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Posted on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 6:38 a.m.

'Anything Goes' at Burns Park Players, 'Cultural Conversations' at Performance Network

By Carla Milarch

Take a theatrical trip around the world this week, from Egypt, to Hollywood, to New York, to London, to an existential abyss in Chelsea, Michigan. This week’s listings offer adventures to exotic locales, and familiar spaces.

To stretch the metaphor just a little bit further, grab a passport for fun at your favorite theatrical venue, sit back, relax and let the amazing artists of Washtenaw County take you on a trip around the world, right here in your own backyard.

With so many wonderful venues close to home, you can sit here, and go anywhere.

Show: Cultural Conversations with David Wells, author of “Brill,” one-time event, Sunday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m.
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 East Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended Ages: 12+
Description: Cultural Conversations is a series of in-depth, on-stage conversations, exploring the nuances of making theatre from the artist's perspective. Screenwriter and Playwright David Wells has written for both Hollywood and Ann Arbor. He will speak about the difference between writing for Hollywood and writing for the stage, and how his experience in both worlds informs the characters in his newest play, "Brill."
Fun fact: David Wells studied playwriting at the University of Michigan and San Francisco State University, before transitioning into screenwriting. He sold and developed projects at New Line, Sony, and Disney studios, before his return to playwriting with “Brill.”
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681

Show: “Tales from Egypt,” one-time event, Feb. 3, 1:30 p.m.
Company: The Michigan Theater
Type of Company: Not Just for Kids Live Series
Venue/location: Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: All
Description: When “Gama” Harriet, a famous Egyptologist, mysteriously disappears, two children search for clues among the ancient Egyptian amulets and scientific journals in the trunks in Gama’s attic. Before they know it, they are magically transported to ancient Egypt, where they unravel the mystery and learn fascinating facts about one of the world’s amazing cultures. Families will love this fun and creative melding of child-friendly mystery and historical exploration.
Fun fact: Music and dance were popular entertainments for Ancient Egyptians who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular.
For tickets and information: 800-745-3000,


Photo by Myra Klarman

Show: “Anything Goes” Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter; through Feb. 9.
Company: Burns Park Players
Type of Company: Community
Venue/location: Tappan Middle School, 2251 E. Stadium, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: All
Description: Aboard the S.S. American, headed from New York to London, we meet Billy Crocker, a stowaway who has fallen in love with the American debutante and heiress Hope Harcourt. Billy enlists the help of evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer Reno Sweeney and “Public Enemy No. 13” Moonface Martin in trying to win Hope away from her fiancé, the wealthy Englishman Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Exotic disguise, blackmail, and madcap antics ensue.
Fun fact: The songs of “Anything Goes” include “It’s De-Lovely,” "You're the Top," ''Anything Goes" and "I Get a Kick Out of You." In Burns Park Players' tradition, the cast is joined on stage by 95 children from Burns Park Elementary School.
Preview article from
For tickets and information:
Special ticket offer: Patron tickets are also available for $30. They are the best seats in the house and include parking. For patron tickets, please email with “Patron Tickets” in the subject line. Indicate in the body of the email how many patron tickets you would like, and specify which dates.

Show: “Brill” by David Wells, with songs by Frank Allison, through Feb. 10
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 12+
Description: Located at Broadway and 49th Street in Manhattan, the famous Brill Building was once the epicenter of the pop music universe, where a musician could find a publisher, cut a demo, promote the record, and make a deal with radio promoters - all within one building. In this “lyrical” comedy set in 1959, a washed up Big Band songwriter faces the inevitability of rock and roll when a young woman shows up at his office with her guitar, her aspirations, and more than a few secrets. Can this odd couple make beautiful music together - or will their culture clash land one of them out on the streets?
Review from
Fun Fact: The start of Tin Pan Alley is usually dated to about 1885, when a number of music publishers set up shop in the same district of Manhattan. The end of Tin Pan Alley is less clear-cut. Some date it to the start of the Great Depression in the 1930s when the phonograph and radio supplanted sheet music as the driving force of American popular music, while others consider Tin Pan Alley to have continued into the 1950s when earlier styles of American popular music were upstaged by the rise of rock & roll.
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681.

Show: “Prince Darling” by Naia Venturi, based on the fairy tale by Andrew Lang, through Feb. 17
Company: Dreamland Theater Puppet Troupe
Type of Company: Pre-professional
Venue/location: Dreamland Theater, 26 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: All
Description: A fairy tale in which the title character learns that it’s is nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice. In this marionette show based on the fairy tale by Andrew Lang, Prince Darling, spoiled son of the Good King, is taught a lesson by the fairy of truth. “Prince Darling” plays every Sunday in January.
Fun Fact: Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was a Scots poet, novelist, and literary critic, whose "Coloured" Fairy Books or Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors — are a series of twelve collections of fairy tales, published between 1889 and 1910.
For tickets and information: email

Show: “The Meaning of Almost Everything” by Jeff Daniels, through March 9
Company: The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: The Purple Rose Theatre, 137 Park Street, Chelsea, MI 48118
Recommended ages: 17+
Description: Step right up and grab a seat for the hilarious and sometimes painful circus that is life! Two men will astound you with their feats of daring and sometimes cowardice as they pratfall their way to the big answers in "The Meaning of Almost of Everything." This world premiere comedy questions the nature of our world and the absurdity of it all.
Review from the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Fun fact: Original harp music was composed for this production by Nate May.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673 or