Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: Buffy Sainte-Marie, ‘Hairspray’ and more

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.21.02 PM.pngTuesday night’s Moth Ann Arbor GrandSLAM Championship at the Ark may be sold out, but Pioneer Theatre Guild continues its run of the musical “Rock of Ages,” while world premiere theater productions at the Purple Rose Theatre (Matt Letscher’s “Gaps in the Fossil Record”) and Theatre Nova (David Wells’ “Irrational,” with music by R. MacKenzie Lewis) also keep chugging along, as does the acclaimed production of “Always … Patsy Cline” at Dexter’s Encore Theatre. In addition, check out these additional local entertainment options for the week.

Michigan Playwrights Festival at Theatre Nova. On Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, see staged readings of different new plays by Michigan playwrights each night. May 3-4, 8 p.m.: An evening of 10-minute plays by U-M and Oakland University students. May 7: “Clutter” (1 p.m.), Brian Cox’s drama about a middle-age man with a deeply troubled marriage who recalls, relives, and reinterprets his life as he clears his cluttered desk; and “Draw Me Out” (4 p.m.), Laura Uzarski’s drama about a troubled 15-year old boy with bipolar disorder who’s unable to find his own way in the world until he meets a brash, outspoken teen girl. May 8: “Last of Ken” (6 p.m.), Ann Eskridge’s drama about a repressed middle-age man with a dead-end life whose dead relatives come back to hold an intervention to encourage him to live up to his potential. The Yellow Barn, at 416 W. Huron in Ann Arbor. Tickets: $10 suggested donation, or pay what you can afford, available in advance at and 734-635-8450.

Hot Club of Detroit at Kerrytown Concert House. This popular Django Reinhardt-style jazz ensemble, led by fast-fingered Reinhardt disciple Evan Perri, is known for its fresh spin on Gypsy jazz. They often veer from the Reinhardt repertoire with intriguing originals and Gypsy-style covers of big band tunes and other genres. Musicians include accordionist Julien Labro, rhythm guitarist Ivan Peña, and bassist Jordan Schug. Wednesday at 8 p.m. at KCH, 415 N. Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $20-$35 (students, $10), and reservations are recommended at, or by phone at 734-769-2999.

Wild Swan Theater presents “Charlotte’s Web.” This award-winning local children’s theater presents Jeff Duncan’s adaptation of E.B. White’s beloved tale of a friendship between the young pig Wilbur and the remarkable spider who helps him win a blue ribbon at the fair and saves his life. Appropriate for kids in grades K-5. 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. (Note: The 10 a.m. shows on May 5 & 6 are sold out.) Wednesday-Friday at 10 a.m. (May 4-6), noon (May 6), & 2 p.m. (May 7 & 8) at WCC Morris Lawrence Bldg. Towsley Auditorium, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 (kids & seniors, $10; lap pass for kids age 2 & under, $3), available in advance at or 734-995-0530.

Author Jennifer Haigh at Literati Bookstore. This Boston writer, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction (“Mrs. Kimble”), reads from “Heat and Light,” her new novel set in a rundown Pennsylvania coal town where a prison guard leases his mineral rights to a natural gas company to finance his dream of farming. He doesn’t count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother’s skepticism, or his wife’s insistence that the water smells strange and is poisoning their daughter. Signing. Thursday at 7 p.m., Literati, 124 E. Washington. Free.

Buffy Sainte-Marie at The Ark. A largely neglected major voice of the ’60s folk revival, this Canadian-born Cree Indian – featured at this past January’s Ann Arbor Folk Festival – is a spellbinding singer and gifted songwriter whose complex, enigmatic artistic personality expresses itself in a panoply of genres and guises, from protest anthems and Native rights songs to nature odes and love songs both tenderly elegiac and raunchy. Her current concert repertoire includes both favorites from her best-known ’60s recordings (like “The Universal Soldier”) and several new songs that are every bit as good. As a performer she blends a charming, childlike playfulness with biting, irreverent observations on society and politics. Don’t miss this rare solo performance. Thursday at 8 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $50 at,, and 734-763-TKTS.

The Rides at Michigan Theater. All-star blues-rock trio led by singer-songwriter Stephen Stills, best known as a founding member of 2 iconic 60s folk-rock ensembles: Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. With the 38-year-old blues guitar virtuoso Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the veteran Chicago-bred blues-rock keyboard pioneer Barry Goldberg. Friday at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater. Tickets cost $29.50-$99.50, available in advance at and 800-745-3000.

41st Annual Allbreed Cat Show. Hundreds of beautiful cats – ranging from local house pets to exotic and rare purebreds representing over 25 breeds – compete for awards or regional and national points. New this year: bengal cats. Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at U-M Sports Coliseum, Hill at Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Spectators $6 (students & seniors, $5; kids age 6 & under, free; families, $15) at the door.

9th Annual Farm Festival. A tractor and engine show, toy show, large flea market, kids pedal pull, tractor pull, trade show, live auction, and more. Lunch available. Bake sale. Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. in Saline. Free admission; donations accepted. 

Theatreworks USA presents “Seussical.” 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 its most popular production, an adaptation of the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Tony-winning musical treatment of Dr. Seuss stories. When chaos erupts in the Jungle of Nool, it takes the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, and a gaggle of other characters to bring harmony back to the world. The engagingly eclectic score includes pop, gospel, blues, Latin, and R&B tunes. Geared toward kids in grades K-4. Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $12 (MTF members, $10), available in advance,, and (800) 745-3000.

Other Voices: A Night with Unclassifiable Singers at Kerrytown Concert House. Check out this celebration of avant-garde and edgy vocal music. NYC-based multi-instrumentalist, singer, and dancer Jen Shyu performs her Solo Rites: Seven Breaths, a work that expresses the experience of a woman living in multiple cultures. Local soprano Jennifer Goltz performs Study on Peter, John Berners’ virtuosic a cappella piece. NYC-based baritone Thomas Buckner, a vocal improvisation pioneer, performs Robert Ashley’s Mystery of the River, a solo improvisation, and Duende, a work he composed with Annea Lockwood. Also, a duet performance by California-native Mary Redhouse – a flutist, bassist, and versatile jazz vocalist known for her unique style blending multi-octave scatting, Native American chants, and bird and animal calls – and respected NYC-based jazz bassist and composer John Lindberg. Saturday at 6 p.m. at KCH, 415 N. Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 & $50 (students, $10), and reservations recommended; visit or call 734-769-2999.

Ann Arbor in Concert’s “Hairspray.” Mike Mosallam directs this local theater company in a concert version of Marc Shaiman’s Tony-winning musical (based on John Waters’ 1988 film) set in 1962 Baltimore about a pleasantly plump teen girl who confronts racism when she lands a spot on a TV dance show. The score includes such favorites as “Good Morning, Baltimore,” “Welcome to the Sixties,” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” Note: Last year’s show sold out. Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher, Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $25 (students with ID & seniors, $15), available in advance at

Ann Arbor Goddess 5K & 1-Mile Mother’s Day Run/Walk. All women and those who support them are invited to compete in a chip-timed 5 km and 1 mile races through downtown. Finishers medals and awards for 5 km winner, as well as top 5 finishers in each age category. Also, awards for the top 3 finishers in the mother-daughter and “Three Generations” divisions. T-shirts, post-race snacks, goodie bags, free professional photographs, and more. Proceeds benefit the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Note: Last year’s event sold out. Sunday at 8 a.m., in downtown Ann Arbor near Maynard. $47 (5 km) & $37 (1 mile) in advance by May 5 at; $50 (5 km) & $40 (1 mile) on race weekend.


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