Posts Tagged ‘Grosse Pointe Theater’


For two weeks in July this year, Grosse Pointe Theatre will be creating young playwrights in a summer workshop focused on beginning playwriting – especially writing fractured fairy tales.

The two-week program (mornings only) will start on Monday, July 11, and run through Friday, July 22. Students who are available will be performing their works as part of the Fairy Tale Festival to be held at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House on Saturday, July 23. The daily sessions run from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and take place at the theatre’s Rehearsal Hall at 315 Fisher Road at Maumee.

As part of the theatre’s Youth on Stage program, this workshop is intended for youngsters who have completed grades 5, 6, 7 and 8. The first week will deal with the basics of playwriting and the second week will study fairy tales and writing and performing Fractured Fairy Tales the students have written. Surrounding all of these activities will be improv exercises and theatre games to increase the student’s general knowledge of theatre and stagecraft.

“We think we have planned an exciting curriculum for the kids and that they will learn some skills that will serve them throughout life. We are particularly looking for adventurous children who have creative minds and already know how to think outside the box,” said Mary Lou Britton, executive producer for the summer workshop. “The process of “fracturing” fairy tales encourages the students to think about different perspectives and changed endings for the fairy tales we all knew growing up.”

Fees for the two-week experience are $275 for children or grandchildren of GPT members; $300 for others.

Youth on Stage, in its 11th year of successful operation, is an educational opportunity for children and teens to learn about theatre and stagecraft. It offers two semester-long programs during the school year, ending each session with a full-stage production at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

For more information about Youth on Stage or the Summer Workshop, call the Theatre box office at 313/881-4004 or call producer Mary Lou Britton at 586/779-8974. She can also be reached at

Grosse Pointe Theatre presents The Exonerated, Actual stories of those falsely accused and imprisoned

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s Purdon Studio Theatre presents The Exonerated by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank, the compelling true stories of six people who, wrongfully convicted of murder, served harrowing sentences on death row waiting for their own execution. (Subsequently proven innocent, they were released and exonerated of the crimes.)

The Exonerated opens Friday, February 18, 8:00 p.m. at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford Activities Center, 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. The $35 opening night performance includes a wine and hors d’oeuvres afterglow.


The Exonerated continues on February 19, 25, and 26 at 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays, February 20 and 27 with 2:00 p.m. matinees. Tickets are $12 for these performances. Call Grosse Pointe Theatre at 313-881-4004 for tickets or go on-line at Seating is limited.


This play is suitable for mature audiences only. The compelling script is based upon court records, media accounts, and the actual narratives of those exonerated. The authors, Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank, a husband and wife team, have been active in causes related to the death penalty and have received the Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for this play.


The entire script for The Exonerated is in the actual words of the exonerated prisoners, as well as the judges, attorneys, friends and families. Audiences should be aware that all these characters are real.  The names have not been changed.  They are currently alive and surviving their horrendous experiences as prisoners on death row.  We have seen their faces and heard their voices in the HBO movie of The Exonerated.


The Rev. Canon Ron Spann, Detroit, is the Spirituality Center Director and a priest associate at Christ Church Grosse Pointe. Rev. Spann plays Delbert Tibbs, a poet and former seminary student.  Ron has been in contact with the real Delbert Tibbs, now living in Chicago and an activist for the anti-capital punishment cause.


Sharron Nelson, Grosse Pointe, plays Sunny Jacobs who, along with her husband, was erroneously convicted of shooting two police officers. Unfortunately Sunny Jacob’s husband was executed before the proof of their innocence was revealed.


Thomas Wilson, Detroit, plays David Keaton, who was convicted as a teenager of a murder of which he was innocent. Kirkland Williams, Grosse Pointe, plays Robert Hayes, a horse trainer in Florida, falsely convicted of murder and rape. Jerry Nehr; Grosse Pointe Woods, portrays Gary Gauger, a mid-west farmer, found innocent of the murder of his parents after serving many years in prison. Alan Canning, Bloomfield Hills, plays Kerry Max Cook.  Cook was convicted of the murder of a woman he had seen only once, years before she was found murdered.  He was subsequently found to be innocent through DNA evidence. Roles of wives, attorneys, judges, police, relatives and friends are played variously by Peter DiSante of S.C.S., Don Couture of Harrison Township, Pat O’Brien, Grosse Pointe Park , and Heather Neely, Detroit .


Lois Bendler is the director and set designer and Arlene Marie Schoenherr is the producer/stage manager. Both women reside in St. Clair Shores.  Ginger Hupp, Grosse Pointe, is the show’s costume consultant.  Eric Lesczynski, Grosse Pointe Woods, is doing the lighting and Eric Vreeland, St. Clair Shores, is doing sound.


Grosse Pointe Theatre’s 63rd Season continues:


Following The Exonerated, Grosse Pointe Theatre presents Dixie Swim Club by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, March 6, 10-13, 16-19, 2011, on its main stage, Fries Auditorium at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms . The final show of the season will be The Scarlet Pimpernel, based on the works by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, book and lyrics by Nan Knighton, May 8, 12-15, 18-21, 2011.

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s Youth on Stage will produce a children’s version of the musical, Annie Jr. with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, book by Thomas Meehan, based on the Tribune Media Service Comic Strip, Little Orphan Annie, on April 9 & 10, 2011.  Call the theatre for details.

For more information about Grosse Pointe Theatre, please visit the website at or phone 313-881-4004.


Proposals Sought for “Black Box” Production

For Immediate Release
Contact: Donna Di Sante 313-881-2258,

Attention Play Directors – Proposals Sought by GPT’s Purdon Studio Theatre for “Black Box” Production

Directors and plays are now being sought for the 2012 productions of the Purdon Studio Theatre (PST), a performance arm of Grosse Pointe Theatre, whose current venue is the Activities Center at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

The Purdon Studio Theatre presents plays that offer adult audiences non-traditional theatre in a “black box” setting, a large room in which seating and staging can vary from show to show.
This is an excellent opportunity for directors to offer works that explore human nature or delve into subject matter that may not be included in the Grosse Pointe Theatre main-stage season.

The Purdon Studio Theatre Committee asks that directors submit all of the following :
1. a copy of the proposed play; (No original scripts. Only published plays will be considered.)
2. a concise paragraph conveying the director’s concept of the show;
3. a resume of the director’s theatre experience (Please note: GPT directors are not paid)
4. a tentative budget, broadly outlining anticipated expenses (excluding royalties and facility rental), not to exceed $1,000.
By Monday January 3, 2011, proposal packages should be delivered to: PST, Grosse Pointe Theatre, 315 Fisher Rd., Grosse Pointe 48230

For more information on PST or Grosse Pointe Theatre:
Go to “Purdon Studio Theatre” at , or Email questions to
GP Theatre Ticket/Information line:  313-881-4004
Grosse Pointe Theatre, a community theatre founded in 1947, has a tradition of great entertainment and high production values. Membership in Grosse Pointe Theatre is open to all persons, age 18 and above who have an interest in theatre.  (end)

Grosse Pointe Theater Call For Directors

Are you an experienced director, looking to take on an exciting show?  Or have you always wanted to to take on the challenge of directing a show but just haven’t found the right situation?  Well, do we have an opportunity for you!   Grosse Pointe Theatre is looking for interested Director candidates for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.   This first request is for individuals who would be interested in directing one of our 2011-2012 Musicals.  But please keep an eye out, because in the near future, we will be looking for candidates interested in directing one of our straight (non-musical) shows.  Following  is a brief synopsis of the 9 shows that are still in contention for the upcoming season.

The Director presentations for Musicals will be held on the morning of Saturday January 15th.  Please prepare a 20 minute presentation that you feel would convince the Board that you are the right candidate for the Show(s) that you are interested in directing. Please be prepared for questions regarding your proposal from the Board.  Also please be prepared to let the Board know if you have time constraints that will limit when, during the season, you would be willing/able to direct this show. If you are interested, please contact Marianne Casey so that you may schedule a time slot for the 15th.

Musicals (In Alpha Order):
1940’s Radio Hour – Fabled WOV, a seedy little New York radio station takes to the air at the beginning of World War II, this time to record a broadcast for the troops overseas.
The narrative concerns the harassed producer whose leading singer is often drunk, the delivery boy who wants a chance in front of the mike, the second banana who dreams of singing a ballad, and the trumpet-playing sound effects man who chooses a fighter plane over Glenn Miller.

Hairspray – Tracy Turnblad, a large girl with big hair and a kind heart, has only one passion–to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show” and is quickly transformed into a teen celebrity. She then successfully sets out to vanquish the program’s reigning princess, win the heart of the super handsome Link Larkin, and racially integrate the television show.
Jekyll and Hyde – Concerns a brilliant doctor whose experiments with human personality create a murderous counterpart. Convinced the cure for his father’s mental illness lies in the separation of Man’s evil nature from his good, Dr. Henry Jekyll unwittingly unleashed his own dark side, wreaking havoc in the streets of late 19-century London as the savage, maniacal Edward Hyde. He manages to kill scores of people without getting caught. Finally as Jekyll is about to marry his lover, Emma, he turns into Hyde and kills a wedding guest. In the end, Hyde/Jekyll begs his friend Utterson to kill him. Utterson holds a blade to Hyde/Jekyll’s heart but cannot harm his friend. However, Hyde/Jekyll falls forward onto the sword, committing suicide.
Man of LaMancha – The story takes place in the late 16th century. Miguel de Cervantes (a tax collector, soldier, and author) and his assistant, Sancho, foreclose on a church that failed to pay its taxes. Thus, the two men are thrown into prison by the Spanish Inquisition. The prisoners then steal Cervantes’s possessions. However, he convinces them to allow him to win back a package of papers that would not be of value to other people. Pleading his case, Cervantes gives a dramatic defense by reenacting the story of Don Quixote of La Mancha: the passionate and poignant tale of a noble knight who lives in a world of madness and cannnot see that chivalry has died. His holy quest is a mission of salvation to find compassion not for himself but for others. Don Quixote falls in love with the fair maiden, Aldonza(Dulcina), and convinces her to live a moral life. When Quixote is being knighted, the muleteers brutally assault Aldonza. Quixote and Sancho quickly come to Aldonza’s rescue but in the end, Quixote only preaches forgiveness. Next, Quixote fights off his darkest foe, the Enchanter. Moved by the story, the prisoners return Cervantes’ manuscript (which turns out to be his unfinished novel about Don Quixote) just before he is called before the Inquisition.
Music Man – Con man Harold hill travels to the small town of River City, Iowa to earn his fortune. He decides to convince the town that they need a boys’ band and then plans to run away once the boys have paid for instruments and uniforms. He even claims to be a professor of music. His scheme is moving along perfectly until Harold falls in love with the town piano teacher, Marian. Even though she knows that he’s a con man, she still loves him for the hope that he brought to the town. Harold, on the other hand, is inspired by Marian’s goodness, reveals his secrets to the town and becomes an honest man.
Straight Shows (In Alpha Order):
The Heiress – Catherine Sloper, the plain-Jane daughter of wealthy widower Dr. Austin Sloper. Catherine is not only unattractive, but lacks most of the social graces, thanks in great part to the domineering attitudes of her father. When Catherine falls in love with handsome young Morris Townsend, she is convinced that her love is reciprocated, else why would Morris be so affectionate towards her? Dr. Sloper sees things differently, correctly perceiving that Morris is a callow fortune hunter. Standing up to her father for the first time in her life, Catherine insists that she will elope with Morris; but when Dr. Sloper threatens to cut off her dowry, Morris disappears. Still, Catherine threatens to run off with the next young man who pays any attention to her; Sloper, belatedly realizing how much he has hurt his only child, arranges to leave her his entire fortune. Years pass: Morris returns, insisting that he’d only left because he didn’t want to cause Catherine the “grief” of being disinherited. Seemingly touched by Morris’ “sincerity”, Catherine agrees to elope with him immediately. But when Morris arrives at the appointed hour, he finds the door locked and bolted. Asked how she can treat Morris so cruelly, Catherine replies coldly “Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.” Though The Heiress ends on a downbeat note, the audience is gratified to know that Catherine Sloper has matured from ugly-duckling loser to a tower of strength who will never allow herself to be manipulated by anyone ever again.
Moonlight and Magnolias – Legendary film producer David O. Selznick is five weeks into shooting Gone With the Wind when he realizes the script is awful and the director doesn’t have a clue. He has five days to replace them and restart the shoot or the production shuts down. Selznick calls Victor Fleming from the set of The Wizard to Oz to direct, and he taps legendary playwright, screenwriter and “script doctor” Ben Hecht to rewrite the script. There’s only one problem – Hecht hasn’t read the book. Over the course of five madcap days, the three men, assisted by Selznick’s assistant, Miss Poppenghul, frantically craft one of the most beloved screenplays of all time, as Selznick and Fleming act out the book for Hecht and the phone rings off the hook with calls from the likes of Vivien Leigh, Louis B. Mayer and Ed Sullivan. The play is written as farce, but the characters also deal with serious questions about race and the tenuous power of Jewish executives in Hollywood.
The Trip to Bountiful – Set in the 1940s, the story tells of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return home to the small town where she grew up, but is frequently stopped from leaving Houston by her daughter-in-law and an overprotective son who won’t let her travel alone.  Old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains don’t go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force. However, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The village is deserted, and the few remaining houses are derelict. Mrs. Watts is moved to tears as she surveys her father’s land and the remains of the family home. Her son eventually turns up, and drives her back to Houston.
The Women – Playwright Clare Boothe Luce herself admitted in her introduction to the play, that while the title suggests it will look at the entirety of half the population, her play The Women focuses on a small and exclusive group, as she describes them, “a numerically small group of ladies native to the Park Avenues of America”. But the play is entirely populated by women – there is not a single man in the 35 person cast. And so the play does open a window into the world of women. Not only do we meet these Park Avenue princesses, but we listen into the conversations of the hairdressers, manicurists and saleswomen who serve these women, and share their own lives and concerns.  The play centres on Mary Haines – the ’nice one’ in a group of Manhattan friends. In the opening scene, the ladies play bridge and complain, mostly about men. Mary Haines becomes the object of fun because of her happiness, her seeming contentment with marriage and her husband. Because these are all women with money, this is really all they’ve got to do with their time – they can’t go out and get jobs and so their lives become about shopping, having children, and gossip. And Sylvia’s got the juiciest gossip of the day – Mary Haines’ perfect husband is cheating on her! Sylvia’s manicurist revealed the details to her while painting her nails a divine shade of Jungle Red: Edith (thrilled): Someone we know? Sylvia: No! That’s what’s so awful about it. She’s a friend of this manicurist. Oh, it wouldn’t be so bad if Stephen had picked someone in his own class. But a blonde floosie! Edith: But how did Stephen ever meet a girl like that?  Sylvia: How do men ever meet girls like that? That’s what they live for, the rats! They don’t tell Mary what they know – it’s clear Mary doesn’t know about her husband’s indiscretions either – but Sylvia does flaunt her Jungle Red nails and Mary decides to visit this famous manicurist as well. And Mary’s seemingly perfect world falls apart. She gets all kinds of helpful and not-so-helpful advice from friends and her mother (she advises her daughter to keep quiet, “Keeping still, when you ache to talk, is about the only sacrifice spoiled women like us ever have to make.”) What follows are confrontations between Mary and the Other Woman – Crystal Allen – in dressing rooms of department stores, more gossiping among friends during exercise class and at the salon. Finally, Mary decides on a Reno divorce but before she can go through with it, she decides not to be the nice girl anymore

The Dixie Swim Club Audition Notice

This is a great ensemble comedy piece and sure to be a real audience pleaser. Every summer five
college swim-team friends rent a cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We first meet the lively
ladies in 1978, 23 years after college graduation, then again in 1983, 1988, and finally in 20ll. For
most of the play the women should look like they’re in their mid-forties to mid-fifties (one is pregnant).
The brief final scene when they are in their 70’s takes place after a short blackout, there is no
time for a complete make-up change, just a wig (possibly) and an overdress. The aging must be accomplished
by skillful acting.
Show dates: March 6-19, 2011
Audition: Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010, *10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010, *4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
*Note difference in times
Location: G.P.T. Rehearsal Studio, 315 Fisher Rd., Grosse Pointe 48230
For a refundable fee of $20, scripts will be available for loan at the above address.
Call G.P.T.’s Box Office, 313-881-4004, for staffing hours.
Character Descriptions
SHEREE HOLLINGER, the perennial team captain, is practical, supportive, and a fount of boundless
energy. Never without her to-do lists or Pocket Scheduler, her tendency to be hyper-organized
drives her friends a bit crazy. She is the eternal tomboy, a health nut and an all-American mom who
lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her family.
DINAH GRAYSON, the wise-cracking cynic of the group, has fought her way to the top and relishes
the view. A lawyer in the biggest and most prestigious law firm in Atlanta, Dinah excels at everything…
except romance. Armed with a dry martini and an even drier sense of humor, Dinah seldom
reveals her softer side as she tackles life head-on.
LEXIE RICHARDS, a true Southern belle who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is the vain, youthobsessed
event planner for a chain of four-star hotels. She has never shied away from the occasional
nip or tuck and keeps her cosmetic surgeon on speed dial. Always one to revel in her status
as a man-magnet, Lexie can be counted on to share wild and hilarious tales of her romantic exploits.
JERI NEAL MCFEELEY is the dizzy ray of sunshine of the group. She’s perky and naïve and always
sees the positive side of everything. Having been a nun for many years, Jeri Neal has been
protected from life’s seamier side. Even though she appears to be predictable on the surface, Jeri
Neal, recently located to Charlottesville, Virginia, continually makes life choices that surprise and
amaze her friends.
VERNADETTE SIMMS is a hard luck case if there ever was one. Marriage and motherhood came
shortly after college, and a dark cloud has hovered above her ever since. A public school teacher
with limited finances and a problematic home life in Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina, Vernadette is
self-deprecating by necessity. She faces her tribulations with gallows humor and the unwavering
support of these lifelong friends.

Audition Notice Seeking African American Actors: The Exonerated

November 13, 2010 1 comment

UPDATE: A tremendous cast is coming together, but the role of Robert remains open. Please help us spread the word (see below for contact information for director Lois Bendler as well a description of this part).

Grosse Pointe Theatre and Director Lois Bendler announce auditions for The Exonerated, an extraordinary play and the true story of six death row prisoners who have been proven innocent and set free.  The show will be presented through the Purdon Studio Theatre, a performance division of GPT.

Auditions are Friday, Nov. 12, 7 – 9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 13, 1 – 3 p.m., at the Grosse Pointe Theatre rehearsal facility, 315 Fisher Road (at Maumee/Grosse Pointe Boulevard) in Grosse Pointe.

The Exonerated, written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, is told in the words of those who were unjustly convicted, and in the actual words of guards, police officers, lawyers, judges, lovers and friends.

The cast includes seven men (three African-American; four white) and three women (one African-American; two white).  The racial specificity in casting is necessary in that the play addresses the preponderance of African-Americans in U.S. prisons.


DELBERT, African-American, Middle-aged.  A seminary dropout, radical, and Chicago poet.
ROBERT, African-American, 30’s.  A former horse groomer from the Deep South .
DAVID, African-American, 40.  A gentle, sad man, born and raised in northern Florida .
GARY, white, early 40’s.  A Midwestern hippie and an organic farmer.

SUNNY, white, middle-aged.  A bright, pixyish yoga teacher from California .
GEORGIA, African-American, 30.  Robert’s wife, also southern; loudmouthed, outspoken, warm.
KERRY, white, early 40’s.  A 19 year old trapped in a 40 something year old body, born in Texas .
SANDRA, white, 40.  Sandra is married to Kerry.  Sweet, loves Kerry dearly; a great sense of humor.
Plus  2 Character Male or Female Ensemble roles

This is a community theatre production and actors are not paid.  Grosse Pointe theatre will furnish head shots, costumes, makeup and refreshments.

Rehearsal days and times will be arranged between individual cast members and the director.  For questions about the characters and the script, please contact director Lois Bendler at 586-779-1296 or

Annie Get Your Gun at Grosse Pointe Theatre: A new take on a classic musical

Grosse Pointe Theatre presents the classic musical, Annie Get Your Gun, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields.  The show will be performed in the Fries Auditorium of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road , Grosse Pointe Farms . It opens with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 7. Annie Get Your Gun continues with shows on November 11-13 at 8:00 p.m., November 14 at 2:00 p.m. and November 17-20 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $24. Group rates are available. Call 313-881-4004 for tickets or visit the Grosse Pointe Theatre website at for more information. Free tickets are being given away on the Theatre Facebook page at

Annie Get Your Gun is a fictionalized story of the life of Annie Oakley (1860-1926), who was a sharpshooter from Ohio , and her husband, Frank Butler. The show was conceived by writer Dorothy Fields as a show to star her friend, Ethel Merman. The 1946 Broadway production was a hit, and the musical had long runs in both New York and London , spawning several revivals, a 1950 film version and television versions. The show’s legacy is the number of well-known songs from the show which, for years, reminded the public of its original belting star.  Audience members will enjoy these musical standards: There’s No Business Like Show Business, Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun, They Say It’s Wonderful, and Anything You Can Do.

The story of Annie Oakley, as told in the musical is inaccurate, according to an Oakley family descendant, Bess Edwards, who was recently interviewed on the 150th anniversary of Annie Oakley’s birth. Nevertheless, this fantasized tail of the female sharpshooter is a rousing tribute to the traveling “Wild West” shows in which she starred back in the latter part of the 19th Century.

Director Jacqueline Di Sante (of Grosse Pointe) has put a new spin on the show for the Grosse Pointe Theatre production, setting it in a country-western bar, where the patrons reenact the story.

Cast and Crew
The cast features residents of several Metro Detroit communities including:  Deb Dworkin (Clawson) as Annie Oakley, Dennis B. Martell (Livonia) as Frank Butler, Jerry Nehr (Grosse Pointe Woods) as Charlie Davenport, Peter Di Sante, (St. Clair Shores) as Buffalo Bill Cody,     Bill Giovan, (Grosse Pointe) as Chief Sitting Bull, Terri Turpin-Amato (Grosse Pointe Woods) as Dolly, Mike Evans (Grosse Pointe) as Foster Wilson, Dante Bufalini (Harper Woods) as Tommy, Bianca Calisi (Grosse Pointe Park) as Jessie, Kyle Bischoff (Macomb Twp.) as Little Jake. Also in the cast are Tom Woodman, Perry Calisi and Rachelle Blachut (Grosse Pointe Park); Frank “Scott” Davis (Ferndale); Christina Amato, Mike Edick and Stephanie Rinderknecht (Grosse Pointe Woods); and Don and Tracy Bischoff (Macomb Twp.)

Crew members of Annie Get Your Gun include producer Christine Kaiser (Grosse Pointe), technical director Art Thompson,  (Grosse Pointe Park), music director John Dickinson (Pleasant Ridge), vocal director Kelly Smith (Eastpointe), Stage manager Marisa J. Di Sante and set dresser Kerry Edick (Grosse Pointe Woods), makeup chair Jackie Pfaff (Chesterfield Twp.), Choreographer Joy Raya, and assistant stage manager Matt Raya (Sterling Heights), sound chair, Ed Thomas (Center Line), properties chair Arlene Marie Schoenherr (St. Clair Shores), special choreographer Donna Miller ( Harper Woods ), set dresser Gretchen Archinal ( Grosse Pointe Park ) and lighting designer Blair Arden (Macomb Twp.)

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s 63rd Season Continues
Following Annie Get Your Gun, Grosse Pointe Theatre will present Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn, January 16, 20-23, 26-29, 2011; Dixie Swim Club By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, March 6, 10-13, 16-19, 2011; and The Scarlet Pimpernel, based on the works by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, book and lyrics by Nan Knighton, May 8, 12-15, 18-21, 2011.  In addition to the adult offerings, Grosse Pointe Theatre’s Youth on Stage will produce a children’s version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, December 11 & 12, 2010.  All shows will be in the Fries Auditorium of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. GPT will also produce The Exonerated, by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, through its Purdon Studio Theatre program, Feb. 18-27, 2011 at the  Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Activity Building , 1100 Lakeshore Road , Grosse Pointe Shores .

For more information about Grosse Pointe Theatre call 313-881-4004 or go to the website at

Grosse Pointe Theatre presents Godspell

[originally published at Grosse Pointe Today] Grosse Pointe Theatre opens its 63rd Season with the 1971 rock musical, “Godspell” on September 19 with a 2 p.m. matinee at the Fries Auditorium of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Performances continue September 23-25 at 8 p.m., September 26 at 2 p.m. and September 29-October 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $24. Group rates are available. Call 313-881-4004 for tickets or visit the Grosse Pointe Theatre website for more information.

“Godspell” is based primarily on the Gospel according to Matthew. As the cast makes its way through the musical numbers, the audience sees the parables of Jesus Christ come humorously to life. The show also presents the story of Jesus’ last moments, beginning with the Last Supper.

The main story of “Godspell” is portrayed in the show’s subtext, in the way the players interact with their leader, coming together to create a loving community. The subject matter is unabashedly religious, but the focus is more on the lessons learned and the love which Jesus spread rather than on the man himself.

The cast does comic interpretations of the parables and musical numbers that are at times rousing or lyrical. Songs in the show include the popular sing-along song “Day by Day” and others that span a number of musical genres including rock, folk and vaudeville.

The setting for the play is Detroit’s Belle Isle, which was chosen both for its beauty and its urban location.

“Godspell” was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak as a student project at Carnegie Mellon University. The music and new lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz (“By My Side,” music by Peggy Gordon, lyrics by Jay Hamburger) “Godspell” was originally produced on the New York stage by Edgar Lansbury / Stuart Duncan / Joseph Beruh.

Cast and Crew

The cast on a photo shoot--Belle Isle

The cast and crew for this version of “Godspell” is made up both adults and children, whose ages range from 9 to 55. Don Bischoff of Macomb Township plays Jesus. His son Kyle Bischoff is also a member of the cast. The rest of the ensemble includes Angelina Bufalini of Grosse Pointe, Sarah Dickinson of Pleasant Ridge, Kevin Fitzhenry of Warren, Frank “Scott” Davis and Eric Swanson of Ferndale, Patrick McKeever of Grosse Pointe Farms, Kate Allam of Clinton Township, Stephanie Elaine Samuel of Windsor, Ontario, Jerry and Quinn Nehr of Grosse Pointe Woods and Brittany Michael, Janine Lozon and Peter Di Sante of St. Clair Shores.

“Godspell” is directed by Donna Di Sante of Grosse Pointe Farms, with music and vocal direction by John Dickinson of Pleasant Ridge and vocal assistance from Eric Swanson. Arlene Marie Schoenherr of St. Clair Shores is the choreographer and stage manager. Gwenn Samuel of St. Clair Shores is producer. The set design is by Jesse Villegas of Grosse Pointe with technical direction by Bill Tuthill of Grosse Pointe Woods. Eric and Lisa Leszczynski of Grosse Pointe Woods are doing the lighting. Nancy Bashara of Grosse Pointe Woods and Beverly Dickinson of Pleasant Ridge chair properties and set dressing. Mary Kay Sogge of Harrison Township has created the costumes and Judy Allam of Clinton Township is doing the makeup. Sound is by Ed Thomas of Centerline. The scenic photography slide presentation is by Erin Ann Conway Di Sante of St. Clair Shores.