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Posted on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 8:55 a.m.

Joseph Zettelmaier's world premiere 'Dead Man's Shoes' to have staged reading at EMU

By Staff


EMU students Marissa Kurtzhals and James Walrod rehearse for the staged reading of Dead Man's Shoes at EMU's Sponberg Theatre.

Photo courtesy of EMU Theatre

Eastern Michigan University Theatre will present the world premiere staged reading of Joseph Zettelmaier’s award-winning play, "Dead Man’s Shoes."

Directed by Performance Network artistic director David Wolber, "Dead Man’s Shoes" will be performed as a staged reading on Nov. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. (EMU Theatre’s new matinee time) in the Sponberg Theatre in the Quirk Dramatic Arts Building, located at the intersection of East Circle Drive and Best Hall on EMU’s Ypsilanti Campus.

"Dead Man’s Shoes" is a dark comedy set in the Wild West in the 1800s. Injun Bill Picote has escaped prison with a new partner that he never wanted. Hard-luck drunk Froggy follows Bill on his quest to demand satisfaction for the death and mutilation of a friend. Their journeys lead them across the West, filled with strange characters and deadly circumstances. But as Bill slowly discovers his never-used conscience, he must question the mantra that leads him on the path of vengeance: "A man is not shoes!"

The EMU staged reading features student performers: Gage DaAngelis as Injun Bill Picote, Newt Baumgartner as Froggy, James Walrod as Actor 1 and Marissa Kurtzhals as Actor 2. Due to adult language and content this production is recommended for mature audiences only.

Following the premiere staged reading at EMU Theatre, "Dead Man's Shoes" will be a fully produced co-production between Williamston Theatre and Performance Network Theatre. The Williamston production will run from January 26-Feb 26, 2012, and then the Performance Network leg will run March 8-April 8, 2012. The Williamston/Performance Network production will feature Aral Basil Gribble II, Andrew Parker, Maggie Meyer and Paul Hopper, with original music from The Potter's Field.

Ticket prices for the EMU staged reading of "Dead Man’s Shoes" are $7; no further discounts apply. Tickets are available by phone at 734-487-2282 and in person at the Convocation Center, the Student Center ticket office or the Quirk Box Office. To purchase tickets online visit: For more information about EMU Theatre, our season and directions to our theatres visit or, fan us on Facebook: Eastern Michigan University Theatre or follow them on Twitter: emutheatre.

Zettelmaier is a three-time nominee for the Steinberg/ American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play. He was first in 2006 for "All Childish Things," then in 2007 for "Language Lessons," and again in 2010 for "It Came From Mars." Other plays include "And The Creek Don’t Rise," "The All Childish Things Trilogy," "Dr. Seward's Dracula," "Snow Angels," "Blackwater Ballad," "Night Blooming," "Point of Origin," and "The Stillness Between Breaths." "Point of Origin" won Best Locally Created Script 2002 from the Ann Arbor News, and "The Stillness Between Breaths" also won Best New Play 2005 from the Oakland Press. "The Stillness Between Breaths" and "It Came From Mars" were selected to appear in the National New Play Network's Festival of New Plays. He also co-authored "Flyover U.S.A." at the Williamston Theatre (Winner of the 2009 Thespie Award for Best New Script). He also adapted "Christmas Carol’d" for the Performance Network. "It Came From Mars" was a recipient of 2009’s Edgerton Foundation Grant, and won Best New Script 2010 from the Lansing State Journal. His play "Dead Man’s Shoes" is winner of the 2011 Edgerton Foundation Grant Award. He is an Associate Artist at Performance Network, and an adjunct lecturer at EMU, where he teaches dramatic composition.