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Posted on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

Ann Arbor high schools will offer wide variety of theater offerings in 2011-12

By Jenn McKee


Becca Amidei (Rosalind) and Ari Litman-Weinberg (Orlando) in Community High School's production of "As You Like It."

Photo by M. Ruth Morris

Though fall isn’t normally considered to be the season of new beginnings, in at least two realms—school and theater—it clearly is.

So while Ann Arbor’s high schools gear up for another year of new stage productions in 2011-12, you might want to check out what shows will be in the offing.

Huron High School’s Huron Players will stage “The Beaux’ Strategem,” written by George Farquhar and adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig, November 4-5 and 11-12 at 7:30 p.m.; next, the school edition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” plays February 9-11 at 7:30 p.m., and February 12 at 3 p.m. at the Paul K. Meyers Auditoriumm; Neil Simon’s “Fools” has performances April 27-28 and May 4-5 at 7:30 p.m.; and Finale! 2012 - a collection of one act plays written and directed by HHS students - June 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. All performances (unless otherwise noted) take place at the school’s New Theater, located at 2727 Fuller Road.

Pioneer High School’s Theatre Guild will kick things off with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit musical “The Phantom of the Opera” November 5 and 11-12 at 7:30 p.m.; and November 6 and 13 at 2 p.m.; Comedy Troupe, offering original sketch comedy, will have performances December 9, March 9, and May 11 at 7:30 p.m.; FutureStars 2012, a popular talent competition, will happen January 13-14 at 7 p.m., with the finals competition scheduled for January 21 at 7:30 p.m.; for competition, “Spring Awakening,” (not the musical) by Frank Wedekind, translated by Jonathan Franzen, will have public performances February 3-4 at 7:30 p.m.; the classic musical “West Side Story” will be staged April 28 and May 4-5 at 7:30, and April 29 and May 7 at 2 p.m.; and Student Productions 2012, featuring short plays written, produced, performed and directed by PTG students, will happen May 18-19 at 7:30 p.m. All performances happen at PHS’s Little Theater, at 601 W. Stadium.

Skyline High School launches its season with Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” November 12, 18, and 19 at 7:30 p.m., and November 13 and 20 at 2:30 p.m.; Peter Schaffer’s “Amadeus” will be staged February 3-4 at 7:30 p.m.; Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” runs April 27-28 at 7:30 p.m., and April 29 at 2:30 p.m.; and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” runs May 4-5 at 7:30 p.m. All performances take place in at Skyline High, 2252 N. Maple.

Community High School’s Community Ensemble Theatre troupe will present a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” November 18-19 at 7:30 p.m., and Novemer 20 at 1 p.m. Other upcoming productions include Tim Acito’s “Zanna Don’t,” playing March 22-25 and 29-31; and Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama, “A Raisin in the Sun,” plays May 10-12. All performances take place at CHS at 401 N. Division.

The upper division of Greenhills School will present William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker,” Nov. 18-19 at 7:30 p.m., and November 20 at 2 p.m.; VooDoo Theatre Company, a student-written and produced showcase of one-act plays, happens February 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Kander and Ebb’s classic musical “Chicago” runs March 22-24 at 7:30 p.m.; and “Much Ado About Nothing,” a senior Shakespeare performance and Elizabethan dinner, plays May 18. All shows take place at 850 Greenhills Dr.

Finally, the high school division of the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor will present a play, written by English teacher Mary Emery, called “Miss Information,” November 17-19 at 7:30 p.m. at the RSSAA High School, 2230 Pontiac Trail.

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


Jonathan J.-W.

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

Only in Ann Arbor would a piece on *high school* theatre productions arouse this much moral indignation over perceived funding inequalities and controversy. You gotta love living in Ann Arbor...


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

While its a diverse group of offerings, some of the choices Pioneer makes aren't necessarily suited to young developing voices. Phantom is difficult even for mature adult voices, let alone students. I'd hate to see some of those voices blown before they even get to their college auditions. As to Huron presenting more offbeat? I dunno...I think it's more a case of how mich money is budgeted for the shows vs the material presented. In essence you would think Huron and Pioneer and Skyline would have equal budgets, but that clearly is not so. The Queen in her Domain at Pioneer clearly taps into more reserves than the neighboring sefdoms can afford.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

As for Queen? It sounds like a slam against Pioneer and how they get their money. Mine wishes there was more time to do this. But with everything else ours wants to do? There is no time in the week. So we are going to support Pioneer by seeing Phantom and maybe that Future Star gig. Keep up the great work. Pioneer always excels at what they do.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

Sorry, there was actually an area in my post... We do receive some funding, but it is the same as funding to ALL the schools theatre programs. I think the misconception that we receive more may come from our recent upgrades which was paid for out of bond money that was intended to bring our theater up to the same operating standards as those of Skyline and Huron. Sorry about that misinformation.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

From day one our production team meets to decide what shows our technical crews and cast will be able to achieve. Honestly, I'm shocked to have to say this because it seems like common sense, but part of this selection process is whether students will be able to perform these shows without harm to themselves. The licensing company who we obtained rights to the show from, Rogers and Hammerstein, is one of the largest in the industry and provides a list of what is necessary for their shows. They clearly state that this is a show which is attainable by high school students. Don't get me wrong, we know these shows are challenging, but that's why we produce the caliber of work we are able to. The challenge is something our students thrive off of and we NEVER push them to limits they cannot reach. Many of our alumni have thrived in our shows as leads and that very same weekend have performed in college auditions which have ultimately resulted in acceptance to some of the best institutions nationwide. We've been at this for a long time and have learned what can and cannot be obtained by our high school students, but thank you for your concern. The budgeting question is a whole new ballgame. The schools have different funding schemes. For instance, Pioneer's funding is provided by...US. We are not funded by the school and must earn every penny that we intend to spend on our shows. Our ticket revenue from Futurestars (where we have repeatedly sold EVERY SINGLE SEAT) help fund other shows and the rest is a combination of support and fundraising from the Pioneer Theatre Guild Booster Club. I assume by "Queen" you are talking about our leadership and production team? This seems a rather odd way to refer to them, but surely you don't have a specific person in mind. However, this queen does draw from different "neighboring serfdoms", you are right, she draws from ad sale revenue, ticket sale revenue, and honest fundraising efforts by our students, parents and s


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

I was wondering if differing budgets had something to do with it. Aren't all the schools supported equally by AAPS, in terms of arts budgets? Or is there more to the story?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

It's nice to have all of the schedules, thanks. We saw Footloose at Pioneer and it was amazing- we are hooked and plan on attending future productions.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

Does Huron tend to always do more offbeat productions than Pioneer or Skyline? Just curious - and if so, I'm wondering why the difference?


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

From what I am understanding is that these troops end up in competitions and do what they do best. Act and/or be comedic. If all the schools did the same theme then it would not be fun to choose what to see first. We are planning on the Phantom and not sure what else. Although some of that Shakespeare looks good. Think Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ontario.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

What fine and intelligent presentations. Especially when people today say that the kids don't know anything about anything! Ann Arbor should be proud!