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Posted on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 6:26 a.m.

'Forever Plaid' at the Encore Musical Theatre, 'A Little Night Music' at Performance Network

By Carla Milarch

Pumpkin pie, turkey with stuffing, cranberry dressing (sliced or with berries)—we all have our favorite Thanksgiving indulgence. You know, that one item of which you always have seconds (or thirds, or fourths)? Welcome to the official kickoff of seasonal decadence, when the combination of frigid weather and holiday events provides the perfect excuse to let yourself go.

And why not? For many of us, 2012 was a year of austerity, and if nothing else, we’ve earned the next six weeks of extravagance. The list below offers many opportunities to splurge, on a holiday musical at Encore Musical Theatre or Performance Network, on a touching comedy starring a '70s heartthrob at The Purple Rose, or even on an educational family outing complete with milk and cookies, with Ella Mentry and the Case of the Missing Scientist.

The holidays are a time to show your family, friends, and co-workers how much they are appreciated, creating treasured memories in the process. So go ahead. Put yourself on that list as well.

Show: “Ella Mentry and the Case of the Missing Scientist” music by Gene Gaunt, lyrics by Charles Stout, book by James Ingagiola, one-time event, Nov. 24, 1 pm..
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Theater for Children and Families
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: All
Description: Archimedes, the famous Greek scientist, disappears just as he is about to reveal his latest discovery. Luckily, detective Ella Mentry is on hand to crack the case! Featuring a combination of music, comedy, and even a little science, this show is conclusively entertaining!
More information
Fun Fact: Archimedes is generally considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity. Among his advances are the foundations of hydrostatics and an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, including the screw pump that bears his name. Modern experiments have tested claims that Archimedes designed machines capable of lifting ships out of the water and setting ships on fire using an array of mirrors!
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681


Photo by Diana Obradovich

Show: “Forever Plaid presents: Plaid Tidings” through Dec. 23
Company: The Encore Musical Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity and Non-Equity
Venue/location: The Encore Musical Theatre Company, 3126 Broad Street, Dexter
Recommended ages: All
Description: The Plaids return to earth again, and with the help of a heavenly Rosemary Clooney, they instill the holiday spirit into the world!
Preview from
Fun fact: All of the Encore Plaids are over 6 feet tall! That makes for one tall, handsome drink of eggnog!
For tickets and information:, 734-268-6200
Special ticket offer: All preview performances are $18 (Friday, Nov. 23 at 8pm, and Saturday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m.)

Show: “A Little Night Music” music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler, through Dec. 30
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 16+
Description: Sondheim's rollicking tour de force of love, lies, and liaisons is the winner of six Tony awards and a Grammy, featuring an amazing musical score, including "The Glamorous Life" and "Send in the Clowns." Desiree Armfeldt is an enchanting Swedish actress. While on tour in a country town, she runs into former lover Fredrik, who has brought his young wife to the theater. Reminiscing in Desiree's dressing room, their passion rekindles. The two seek to continue their affair at a gathering for several guests at Fredrik's country home, setting in motion a hilarious and flirtatious weekend for all.
Preview from
Fun Fact: In addition to the Mozart reference in the title—("A Little Night Music" is an occasionally used translation of Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the nickname of Mozart's Serenade No. 13 for strings)—this elegant musical pays indirect homage to the compositions of Maurice Ravel, especially his Valses nobles et sentimentales, whose opening chord is "borrowed" for the opening chord of the song Liaisons.
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681
Special ticket offer: Students get 2 tickets for $20 for the performance on Wednesday, Nov. 21 (the night before Thanksgiving.)

Show: “Superior Donuts” by Tracy Letts, through Dec. 15
Company: Purple Rose Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, Chelsea
Recommended ages: Contains Adult Language & Content
Description: Arthur Przybyszewski has just about given up on everything: a social life, the chance of romance and most of all his family’s long standing Chicago doughnut shop. But when idealistic dreamer, Franco Wicks walks through the door of his vandalized storefront, Arthur realizes through their unlikely friendship that life still has more to offer him. Written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts ("August: Osage County") the comedy-drama "Superior Donuts" will make you a believer too.
Review from
Fun fact: The doughnuts used on stage in "Superior Donuts" are from the Dexter Cider Mill.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673 (ROSE),