VIDEO: “Stone Soup: A Wrap Opera” – FINAL Weekend at Hilberry!


Here is another small clip from the WSU Children’s Summer Theatre production, “Stone Soup: A Wrap Opera.” This hip-hop retelling of the classic folk tale is currently touring to Detroit Public Schools and will be having its closing weekend at The Hilberry Theatre from June 26-29! For tickets and info, go to:

STONE SOUP: A Wrap Opera comes to The Hilberry June 19-29!


Here is a small clip from the WSU Children’s Summer Theatre production, Stone Soup: A Wrap Opera. This hip-hop retelling of the classic folk tale is currently touring to Detroit Public Schools and will be coming to The Hilberry Theatre from June 19-29! For tickets and info, go to:

The New Monitor – ‘Superb drama at WSU’s Hilberry’

By Robert Delaney – April 24, 2014

AugustA family crisis reunites members of an Oklahoma family, but brings revelations that will change their perceptions and relationships, in Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-winning “August: Osage County,” now in a splendid new production at the Hilberry Theatre on the Wayne State University campus.

When their father – a retired Tulsa University professor – disappears, his three daughters head home to be with their mother, who is suffering from cancer and the effects of prescription drug addiction. But all is not well in the daughters’ marital or romantic relationships, either, as we are to learn as the play progresses.

Sparks fly as old wounds are reopened and new ones inflicted in this often tense drama.

Recalling Tolstoy’s dictum that all happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, let it be said that the Weston family’s way of being unhappy is an unusually complex and interesting one. And the Hilberry has given us a production of the highest professional quality, directed by former Hilberry actor James R. Kuhl, who is now artistic director of the Tipping Point Theatre in Northville.


Detroit Free Press – Hilberry and star Lavinia Hart deliver a memorable ‘Osage County’

April 23, 2014 – John Monaghan

August Osage County

From left: Miles Boucher, Danielle Cochrane, Lavinia Hart, Annie Keris and Megan Barbour in Hilberry Theatre’s production of ‘August: Osage County.’ / Hilberry Theatre

If you caught the recent movie version of “August: Osage County,” you’ve seen only part of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning work. At full length, the 2007 dark comedy runs more than three hours, has two intermissions and solidly proves that there are still plays out there capable of delivering meaty roles, clever dialogue and plenty of subtext to ponder even after multiple viewings.

The excellent production at Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre boasts solid performances from the graduate student troupe, though it’s Lavinia Hart, longtime head of the school’s MFA acting program, who is the show’s anchor. She portrays Violet Weston, the matriarch of an especially dysfunctional Oklahoma family — and arguably the greatest stage character for actresses of a certain age to play in at least a couple of decades.


‘August: Osage County’ Review – All in the family


August Osage County

Viciousness shouldn’t be quite so funny, nor frailty quite so compassionate, but family’s weird that way. For the final production of its season, Hilberry Theatre takes on playwright Tracy Letts’s much-lauded and recently film-adapted “August: Osage County,” an epic tragicomedy chronicling resounding disaster and slovenly catharsis in one fractious Oklahoma clan. Fittingly, this story of homecoming features the return of Hilberry alumnus James R. Kuhl as director and a hotly anticipated guest performance by faculty member Lavinia Hart, who join with the graduate student company in pushing the vast ranges of this exhaustive script as far as parameters allow.

At the play’s outset, the only inhabitants of the Weston house are the declining, adversarial Beverly (Alec Barbour) and Violet (Hart), along with their respective all-consuming addictions. When Beverly abruptly hires a live-in housekeeper (Sarah Hawkins Moan) and just as promptly disappears, it serves as the catalyst to bring the couple’s three daughters back to their childhood home, with families – and baggage – in tow.


‘August: Osage County’ closes the Hilberry Theatre season with a bang


Left to right – Lavinia Hart, Danielle Cochrane

The Hilberry Theatre’s final play of the season is “August: Osage County,” which earned Tracy Letts the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This production is remarkable for a number of reasons. It is an uncomfortable but irresistible oddity – a brutally funny, frighteningly honest production. It is brilliantly directed by Hilberry alumnus James R. Kuhl – currently Artistic Director of the Tipping Point Theatre – last seen at the Hilberry five years ago in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” And it stars, in the role of the pill-addled matriarch Violet Weston, Lavinia Hart, who is possibly the most well-known theatre pro in the area and Head of the MFA Acting Program at Wayne State University.

Whether or not you saw the critically acclaimed film version of Letts’ masterpiece, you should scurry down to the Hilberry to see this live production. The experience is unforgettable. We’ve seen and enjoyed this play elsewhere, and expected Ms. Hart to be amazing in the powerhouse role of Violet Weston. She was all that and more – scary, smart and explosive.


Student and teacher return to the stage in Hilberry’s ‘August: Osage County’



APRIL 15, 2014

Left to right - James R. Kuhl, Bevin Bell-Hall, Lavinia Hart

Left to right – James R. Kuhl, Bevin Bell-Hall, Lavinia Hart

Returning home, an idea at the heart of countless great dramas over the years, gets fresh layers of meaning in Hilberry Theatre’s season-closing production of “August: Osage County,” Tracy Letts’ Tony Award-winning dysfunctional-family drama.

In the large-cast play, running April 18-May 10 on the campus of Wayne State University in Midtown Detroit, members of the Weston clan — including three grown sisters and their poisonous mother — reunite at their rambling Oklahoma homestead following the disappearance of their patriarch. Tempers flare, sparks fly, pills are popped, liquor flows and profanity reigns.

The production itself represents two significant, if less turbulent, homecomings.