The cast of The Purple Rose Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.” (Photo by Sean Carter Photography)
After having launched my career as an arts reporter at The Ann Arbor News in 2004, I had become, over the course of nearly 12 years, the only long-term staff entertainment writer left standing in Ann Arbor when MLive Media Group announced a round of layoffs on January 6, 2016.
This time, though, my name was on the list, too.
Beyond my own personal circumstances, the layoff meant that artists/local arts organizations would take yet another hit in regard to press coverage, and thus find it even harder to share their triumphs, struggles, ambitions, and events with the community. Yes, the rise of social media has made it possible for arts organizations to be in regular contact with their subscriber list – but how, without minimal press coverage, will they now reach beyond that? READ THE REST HERE
Julia Glander and Peter Carey in Kickshaw Theatre’s “The Electric Baby.” (Photo by Sean Carter Photography)
If you see Kickshaw Theatre’s inaugural production, Stefanie Zadravec’s ethereal drama The Electric Baby, you just might wonder where the company will go from here – because wow, is the bar already set high.
Baby tells the story of a handful of people whose lives intersect when Helen (Julia Glander), a mother grieving the death of her grown daughter, storms off into traffic and causes a cab to crash into a pole. Rozie (Mary Diworth) and Dan (Michael Lopetrone), fresh from impulsively quitting their crummy restaurant jobs, are the cab’s passengers, driven by Ambimbola (William Bryson), a man who loves buying lottery tickets as much as he hates swearing and lovers’ quarrels.
Helen, despite warnings from her concerned, protective husband Reed (Peter Carey), can’t stop herself from visiting those affected by the accident; and a Romanian woman, Natalia (Vanessa Sawson), offers home remedy recipes to the audience while also narrating stories to the mysterious, glowing baby she’s watching over.
While other dramas have used a similar, tragedy-as-point-of-connection premise – Robert Hewett’s play, The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead, the 2003 film 21 Grams etc. – Baby’s humor-infused, wholly engrossing scenes somehow make it feel new again. READ THE REST HERE
Want to spend an intimate evening in iconic musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim’s living room, hearing stories and insights from the man himself?
That might be a tall order, but Encore Theatre aims to come close to giving you this experience by way of “Sondheim by Sondheim,” a show, conceived by James Lapine, that marries performances of several of Sondheim’s songs, spanning his long career, with video clips of the composer discussing his life and work.
“It’s like Sondheim is giving this master class on technique and process,” said director (and Encore Theatre co-founder) Dan Cooney. “ … I didn’t see this on Broadway, but I saw a production in Chicago, in this tiny, small space, … and I thought, ‘Oh, it doesn’t need to be a Broadway revue thing with big costumes and kicks and spins. It can just be a night with the man.”