'Chicago' at U-M, 'Guys and Dolls' at EMU
University theater is in the spotlight this week, with three offerings from Washtenaw theater departments. Although the University of Michigan’s “Chicago” has been sold out for weeks, there’s still a fairly good chance that you can get in. Here’s why:
At many theaters, when a show is “sold out” it doesn’t necessarily mean that every seat in the house is taken; rather, that the performance has reached its capacity for general public sales. Oftentimes, blocks of tickets are held for last minute VIP attendance, double-booking errors, and as a sort of cushion for the house management staff, to make sure that the seating process goes smoothly the night of the show.
So, how do YOU get access to those last minute tickets? It’s called the waiting list. And yes, it requires a bit of a gamble on your part, by showing up at the theater on the night of the performance, putting your name on a list and waiting for the house manager to release held seats to the general public. Those seats, combined with the inevitable returns and no-shows, usually mean that a good chunk of patrons standing by will get in.
A few more tips: even though you may have been initially told that the show is sold out, it’s still a good idea to call in periodically to see if any tickets have been returned in the meantime. Also, once you put your name on the list, be sure not to stray too far, especially at about 15 minutes to curtain time. House managers have a lot of people to seat in a short time and may move past your name if you don’t respond when you are called.
Remember—there are always exceptions and sometimes shows really are totally sold out, so always be courteous to the house manager as she tries to get you in. Happy ticket hunting!
Theater offerings for the week
Show: “Betrayal” and “Old Times” by Harold Pinter and Beckett's “A Piece of Monologue,” one-time event, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Company: RC Drama Concentration
Type of Company: Higher Education
Venue/Location: Keene Theater, East University Ave., Ann Arbor
Recommended Ages: 16+
Description: An evening of theatre combining two Pinter plays with a fifteen minute play by Samuel Beckett. Two of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century come together in this heady triple-header.
Fun Fact: Both Beckett and Pinter won the Nobel Prize for literature, Beckett in 1969 and Pinter in 2005.
For tickets and information: 734-647-4354.
Show: “She Stoops to Conquer” by Oliver Goldsmith, one-time event, April 11 at 7 p.m.
Company: University Musical Society
Type of Company: Time delayed cinema broadcast of a live performance at the National Theatre.
Venue/Location: Michigan Theater, 603 East Liberty, Ann Arbor.
Recommended ages: All.
Description: Hardcastle, a man of substance, looks forward to acquainting his daughter with his old pal’s son, with a view to marriage. But thanks to playboy Lumpkin, Hardcastle is mistaken by his prospective son-in-law, Marlow, for an innkeeper and his daughter for the local barmaid. The good news is, while Marlow can barely speak to a woman of quality he’s a charmer with those of a different stamp. And so, as Hardcastle’s indignation intensifies, his daughter’s appreciation for her misguided suitor soars.
Fun fact: Initially the play was titled “Mistakes of a Night” and indeed, the events within the play take place in one long night. In 1778 John O'Keeffe wrote a loose sequel, “Tony Lumpkin in Town.”
For tickets and information: Ticketmaster.com
Show: “Spring New Work Series” by various playwrights, April 15, 8 p.m.
Company: The New Theatre Project
Type of Company: Professional Non-Equity
Venue/location: Mix Performance Space, 130 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: Various, check website for details
Description: The spring gives birth to staged readings of original work featuring talkbacks with the playwrights. Also included for the first time, The New Theatre Project will feature guest speakers and round table discussions with local playwrights and theater artists. Full festival schedule is available on the theater’s website.
Fun fact: This weekend’s offering is “Connecting Creativity: A Trans-Atlantic Co-Production with the Breakaway Theater Project in Dublin, Ireland.” Featuring several monologues written by Irish playwrights for American actors as well as a recorded performance of the Irish company performing monologues written just for them by company members of The New Theatre Project in Michigan. The theme of all of the pieces is Connecting to the Unknown.
For tickets and information: Call or text 734-645-9776, www.thenewtheatreproject.org
Show: "Chicago" by Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb, through April 15
Company: UM Department of Theatre & Drama
Type of Company: Higher Education
Venue/location: Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 12+
Description: A sharp-edged satire about our society’ s fascination with criminal celebrities. The show focuses on two young, sexy, fictional Prohibition era murderesses—Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly—who vie for media attention, hoping to parlay sensational, notorious celebrity into a show business career.
Preview from AnnArbor.com
Fun fact: Belva Gaertner, on who the character of Velma is based, told reporter Maurine Watkins (who penned the original play on which the musical is based) during one of their frequent jailhouse interviews, "No woman can love a man enough to kill him. They aren't worth it, because there are always plenty more."
For tickets and information: 734-764-2538, tickets.music.umich.edu
Show: “Guys and Dolls” Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, through April 21
Company: Eastern Michigan University Theatre
Type of Company: Higher Education
Venue/location: Sponberg Theatre, EMU Campus, Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: 13+
Description: Crap game organizer Nathan Detroit, his long-time fiancÃ©e Adelaide, gambler Sky Masterson and straight-laced Sarah Brown are the heart and soul of this Tony-Award winning sensation. Set in a New York in the late 1940's, the show opens with Nathan trying to find a location for his crap game while being pushed toward the alter by Adelaide. On a bet, Sky takes his chances with missionary Sarah Brown. After a night in Havana, a crap game in a sewer and testimonies at the mission, guys and dolls all come together for a big finish in Times Square.
Fun fact: The show is based on "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure" two short stories by Damon Runyon, and also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick the Winner."
For tickets and information: 734-487-2282, www.emich.edu/emutheatre
Show: “Godspell” by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Trebelak, through April 22
Company: The Encore Musical Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity Special Appearance Contract, Non-Equity.
Venue/location: The Encore Musical Theatre Company, 3126 Broad Street, Dexter
Recommended ages: All
Description: "Godspell" is a musical based on the gospel of St. Matthew, using a collection of songs written by Stephen Schwartz and vaudevillian skits. With songs like "Day by Day", "Turn Back O Man", and "All For the Best."
Review from AnnArbor.com.
Fun fact: The show originated in 1970 as Tebelak's master's thesis project, at Carnegie Mellon University. Tebelak then directed the show, with much of its student cast at Cafe la Mama in New York City in 1971. The producers hired Stephen Schwartz, another alumnus of Carnegie Mellon's theater department, to write a new song score for the off-Broadway production, although one song, "By My Side", written by CMU students Jay Hamburger and Peggy Gordon, was kept from the original score.
For tickets and information: www.theencoretheatre.org, 734-268-6200.
Show: “White Buffalo” by Don Zolidis, through June 2
Company: The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity
Venue/location: The Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, Chelsea
Recommended ages: 14+ (contains some adult language and content) Description: When Carol Gelling discovers that a buffalo born on her farm is pure white, she thinks it’s nothing more than a curiosity. She soon learns that the birth of the white buffalo fulfills an ancient Sioux prophecy -- the coming of peace on earth and unity of mankind. Almost overnight, her small farm becomes a hotbed of spiritual outpouring -- from Native American pilgrims to the Dalai Lama. When a mysterious businessman offers to buy the calf, Carol must decide whether the white buffalo signals the end of her financial hardships or the beginning of her own spiritual enrichment.
Review from AnnArbor.com
Fun fact: There are 150 individually shaped boards that make up the stage floor for the set of White Buffalo.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673, www.purplerosetheatre.org