Several theater productions continue this week, including the world premiere of Matt Letscher’s “Gaps in the Fossil Record” at Chelsea’s Purple Rose Theatre, and the new, original musical “Irrational” at Ann Arbor’s Theatre Nova (housed at The Yellow Barn on Huron St.). At Dexter’s Encore Theatre, “Always … Patsy Cline” continues, and at Huron High, “Drop Dead” finishes its run this weekend. For more entertainment options, read on!
“Rock of Ages” at Pioneer High School Theater Guild. Will Branner directs students in Christopher D’Arienzo and Ethan Popp’s Broadway musical comedy, set in L.A. in the 1980s, about an aspiring rocker who encounters friendship, deception, and love on his road to stardom. The score is comprised of iconic ’80s songs, such as “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “The Final Countdown,” and other songs by Journey, Poison, Styx, and Bon Jovi. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (through May 7, 2016) at PHS Schreiber Auditorium, 601 W. Stadium in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 (seniors age 65 & over and students, $10), available in advance at showtix4u.com.
Ark highlights. Heywood Banks is the stage name of Howell native Stuart Mitchell, a very animated comedian known for his silly musical spoofs, goofy prop humor, and sight gags. Since adopting the nerdy, quietly psychotic Banks persona in the mid-80s, he has risen from a regional favorite to a national star. Friday at 8 p.m. at The Ark; tickets are $25.
On Saturday night, you can check out The Ben Daniels Band. You’ll hear artful, dynamic rock and roll by this Chelsea quintet, led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Daniels, whose influences range from Robert Johnson to Dylan to Jack White. Saturday at 8 p.m.; tickets cost $15.
8th Annual Midwest Literary Walk in Chelsea. This events invites you to walk to various Chelsea locations to hear readings by different writers. The lineup includes National Book Award-nominated NYC novelist Christopher Sorrentino (Chelsea Depot, 1 p.m.), author of “The Fugitives”; nationally renowned fiction writer Claire Vaye Watkins (Chelsea Depot, 2 p.m.); National Book Award-winning California poet Robin Coste Lewis, and American Library Association Notable Book Award-winning Detroit poet Jamaal May (Chelsea Clocktower Commons, 3 p.m.); and best-selling novelist and U-M grad Paula McLain (Chelsea Clocktower Commons, 4 p.m.). Followed at 5 p.m. by an afterglow at the Chelsea Alehouse. Saturday from 1-5 p.m. at various downtown locations in Chelsea. Free.
“Purple Rain” at the Michigan Theater. You can celebrate the memory of Prince at this screening of Albert Magnoli’s 1984 musical about an aspiring young Minneapolis musician with a troubled home life and a new girlfriend. Starring Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day. Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $10 (children under 12, students with ID, seniors age 55 & older, & U.S. veterans, $8; MTF members, $7.50; weekdays before 6 p.m., $7).
International Jazz Day events. Saturday is International Jazz Day, and one way to mark the occasion is watching the film “Ray” – a 2004 biopic about Ray Charles that earned Jamie Foxx an Academy Award – at 1 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Admission costs $5 (free for Ark members).
Later, check out Vincent York’s Jazzistry at Kerrytown Concert House. Local veteran alto saxophonist and clarinetist York will be joined by area jazz musicians in a program of jazz classics to celebrate the day. The program includes works York performed in his early career while touring with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Musicians include Lawrence Williams, Roy Brooks, and Harold and Ray McKinney. Saturday at 8 p.m. at KCH, 415 N. Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $20 (students, $10), and reservations are recommended. Visit kerrytownconcerthouse.com or call 734-769-2999.
38th Annual Burns Park Run. Around 1,300 people, ages 5-90, attend this popular family affair. This year’s event offers both 5 km and 10 km chip-timed races, as well as a 5 km walk along beautiful tree-lined streets, as well as a half-mile, kid-popular “fun run” ($5) around the park. Medals for overall male and female winners in both races, male and female masters, male and female grand masters, male and female top 3 per age group, all finishers in grades K-12 and the fun run, and the top 5 adult walkers. Proceeds benefit Burns Park PTO programs. Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (5 km run and walk), 8:40 a.m. (10 km run), and 10 a.m. (fun run), Burns Park, 1700 Wells in Ann Arbor. $25 for the 5 km and 10 km events, in advance at burnsparkrun.org by noon Apr. 29 (late registration, $30).
37th Annual Show ‘n’ Shine Car Show. Dozens of slick street rods, sleek muscle cars, and elegant antique autos will be on display. Also, muffler rapping contests, in which parked street rodders stomp on the gas to see whose engine is most deafening. Games, prizes, a DJ, food vendors, and a swap meet. No boom boxes, alcohol, bicycles, or animals, please. (Preceded on Saturday, April 30 by a kickoff party, 5-9 p.m., at Riverside Park.) Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Riverside Park, near Depot Town in Ypsilanti. $2 admission; $20 to show a car. Visit yasr.com for more information.
6th Annual Water Hill Music Fest. One of my absolute favorite Ann Arbor events each year. This neighborhood music festival, which draws thousands of visitors, features performances by more than 100 local musicians on front porches and in yards and driveways in the Water Hill neighborhood – so called because of its water-themed street names (Spring, Fountain, and Brooks). The musicians perform in various genres, from classical to jazz to rock, and include everyone from the ’60s girl group-inspired band She-Bop & the Riff Raff, and veteran local singer-songwriter Dick Siegel, to amateur family bands and young musicians. The lineup also includes the alt-country rock band Corndaddy, the Tree Town Community Chorus, the popular local acoustic band Appleseed Collective, the rootsy rock ‘n’ roll band Paul’s Big Radio, veteran local folk-rock singer-songwriter Khalid Hanifi, the Western swing septet Fumbling Tumbleweeds, the Celtic roots band Nutshell, the big band Accidentally Hip, local electronic band XiNNiW, the indie soul-pop band Kim Vi & the Siblings, the jazz-blues band Ukulele Slim & the Career Criminals, the local funk, Afro-Caribbean, and R&B band Jive Colossus, and many others. Updated schedule of performance times and locations available at waterhill.org. Programs available on the day of the event from volunteers on foot. Sunday from 2-6 p.m. in the Water Hill neighborhood, north of Miller, bounded by Brooks, Sunset, and the train tracks. Free. Cross your fingers for good weather and GO.