My Pulp review of Purple Rose Theatre’s world premiere production of Jeff Daniels’ ‘Roadsigns’

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 2.45.21 PMFor more than a quarter-century, Chelsea’s Purple Rose Theatre has specialized in new plays that don’t normally require a music director.

That’s why I was initially surprised to hear that a musical (or “play with music”?) called Roadsigns would have its world premiere there.

But then I quickly remembered the theater’s movie/Broadway/TV star founder, Jeff Daniels, has been performing his ever-growing catalog of original folk songs as an annual fundraiser for the Rose, and his son, Ben Daniels, is a professional musician in his own right.

Then the whole notion of a Purple Rose musical felt not just sensible but downright inevitable.

Indeed, the seed for Roadsigns was planted long ago, in 1978, when iconic American playwright (and Daniels’ mentor) Lanford Wilson overheard Daniels playing guitar in his dressing room in New York. He suggested the actor build music around a poem Wilson wrote about a bus ride he once took from Missouri to Chicago.

So my sense while watching Roadsigns was that I was seeing a ’70s folk song come to life was right on the money. (Jeff Daniels wrote the play; he and Ben Daniels wrote its original music.) READ THE REST HERE


My Destination Ann Arbor Great Minds Think a Lot profile of Khadija B. Wallace

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 2.42.04 PMIn October 2019, as Khadija B. Wallace’s grandkids candied apples that would be delivered as a “thank you for your business” gift to several clients of Joyful Treats – Wallace’s Ypsilanti-based catering service – the original vision for the company was made manifest.

“The idea was, this would be our legacy for our kids,” Wallace said.

Occasionally helping out with cookies and candied apples helps Wallace’s grandkids start to “see (Joyful Treats) as theirs, and gives them the mindset for ownership, and shows them this can be a good job they can rely on,” Wallace said. “But I’m a big promoter of entrepreneurship, too. The whole reason for starting it was for them – so they could have it in their life.”

For Wallace, food has always been linked to family. She grew up watching her own grandmother catering events at her church and her place of employment, the University of Alabama. (Wallace moved back and forth between Michigan and Alabama throughout her childhood, and attended both Ypsilanti High and Eastern Michigan University.)

“I pride myself on my Southern heritage, because we’re known for good food and Southern hospitality,” said Wallace. “When I was growing up in Tuscaloosa, my grandma was always doing ice cream socials, and putting fancy plates and napkins and hankies out – all that stuff people don’t even use anymore – and what I remember is that my cousins and I would help Grandma for a while, then we’d sneak a treat and go out and play.” READ THE REST HERE