Summer Fun in the Sun with Thaddeus and ‘Tila

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to present its annual season of Summer Children’s Theatre, this year featuring a performance of Thaddeus and ‘Tila  (A Crane and Frog Tale), winner of the 2004 Macy’s New Play Prize for Young Audiences.

Thaddeus is a frog who dreams of flying. One day, ‘Tila, a teenage crane with poor eyesight, crashes into Thaddeus’ pond and a friendship quickly blossoms when he saves her life. When they find out bulldozers are on the way to clear the swamp and make way for a housing subdivision, Thaddeus and ‘Tila must overcome the bullying of fellow swamp creatures, Mos and Sala, as well as their own personal obstacles to save themselves and their fellow swamp residents. Don’t miss out on the excitement!

2015 Summer Show

Bonnie Holmes as ‘Tila (top left), Maria Simpkins as Birdie (top right), and Tayler Jones as Thaddeus (down front)

The production plays at the Hilberry Theatre June 18 – 20 and June 25 – 27 at 10:30 a.m. as well as June 20 and June 27 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for children (up to age 12) and $8 for adults. They may be purchased by calling 313-577-2972, visiting http://www.wsushows.com, or visiting the Wayne State University Box Office located at 4743 Cass Ave. on the corner of Hancock St.

“My vision of the play is ‘Flying to a world of possibilities,’” says director Billicia Hines. “Even though he was bullied over it, Thaddeus held strong to his dream of flying. I hope the children of Detroit will be inspired to fly to their own world of possibilities. You may be surrounded by bad circumstances, but that should not deter you from staying positive and going after your dreams.”

Thaddeus and ‘Tila also tours Detroit Public Schools free-of-charge during the months of May and June, reaching over 5,000 students at 21 schools. This tour is part of an ongoing commitment to educational arts outreach by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance.

The Cast (In Alphabetical Order)
Bonnie Holmes (‘Tila), Jada Johnson (Mos), Tayler Jones (Thaddeus), Michaella Mallet (Sala), Maria Simpkins (Birdie)

The Production Team
Billicia Charnelle Hines (Director), Stephanie Baugher (Scenic Designer), Anne Suchyta (Costume Designer), Mike Hallberg (Lighting Designer), Derek Graham (Sound Designer), Lyndee Hallahan (Stage Manager), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Jason Goldman (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 dance, theatre, and performance studies.  It provides a wide variety 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, 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.

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.

Calendar Information
June 18 – June 27
Thursday, June 18            10:30 a.m.
Friday, June 19                 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, June 20             10:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 25            10:30 a.m.
Friday, June 26                 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, June 27             10:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.

Stage Door Series, an evening for Young Professionals, debuts at the Hilberry Theatre April 18

DETROIT – The Hilberry Theatre Company is launching a program for the young professional Detroit community. The Stage Door Series is an exciting new opportunity for arts-lovers in their 20s and 30s to enjoy an evening of theatre followed by a trip to one of many great Midtown watering holes where they will mingle with the Hilberry company members along with other young professionals.

Manocchio_StageDoor

The program will kick-off at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 18th with The 39 Steps, a hilarious spoof of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller that blends frenzied performances and wildly inventive stagecraft with spies, murder, and some good old-fashioned romance!  A two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winner, The 39 Steps is a serious-spy-story-turned-madcap-comedy, full of biting wit, hilarious character changes, and allusions to, and puns on, other classic Hitchcock stories.

Following the show, members of the Hilberry cast and crew will be at Tony V’s Tavern located a few blocks North of the theatre at 5756 Cass Ave., to meet and mingle with other Detroiters, promising a great night for all.

The Hilberry Theatre, part of Wayne State University, is a graduate theatre program employing more than 35 theatre professionals under the age of 35. Located in the heart of Midtown, the Hilberry Company already enjoys the nightlife of Detroit, and now they want to include you!

The Stage Door Series will continue into the Hilberry’s 2015–16 season with a schedule of six memorable shows and six lively restaurants. The 2015–16 season includes titles such as the uproarious One Man Two Guvnors and the lavish The Great Gatsby, so the Stage Door Series is guaranteed to be a fun time with good people and great conversation.

To purchase tickets, call (313) 577-2972 or visit the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street. Subscriptions to the 2015–16 Stage Door Series are on sale now. Subscribers are an integral part of the Hilberry community and enjoy discounted prices, priority seating, exchange privileges, lost ticket insurance, free coffee, and a free subscription to the theatre’s newsletter.

About the Hilberry Theatre Company

The Hilberry Theatre hosts a professional theatre company that is staffed by graduate students in Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance and runs on a rotating repertory schedule.  Each academic year, 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.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 31,000 students.

Meet the Cast: Charlotte Hay

Moon Over Buffalo - Charlotte Hay

Moon Over Buffalo – Charlotte Hay

Charlotte Hay began her illustrious career at the tender age of three on the Orpheum circuit as Little Lotti Two Shoes, The Tiny Tap Sensation.  She went on to star on Broadway as Desdemona in Othello at the Little Theatre, and Katherine in Taming of the Shrew at the Alvin. She graced the silver screen as Waha Ka Weha in Apache Woman, and Beatrice Banning Ayer in Desert Victory! She has toured the country with her beautiful family, her brilliant husband George, her wonderfully supportive mother Ethel, and her fiercely independent daughter Rosalind, performing such roles as Nina in The Seagull, Ophelia in Hamlet, Beatrice in Much Ado, St. Joan and Eliza Doolittle.

Designed by John D. Woodland

Moon Over Buffalo – A Riotously Funny Backstage Farce

Moon Over BuffaloDETROIT On February 21, 2014, the Hilberry Theatre’s 51st season continues with Moon Over Buffalo, Ken Ludwig’s riotously funny backstage farce. The opening night performance also coincides with the 2014-15 Hilberry Theatre Season Announcement. Tickets for Moon Over Buffalo range from $12–$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at 313- 577-2972, online at Hilberry.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street.

Set in Buffalo, NY in 1953, the play centers around fading actors George and Charlotte Hay as they struggle to reignite the flame of fame, attempting to save their touring repertory theatre company…and their marriage! This hilariously funny Green Room comedy piles hysterical misunderstandings on top of madcap misadventures. George and Charlotte have just one last chance at fame, if only they can figure out which show they are performing!

Premiering on Broadway in 1995, the original production heralded Carol Burnett’s return to the Great White Way after a 30-year absence. Playwright Ken Ludwig is known for his notoriously clever dialogue and frequent use of theatrically specific allusions and situations. Lend Me a Tenor, Ludwig’s best known play, has been translated into over 15 languages and has been performed worldwide. Featuring countless jokes, one-liners and swordfights, Moon Over Buffalo is a fast-paced and highly physical comedy that is certain to evoke uproarious laughter from audiences of all ages.

Join us on Opening Night Friday, February 21 for the 2014-15 Hilberry Season Announcement! The evening will include pre-show events and contests as well as ticket giveaways. The performance will be immediately followed by the announcement of the 2014-15 Hilberry season and a reception with the Hilberry Company. Current Hilberry Subscribers are welcome to call the box office today to exchange their subscription tickets to join us for this exciting evening!

The Hilberry Theatre is proud to partner with Detroit Passport to the Arts in, “introducing the next generation of arts and culture enthusiasts to metro Detroit’s vital arts community.” The 8:00 p.m. performance of Moon Over Buffalo on March 29, 2014 is Destination 5 in the DP2A 2013-14 Season.

Cast (in alphabetical order):

Megan Barbour (Ethel), Bevin Bell-Hall (Charlotte Hay), Miles Boucher (Paul), Danielle Cochrane (Rosalind), Brandon Grantz (Howard), Brent Griffith (George Hay), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Eileen), Brandy Joe Plambeck (Richard).

Production Team:

Blair Anderson (Director), Courtney Rasor (Stage Manager), Sarah Drum (Asst. Stage Manager), Max Amitin (Scenic Design), John D. Woodland (Costume Designer), Leah McCall (Lighting Designer), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Michael “Mick” Keathley, II (Sound Designer), Tonae Mitsuhashi  (Properties Master), Heather DeFauw (Master Electrician), Kevin Replinger (Publicity Manager).

 

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 dance, theatre, and performance studies. 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 Hilberry.com.

Hilberry Theatre – Classic Theatre. Classic Detroit.

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.

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Moon Over Buffalo
By Ken Ludwig

Calendar Information:

Wednesday 2 p.m.      February 26 (Postshow Talkback)
Thursday 8 p.m.          February 27 (Preshow Discussion), March 27, April 3

Friday 8 p.m.               February 21 (Opening Night), February 28, March 28, April 4
Saturday 2 p.m.           February 22, March 29

Saturday 8 p.m.          February 22, March 1, March 29, April 5

Oscar Wilde is on trial at the Hilberry Theatre

Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde

Gross Indecency - Hilberry - Production Shots (3)

by Patty Nolan
Detroit Theatre Examiner
January 11, 2014

Before playwright Moisés Kaufman developed his well-know “The Laramie Project,” he explored the institutionalized hypocrisy and bigotry that led to Oscar Wilde’s ultimate incarceration (and a sentence of two year’s hard labor) for the crime of homosexuality. The Hilberry Theatre’s production of Kaufman’s, “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” uses nine actors playing multiple roles to offer a gripping historical account of the trials that brought Wilde’s career (and in short order, his life) to an abrupt end.

Kaufman’s script is a brilliant arrangement of verbatim selections from the three different trials, embellished by the letters and writings Wilde composed in this time period, diaries and biographies written by friends and detractors, and newspaper headlines covering “the trial of the century.”

In the interest of full disclosure, we confess to being an unabashed Wilde fan who has made pilgrimages to informal shrines in Dublin and Paris that honor the great man. That said, this production should appeal to anyone who appreciates a finely paced courtroom drama. Modern audiences may learn something about the evolution of gay-identity issues and how Wilde’s highly publicized trial actually predated the use of the term “homosexual” as something one could “be” as opposed to something one “did.”

Most importantly, this play explores the themes that mattered most to Wilde, who championed the notion that an intellectual and spiritual appreciation of art has the power to elevate human beings above the muck and mire of our brutal natures. As he explained in the first trial, “In writing a play or a book, I am concerned entirely with literature—that is, with art. I aim not at doing good or evil, but in trying to make a thing that will have some quality of beauty.” The irony, of course, is that Wilde was a martyr to the cause of art for art’s sake, even while being condemned on charges of “gross indecency” by some of the grossest and most indecent rascals in London.

This compelling, well-paced Hilberry Theatre production is directed by Blair Anderson, PhD, and set entirely in London’s Old Bailey court room in 1895 (sharp scenic design by Sarah Pearline). As the play opens, Oscar Wilde (Topher Allen Payne) naively invites his own ruin by bringing a libel suit against the overbearing bully, the Marquess of Queensberry (Brent Griffith). Queensberry has accused Wilde of “posing as a sodomite” and corrupting Queensberry’s son, Lord Alfred Douglas (David Sterritt). Lord Alfred (himself a real piece of nasty work) is adored by Wilde and urges him to use the court to attack the despised father. Things backfire when Wilde loses his suit and the Crown prosecutes him for “gross indecency,” the polite Victorian euphemism for the act that every public school boy of the time knew as “buggery.”

The Hilberry cast does a fine job with this piece, especially considering that it’s a drama in which the action is intellectual and emotional; it is all about delivering and deciphering the words.

Gross Indecency - Hilberry - Production Shots (4)Only Payne, as Oscar Wilde, plays the single role, which is refreshingly unaffected considering his subject. Sterritt, as Douglas, captures the young man’s self-absorbed nature while still letting us see how and why he could attract the great man’s affection. Griffith, as Queensberry, is convincing as the megalomaniacal Queensberry, and it’s fun to watch him leap into other roles, including one of the young men called to testify against Wilde.

Given the preponderance of male roles in this play, it is perhaps inevitable that the company should require its women to portray men. What is surprising is how well this comes off, with Annie Keris delivering a brilliantly thoughtful Sir Edward Clarke and Bevin Bell-Hall filled with gruff bluster as the judge.

The gifted cast of “Gross Indecency” includes: Alec Barbour (Carson, Narrator 5), Bevin Bell-Hall (Judge, Landlord, Mary Applegate, Mavor, Narrator 4, Queen Victoria, Speranza), Miles Boucher (Moises, Narrator 1, Price, Prostitute 44, Willi Wilde, Wood), Brandon Grantz (Antonio Migge, Auctioneer, Clerk of Arraigns, Parker, Harris, Narrator 3, Richards), Brent Griffith (Gill, Lockwood, Queensbury, Narrator 8), Annie Keris (Clarke, Constance Wilde, Ellen Grant, Hotel Manager, Narrator 6), Topher Payne (Oscar Wilde), Brandy Joe Plambeck (Atkins, George Frederick Claridge, Marvin Taylor, Jurry Foreman, Narrator 2, Wright, u/s: Oscar Wilde), David Sterritt (Lord Alfred Douglas, Narrator 7).

This is a commanding production that continues to provoke relevant conversation; don’t miss it. “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” runs through March 22, 2014 in rotation with “A Doctor in Spite of Himself.” See the theatre calendar for details. Tickets range from $12–$30 and are available online, by calling (313) 577-2972, or by visiting the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street.

Gross Ind BTL Ad 2On the evening of January 16th John Corvino, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Wayne State University, will take the stage at 7:15 p.m. for a discussion on themes central to the show. Corvino has written, debated, and lectured extensively on gay rights and believes that spirited dialogue is essential to convince the wider American public of both the merits of same-sex marriage and the moral acceptability of homosexuality.

HILBERRY’S “BIG LOVE” IS A FAST-PACED AND FUN BATTLE OF THE SEXES

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Sarah Hawkins Moan (left) as Lydia, Megan Barbour as Olympia and Danielle Cochrane as Thyona portray three reluctant brides fleeing from their prospective grooms in “Big Love” now through Dec. 7 at the Hilberry Theatre on the Wayne State University campus in Detroit. 

By SUE SUCHYTA

  Wherever you are in time and space, as long as there are men and women, the battle of the sexes will continue unabated. Sometimes funny, and sometimes sad, we can all take away lessons from the comedies and dramas that play out on local stages.
On the Wayne State University campus, the graduate level Hilberry Theatre presents Charles Mee’s, “Big Love,” a dark comedy based on one of the world’s oldest plays, “The Suppliant Women” by Aeschylus. You if you think an adaptation is destined to be dull, think again.
Set in the present day, brides in arranged marriages flee their country, pursued by their arranged grooms. Funny and terse in turn, the play explores human rights abuses, gender politics, domestic violence and love.
  The show is vibrant, fast-paced and well acted, with sophisticated tech, and brings out many sides of a story of reluctant brides running from persistent grooms.
“Big Love” plays at the Hilberry, Wayne State University’s graduate-level theatre now through Dec. 7, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday matinees.