street craps, all fingers must be kept clear of the shooting area. This goes for feet and other body parts as well.
  8. Player additions. There is no limit on the number of players in street craps. Players may be added between any throw that does not include previous points.
  9. Bounce. Street craps rules require that the dice bounce off a wall or other back stop. If the dice do not bounce, the throw is no good and must be redone.
  10. Run. Possibly the most important street craps rule is to run if the police show up. Illegal gambling is not smiled on by local authorities.

Guys and Dolls runs April 11 – April 19, 2014 at the Bonstelle Theatre.  Purchase tickets today!

The Hilberry Theatre Announces its 2014-15 Season

BTL Full PageDETROIT – On Friday, February 21, following the opening of Ken Ludwig’s show-biz comedy, Moon Over Buffalo, the Hilberry Theatre Company announced its 2014-15 Season, the 52nd for the cornerstone institution in Midtown Detroit.

From Shakespeare’s perfect love story Romeo and Juliet to Congreve’s drole wit in The Way of the World to An Enemy of the People, Ibsen’s masterpiece reimagined by Arthur Miller, the Hilberry continues its trademark commitment to exhibiting the classics.

The Hilberry Company also offers three of the best comic romps written in the last half century: the 2008 Tony-winning revision of the classic French farce Boeing-Boeing, the dazzlingly wordplay of David Ives in All in the Timing, and The 39 Steps, a celebrated spoof of Hitchcock’s film classic of the same title. Together, these have a combined 19 Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations and 5 wins.

Season tickets are on sale now! To subscribe, call (313) 577-2972 or visit the Wayne State University Theatre and Dance Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

Subscribers are an integral part of the Hilberry community and they enjoy up to 35% off single ticket prices, priority seating, exchange privileges, lost ticket insurance, free coffee, a complimentary subscription to our newsletter, and an invitation to the annual Subscriber Party and Open House, which will take place on March 30, 2014.


Boeing Boeing
By Marc Camoletti
September 19 – October 4, 2014
Translated by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans
French bachelor Bernard lives a happy, structured life according to strict airline timetables – the American stewardess for breakfast, the Italian one for lunch, and the German for dinner!  The 2008 revised translation won 2 Tony Awards.

Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
October 24 – December 13, 2014
Shakespeare’s riveting romantic tragedy tells the tale of star-crossed lovers and the life of hatred and violence between their feuding families.  One of the best loved and most performed of Shakespeare’s work, the Hilberry has scheduled 10 morning matinees intended for area school groups.

All in the Timing
By David Ives
November 21, 2014 – January 31, 2015
Six hilarious one-acts from renowned playwright David Ives. From chimpanzees composing the complete works of William Shakespeare to the complexities facing minimalist composer Philip Glass while buying a loaf of bread, it’s non-stop madness! Winner of the 1993-1994 Outer Critics Award for “Best Playwriting”.

The Way of the World
By William Congreve
January 16 – March 7, 2015
Marriages of convenience and inconvenient marriages are propelled along on a wave of spectacular wit in Congreve’s mockery of upper-class foibles. This Restoration comedy is a Hilberry premiere.

An Enemy of the People
By Arthur Miller, adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s play
February 20 – March 28, 2015
Two brothers’ dispute over safety and civic duty divide their town. Who will gain the support of the public and who will become an Enemy of the People?

The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan from the movie of Alfred Hitchcock
April 10 – 25, 2015
This hilarious spoof of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller will have you laughing from start to finish. The Drama Desk and Olivier Award-winner blends frenzied performances and wildly inventive stagecraft with spies, murder, and some good old-fashioned romance!


The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at the Bonstelle Theatre

Also announced on Friday are the titles offered by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at the historic Bonstelle Theatre. The Bonstelle Theatre 2014-15 Season has a wide variety of entertaining performances, including classic comedy and drama, fantastic dance performances, and a hilarious musical.

++Currently available to Hilberry subscribers only, Bonstelle Theatre packages will go on sale March 20.

All’s Well That Ends Well
By William Shakespeare
When Helena sets her sights on Bertram – an uninterested nobleman, out of her league – she does whatever it takes to forge the perfect match.

Peter Pan
By J.M. Barrie, adapted by Janet Allard
Peter Pan, the boy who doesn’t grow up, enchants the Darling children, who fly away with him to Neverland and explore a land of lost boys, imagination, and dreams! A perfect family outing!

December Dance Concert
A showcase of dance works created by guest artists, recent works by Wayne State University dance faculty, and student dances.

By August Wilson
This Tony Award-winning classic follows an African American father and son as they struggle through unfulfilled hopes and shattered dreams during the American civil-rights era.

Spring Dance Concert
A dynamic evening, highlighting WSU’s talented dancers in innovative performances choreographed by widely-recognized guest artists, faculty members, and students.

Urinetown: The Musical
Music by Mark Hollmann. Lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis. Book by Greg Kotis
In this Tony Award-winning satirical musical, a long drought has caused an epic water shortage, making free toilets a thing of the past, and wreaking havoc on the bladders of the poor. 

Theatre & Dance at Wayne Announces the 2013-2014 Season

DETROIT – The Wayne State University Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance announces its 2013-2014 season, showcasing a mix of both classic and modern plays that is sure to have something every theatergoer can enjoy. Subscriptions start as low as $102 and go on sale March 1, 2013. In addition to a traditional Hilberry or Bonstelle subscription package, Theatre & Dance at Wayne is also offering packages as well as memberships to the theatres for more value and convenience for busy theatre patrons.

To subscribe, call (313) 577-2972 or visit the Wayne State University Theatres Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock. Subscribers are an integral part of the Hilberry community and they enjoy discounted prices, priority seating, exchange privileges, lost ticket insurance, free coffee,  and a free subscription to our newsletter. Package and membership holders also enjoy a few more benefits than the single ticket buyer.

At the Bonstelle Theatre:

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Described as “the greatest American play ever written,” this story illuminates two unexceptional families living unremarkable lives over the span of several generations in small town America. This 1938 Pulitzer Prize winner is a touching and thoughtful look at life’s extraordinary journey.

’Twas the Night Before Christmas by Jennifer Kirkeby and Shirley Mier

A whimsical reimagining of the classic Christmas poem! Writer Clement Moore is working on a tough assignment from the New York Evening Post: President James Monroe desires a holiday feature story to read Christmas morning. As Clement struggles with writer’s block, he dawdles by enjoying the season with his family.

In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney

As a girl, Oya must choose between her dream of being a star athlete and caring for her mother. As a woman, she’s torn between the man she lives with and the man she can’t live without. This fusion of contemporary African-American culture and elements from Yoruba mythology is an inspiring story about how our choices make us who we are.

85th Annual Spring Dance Concert

Each spring in March, the dance department curates a collection of dance works choreographed by students, faculty and guest artists. Each piece may employ various disciplines from ballet and jazz to modern, some of the work being reconstructions of prominent choreographers, as well as many premieres.

Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling, and Abe Burrows

The 1951 winner of five Tony Awards including Best Musical, this classic exposes the gritty 1920s New York underworld. Renowned for his craps game, Nathan Detroit wagers another gambler that he can’t make the next girl he sees fall in love with him—the pretty, pious band leader of the local Mission. This “perfect musical comedy” is a sure bet!

At the Hilberry Theatre:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Obsessed with ambition upon learning of his destiny to become king from the prophesying Weird Sisters, Macbeth is spurred to assassination by his determined and stout-hearted wife. They descend into the depths of murder and madness, but Macduff leads the vengeful attack against the Macbeths before they can wash the blood from their hands.

Big Love by Charles L. Mee

Fifty brides forced to marry their fifty cousins are on the run—only to be pursued and discovered by the fifty grooms. In this modern adaptation of The Suppliant Women by Aeschylus, you’ll plunge and soar on this roller coaster of comedic mayhem, harsh realities, and the occasional pop song. This dark comedy explores human rights, gender politics, and love.

A Doctor In Spite of Himself by Molière, Adapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp

Hold on to your hats with this laugh-out-loud comedy that begins—as many do—with the soured relationship between a husband and wife. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned when a wife dastardly turns her husband into a doctor. Mistaken identity, lighthearted romance, naughty innuendo, and irreverent hijinks ensue in this ridiculous façade.

Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moisés Kauffman

In 1895, playwright and wit Oscar Wilde was put on trial for his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, which led to charges of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons.” This dramatically clever piece illustrates the ever-continuing conflict between art and morality in a way that Wilde himself would have approved.

Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig

From the author of Lend Me a Tenor, this whimsical backstage farce piles hysterical misunderstandings on top of madcap misadventures. Fading stars George and Charlotte Hays duke it out during their tour to save their theatre company and their marriage. They are given a (last) chance at fame if they can just figure out which show they are performing!

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts

The Westons represent the modern American family dealing with deteriorating health and relationships on the plains of Oklahoma. Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, this dark comedy fluctuates between sidesplitting humor and gut-wrenching despair as we watch the family struggle to support each other through overwhelming circumstances.

About Theatre and Dance at Wayne

Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance serves students as a nexus of performance, production and research in the fields of dance, theatre, and performance studies. It provides a wide choice of degree programs that allow students the flexibility to study these disciplines broadly or to concentrate more specifically in performance or management. The dance program is one of the longest-running in the U.S., tracing its beginning to Ruth Lovell Murray’s founding of the Dance Workshop in 1928. The theatre program is internationally recognized as a training ground for theatre professionals. The Hilberry Theatre is the nation’s longest-running graduate repertory company. The two programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance and the National Association of Schools of Theatre, respectively.

REVIEW: Bonstelle’s ‘Bat Boy’ a must-see musical

Review by Robert Delaney, New Monitor

View production photos or join the Facebook Event!

'Bat Boy: The Musical' Credit: Kevin Replinger

‘Bat Boy: The Musical’
Credit: Kevin Replinger

A freakish creature often reported on by the Weekly World News is discovered in a West Virginia cave in “Bat Boy: The Musical,” being given a superb production at Wayne State University’s Bonstelle Theatre in Midtown Detroit.

Yes, after all these years of seeing him stare at you from the front page of that supermarket tabloid as you waited in the checkout line, Bat Boy is the subject of a lavish stage musical, thanks to Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, who wrote the book, and the music and lyrics of Laurence O’Keefe.

And Bat Boy is bringing delight, not terror, to Detroit audiences, thanks to this splendid production directed by Michael J. Barnes and performed by a truly impressive undergraduate cast.

The show is surprisingly great fun to watch, and many aspects of this WSU production rise above what one would normally expect of even a good college production.

This is most especially true of the outstanding and genuinely professional quality performances of Nicholas Yocum as Bat Boy, Britta Peele as Shelley Parker and Bridgette Jordan as Reverend Billy Hightower.

Yocum scores high marks for not only his acting and singing, but also for the agile athleticism he brings to the role.

This has been quite a season for Peele, a graduating senior in WSU’s program. She earlier wowed area audiences with her portrayal of Lolia in “Hamtown Races” at the Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck and as Annie in “Cancer, the Musical” at the Marlene Boll Theatre downtown. If you have yet to see this very talented young actress or hear her excellent singing voice, make sure you catch her in this production.

Also giving truly impressive performances are Kelly Robinson as Meredith Parker, Jackson McLaskey as Dr. Thomas Parker and Luke Rose as Rick Taylor. But the entire cast can be justly proud of the success of this production, as can the musical ensemble, led by Devon L. Hansen, and those who worked the technical side of things.

Scenic designer Curtis Green, costume designer Mary Gietzen, lighting designer Brian M. Scruggs and choreographer J.M. Rebudal are certainly among those who deserve great credit for their roles.

How sad that such a sensational production should only run for two weekends! But there is still time to get tickets to one of this weekend’s final three performances.

“Bat Boy: The Musical” continues through April 21, with performances at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, at the Bonstelle Theatre, 3424 Woodward Ave., a block south of Mack. For ticket information, call the WSU Theatre box offi ce at (313) 577-2960 or visit http://www.wsushows.com.

REVIEW: The Bonstelle brings the cult hit ‘Bat Boy: The Musical’ to Motown

Review by Patty Nolan, The Examiner

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

View production photos or join the Facebook Event!

Thomas Parker (Jackson McLaskey, center) and Bat Boy (Nicholas Yocum, right) Credit: Kevin Replinger

Thomas Parker (Jackson McLaskey, center) and Bat Boy (Nicholas Yocum, right)
Credit: Kevin Replinger

“Bat Boy: The Musical,” by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming, and Laurence O’Keefe, is the campy cult hit that doesn’t lend itself to easy handles. Not unlike “Little Shop of Horrors,” this show has terrific music, an unlikely romance, and a primary character with a thirst for fresh blood. Did we mention a few grisly murders thrown in for good measure?

But “Bat Boy” is in a class by itself – a send up of the classic tabloid story from Weekly World News about the adventures of a half-bat/half-boy creature. And it is a riveting, riotous piece of fun from start to finish. We really can’t recommend it enough.

The Bonstelle Theatre company, under the direction of Michael J. Barnes, finds exactly the right tone to pull off a dark comedy like this one. And that tone is sincerity. The more the characters play it straight, the funnier the situations become for the audience. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that many of the characters are played by cross-dressing actors. Women play boys, sheriffs, and gospel-song-slinging revival-style preachers (shout out to Bridgette Jordan) and men play crazy cat ladies and white trash mommas. And then there’s the Bat Boy.

Nicholas Yocum is exceptional in the role of the feral creature found in a cave in West Virginia and brought home to live with the family of local veterinarian, Dr. Parker (the always brilliant Jackson McLaskey), his wife Meredith (the gifted Kelly Robinson) and daughter Shelley (the perfect ingenue, Britta Peele). Something about the Bat Boy brings out all of Meredith’s maternal instincts. She names him Edgar, and in a series of delightful scenes we watch as he progresses from a few rudimentary words to a mastery of the language that rivals the sophisticates of Downton Abbey.

Unfortunately, before he was “tamed,” Edgar bit one of children who dragged him out of his cave at the opening of the show. Little Ruthie doesn’t seem to be healing quite right. And the good God-fearing, blood-thirsty town folk begin to suspect that Edgar is also behind recent losses in their cattle herd. Meanwhile, Edgar, well … let’s just say he has his own quirky appetite to contend with.

Will the town folk give Edgar a chance? Will any cattle make it to the end of the play? What is the secret to Bat Boy’s unholy origins? And will we all learn to embrace our inner Bat Boy? You simply have to see this zany musical to discover how it all turns out.

The opening night crowd at the Bonstelle hooted and cheered throughout the show – and it’s easy to understand why this play has its own cult following. We could cheerfully go see it again before it closes. But perhaps the best point of view on this show comes right from the spotlight.

Nicholas Yocum, who has appeared in several Bonstelle productions, was nice enough to answer our questions about his acting career and what it’s like to play Bat Boy.

Q. I’ve seen you in a number of shows – including at Stagecrafters – how long have you been performing?

Nicholas: I’ve been acting since I was 8-years-old. That would make it fifteen years. I grew up doing a lot of community theatre, especially at Stagecrafters – that place will always hold a special place in my heart. I also did a couple of shows with Michigan Opera Theatre.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about this role? Can you compare it to anything else you’ve done?

Nicholas: I love everything about this role. I get quite a workout every night, physically and vocally. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done for that exact reason. I’m not sure that there are a lot of roles around that push your body to its limits as well as challenge you with a high-range, unrelenting vocal part. But I do love every second of performing it, especially since I have so many friends up on stage with me. If I had to choose one aspect of the role, it would have to be the blood. It’s surprisingly tasty!

Q. What should we tell people who aren’t familiar with the play that will make them want to see it?

Nicholas: Tell people that this play has anything and everything, literally, that musical theatre has to offer. Comedy, tragedy, parody, romance, thrills, and of course an amazing score. And they will get it all in two hours!

That sums it up pretty nicely. We’d add in that it also has an outstanding cast, orchestra and crew including:

Jacqueline Fenton (Allen Park, MI) EnsembleIvy Haralson (Belleville, MI) Ron Taylor,Bridgette Jordan (Southfield, MI) Reverend Billy HightowerSara Kline (Madison Heights, MI)Sheriff Reynolds ,Alyssa Lucas (Garden City, MI) MaggieColin Mallory (East Lansing, MI)Pan/DaisyJackson McLaskey (Mt. Clemens, MI) Dr. Thomas ParkerMatthew Miazgowicz(Dearborn, MI) LorraineShane Nelson (Windsor, ON) BudBritta Peele (Harrison Township, MI)Shelley ParkerJonathan Pigott (Wyandotte, MI) EnsembleKelly Robinson (Royal Oak, MI)Meredith ParkerLuke Rose (Harrison Township, MI) Rick TaylorAnthony Scamihorn(Marshall, MI) Mrs. TaylorAnna Seibert (Detroit, MI) Ruthie Taylor/NedNicholas Yocum(Royal Oak, MI) Bat Boy/Edgar.

And on the production side:

Michael J. Barnes (Director), Julia Moriarty (Assistant Director), Jeffrey Michael Rebudal(Choreographer), Daniel Greig (Music Director), Devon L. Hansen (Conductor/Piano), Shane McKeever (Second Keyboard), John Gallo (Guitar), Josh Bartolomeo (Bass), David Zwolinski (Percussion), Meghan Lynch (Stage Manager), Curtis Green (Scenic Designer),Anthony Karpinski (Technical Director and Properties Master), Mary Gietzen (Costume Designer), Brian M. Scruggs (Lighting Designer), Tyler Ezell (Sound Designer), ShanandAlexandra Stewart (Publicity Manager).

You should definitely go see the Bonstelle strut their stuff, but you have to act quickly, because it only runs two weekends.

“Bat Boy” appears at the Bonstelle Theatre through April 21, 2013. Show times are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $20-$25 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, visiting the website, or stopping by the Wayne State University Theatres Box Office located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock, inside the Hilberry Theatre. The Bonstelle Theatre is located at 3424 Woodward Avenue, one block south of Mack Avenue at Eliot.

REVIEW: Monstrous Mammals! “Bat Boy: The Musical” at the Bonstelle

Reviewd by Sue Suchyta

Click HERE to read the review on Sue’s blog.

View production photos!

Nicholas Yocum  (center, kneeling) as the Bat Boy and Bridgette Jordan (standing , center) as the Reverend  attend a revival meeting with the townfolk. (Photo by Kevin Replinger)

Nicholas Yocum (center, kneeling) as the Bat Boy and Bridgette Jordan (standing , center) as the Reverend attend a revival meeting with the townfolk. (Photo by Kevin Replinger)

The rock ‘n’ roll show “Bat Boy: The Musical” flies out of its cave and into the Bonstelle to close out the Wayne State University undergraduate theatre’s 2012 – 2013 season.

The musical, first performed on Halloween in 1997, drew inspiration from a 1992 fictional account of a Bat Boy chronicled in the tabloid “Weekly World News.”

“Bat Boy” opened April 12 and runs for two weekends, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. The theatre is on Woodward Avenue at Elliot in Detroit.

Tickets are $20 to $25 and are available by phone or online. For more information, call (313) 577-2960 or go to www.bonstelle.com.

When a local veterinarian and his family adopt a boy with bat-like features found living in a cave, residents of their small town become suspicious.

The townspeople exhibit hypocrisy, racism and revenge, which for some lead eventually to understanding, forgiveness and acceptance. The show’s serious themes are interspersed slapstick, surrealism and a campy sense of humor.

There are Biblical allusions, and references to humans exploring their dark side or animalistic urges as they answer the drive to fulfill their needs as a species for food, sex, power and control. The play hints at the need for humans to embrace their basic animal instincts so as a species they will no longer fear their base desires and urges.

The story is many things, and one senses from the beginning that the end will not be happy – this is not a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Audiences accept early on that death will happen, there will be sadness, and the survivors will not be celebrants.

It is, however, a different type of show, and well performed. Viewers will either love or hate the storyline; indifference is not an option.

Likewise, the acting and production talent is very much evident.

The Bonstelle cast and production team are top notch. Directed by Michael Barnes, with choreographer Jeffrey Michael Rebudal and music director Daniel Greig, the actors display an energetic devotion to the show, delivering a fast-paced production with strong acting, singing and dancing.

The songs, while well-performed, are not as memorial as musical songs often are; and while rock ‘n’ roll works fine for some musicals, there are not any signature songs that one leaves the theater humming or singing.

Most of the sixteen cast members performed multiple roles and all had rapid, multiple costume changes.

Stand-outs in the cast include Nicholas Yocum of Royal Oak as the Bat Boy, Kelly Robinson as Royal Oak as Meredith Parker and Britta Peele of Harrison Township as Shelley Parker.

Bridgette Jordan of Southfield as the revival reverend, Alyssa Lucas of Garden City as the mayor and Matthew Miazgowicz of Dearborn as Lorraine and other cameo roles are notable as well.

The multi-level set designed by Curtis Green is creative and versatile, segueing from a subterranean cave to a suburban home with a quick flick of the stage magic wrist. Fred Florkowski, technical director, and stage manager Meghan Lynch, contribute to the stage magic as well, with exceptional lighting design by Brian Scruggs.

Kudos to properties master Anthony Karpinski and costume designer Mary Gietzen.

The casting is fascinatingly androgynous, perhaps to remind audiences that humans are merely predatory mammals dressed in pseudo-civilizing sheepskin.