The Hilberry Theatre Returns to its Classic and Educational Roots with Shakespeare’s ROMEO & JULIET

The Hilberry Theatre’s 52nd season continues with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, returning to the Hilberry stage for the first time since 2006. The production plays from October 24 to December 13, 2014, with additional student matinees scheduled throughout early 2015. Tickets range from $10 – $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or in person at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street.

Director Blair Anderson and the production team offer a fresh, contemporary take Romeo & Juliet Modelon Shakespeare’s well-known tale of Verona’s star-crossed lovers. Anderson emphasizes “young love” as a theme, with a specific focus on Juliet’s interpretation of the events. Tonae Mitsuhasi, a second year student in the Hilberry program, creates an immersive scenic design resembling a large art installation that fills the entire theatre.

Anderson returns to directing on the Hilberry stage following last season’s successfulshows Moon Over Buffalo, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and Big Love. He is a long-time Wayne State faculty member, whose directing highlights include Hamlet, Great Expectations, Scapin, The Tempest, Translations, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and A Winter’s Tale.Juliet Publicity PhotoThe Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance continues its commitment to arts education with this production. A season-long morning matinee series furthers the Hilberry’s tradition of introducing classic theatre to students within the greater metro Detroit community. Performances of Shakespeare’s Macbeth during the 2013-14 season reached over 3,000 middle and high school students.

Cast (in alphabetical order):
Bevin Bell-Hall (Benvolia), Miles Boucher (Romeo), Devri Chism (Juliet), Julian David Colletta (Balthasar), Santino Craven (Tybalt/Apothecary), Brandon Grantz (Mercutio/Friar John), Logan Hart (Sampson/Watchmen), Kyle Mitchell Johnson (Prince/Peter), Danté Jones (Understudy–Friar Larence), Annie Keris (Lady Montague), Michael Manocchio (Paris), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Nurse), Taylor Morrow (Dancer), Chris Peterson (Abram/Page), Brandy Joe Plambeck (Friar Lawrence), Mary Sansone (Gregory), Kendall Rose Talbot (Dancer), Michael Phillip Thomas (Capulet), Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Lady Capulet)

Production Team:Romeo & Juliet Rendering
Blair Anderson (Director), Sarah Drum (Stage Manager), Allison Baker (Asst. Stage Manager), Tonae Mitsuhashi (Scenic Design), Anne Suchyta (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Lighting Design), Mario Raymond (Sound Designer), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Stephanie Baugher (Properties Master), David Sterritt (Fight Choreographer), Kevin Replinger (Publicist), JP Hitesman (Asst. Publicist)

About the Hilberry Theatre Company:
Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance serves students as a nexus of performance, production, and research in the fields of theatre and dance. It provides a wide choice of degree programs that allow students the flexibility to study these disciplines broadly or to concentrate more specifically in performance, design, or management.

The Hilberry Theatre hosts a professional theatre company that is staffed by graduate students and runs on a rotating repertory schedule.  Each academic year, about forty graduate students receive assistantships to work for the Hilberry Theatre and study for advanced degrees. The company performs and produces an annual season of six plays, including high school matinees for nearly 6,000 students. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts, and corporate packages, visit the theatre’s website at

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.


A Little History About BOEING BOEING


Miles Boucher and Brandy Joe Plambeck. Photo by Bruce Giffin

French playwright Marc Camoletti’s classic farce, Boeing Boeing, premiered at the Théâtre de la Comédie-Caumartin in Paris in December, 1960. It ran in Paris for 19 years, and, with several translations, has since become the most produced French play in history, setting a Guinness World Record in 1991.

The English-language translation by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans opened in London’s West End in 1962, starring David Tomlinson, later of Mary Poppins fame, and ran for seven years. It was not as well-received in America, closing after only 23 performances in 1965 on Broadway at the Cort Theatre.


Annie Keris and Brandon Grantz. Photo by Bruce Giffin.

Boeing Boeing has seen numerous adaptations, including the 1965 Paramount Pictures big screen adaptation with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis. That film was the last one that Jerry Lewis made with Paramount Pictures, ending a quarter of a century of exclusive work with the studio. The film has been remade twice in India: first in 1985 and again as a younger, hipper version in 2005. The original film was selected by Quentin Tarantino for the first Quentin Tarantino Film Festival hosted by the Austin Film Society in Austin, Texas, 1996.

Boeing Boeing was adapted by W!LD RICE production in Singapore in 2002, and the company revisited, modernized, and relocated this classic comedy to present-day Asia, while keeping faithful to the text and the spirit of the play.

A sequel to Boeing Boeing, Don’t Dress for Dinner opened in Paris in 1987, under the title Pajamas Pour Six, and ran for over two years. An English‐language adaptation premiered in London at the Apollo Theatre in 1991 and ran for six years. It had a limited run on Broadway in 2012.

The Comedy Theatre revival in London in 2007 received two Olivier Award nominations – including one for best revival. This time American audiences were more receptive; Boeing Boeing won the 2008 Tony Award for best revival, when an adapted version played at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. The New York Times raved, “This latest edition of a play named for an aircraft soars right out of its time zone and into some unpolluted stratosphere of classic physical comedy.”

marc  camelotti

Marc Camoletti

Marc Camoletti’s plays have been performed in over 50 countries in several languages. In Paris alone, 20,000 performances have been done of 18 different plays. This remarkable artist passed away in 2003, in Deauville, on the coast of Normandy. He is buried with his wife in Montmarte Cemetery in Paris, the final resting place of another great master of French farce, Georges Feydeau.

For tickets and information about the Hilberry Theatre’s current production of Boeing Boeing, visit

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.