Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: Marshall Crenshaw,’Wonder’ author R.J. Palacio and more

Jerusalem Quartet 7 CA by Felix Broede.jpg

UMS presents Jerusalem String Quartet this week. (Photo by Felix Broede)

Marshall Crenshaw at The Ark. Lots of solid offerings at the Ark this week – including The Accidentals – but first up is Crenshaw, a Detroit native who got his first break playing John Lennon in a touring version of “Beatlemania!” in the late 1970s. Crenshaw soon emerged as one of the most talented rock ‘n’ roll singer-songwriters of his generation, and his recent work has won praise for its melodic subtlety and the grace of its many reflective ballads. He is backed by The Bottle Rockets, the pioneering alt-country and roots rock quartet. (The Bottle Rockets also play an opening set.) Tuesday at 8 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $25, available in advance at,, and 734-763-TKTS.

Wild Swan Theater’s “Peter Rabbit.” Easter may be in our rearview, but this Beatrix Potter bunny tale is timeless. Ignoring his mom’s advice, Peter loses his little blue coat and plunges into a series of misadventures. With live fiddle score composed and performed by veteran local multi-instrumentalist David Mosher. As with all Wild Swan productions, the performance is interpreted in American Sign Language. Audio description and backstage “touch” tours are available by prearrangement for blind audience members. For kids in grades Pre-K-2. Thursday at 10 a.m.; Friday at 10 a.m. and noon; and Saturday at 11 a.m., at WCC Morris Lawrence Bldg. Towsley Auditorium, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $12 (kids & seniors, $8; lap pass for kids age 2 & under, $3) in advance and at the door. Call 734-995-0530.

See “Wonder” author R.J. Palacio. Check out this talk by the bestselling, New York City-based children’s writer R.J. Palacio, who wrote “Wonder,” a wonderful novel – one of my favorites of recent years – about a young boy born with a facial deformity entering the 5th grade. Thursday at 5:30 p.m., UMMA Auditorium, 525 S. State in Ann Arbor. This event is free. 

U-M Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”  This town-and-gown company performs one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-known comic operettas, also known as “The Lass Who Loved a Sailor.” Aboard the Pinafore, the captain’s daughter moons for a poor but honest sailor. Her father won’t abide a marriage with a common deckhand, but in time, through a series of absurd plot twists that tweak class barriers, the two lovers predictably find bliss. The score contains many of Sullivan’s most memorable works, among them “We Sail the Ocean Blue” and “I’m Called Little Buttercup.” Stars Don Regan, Phillip Rhodes, Tom Cilluffo, Andrew Burgmayer, Lee Vahlsing, and Natan Zamansky. Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m., at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 North University in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $20 (seniors age 65 & over, $18; students with ID, $10), available in advance at

EMU Theater Department’s “One Man, Two Guvnors.” EMU theater professor John Seibert directs EMU drama students in Richard Bean’s 2011 laugh-out-loud comedy, an adaptation of an 18th-century Italian commedia dell’arte-style comedy about about a guy with 2 bosses who don’t know of each other’s existence. Bean’s adaptation, set in set in 1963 Brighton (UK), features a somewhat dim-witted man who works for a local gangster and an upper-class criminal. Thursday-Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., at EMU’s Quirk Theater, on East Circle Dr. in Ypsilanti. Tickets cost $15 (students, $12), available in advance at 734-487-2282.

UMS presents Jerusalem String Quartet. Founded in 1993, when its members met in high school, this internationally acclaimed Israeli quartet is known for playing well-worn classical standards with attentiveness, freshness, and vigor. The group tends to perform its program selections on the fast end of the tempo range without losing control, resulting in excitement that doesn’t degrade into haste. Tonight’s program includes Beethoven’s Quartet no. 2 in G Major, Bartok’s String Quartet no. 4, and Schumann’s Quartet no. 3 in A Major. Friday at 8 p.m. at Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $26-$60, available in advance at or 734-764-2538.

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra plays “The Planets.” The orchestra is joined by the UMS Choral Union Women in Holst’s popular symphonic suite. The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, with soloist Aaron Berofsky, and U-M composition professor Evan Chambers’s The Tall-Eared Fox and the Wild-Eyed Man, a work comprised of 2 Irish jigs that were inspired by his travels in western Wales. Preceded at 10:20 a.m. by a free open dress rehearsal (reservations recommended). Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15-$65, available in advance and 734-994-4801.

“Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move.” Theatreworks USA presents this production as part of the Michigan Theater Foundation’s Not Just for Kids Series. This renowned New York City-based children’s theater troupe returns to the Michigan Theater to present Judith Viorst and Shelly Markham’s lavishly staged musical adaptation of Viorst’s story about the energetic 5-year-old who digs in his heels when his parents announce plans to move to a new city, far away from his comfortable life and friends. Geared toward kids in grades K-4 . Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $12 (MTF members, $10), available in advance at or 800-745-3000.

Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival. Five day annual festival that screens new documentaries and features from all over the world that explore Jewish history, culture, and current events, thereby bringing the global Jewish experience to the Ann Arbor community through the medium of film. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance or at the Michigan Theater box office; screenings start Sunday, scheduled at the Michigan Theater and Rackham’s Amphitheatre and Assembly Hall. For a complete schedule of films and events, visit


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