Announcing Season 14 at Williamston Theatre!

I am so pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Season lineup for Williamston Theatre.

This season we’re deliberately and enthusiastically presenting a slate of plays that will run the gambit from big laughs, to big thoughts, to big tears.  Working around a couple of key themes like empathy, compassion, and the idea of being open to a world wider than our own, we’ve got six pieces from some fantastic playwrights that I just can’t wait to share with our community.

 

The Safe House
By Kristine Thatcher

October 3 through November 3, 2019

In 1982, Bridget returns home to Lansing looking for a respite from a failing NYC acting career, and a troubled, abusive marriage. Longing for the comfort of a stay with her grandmother Hannah, what she finds is a family struggling with change.  Hannah, the strong, independent matriarch of the family, is no longer as self-sufficient as she was: The challenges of aging have caught up with her, and her family is at odds on how to best ensure her safety.  With gentle humor, honesty, and heart, this play is a beautiful examination of family, transition, and the importance of being there for each other. 

Williamston Theatre’s first production of a play by Lansing’s own Kristine Thatcher.

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A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show
By David Albert

November 21 through December 22, 2019

It’s Christmas Eve, and with the actors snowed in and unable to make it to the studios of WXMS for the live radio performance of A Christmas Carol, the sound effects man decides to take the audience through the classic tale himself. A rollicking, creative adaptation of Dickens’ classic work that is sure to warm the hearts of even the chilliest audience members. This one-man tour de force features WT favorite Aral Gribble as our endearing and engaging storyteller.

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900 Miles to International Falls
By Annie Martin
A World Premiere

January 30 through March 1, 2020

The year is 2054, and our world is unrecognizable: aliens, war, and a congratulatory sheet cake for each baby born. In this future, a woman’s work is never done but always vital.  Tanya remembers a world where there was more than war, though, and refuses to surrender her son to the chaos surrounding them now. When she befriends a new young mother she thinks she’s found an ally…. but the universe has other plans for them.  This compelling drama explores mothers, sons, and the importance of connections.
Contains adult content and language.

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These Mortal Hosts
By Eric Coble

March 26 through April 26, 2020

“Don’t get in the car”, the voice said.  So, Meaghan didn’t.  And then her world turned upside down.  After a tragedy devastates tiny Dove Creek, Colorado, the Mysteries begin. Earl can’t explain the change coming over him… Phyllis knows the impossible has become possible, and… is the voice in Meaghan’s head still her own?  Three seemingly random strangers find themselves thrust together at the center of the Mysteries as their lives, and bodies, hurtle them toward events far beyond their comprehension.  But what are the Mysteries?  Whatever is happening, the whole town is suddenly swept up in events of epic proportion, and the question is: Are they preparing for a miracle, or are they succumbing to madness?  A riveting exploration of faith and community in small-town America.
Contains adult content and language.

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Alabaster
By Audrey Cefaly
A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

May 21 through June 21, 2020

Alice, a noted photographer, sets out to explore the topography of scars, and the women who bear them. Her journey takes her to the mysterious realm of an undiscovered folk artist, June, who is hiding herself away on a small farm in North Alabama. What begins as an artistic collaboration between the two women becomes an intimate exploration of love, grief and longing.  This bittersweet portrait explores the meaning and purpose of art and the struggle of the lost and tortured souls that seek to create it. Hilarious, heart-wrenching and full of theatre magic, this play will rip your heart out, make you laugh, and remind you to hold close the people in your life.
Contains adult content and language

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Be Here Now
By Deborah Zoe Laufer

July 9 through August 9, 2020

Bari’s always been a bit of an angry, depressed misanthrope. When she loses her job teaching nihilism in New York, and has to work a local dead-end job in her rural hometown, she spirals into despair. Suddenly, her recurring headaches manifest bizarre, ecstatic, almost religious experiences, and they’re changing her entire view of life. She’s in love! She’s almost… happy! When she finds out the headaches are also killing her, she must decide whether it’s better to live a short, joyful life, or risk a lifetime of misery. And she must also ask herself… what’s it all for anyway?  A wonderfully funny and heartwarming tale that asks the question “We know how life ends, so can’t we enjoy the beauty in now?”

A pretty good Friday…

Lots of looking to the future today.

I got to nail down the rights to the last of the plays for our 2017-2018 Season at Williamston Theatre.  Confirmed rights and dates with one of the licensors, and sent out a couple of playwright contracts for some of our world premieres.

Season selection is one of my favorite parts of being an Artistic Director.  There’s something energizing and exciting about it – working with the staff to nail down what our shows will be, what the face of our organization will be for a season.  “This is who we are this year, everybody!  Come hang out!”  There’s a sense of The Future – moving forward, growing, making things – creation.  I love it.

Also, I started speaking with our prospective new apprentices.  Lining up interviews, discussing when they’d be able to meet, looking over resumes, that kind of stuff.  Looking into who and what the rest of this season, and all of next season, will bring to the team.

Proofread a big press release from the National New Play Network for a project we’re involved in.  That’ll go out next week, announcing a fun thing that we’ve not yet been able to talk about much.

Plus, I got to have a phone call with my daughter in Finland.  It’s her birthday!  Well, for us her birthday will happen tomorrow, but at 5pm here we called her because Finland is 7 hours ahead of us and she was out at Midnight CELEBRATING her birthday!  How our little girl is suddenly 19 and living on the other side of the planet is still something I’m struggling to grasp, but just texting with her today and talking with her tonight reminded me of how bright and exciting her future is.  And her little brother is on a bus to a weekend Show Choir retreat where he’s going to have a blast singing, dancing and hanging out with friends.  So much potential and goodness coming for both of them!

So, yep.  The future.  So many good things are on the way.  Sure, there are challenges, that goes without saying.  But that’s part of the fun.  Do I know exactly what I’ll be doing a year from now?  2 years?  5? Nope.  I can guess, I can hope, I can plan… and then life will do what it does regardless of my hopes and plans.  But looking around right now, I’m sure glad I’m here – and I kind of can’t wait to see what happens!

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Announcing the 2014-2015 Williamston Theatre Season!

I’m really excited about our lineup for next season! Comedy, drama, murders, World Premiers, Michigan Premiers, it’s going to be terrific!

The Gravedigger: A Frankenstein Story

A World Premiere by Joseph Zettelmaier
September 25 – November 2, 2014
Directed by John Lepard
Set in the late 1700s, in one of Bavaria’s forgotten cemeteries, a lone gravedigger finds a hideously scarred man hiding in a freshly dug grave. Thus begins a journey of discovery and friendship, leading to a crossroads where both men face their shared past. From the writer of Ebenezer, And The Creek Don’t Rise, and It Came From Mars, comes a seasonally haunting tale of pursuing the monster within.

Miracle on South Division Street

by Tom Dudzik
November 28 – December 28, 2014
Directed by Rob Roznowski
Meet the Nowaks of Buffalo, NY. Clara and her three grown kids have always known they were special, ever since the miraculous night in 1942 when the Blessed Mother appeared to Grandpa in his barbershop. Since then, Clara and her three children have kept the faith and tended to Grandpa’s sidewalk shrine, which has been a beacon of hope to the neighbors and given prestige to the family. The entire family’s faith is shaken to the very core when a deathbed confession causes the local legend to unravel. This charming tale of family, legacy and tolerance will bring warmth to your heart this holiday season.

The Best Brothers

by Daniel MacIvor
January 29 – March 1, 2015
Directed by Lynn Lammers
After losing their free-spirited mother in a freak accident, brothers Kyle and Hamilton Best have to find a way to work together to make the final arrangements. In the bustle of obituary-writing, eulogy-giving, and dog-sitting, sibling rivalry quickly reaches its peak and years of buried contentions surface. As each struggles to understand the other, the brothers begin to see more deeply into themselves and the unconventional woman who gave them life. The Best Brothers is a bittersweet comedy from one of Canada’s most beloved playwrights that explores the many ways in which we grieve, and the love we find in unexpected places.

Sirens

by Deborah Zoe Laufer
A collaboration with the MSU Department of Theatre
March 26 – April 26, 2015
Directed by Tony Caselli
When Sam first fell in love with Rose he wrote her a song — a song that has been covered by every recording artist and translated into every language. For twenty-five years, Sam has been trying to write the next song – to no avail. When the couple decides to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary with a cruise in the Mediterranean, Sam hears the most beautiful music he’s ever heard and, in an attempt to capture it, jumps overboard. As he grapples with the legacy of his song, and a temptress of Greek mythology, he struggles to find a way home and to win back his wife. Out of a contemporary love story that grapples with the terrors of middle age, and the tortures of creative failure, comes a mystical expedition to find home.

Outside Mullingar

by John Patrick Shanley
A Michigan Premiere
May 21 – June 21, 2015
Directed by John Seibert
Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that—due to his painful shyness—suits him well. Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe. Their journey is heartbreaking, funny as hell, and ultimately deeply moving. From the Pulitzer, Oscar and Tony-award winning creator of Doubt comes a delightful new work about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love.

The Art of Murder

by Joe DiPietro
July 16 – August 23, 2015
Directed by Tobin Hissong
In a remote estate in the countryside of Connecticut, Jack Brooks, one of the most accomplished and eccentric painters of his generation, awaits the imminent arrival of his art dealer with his devoted wife Annie. But the visit is not a standard one. Wronged feelings, a quest for revenge and years of dishonesty threaten to blow apart Jack’s carefully constructed web of lies and deceit. In the 2000 Edgar Award Winner for Best Mystery Play, passion ignites all the players in this chess game. Who will be the last one standing?

Logos for next season!

Boy, it’s been a busy couple of weeks!  We got a show open at Williamston Theatre, I went to San Diego Comic Con, life has been good!

Here, just for fun, are the logos for the 2013-2014 Season at Williamston Theatre!  A couple may undergo minor tweaking, but this is the general look of the season, and I love it.  I am beyond excited about the lineup for next year – the scripts, the casts, the production teams  – so much goodness!

Woman In Black (option)

Over RiverLion In WinterFrankieOld Love (final)BIG BANG

Thursday Random Pic Post!

A handful miscellaneous stuff from the life of a Dad and Director:

I’ve been playing with the Vine app on my iPhone a lot lately, it’s fun.  I let my kids play with it while we were waiting around in a phone store the other day.  What did we learn from this?  The following: Dads, just because your kids are old enough to not run off in a store does NOT mean you can close your eyes and relax!  😉

A nice promo photo for Sweet Mercy by Melody Cooper, which I’m directing at MSU right now – we open next week!

photo

The Stephen King book Under The Dome was pretty good, I enjoyed it.  They’ve made a tv series of it that will premiere this Summer.  As a promo, you can see what your house would look like if it was “Under The Dome”.  So here’s mine:domed!Scary, right?  Of course, if there were a way to make this whole dome thing equal less leaf raking in Autumn, it could be worth it…

Hey! Check this out!  The Williamston Theatre was featured in the Actors’ Equity Association Newsletter this month!  (AEA, for those who may not know, is the union for professional theatre actors and stage managers)  You can get the Newsletter HERE and check us out on page 4!  (Below is a pic of what it looks like!)

WT in AEA Newsletter

And, in other Williamston Theatre news, here are 3 of the 6 plays we’ll be doing next year!
books

Of course, I can’t really reveal the titles yet… but trust me, they’re pretty awesome.  🙂

Happy Thursday, everybody!

Announcing the 2012-2013 Williamston Theatre Season!

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by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Sep 20 – October 21.
 “Sex to Change the Course of the World”—A grad student’s online personal ad lures a mysterious journalism student to his subterranean research lab under the pretense of an evening of “no strings attached” sex. But when a major global catastrophic event strikes the planet, their date takes on evolutionary significance and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. Will they survive? What about the fish in the tank? And who is that woman pulling levers and playing the timpani? An epic and intimate comedy that spans over billions of years, boom explores the influences of fate versus randomness in the course of one’s life, and life as we know it on the planet.

Ebenezer 

by Joe Zettelmaier
Nov 15 – Dec 23
A World Premiere
It’s a cold Christmas Eve in London, and Ebenezer Scrooge sits in a hospital room. 15 years have passed since his miraculous transformation by the Ghosts of Christmas. Now renowned for his generosity and selflessness, his spirit still yearns to bring cheer to the world, but his flesh is weak. Such a little thing isn’t likely to stop the old man, though, for he has a plan up his sleeve that he hasn’t shared with his two troubled companions – Miss Poole, the nurse assigned to his care, and Tim Cratchit, recently returned from war in America.  Over the course of the evening, these two lost souls bear witness to events they do not fully understand as the spirit of Christmas descends on Ebenezer once again.

End Days 

by Deborah Zoe Laufer
Jan 24 – Feb 24
Sixteen year old Rachel Stein is having a bad year. Her father hasn’t changed out of his pajamas since 9/11. Her mother has begun a close, personal relationship with Jesus. Her new neighbor, a sixteen-year-old Elvis impersonator, has fallen for her hard. And the Apocalypse is coming Wednesday. Her only hope is that Stephen Hawking will save them all.  “Both poignantly redemptive and hilariously funny, it begs the question of what we would hold most sacred if we knew the end was near. And it brings to life our broad range of choices, including laughter, and the treasured traveling companions who are there even when we face our own personal Armageddon.” – Huffington Post

“…rapturously funny play about a family trying to survive in a world hurtling toward Armageddon, proves that the right playwright can inspire healing laughter in even the most sobering subjects.” – The Miami Herald

Shirley Valentine 


by Willy Russell
Mar 21 – April 21
What can you do when you realize that you’ve hit middle age, and your life has been shaped by choices made by everyone except you?  The heroine in this actor’s tour-de-force is an ordinary middle class English housewife. As she prepares chips and egg for dinner, she ruminates on her life and tells the wall about her husband, her children, her past, and an invitation from a girlfriend to join her on holiday in Greece to search for romance and adventure. Ultimately, Shirley does escape to Greece, has an “adventure” with a local fisherman… and begins the process of shaping her life into something wonderful. This one-woman play became an instant classic the minute it premiered!

“Absolutely smashing.”-The New York Post
“A joyful, captivating piece of theatre.”-The New York Daily News

10:53 


by Annie Martin
May 16 – June 16
A World Premiere
The worst part of a hospital waiting room is normally the waiting but, in the midst of a prolonged family medical crisis, Kathryn Fuller regards the waiting room as a welcome refuge from her increasingly chaotic life. However, the real world quickly invades her new home away from home, and she’s surrounded with her over-the-top family life, rebellious, love-struck daughter and a mysterious stranger who, oddly, shows up at the same time every night.  What happens when the universe decides our lives need a shaking up, whether we like it or not?  Will Kathryn get drawn into the ridiculous comedy, drama, and potential romance swirling around her beloved waiting room, or will she burrow deeper into her seclusion from the world?

Tuna Does Vegas


by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, Ed Howard
July 11 – August 18
Tuna Does Vegas re-unites the lovable and eccentric characters from the ‘third smallest town in Texas’ as they take a rambling romp in Sin City. The hilarity begins when oddball-conservative radio host Arles Struvie announces on air that he and his wife Bertha Bumiller are heading to Vegas to renew their wedding vows…but everyone in Tuna, Texas goes along for the ride!  Tuna Does Vegas is both an affectionate comment on small-town life as well as a hilarious satire of the same. The eclectic band of citizens that make up this town are portrayed by only two actors, making this send-up on life in rural America even more delightful as they depict all of the inhabitants of Tuna — men, women, Vegas showgirls, Elvis impersonators and more!