For some theaters, celebrating an anniversary like a 35th season could add extra pressure to selecting upcoming performances. Not for the Wharton Center, who tries to outdo itself every year.
Thursday’s opening night of Disgraced by Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids provoked the audience to address current issues in society, and look in the mirror at their own biases or preconceived judgements.
More than 40 years after it landed on Broadway, there’s still a whole lot of magic left in The Wiz. Behold and believe: Director Jay Berkow’s buoyant, utterly delightful Western Michigan University Theatre production of this African-American revamp of The Wizard of Oz conclusively proves Wicked does not have the market cornered when it comes to Oz-centric musicals.
In the theater, timing is everything, and it’s difficult to imagine a better week than this one for the Kalamazoo Civic to open “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” Lynn Nottage’s bittersweet look at the so-called golden age of Hollywood, when African-American actors frequently found themselves with two kinds of parts to choose from.
“Golf is nothing but a good walk. Spoiled.” This paraphrased Mark Twainism opens “The Fox on the Fairway,” the most recent slamming doors farce from playwright Ken Ludwig, now playing at The New Vic Theatre in Kalamazoo.
The Spectrum Theater, located on Fountain Street in Grand Rapids Community College’s campus, houses four theater troupes and is always bustling with activity. Managing all that activity is Michelle Urbane, theater manager. On top of managing the box office, Urbane directs and performs in shows and can always be seen running from one place to the next, always with a big smile on her face.
Four years ago, when Edye Evans Hyde started the Ebony Road Players, she didn’t know it would turn into a catalyst for social justice.
Dann Sytsma’s fixation with the word “crawlspace” led to the birth of an improv group that has become a fixture in Kalamazoo’s entertainment scene.
When Fred Sebulske founded Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids in 1981, his mission was to provoke conversation through theater.
Sara Daneshpour may be one of tomorrow’s stars. The Gilmore Rising Stars Series brings young and exceptional artists like the Iranian-American Daneshpour to Kalamazoo every year. First presented in 1999, the series features acclaimed pianists like Lang Lang, Jonathan Biss and Kirill Gerstein before they hit it big.
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