PHOTO CALL: ‘Cinderella’ on Tour!

The inaugural Detroit Youth Theatre and Dance Journey
tours to select Detroit schools this month!

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The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance has launched its inaugural Detroit Youth Theatre and Dance Journey with the children’s play Cinderella, or It’s OK to Be Different by Cynthia Mercati. Over the past two weeks, the cast and crew have toured to seven schools and one outdoor festival. The group continues on the road throughout the month but has seven performances at The Hilberry starting on the 20th of June.

In Cinderella, or It’s OK to be Different, a group of lively students discover that their familiar Cinderella story isn’t the only one – that there was a Cinderella in ancient Egypt and one among the Algonquin Indians and that there are hundreds of Cinderella tales all around the world! In an innovative, sophisticated, and theatrical style, this fast-paced, up-beat, multicultural show focuses on the universality of folk literature and finds that it’s okay to be different.
Performances of Cinderella, or It’s OK to be Different will play at the Hilberry Theatre on June 20, June 21, June 23, June 27, June 28 and June 30.  Individual Tickets are $5 for children and $8 for adults. There is a $5 per ticket price for groups of 10 or more. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at 313-577-2972, online at http://www.wsushows.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Ave. on the corner of Cass Ave. and Hancock. The summer Box Office hours are Tuesday – Friday from 10 – 2 p.m. The box office will be open one hour prior to all performances. Performance information and tickets may also be obtained by visiting the Theatre’s websites at www.hilberry.com.

Make your reservations today as the performance at The Hilberry Theatre on June 27 at 10:30 a.m. is already sold out.

Calendar Information:

Thursday, June 20, 2013 10:30 a.m.
Friday, June 21, 2013 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, June 23, 2013 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:30 a.m. (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, June 27, 2013 1:00 p.m.
Friday, June 28, 2013 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, June 30, 2013 2:00 p.m.

REVIEW: Hilberry gives us polished ‘Marat/Sade’

Reviewed by Robert Delaney, The New Monitor

Join the Facebook Event or view our photo album!

The Lunatics have arrived. Left to Right - Back row: Ty Mithcell, David Sterritt, Vanessa Sawson Middle row: Rahbi Hammond, Megan Dobbertin, Brandon Grantz Front row: Alec Barbour, Danielle Cochrane, Maggie Beson, Edmund Alyn Jones, Sarah Hawkins Moan Credit: Kevin Replinger

The Lunatics have are waiting for you.
Left to Right – Back row: Ty Mithcell, David Sterritt, Vanessa Sawson
Middle row: Rahbi Hammond, Megan Dobbertin, Brandon Grantz
Front row: Alec Barbour, Danielle Cochrane, Maggie Beson, Edmund Alyn Jones, Sarah Hawkins Moan
Credit: Kevin Replinger

The death of one of the men responsible for the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution is the subject of a play-within-a-play performed by inmates of an insane asylum, in Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade,” the latest production of the current season at Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre. Weiss pretends the play being acted out by the inmates has been written by the infamous marquis who gave his name to sadism, and the long version of the play’s title is “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis De Sade” — perhaps the longest title ever given to a play.

Set in 1808, after the French Revolution has been supplanted by the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, the inmates act out a play by their fellow inmate, the Marquis de Sade, who did indeed write plays for his fellow inmates to perform.

This play tells the story of the 1793 assassination of Marat, who was a supporter of Robespierre’s draconian campaign of executing anyone perceived as an enemy of the
revolution.

Weiss drew on the theatrical theories of Bertolt Brecht in his crafting of 1963 play, and although written a few years before the full fl owering of farleft political action that was to mark the later ‘60s, this avant garde work presents the vicious Marat in a sympathetic light (pretty much saying, even if he was a bit mad, later events proved him right).

It’s not a play to my taste, but I nevertheless found this Hilberry production — directed (and choreographed) by Matthew Earnest — quite impressive. Outstanding performances are given by Edmund Alyn Jones as Marat, Vanessa Sawson as Charlotte Corday (his assassin), Joe Plambeck as de Sade and Topher Payne as the Herald.

I had thought Jones would pretty well just be coasting to the end of his third year at the Hilberry after his stellar performance as Othello, yet here he is giving
another truly memorable performance.

And Sawson’s Corday (or more precisely, her inmate pressed into service to play Corday) may well be the best thing she has done in her Hilberry career. But  absolutely every member of the cast is very good, and this is a thoroughly well done production in every aspect.

Also of the highest quality are the scenic design by Pegi Marshall-Amundsen and the costumes by Mary Leyendecker.

“Marat/Sade” continues through May 11 at the Hilberry Theatre, at Cass and West Hancock on the WSU campus in Detroit’s Midtown area. For performance and ticket information, call the WSU Theatre box offi ce (313) 577-2972 or go to http://www.wsushows.com.

REVIEW: ‘Marat/Sade’ crowns the Hilberry Theatre’s 50th season

Reviewed by Patty Nolan, The Examiner

Read the review on the Examiner Website.

Join the Facebook Event or view our photo album!

The Lunatics have arrived. Left to Right - Back row: Ty Mithcell, David Sterritt, Vanessa Sawson Middle row: Rahbi Hammond, Megan Dobbertin, Brandon Grantz Front row: Alec Barbour, Danielle Cochrane, Maggie Beson, Edmund Alyn Jones, Sarah Hawkins Moan Credit: Kevin Replinger

The Lunatics have arrived.
Left to Right – Back row: Ty Mitchell, David Sterritt, Vanessa Sawson
Middle row: Rahbi Hammond, Megan Dobbertin, Brandon Grantz
Front row: Alec Barbour, Danielle Cochrane, Maggie Beson, Edmund Alyn Jones, Sarah Hawkins Moan
Credit: Kevin Replinger

In its final production of the milestone 50th season, the Hilberry Theatre is currently staging the extraordinary Tony Award-winning play, “Marat/Sade (The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade)” by Peter Weiss. Although this show is decidedly NOT a musical, it deploys dance and a fetching score by Richard Peaslee to more fully explore Weiss’s complex themes of revolution and individual nonconformity, mob hysteria and personal demons.

This brilliantly performed production of Marat/Sade is directed and choreographed by Matthew Earnest, who returns to the Hilberry after directing last season’s innovative “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Marat/Sade famously recreates events that occurred late in the French Revolution, in which Jean-Paul Marat (played by the commanding Edmund Alyn Jones), a champion of the poor and proponent of the guillotine solution, is murdered in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday (the versatile Vanessa Sawson) a country girl disillusioned by the unending bloodshed. But this is much more than a mere history lesson. Weiss chose to set this story as a play within a play, performed – as the formal title suggests – by the inmates of an asylum under the direction of theMarquis de Sade (Joe Plambeck, in his most challenging role yet). As a point of historical fact, Sade – yes, the libertine who gave us the term “sadist” – was interred at Charenton following the revolution, and was allowed to direct dramatizations with the inmates under the authority of the benign Dr. Coulmier.

Written by Weiss in the 1960s, the play serves as a commentary on the nature of revolution and the meaning of freedom in a world that suppresses individuality in the name of ‘the people.’ In the play, the aloof Marquis de Sade and the fanatical Marat debate their opposing views on power, politics and insurrection.

In the play, Sade sums up his feelings by remarking, ““To me, the only reality is imagination; the world inside myself. The revolution no longer interests me.”

And the naughty Marquis’ vision is all brought to life by inmates whose maladies range from narcolepsy to nymphomania.

“I don’t think Marat/Sade deals extensively with the French Revolution,” Earnest explains. “I believe that Peter Weiss is reframing events and people from the time of the French Revolution to discuss his own time – the Cold War and the brutal, oppressive era of the Berlin Wall … I think we still struggle with individual liberties and the common good. People really are in control of their own destinies, and that’s what this play is about. It’s not a history lesson on the French Revolution any more than Macbeth is a history lesson on Scottish politics.”

This compelling production commands, deserves and rewards the audience’s full attention. The entire Hilberry company is to be congratulated on a powerful show that effortlessly pulls the viewer into its undertow of political anarchy and polarized political thought.

The cast includes: Alec Barbour (Kokol), Maggie Beson (Inmate), Miles Boucher (Holy Sister), Christopher Call (Holy Sister), Danielle Cochrane (Rossignol), Mackenzie Conn (Inmate), Megan Dobbertin (Simonne Evrard), Nancy Florkowski (Inmate), Brandon Grantz (Dupperet), Brent Griffith (Male Nurse), Rahbi Hammond (Inmate), Edmund Alyn Jones (Marat), Annie Keris (Cocurucu), Joshua Miller (Polpoch), Ty Mitchell (Inmate), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Inmate), Chelsea Ortuno (Inmate), Topher Payne (Herald), Joe Plambeck (Sade), Joshua Blake Rippy (Coulmier), Vanessa Sawson (Corday), and David Sterritt (Roux).

The production team includes: Matthew Earnest (Director), Veronica Zahn (Stage Manager), Courtney Rasor (Assistant Stage Manager), Christopher Hall (Music Composer), Pegi Marshall-Amundsen (Scenic Designer), Samuel G. Byers (Lighting Designer), Mary Leyendecker (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Sound Designer), Kimbra Essex (Property Master), Michael Wilkki (Technical Director), and Patrick Pozezinski (Publicity Design).

“Marat/Sade” runs at the Hilberry Theatre through May 11, 2013, with 8 p.m. performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. performances on April 24, May 4, and May 11. See the website for the performance calendar. Tickets range from $12–$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

PRESS RELEASE: Be Entertained by the Clinically Insane at the Hilberry Theatre

Contemporary Guest-Director Matthew Earnest returns for Marat/Sade

Third-year Hilberry actors Edmund Aly Jones and Vanessa Sawson are set to star in 'Marat/Sade' this April.Photo: Patrick Pozezinski

Third-year Hilberry actors Edmund Alyn Jones and Vanessa Sawson are set to star in ‘Marat/Sade’ this April.
Photo: Patrick Pozezinski

DETROIT – Playing April 19 through May 11, 2013, the evocative and extraordinary Tony Award-winning play, Marat/Sade (The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) by Peter Weiss, will conclude the Hilberry Theatre’s milestone 50th season. This legendary play-within-a-play is a wildly theatrical, multi-layered event not to be missed. Tickets for Marat/Sade range from $12–$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at http://www.hilberry.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

The inmates of the Charenton Asylum for the Insane are putting on a show for you: a historical review of sorts concerning the last days of French patriot Jean-Paul Marat, murdered in his bathtub by a delusional country girl during the chaos that followed the French Revolution. The cast is unique to say the least – their afflictions range from narcolepsy to nymphomania and everything in between – but they’ve been thoroughly rehearsed by their director and fellow inmate, one of history’s most notorious outlaws, the Marquis de Sade.

After last season’s Much Ado About Nothing, guest-director Matthew Earnest returns to the Hilberry, using dance and a score by Richard Peaslee, to explore Peter Weiss’s seminal play of revolution and destiny. Earnest explains, “I don’t think Marat/Sade ‘deals extensively’ with the French Revolution. I believe that Peter Weiss is reframing events and people from the time of the French Revolution to discuss his own time – the Cold War and the brutal, oppressive era of the Berlin Wall…I think we still struggle with individual liberties and the common good. People really are in control of their own destinies, and that’s what this play is about. It’s not a history lesson on the French Revolution any more than Macbeth is a history lesson on Scottish politics.”

Fans of the recent Oscar-winning movie-adaptation of the famed musical Les Miserables and its subject matter of social plight and collective progress will not want to miss the chance to see these themes tackled in an avant-garde, live theatrical setting. While vastly different in approach, both explore similar themes using France’s tumultuous century of revolution as inspiration and metaphor.

Cast:

Alec Barbour (Kokol), Maggie Beson (Inmate), Miles Boucher (Holy Sister),  Christopher Call (Holy Sister), Danielle Cochrane (Rossignol), Mackenzie Conn (Inmate), Megan Dobbertin (Simonne Evrard), Nancy Florkowski (Inmate), Brandon Grantz (Dupperet), Brent Griffith (Male Nurse), Rahbi Hammond (Inmate), Edmund Alyn Jones (Marat), Annie Keris (Cocurucu), Joshua Miller (Polpoch), Ty Mitchell (Inmate), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Inmate), Chelsea Ortuno (Inmate), Topher Payne (Herald), Joe Plambeck (Sade), Joshua Blake Rippy (Coulmier), Vanessa Sawson (Corday), and David Sterritt (Roux).

Production Team:

Matthew Earnest (Director), Veronica Zahn (Stage Manager), Mercedes Coley (Assistant Stage Manager), Christopher Hall (Music Composer), Pegi Marshall-Amundsen (Scenic Designer), Samuel G. Byers (Lighting Designer), Mary Leyendecker (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Sound Designer), Kimbra Essex (Property Master), Michael Wilkki (Technical Director), and Patrick Pozezinski (Publicity Design).

About the Hilberry Theatre Company

The Hilberry Theatre Company is the nation’s only 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 from Wayne State University. 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, and group discounts and corporate packages, visit the theatre’s website at http://www.hilberry.com. 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.

The 2012–2013 Hilberry season is sponsored by CBS Outdoor, Between the Lines, and Encore Michigan.

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Marat/Sade
By Peter Weiss

Calendar Information:

Wednesday 2 p.m.      April 24 (Postshow Talkback)
Thursday 8 p.m.          April 25 (Preshow Discussion), May 2, May 9
Friday 8 p.m.               April 19 (Opening Night), April 26, May 3, May 10
Saturday 2 p.m.           May 4, May 11
Saturday 8 p.m.           April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11 (Closing Night)

Seeing ‘Detroit’ by Lisa D’Amour was selected as the #1 Thing To Do in Detroit!

‘Detroit’ by Lisa D’Amour was recently selected as the #1  Thing To Do in Detroit by Crain’s Detroit Business. This show only has three performances left, so don’t miss your chance! Join us March 28, April 4, or April 5 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available online or at the Hilberry Theatre Box Office.

Check out the full list!

For more info, check out the Facebook Event.

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'Detroit' at the Hilberry Theatre

1. Lisa D’Amour’s “Detroit” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and is at Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre for only a couple more weeks, so don’t miss your opportunity to see the story of a fledgling suburban friendship.

Hilberry Theatre Wins “Best Place to See Live Local Theatre”

Metro Times Detroit Logo

 

Congratulations to everyone at the Hilberry Theatre for being voted “Best Place to See Live Local Theatre” by readers of Metro Times Detroit! Home much do you LIKE the Hilberry?

Click HERE to read the entire article!

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Best Place to See Live Local Theater

Hilberry Theatre

“This is sort of a surprise choice. Given that Detroit has its share of professional theaters, such as the Detroit Rep, the Ringwald, even Ann Arbor’s Performance Network. It’s interesting that our readers went with this rotating repertory graduate theater. It must be the excitement of seeing actors grow into their craft — and it can’t hurt that Mario’s is right down the street. (And, no Detroit City Council wasn’t an acceptable answer.)”

REVIEW: Lively ‘Marriage,’ a match made at The Hilberry

Reviewed by Samantha White, The Oakland Press

Click HERE to read the review on the The Oakland Press website.

Check out the Marriage photo album join the Facebook event!

Posted: Thursday, March 07, 2013

Once upon a time there lived a Russian matchmaker named Fiokla, played by standout actress Sarah Hawkins Moan in Marriage, by Nikolai Gogol playing at Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre.

Sarah Hawkins Moan (Fiokla), Brent Griffith (Podkoliosin)Photo: Kevin Replinger

Sarah Hawkins Moan (Fiokla), Brent Griffith (Podkoliosin)
Photo: Kevin Replinger

It’s hard not to watch her even when she is simply eating an apple and not saying a word.

The drama of this season’s “The Bachelor” on ABC has nothing on the antics of Marriage. Sean and Tierra’s relationship woes don’t compare to Podkoliosin and Agafya — the play’s two tentative lovebirds.

FYI:“Marriage” is playing in repertory now through April 6. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays, March 7 and 21; 8 p.m. Fridays, March 8 and 22; 8 p.m. Saturdays, March 9 and 30; and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $12 to $30. Visit www.hilberry.com or call 313-577-2972.

Fiokla’s mission is to find love for the extremely hesitant bachelor and civil servant Podkoliosin. Her choice for him is the sweet Agafya Tikhonovna.

Although classical, this isn’t your typical romantic comedy. In fact, there is no happily ever after in sight as the play’s main character sheepishly courts Agafya through a series of awkward and silly moments.

Fiokla also presents three other bachelors to Agafya as potential husbands — Poach’Tegg, played by the versatile Chris Call, Anuchkin, played by the humorous Miles Boucher, and Zhevakin, played by the wonderful Topher Payne.

The show’s director, James Thomas, has created a lively and animated production complete with a large pink cake that serves as the backdrop.

When the show begins, Podkoliosin, played by Brent Griffith, his assistant Stepan, played by Alec Barbour, and his best friend, Kochkariev, played by Ty Mitchell, sing along with Bobby Darin to “Dream Lover.” It’s a great way to start the show — it engaged the audience, igniting contagious handclapping and a sing-along on opening weekend.

Griffith has Matthew Broderick’s sweetness and charm, and a Stan Laurel goofiness that make him a joy to watch. His timing and energy never wavered — quite impressive when one has to play a nervous, sweating mess of a man for two hours.

Annie Keris is great as Agafya. She has a range that is funny, smart, timid and delicate — the perfect ingénue.

Joshua Blake Rippy plays Agafya’s very, very tall aunt, Arina. Watching him prance around in a corset and a black braided wig is reason enough to go see this show.

“Marriage” is the lighter slice of the Hilberry season, which includes William Shakespeare’s dramatically heavy “Othello.”

Samantha White is a Detroit-based freelance writer. Contact her at sammie427@gmail.com.