Posts Tagged ‘Youth Theater’

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

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.