“Wonder will always get us there…”

What a joy Silent Sky has been. Some shows just have such an affect on people – audience, cast, designers, crew – that you don’t want them to end. Watching this beautiful script by Lauren Gunderson do that to people over the last 5 weeks has been wonderful and, now that we have reached the closing performance, I find myself feeling the same way.

The sense of wonder, of exploration and perseverance from this show is beautiful and inspiring. The sheer joy it evokes, that sense that “Anything Is Possible”, is just so beautifully interwoven with the loving bittersweet reminder “But… we don’t have forever… so Savor Everything.”

Working with the entire production team on this show has been an amazing journey. Telling the story of Henrietta Leavitt, Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming – true pioneers in their field who persevered and changed the world around them despite incredible resistance – has been an absolute gift, and one of the highlights of my career so far. I offer a giant THANK YOU to the many wonderful people who helped to make it happen!

Because the real point… is seeing something bigger. And knowing we’re a part of it, if we’re lucky. In the end that is a life well-lived. Because thank God there’s a lot out there bigger than me.

-Henrietta Leavitt, SILENT SKY by Lauren Gunderson

Opening Night for SILENT SKY!

So excited to open this show tonight. It’s the first production of our 13th season which, in itself, is a really cool thing. Plus, the script is a beautiful piece of writing by Lauren Gunderson. Moving, funny, inspirational – and based on real people and real events, which makes it particularly wonderful to work on.

There’s something special about doing a play based on an actual person, especially one who did some amazing things but doesn’t get enough recognition for it. Henrietta Leavitt helped change the way we see the universe today, which is a pretty incredible freaking thing. She looked at the men saying “Nope, you’re a woman, you can’t do that” and went and did it anyway, and made the world a better place.

It’s also been a fabulous process – starting another season with my co-founders John, Chris and Emily is always a special thing, but then you add in the amazing team of people I got to work with on Silent Sky and it makes for an even more wonderful event. The cast, the production team, the stage management team – everyone is at the top of their game, and it inspires me to be better. PLUS – when you mix all of that with the tale of Henrietta Leavitt, who saw the world and knew what she wanted to do to make it better, and DID it – it’s hard not to come out of that process feeling like you A) have work to do, and B) WANT to do it.

So – here we are! This autumn will be full of cool work, and I’m excited to do it. Jumping into that can wait, though… until Sunday, anyway! Now we celebrate, and keep trying to make the world a better place, through storytelling!

A new season, a new show

Today we start rehearsal for Season 13 at Williamston Theatre, with a beautiful play called Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson.  A gorgeous story, it’s all about Henrietta Leavitt, one of the first women astronomers.  (Link is here for more info)  I’m super excited:  The play is wonderful, the production team I get to work with is top-notch, and the cast is fabulous.

Some designs I can leak:

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This set rendering (Design by Kirk Domer) is from the SR audience viewpoint. Imagine the back wall being full of stars, or projections, or color, or a combination of all 3!

And here’s an image of the set construction as of a couple days ago!

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I’ll post more designs and images as the days go by.

This is going to be a fun one.  Warm, funny, beautifully moving, and deeply inspirational.  Lauren Gunderson has taken the real-life story of Henrietta Leavitt and crafted a play about a woman who simply refused to accept the status quo – and changed the world. This is the kind of life-affirming play that makes you wanna explore the world around you, tackle something big and make a difference!

Season to Season

Next week we start previews for the final show of our 12th season, Memoir!  Watching some rehearsal the other day got me excited – this is going to be a beautiful show!MemoirWeb.jpg

I’m also excited about what’s coming up after that! Starting meetings for Season 13, and I can’t wait to dig into Silent Sky!

I’ve already written about the season lineup but, just for fun, here are the very cool logos for Season 13!  We wanted something different for next season, so the fabulous artist Matt Mumford did some really cool work with us.

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Popcorn Falls logo.png

 

 

 

 

Williamston Theatre 2018/2019 Season

We are just past the halfway point of this season, and neck deep in rehearsals for Doublewide, but the wheel keeps turning. I’m so pleased to announce our upcoming Season!

Williamston Theatre 2018/2019 Season

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson
September 20 – October 21, 2018

Based on the true story and science of early 20th century female “computers” at Harvard Observatory. Astonishing discoveries await Henrietta Leavitt as she maps distant stars in galaxies beyond our own. But this brilliant, headstrong pioneer must struggle for recognition in the man’s world of turn-of-the-century astronomy. In this exquisite blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society determined to keep a woman in her place. An inspiring, stunningly beautiful tale.

A Hunting Shack Christmas by Jessica Lind Peterson
Nov. 15 – Dec. 23, 2018

Looking to sort out his life, Charlie heads up to the hunting shack that’s been in his family for generations. Instead of the peace of mind he was looking for, he finds himself buried in a blizzard of snow, unexpected family squatters, beef jerky, crazy internet romance, and more snow. Can he sort it all out in time for his wedding anniversary? And who the heck is Helge?!

To Quiet The Quiet by Christy Hall
Jan. 24 – Feb. 24, 2019
A World Premiere

Having suffered great loss and heartbreak in her life, Kathy, now middle-aged and alone, is a woman on the edge. Haunted by her past, and her own personal demons, Kathy seems to be losing the battle against her thoughts, her words, her fears. And the one man who can help Kathy may prove to be just as powerless against her. This new mystery play will keep you riveted through it’s deepest, darkest secrets.

The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn
March 21 – April 20, 2019
Featuring Ruth Crawford and Hugh Maguire
1978 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama

Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous woman. They discover they both dislike the home and enjoy gin rummy, so they begin to play. As they play, intimate details begin to reveal themselves, and what follows was called by the New York Times “The closest thing the theatre offers to a duel at 10 paces.”

New Releases by Joseph Zettelmaier
May 9 – June 9, 2019
A World Premiere

Jen is going down with the sinking ship. That ship is Avid Video, a small-time video rental store that is circling the drain. One night, a strange woman comes in to rent a video that has never been rented…one that Jen didn’t even know the store carried. The two of them strike a bizarre deal, and as the months go on, Jen struggles to unravel the mystery of this woman, even as the store she loves marches towards extinction. A warm comedy that’ll melt your funny bone and touch your heart.

Popcorn Falls by James Hindman
June 20 – July 28, 2019

The sleepy town of Popcorn Falls is forced into bankruptcy when a neighboring town threatens to turn them into a sewage treatment plant. Their only hope – OPEN A THEATRE! Two actors play over twenty roles in a world of farce, love and desperation proving once and for all that art can save the world. You won’t want to miss this hilarious, theatrical whirlwind!

Next Season: Number 12!

I am thrilled that we get to share these wonderful stories with our audience next season!

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And there you have it!  Williamston Theatre, productions 67 through 72!  Some terrific plays, with an incredible lineup of directors, actors, stage managers and designers to bring them all to life.

 

 

The Williamston Theatre 2017-2018 Season!

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

Williamston Theatre

2017-2018 Season

 

THE TAMING

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!

 

BEAU JEST

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.

 

OUR LADY OF POISON

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.

 

DOUBLEWIDE

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.

 

OUT OF ORBIT

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.

 

THE GIN GAME

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.