Theatre and Dance at Wayne State presents Annual December Dance Concert

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Wayne State University is proud to present the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance December Dance Concert on Friday, December 5th at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 7th at 2:00 p.m.  The December Dance Concert highlights the work of renowned guest artists, faculty, and select students. Performances are at the Bonstelle Theatre, 3424 Woodward Avenue, in midtown Detroit. Tickets range from $10-$20 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, online at Bonstelle.com, or at the Hilberry Theatre box office.

The 2014 December Dance Concert features eight diverse works, including the relentlessly energetic Of the Earth Far Below, choreographed by the 2014-15 Allesee Artist in Residence, Doug Varone, director of Doug Varone and Dancers in New York City. Biba Bell’s assembly illuminates dance as more than the sum of its parts, as a single dancer sets the ensemble into motion. The program also features Haitian Suite, an African dance offering by To Sangana, the Wayne State African Dance Workshop Company and Doubt, a hip hop piece by faculty member Travis Staton-Marrero.

The concert features select student choreography by Samuel Horning, Christina Chammas, and Lydia Di Iorio. Horning, a senior and president of the Dance Workshop Company, presents a skillfully crafted group dance investigating family dynamics and connection. Chammas draws inspiration from poetry, weaving text with physical partnering and full stage pictures to create touching landscapes. Soloist Di Iorio’s delivers poignant spoken word while dancing, adeptly engaging the viewer.

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, guided 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 Allesee Artist-in-Residence 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 Production Team Includes:
Jeff Rebudal (Dance Area Head & Artistic Director); Eva Powers (Asst. Artistic Director); Sean Hoskins (Production Coordinator); Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer); Heather DeFauw (Lighting Designer); Valerie Frawley (Sound Designer); Ryan Jones (Stage Manager); Brian Dambacher (Technical Director); Mark Sharrow (Costume Coordinator); Amy Schneider (Assistant Lighting Designer); Peter Lawrence (Apprentice Lighting Designer);  John Schmidt (Apprentice Lighting Designer);  Patrick Field (Master Electrician/Sound/Light Staff); Jason Goldman (Publicist)

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Review: ‘A Song for Coretta’ at WSU’s Studio Theatre raises awareness and lifts spirits

by Patty Nolan for Detroit Theater Examiner. 
Rating: 5 stars

The newest production by the Wayne State Theatre and Dance department is a poignant reminder that those people who stand for us as a symbol of something brave and poignant are still, first and foremost, people. While they may be best known for a specific cause, or movement, or personal sacrifice, their legacy is much bigger. Because even after they are gone, their example helps us figure out what is the right and compassionate thing to do.

A Song for Coretta at WSU's Studio Theatre runs through November 16, 2014.

Courtesy of WSU Theatre and Dance

It’s just one of the themes that comes through in Pearl Cleage’s tribute to Coretta Scott King, “Song for Coretta.” This uplifting production at WSU’s Studio Theatre – “underground at the Hilberry” – speaks volumes about how one life well-lived can touch so many other lives, bringing people together who seemingly have little in common.

Lest we forget, Coretta Scott King was much more than a civil rights activist. She was a young widow left to raise her four children alone while defending her husband’s legacy and keeping it alive. Set in Atlanta in 2006, “A Song for Coretta” chronicles the reflections of five distinctly different African American women as they stand in line on a cold winter night in front of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. They are waiting in order to pay their respects to the late Coretta Scott King – whose funeral will be the next day in her daughter’s church.

The first person we meet is an aspiring journalist, Zora Evans, played by Erian Williams. Named after the writer Zora Neal Hurston, Zora wonders why so many people who couldn’t possibly have known Mrs. King would stand for hours in the cold and rain. She decides to interview some of the last people in line in hopes of getting a story she can pitch to NPR.

The first person she interviews is Mrs. Helen Richards, played by Tayler Jones. Helen is an elderly woman who recalls meeting Mrs. King when Helen was just a child marching with her parents as part of the bus boycott. Helen finds that just talking about Coretta King makes her less angry toward the world – and the young people who don’t appreciate what the older generation fought for.

Next we meet Mona, portrayed by Maria Simpkins, a strong woman who earned her living as a sketch artist in New Orleans – until Hurricane Katrina took a way her home, her livelihood, and much more. She made the trek to Atlanta on a spur-of-the-moment notion that it was something she needed to do. Mona doesn’t want to be interviewed, but while they are waiting in line, agrees to do Helen’s portrait.

The fourth woman we meet, played by Kayla Mundy, is still only a girl. Keisha is a confused teenager who carries a secret and a question that she hopes Coretta King can answer. Keisha, who goes by the moniker “Lil’ Bit,” admits her ignorance of the Civil Rights movement, but she expresses an urgent need to learn one of the Freedom songs from that era.

The last person on the scene is an Army medic on leave – Gwen, played by Breon Canady. She has also been drawn to the church steps for reasons she can’t explain, but we eventually learn about her experience in Afghanistan – one that has made her question everything she once believed in.

As Zora tries to get each woman to reveal why they want to “say good bye” to Coretta Scott King, they come to realize the various needs, hurts and disillusionments that somehow connect them. Each woman has brought emptiness to the steps of the Ebenezer Baptist Church that they hope Coretta’s spirit can fill. And each has found an unexpected healing while waiting there in line.

This small moment of hope speaks to the ultimate legacy of Coretta Scott King. She was a woman who stood not just for civilrights, but for the very act of standing up for what’s right. And so these five women learn to stand up for themselves and for each other. In the end, they are empowered to raise their voices in an anthem – not Dr. King’s famous “We Shall Overcome” – but a song for Coretta – a song of faith that lights the darkness.

This WSU production is the vision of Billicia Hines, Assistant Professor and Director of the Black Theatre Program at WSU, in her first Studio Theatre effort. It’s a compelling ensemble performance that clicks because of the interplay between the five gifted actresses and the honesty with which they bring their characters to life. The production team also includes: Delaney O’Brien (Stage Manager), Sarah Bloch (Costume Designer), Jonathan Pigott (Scenic Designer), Peter Lawrence (Lighting Designer ), Aaron Beckius (Sound Designer), Madeline Schnorr (Properties Master) and Kevin Replinger (Publicist).

“A Song for Coretta” should be required viewing for students 16 and older. It runs through November 16 with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. And Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 – $12 and are available by calling the theatre box office at (313) 577-2972, reserving them online, or by visiting the box office in the Hilberry Theatre located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

WSU’S “A SONG FOR CORETTA” IS A MUST-SEE PRODUCTION

by Sue Suchyta

“A Song for Coretta” is a must-see production – praise I rarely bestow. The strong, powerful drama is deeply moving, wonderfully directed, and performed by five talented young women.

Set in Atlanta in 2006, Pearl Cleage’s “A Song for Coretta” takes place outside historic Ebenezer Baptist Church as five women – each from very different backgrounds – wait to pay their respects at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. While in line, a freelance reporter seeks the reasons people came to pay their respects, and the individual stories that emerge are powerful, moving and unexpected.

This may be the best show I have ever seen at Wayne State University’s Studio Theater – and yes – it really is that good. I drove home with the car stereo off because I wanted to savor the feelings the performance had stirred within me.

It defies racial stereotypes. I urge audiences of all backgrounds to see the show – please do not dismiss seeing the show because you think the subject matter is of no interest. It appeals deeply to the common humanity we all share.

The show runs through Nov.16, with 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows and 3 p.m. Sunday matinees in the Studio Theatre, in the basement of the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass at Hancock in Detroit.

Tickets are $10 and $12, and are available by calling 313 577-2972, or online at wsushows.com.

Billicia Hines, assistant professor and director of the Black Theatre Program, makes a strong impression in her WSU directorial debut. The remarkable ensemble makes a lasting impression as well.

Tayler Jones, who made her Shakespearean debut as Puck in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Players Guild of Dearborn in August, shows her versatility and talent as Helen, the feisty matriarch of the group, who recalls meeting Coretta Scott King as a child during the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott.

Erian Williams plays Zora, a freelance reporter who get more than she bargained for when her interview subjects share compelling and moving stories behind their decision to attend Coretta Scott King’s funeral. She carefully strikes a balance between the neutrality of a reporter and the empathy that develops among the women as their heart-wrenching stories unfold.

Kayla Mundy is both mesmerizing and amusing as Keisha, a lower class, poorly educated, stereotypical unwed teen mother, who surprises the other characters and the audience as her personae unfolds to reveal depth belied by her character’s cheap, provocative clothing and painful lack of education. While she provides comic relief, her character produces some of the most revealing and unexpected insights as well.

Breon Canady, as Gwen, an army medic on leave from the Middle East, and Maria Simpkins as Mona Lisa, a New Orleans Hurricane Katrina survivor, have the most demanding roles, and hold the audience in thrall as their gut-wrenching tales unfold and are told in tandem. Both are struggling with post-traumatic stress, and their skillful and emotional performances are powerful elements of the play.

While each character has a symbolic or actual tie to Coretta Scott King as a reason for attending her funeral, their powerful stories that unfold are at the heart of the play. The audience, moved by the compelling performances, discovers their commonality with the characters as well.

ASFC Press 1

Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance presents “A Song for Coretta” now through Nov. 16 at the Studio Theater, with Tayler Jones (left) as Helen, Maria Simpkins as Mona, Breon Canady as Gwen, and Erian Williams as Zora. For tickets and information call 313 577-2972 or go to wsushows.com.

The Studio Theatre Presents A Song For Coretta Featuring Local Cast and New Faculty Director Billicia Hines.

ASFC Press 2

(from left to right): Tayler Jones, Maria Simpkins, Breon Canady, Erian Williams

Theatre and Dance at Wayne presents Pearl Cleage’s uplifting play A Song For Coretta November 6–16, 2014 at The Studio Theatre. Set in Atlanta in 2006, A Song for Coretta chronicles five African American women and their shared experience as they mourn and celebrate the legacy of the great civil rights activist Coretta Scott King. Tickets are $10 – $12 and are available by calling the theatre box office at (313) 577-2972, online at http://www.wsustudio.com, or by visiting the box office in the Hilberry Theatre located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

 The following excerpt from the Detroit Free Press after Mrs. King’s death encapsulates what her legacy means to so many:

“Mrs. King endeavored to be both mother to the King children and keeper of the King legacy…America may not yet have fulfilled Dr. King’s dream, but because of Mrs. King, it will never be forgotten. Nor will she.” – Detroit Free Press 1 Feb. 2006.

Set on the sidewalk in front of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, A Song For Coretta centers on five African American women who, despite their differences, share a common desire to pay their respects to Coretta Scott King. From aspiring journalist, to artist, to enlisted military, these women come together from their diverse backgrounds and remember a woman who changed the face of history with her monumental imprint on the civil rights movement. The Studio Theatre production will feature a cast of actors and designers from the metro Detroit region. Specific hometowns are listed below.

Billicia Hines Headshot

Billicia Hines

A Song For Coretta also features the debut of Faculty Director Billicia Hines. Hines is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Black Theatre Program at Wayne State University. Previously, she was Director of Theatre at Elizabeth City State University. She began her formal training in drama in the high school program at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Thereafter, she attended North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC (BFA, Professional Theatre) and University of Missouri at Kansas City (MFA, Acting). She is a Certified Teacher of the Michael Chekhov Technique from the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium, an organization in which she proudly holds the position of Associate Artist.

The cast includes (in alphabetical order):
Breon Canady (Gwen – Detroit), Tayler Jones (Helen – Detroit), Kayla Mundy (Keisha – Detroit), Maria Simpkins (Mona), Erian Williams (Zora – Ypsilanti)

 The production team includes:
Billicia Hines (Director), Delaney O’Brien (Stage Manager – Brighton), Sarah Bloch (Costume Designer – Warren), Jonathan Pigott (Scenic Designer – Wyandotte), Peter Lawrence (Lighting Designer ), Aaron Beckius (Sound Designer – Grosse Pointe), Madeline Schnorr (Properties Master – Marshall), Kevin Replinger (Publicist).

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 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. With generous support from patrons and donors, the Studio Theatre recently underwent renovation. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, and group discounts, 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
November 6 – 16, 2014
Thursday 8 p.m.          November 6 (Opening), 13
Friday 8 p.m.               November 7, 14
Saturday 8 p.m.           November 8, 15
Sunday 3 p.m.             November 9, 16 (Closing)

ASFC Press 1

(from top, clockwise): Tayler Jones, Erian Williams, Maria Simpkins, Breon Canady

PETER PAN Soars into the Spotlight at the Bonstelle Theatre

521x186The Bonstelle Theatre season continues to soar with a high-flying production ofthe beloved tale, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, adapted by Janet Allard. Playing November 14 – November 23, 2014, join the students of Wayne State University as they grab some pixie dust from Tinker Bell and take to the sky with help from Hall and Associates, one of the stage industry leaders in flying effects, and race towards Neverland. 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 Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street.

Originally performed in London in 1901, Peter Pan has since traversed lands and oceans, becoming popular in multiple mediums. This magical story has stretched over a century and continues to delight all ages with defying feats, mythical creatures, fantastic swordsmanship, fierce pirates, legendary battles, and most of all, high flying tricks with the help of a little pixie dust.

With larger than life locations and intricate costumes, be prepared to be whisked off to Neverland to fly with Peter Pan, battle Captain Hook, and meet Wendy and the notorious crocodile who’s always creating mischief. There’s enough fun, magic, and adventure for the whole family.

The Cast (In Alphabetical Order)
Alexis Barrera – Howell, MI (Cecco), Shakirra Berry – Detroit, MI (Indian/Mermaids), Maggie Beson – Detroit, MI (Peter Pan), Anna Busse – Trenton, MI (Indian/Mermaids), Patrick Ceglarek – Ferndale, MI (First Twin), Sean Ceglarek – Ferndale, MI (Second Twin), Veronica Estigoy – Livonia, MI (Indian/Mermaids), Jordan Fritz – River Rouge, MI (Curly), Irenie Froman – Dearborn, MI (Jane), Forrest Gabel – Walled Lake, MI (Michael/Young Peter), Shannon Hurst – Warren, MI (Wendy), Jason LaCombe – Detroit, MI (Tootles), Katelin Maylum – Detroit, MI (Skylights), Clearie McCarthy – Detroit, MI (Indian/Mermaids), Monica Mingo – Farmington Hills, MI (Tiger Lily), Shane Nelson – Windsor, ON (John), Maria Ochoa – Clawson, MI (Tiger Lily Sister), Matt Paciorkowski – Brownstown, MI (Nibs), Gerald Palmer Jr. – Rochester Hills, MI (Mullins), Joshua Daniel Palmer – West Bloomfield, MI (Slightly), Patrick Roache – Detroit, MI (Noodler), Luke Rose – Harrison Township, MI (Captain Hook/Mr. Darling), Wyatt Setty – Detroit, MI (Nana/Smee), Graham Todd – Shelby Township, MI (Bill Jukes), Allen Wiseman – Roseville, MI (Gentleman Starkey) Evan Wyatt – Walled Lake, MI (Cookson), Samantha York – Dearborn, MI (Mrs. Darling)

The Production Team
Michael Barnes (Director), Cheryl Turski (Associate Director), Lyndee Hallahan (Stage Manager), Catelyn Girard (Assistant Stage Manager), Fred Florkowski (Set Designer/ Scenic Head), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), April Thomson (Properties Master), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer), Amy Schneider (Light Designer), Michael Hallberg (Sound Designer), Felix Li (Publicist), Amanda Schindler (Assistant 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 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 nearly 29,000 students.

Calendar Information
November 14 – November 23

Fri. 7:00 PM                Nov. 14, Nov. 21
Sat. 2:00 PM               Nov. 15, Nov. 22
Sat. 7:00 PM               Nov. 15, Nov. 22
Sun. 2:00 PM              Nov. 16, Nov. 23

School Matinees        10:00 a.m., Wed. and Thu. November 19-20
(Contact 313-577-0852 for more information about student matinees.)

The Bonstelle proves ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’

by Patty Nolan for The Examiner

A whimsical mix of contemporary and period costumes and conventions make this production of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well fun for the entire audience.
A whimsical mix of contemporary and period costumes and conventions make this production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well fun for the entire audience. Courtesy of Bonstelle Theatre

One of the best things about college theatre programs is that they are empowered to occasionally dig deep into the Shakespeare canon – rushing in where theatre angels fear to tread – to give their students the richest possible experience. In the case of WSU’s Bonstelle Theatre, this means we are treated with a season-opening production of one of the lesser known and seldom performed comedies, “All’s Well That Ends Well.”

Sydney Machesky and Bradley Smith take the lead roles in Bonstelle Theatre's All's Well That Ends Well.
Sydney Machesky and Bradley Smith take the lead roles in Bonstelle Theatre’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Courtesy of the Bonstelle Theatre

It’s a funny play in more ways than one. It is “ha ha” funny – with plenty of laughs, witticisms and comedic situations. But it also has a problematic story premise that every contemporary production has to come to terms with. Essentially, this is the tale of a fabulously lovely and loveable young woman named Helena, with every grace to recommend her, who goes to amazing lengths to win and woo a young nobleman named Bertram who frankly doesn’t deserve her. For this play to end happily – certainly the definition of a comedy in Shakespeare’s day – Bertram must somehow see the light, wed Helena, and manage to become likeable, or at least show potential, to the audience.

Director Carolyn M. Gillespie takes the challenge head on. She adds a prologue, epilogue, and chorus of college students (presumably at WSU) who add just enough wackiness to remind the audience not to take this too seriously. The show opens as a group of students wander on stage waiting for their class on Shakespeare to begin. Since many of them are in Glee Club, they sing to pass the time, and invite the audience to join in. The songs are popular love protestations, ranging from early Beatles to present day, and set the tone for the over-the-top nature of infatuations. The “professor” walks in and begins by offering the class some background on “All’s Well that Ends Well,” noting that the story was already old in Shakespeare’s day and can be traced back to a popular medieval story from Giovanni Boccaccio’s “Decameron.

The Prof asks one of the students to read the first part, and we are transported into the play. The Professor becomes the Lord Lafeu, the students become the Chorus (still dressed in jeans and hoodies) as other actors make their entrance in full Elizabethan costume.

Inspired by the line, “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together,” Gillespie’s approach weaves both contemporary and period attitudes, characters, and costumes into a tapestry designed to please – so that anachronistic songs and gestures just become part of the fun. The inventive, modern scenic design by Sarah Pearline, the mix of Elizabethan and modern costumes by Mary Gietzen (including some interesting hybrids), and lighting by Thomas Schraeder and Amy Schneider, bring welcome texture to the dreamlike interpretation of this story.

Without invoking any spoiler alerts, we can say that the epilogue eventually brings us full circle in a way that provoked huge, appreciative laughter from the opening night audience. Naturally, to make time for these diversions, Gillespie had to cut some of the original Shakespeare – always controversial with purists. But the story progresses, and things ultimately work to Helena’s advantage. Since this is her story, not ours, we must be content with the explanation that love will find a way. Or as Helena herself says, “All’s well that ends well; still the fine’s the crown;Whate’er the course, the end is the renown.”

The young Bonstelle actors clearly enjoy themselves in this production and the audience is caught up in the merriment. Sydney Machesky is terrific as Helena, offering an interpretation that is true to Shakespeare but leavened with a more feminist sensibility. Bradley Smith has the challenging role of Helena’s beloved Bertram – which he portrays in the most realistic light possible – that of a handsome and privileged young man to whom everything has come too easily. If we cannot forgive his disdain for Helena, we can perhaps believe that he has grown wise enough to recognize his folly.

Garret Harris has the most fun in this production as Parolles, Bertram’s braggadocio, foppish buddy. The fact that Bertram believes Parolles to be a fine, upright man of true valor explains a lot about Bertram’s discernment elsewhere. The counterpoint to Parolles is Lafeu/The Professor, played by Carl Bentley – who gives us a person of true moral fiber, generosity, wisdom and quiet strength.

Hannah Butcher is listed in the program as Widow, but she doubled on opening night as the stand in (for Gaia Klotz) as theCountess and was strong in both roles. Paul Clauson is the likable King; Kendall Rose Talbot is the virtuous Diana; Jacob Boida is the clever clown LaVatch; and members of the Chorus fill multiple roles: Dann Finn, Dante Jones, Ibrahim Karim, Caitlyn Macuga, Michaella Mallett, Chris Peterson, Kiera Schmidt, Paige Stefanski and Michael Vultaggio.

The production team includes: Carolyn Gillespie (Director), Cassandra Maniak (Stage Manager), Sarah Pearline (Scenic Designer), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Christa Tausney (Props Designer), Mary Gietzen (Costume Designer), Amy Schneider (Lighting Designer), Patrick Field (Master Electrician), Peter Lawrence (Sound Designer), Felix Li (Publicity Manager) and Jason Goldman (Asst. Publicity Manager).

“All’s Well That Ends Well” runs at the Bonstelle Theatre through October19, 2014. Tickets range from $10 to $20 and are available for purchase online, by calling (313) 577-2960, or at the Hilberry Theatre box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street. The Bonstelle Theatre is located in Midtown Detroit at 3424 Woodward Avenue, just south of Mack Avenue.

The Bonstelle Theatre Kicks Off Its Season With Shakespeare’s ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well opens the Bonstelle Theatre’s 02 Sydney as Helena2014-15 Season in Midtown, Detroit. Playing October 10th through 19th, 2014, Shakespeare’s classic comedy follows the schemes of a young woman as she strives to win the love of a nobleman.  Tickets for All’s Well That Ends Well range from $10-$20 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, online at Bonstelle.com, or at the Hilberry Theatre box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street.

One of Shakespeare’s lesser known comedies, All’s Well That Ends Well is believed to have been written between 1604 and 1605, shortly after King James I took the English throne.  Helena, the low born ward of the Countess of Rousillon, sets her sights on the Countess’ son, Bertram, but he is indifferent to her.  In an attempt to rid himself of her, Bertram agrees to marry Helena only if she can complete a series of impossible tasks. Helena uses every bit of her cunning to complete the challenge and convince Bertram that she is the one for him.

Director Carolyn Gillespie returns to Wayne State to direct All’s Well That Ends Well having directed Major Barbara in 2012 at the Hilberry Theatre.  In the intervening years, Ms. Gillespie has directed Much Ado about Nothing at the new Guthrie Green (Tulsa, OK) and performed in Falling at the Meadow Brook Theatre (Rochester Hills, MI).  When not directing or performing in the theatre, Ms. Gillespie is Professor Emerita at University of Michigan-Flint.

Inspired by the line, “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together,” Gillespie’s approach brings a modern feel as contemporary and period characters mingle in Shakespeare’s time.  She has worked with designers Sarah Pearline, Mary Gietzen and Amy Schneider to weave an image of beauty transformed in a twisted world. Be sure not to miss this charming comedy!

The cast includes (in alphabetical order):
Carl Bentley (Flat Rock, MI) Lafeu, Hannah Butcher (Taylor, MI) Widow, Paul Clauson (Sterling Heights, MI) King, Garett Harris (Royal Oak, MI) Parolles, Gaia Klotz (Midland, MI) Countess, Sydney Machesky (Shelby Township, MI) Helena, Bradley Smith (Waterford, MI) Bertram, Kendall Rose Talbot (Sterling Heights, MI) Diana

Chorus:
Jacob Boida (Warren, MI), Dann Finn (Armada, MI), Dante Jones (Detroit, MI), Ibrahim Karim (Novi, MI), Caitlyn Macuga (Westland, MI), Michaella Mallett (Southfield, MI), Chris Peterson (Sterling Heights, MI), Kiera Schmidt (Livonia, MI), Paige Stefanski (Warren, MI), Michael Vultaggio (Cetner Line, MI)

The production team includes:
Carolyn Gillespie (Director), Cassandra Maniak (Stage Manager), Sarah Pearline (Scenic Designer), Brain Dambacher (Technical Director), Christa Tausney (Props Designer), Mary Gietzen (Costume Designer), Amy Schneider (Lighting Designer), Patrick Field (Master Electrician), Peter Lawrence (Sound Designer), Felix Li (Publicity Manager), and Jason Goldman (Asst. Publicity Manager).

About the Bonstelle Theatre
The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style House with a 1,035-seat auditorium featuring a balcony and grand architecture remaining from its early 20th century design. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of many successful alumni including 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 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 nearly 29,000 students.

This season is sponsored by CBS Outdoor and Between the Lines.

-Calendar Information-

October 10-19

Thursday 10 a.m.        October 16 (School show, contact 313-577-0852 for more information)
Friday 8 p.m.               October 10 & 17
Saturday 8 p.m.           October 11 & 18
Sunday 2p.m.              October 12 & 19