The Williamston Theatre 2017-2018 Season!

I’m very excited to be able to release this into the wild!

Williamston Theatre

2017-2018 Season



By Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Lynn Lammers

September 21 – October 22, 2017

A Michigan Premiere

Tweetering, pandashrews, and undying giddiness for James Madison – what else would you expect to find at a Miss America pageant? In this hilarious, raucous, all-female “power-play,” contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the American government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator’s aide on the cusp of a career breakthrough, and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause. Here’s lookin’ at you, America!



By James Sherman

Directed by Tony Caselli

November 16 – December 23, 2017

Sarah is a nice Jewish girl with a problem: her parents want her married to a nice Jewish boy. They have never met her boyfriend, a WASP executive named Chris Kringle. She tells them she is dating a Jewish doctor and they insist on meeting him. She plans a dinner party and, over the heated protests of Chris, employs an escort service to send her a Jewish date to be Dr. Steinberg. Instead, they send Bob Schroeder, an aspiring actor who agrees to perform the impersonation. Hilarity ensues in this charming family comedy with a tender heart.



By Joseph Zettelmaier

Directed by Shannon Ferrante

January 25 – February 23, 2018

A World Premiere

1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries, and skilled poisoners. This mother-daughter team run an infamous underground operation to provide unfortunate wives with an escape from untenable marriages. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that very love threatens to destroy the life Giulia has built for her family. Based on historical events.



By Stephen Spotswood

Directed by Tony Caselli

March 22 – April 22, 2018

NNPN Rolling World Premiere

Jim Starkey’s version of the American Dream is a modest one: to build a home on his one-acre plot of land and replace his doublewide trailer with something his daughter, Lorelai, can inherit. When a highway expansion project shatters their dreams, Jim must decide how far he can be pushed and Lorelai is left to build her own future. A heartfelt and often funny drama that explores how far one family will go to hold onto their American Dream.



by Jennifer Maisel

Director Frannie Shepherd-Bates

May 17 – June 17, 2018

A World Premiere

Meet the Jet Propulsion Lab Scientist mom and her underachiever teenage daughter. Sara lives on Mars time, spearheading the Mars Rover Expedition, visiting a planet she cannot touch. Her daughter, Lis, on earth time, falls under the spell of an internet Romeo. Sometimes it takes being worlds apart for an exploring woman and a longing-to-be-explored girl to find each other in our increasingly disconnected universe. A tender comedy about the challenges of a unique mother-daughter relationship.



by D.L. Coburn

Directed by John Lepard

July 12 – August 18, 2018

Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady. The friendship between these two made-for-each-other strangers comes about when Weller talks Fonsia into letting him tutor her in the fine, if forgotten, art of playing gin rummy. The relationship develops and the brutal realities of aging are revealed through their card playing. This Winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama shows that a hand of cards can pack as hard a punch as boxing gloves.

Just thinking on a Sunday…

Such a mix of things this week – odd emotional personal anniversaries, American democracy in rare form, wonderful theatre things…

This week, the 19th in fact, was the 3 year anniversary of my going into the hospital with bacterial meningitis and having my life, and outlook on life, changed forever.

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of my father passing.  Miss him every day.  Facebook and family shared some pictures of him, and of course I have some videos and pics, so I spent a little time with those yesterday.  When I think about him, one of the things I think about most is how tightly he’d hug you.   Especially the last 9 months or so of his life, between my getting out of the hospital and his passing.  Any time we were parting for even a short while, those hugs would be long and smothering, in the best way.  I love the pictures of him, and the videos where I get to hear his voice, and his laugh, but boy I miss those hugs.

Other things this week – a new president was inaugurated, and he’s a pretty controversial figure.  Lots of examples of democracy at work as huge peaceful marches and demonstrations are happening all over the place this weekend.  As a response to the divisiveness, and need for community, we did a reading at Williamston Theatre of a great play by Lauren Gunderson that is political, and hilarious, and incredibly smart – it skewers extremism on both sides of the aisle, and inspires action and participation. Theatres all over the country performed it that night. The reading was packed, the audience loved it, and a wonderful evening was had by all.  It was really moving to see everyone, Democrats, Republicans and everyone else, come together and give ourselves permission to laugh at ourselves.  Yes, there’s work to be done to heal the country and promote justice, equality and empathy – the reading was a nice start.  🙂  Togetherness.

We’re in tech week for A Painted Window, too – this beautiful play just breaks your heart.  It’s about sisterhood, classism, racism, fear… another beautiful piece to make us think about how we treat each other.  The run through today was gorgeous – I can’t wait for audiences to see it.

And this weekend I also got a chance to have a nice long phone chat with my daughter in Finland.  She’s doing well, making friends and making a life for herself, and I’m super proud of her.  It’s funny…. I know she’s having a good time, I know this is a great experience for her and, even though we text and chat and can have long phone calls… well, as her Dad… I sure understand why MY Dad hugged so long and hard.  Boy, I can’t wait to hug that kid again.

All these things this week… so many things that come back to the simplest of lessons.  Life is short.  It’s unknowably short.  We should live it fully.  Everyone should have the chance to live it fully.

Love hard.  Laugh Hard.

Hug people.



So Much Goodness…

So many great things going on in my work life right now, I just have to share my excitement!

Coming up next week, on Friday the 20th (Inauguration Day) is a reading of the hilarious, biting play The Taming by Lauren Gunderson:

By Lauren Gunderson
A Staged Reading
Friday, January 20, 2017 at 7pm

The Taming, Lauren Gunderson’s raucously funny political comedy, will have both parties laughing in the aisles. In this sharp, witty, all-female “power-play” inspired by Shakespeare’s Shrew, Miss America contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the American government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator’s aide and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause. Featuring Alysia Koloscz, Robin Lewis-Bedz, and Melissa Mercieca.

Read more about Lauren Gunderson’s readings of The Taming across the country on Inauguration Day. (This is an article from American Theatre)

This is the website about the play specifically: THE TAMING

Join us for an evening of insight, laughs and optimism as we celebrate Inauguration Day. Call to reserve seats: 517-655-7469. Admission is free, but donations to the Williamston Theatre will be graciously accepted at the door.Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 4.48.08 PM.png

Also at Williamston Theatre, we are RIGHT NOW in rehearsal for a beautiful, beautiful play called A Painted Window, by Christy Hall.  The writer is in residence, Frannie Shepherd-Bates is leading a terrific team, and I can’t wait to get into previews with this show.  Check out the details here!

We’ve begun the pre-production process for 1984, the show after A Painted Window, and I’m very excited to be directing it.  This is a super-cool adaptation of George Orwell’s novel, by Michael Gene Sullivan, and the team I get to build this production with is just fantastic.

The next show I’m directing AFTER that won’t be until October, but it’s going to be a treat: I’m working with the Penny Seats Theatre Company in Ann Arbor on an October production of the super spooky The Turn Of The Screw!

We’re nearly finished putting together our lineup of plays for the 2017/2018 Season at Williamston Theatre, too!  I’m not allowed to talk about it yet, but I’m just champing at the bit to share it with the world!

So, as I sit at my desk today, answering emails and working on schedules, I’m listening to the construction of the set for A Painted Window downstairs.  Tomorrow I’ll come in and watch a stumble-thru of the show, and chat afterwards with the director, playwright, cast and the design team, make sure everyone has what they need to bring the piece to life.  Next week I’ll head to another state for a reading of a play we’re going to produce soon – a day in Florida will be nice, but a nice discussion with staff from another theatre and a playwright with whom we’ll be collaborating is the real prize.

Oh – also.  This appeared in my office:

I don’t know who where it came from.  It’s awesome, and I’m grateful for surprise gifts!

I hope everyone is having as good a week as I am!