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Posted on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:38 a.m.

'Legally Blonde' at A2 Civic, 'Hairspray' at MUSKET

By Carla Milarch

It's mid-November, Thanksgiving is approaching, and the snow has started to fall. The winter solstice grows ever nearer, which can only mean one thing: time to break out the feel-good holiday musicals! The season to be jolly is prime time for a special night out with the family, so you should expect to see shows appropriate for that activity popping up all over town.

From lighthearted spoofs like “Hairspray” and “Legally Blonde” boasting teen-pleasing, pop-rock tunes, to the sophisticated “A Little Night Music” with its elegant, harmonically advanced score, there’s something to satisfy every palate; beginner to aficionado.

Research shows that the most happily received gifts are those that bring a memorable experience, or cherished time with loved ones. Why not share the magic of theater with your nearest and dearest this year?

Show: “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” by Mike Birbiglia, one-time event, Nov. 15, 8 pm
Company: The Michigan Theater
Type of Company: Tour
Venue/location: Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 18+
Description: Comedian, writer, and actor Mike Birbiglia brings his award-winning off-Broadway hit, "My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend," to the Michigan Theater. In it, Birbiglia revisits a lifetime of romantic blunders and miscues, struggling to find reason in the realm of love. It was named a critic’s pick by The New York Times, Time Out New York, and New York Magazine.
More information
Fun fact: In recent years Birbiglia has emerged as standup comedy’s preeminent storyteller. He has starred in three Comedy Central Specials, released two hit CDs for Comedy Central Records, "Two Drink Mike" and "My Secret Public Journal Live," which was named one of the “Best Comedy Albums of the Decade” by The Onion AV Club.
For tickets and information: 800-745-3000,

Show: “Five Bowls of Oatmeal” by 826 Michigan playwrights, one-time event, Nov. 18, 3 p.m.
Company: The Penny Seats as a fundraiser for 826 Michigan
Type of Company: Pre-professional
Venue/Location: Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: All
Description: The Penny Seats and 826 Michigan present an evening of staged readings of short plays written by local students. Students were given the challenge to write a short piece that mentions the word “oatmeal” at some point in the script. Penny Seats Company members will perform each piece in a staged reading format (moving around, but with script still in hand) for an evening of lighthearted fun and fundraising.
Fun Fact: 826michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students aged 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
For tickets and info:


Photo by Kyle Farr

Show: “Legally Blonde, the Musical” music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hatch, through Nov. 18
Company: Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Type of Company: Community Theater
Venue/Location: Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 North University Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 16+
Description: From the beloved movie onto the musical theater stage steps Elle Woods, the perky sorority girl who chases her ex-boyfriend, Warner, from undergraduate school to Harvard Law. Convinced that she just needs to prove to her ex that she's smart enough to take seriously, Elle embarks on a quest to earn a law degree and Warner's heart, but learns much more along the way.
Preview from
Fun Fact: The musical was recorded in September 2007 and aired on MTV in October 2007. Following this, a reality TV program was aired showing the audition process for the next person to play Elle Woods on Broadway.
For tickets and info:, 734-971-A2CT

Show: "Hairspray" music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, through Nov. 18
Company: MUSKET
Type of Company: Student Produced
Venue/Location: Power Center, 121 Fletcher Street, Ann Arbor
Recommended Ages: 16+
Description: Set in the 1960s, "Hairspray" follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, a hopeful girl from Baltimore who is determined to dance on "The Corny Collins Show." Once her dream becomes a reality, Tracy realizes she not only wants to dance, but use her new-found celebrity to change and integrate the show as well. As a result of her courage and determination, she sparks a movement to speak out against the racial injustices of her time. This energetic and heartfelt musical includes the hits "You Can't Stop the Beat," "Without Love," and "Good Morning Baltimore."
More information
Fun Fact: The musical's original Broadway production won eight Tony Awards out of thirteen nominations and ran for over 2,500 performances.
For tickets and info: 734-764-2538.

Show: “Bat Boy: The Musical” by Keythe Farley, Brian Fleming and Laurence O'Keefe, through Nov. 18
Company: U-M SMTD Department of Musical Theatre
Type of Company: Higher Education
Venue/location: Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin Ave., Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 14+
Description: Ripped from the headlines of the Weekly World News: “Found in West Virginia Cave — a half boy, half bat!” Featuring an eclectic score that ranges from rap to gospel to classical, the show is a mix of affectionate irreverence and hilarious plot twists. The New York Times declared “It’s remarkable what intelligent wit can accomplish” and Curtain Up called "Bat Boy" “a wacky but witty cult-in-the-making show” much like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Dare to be spooked and laugh out loud at this surprising tale that exposes the beast lurking in all of us.
Preview from
For tickets and information: 734-764-2538 and Seats remain for the Saturday matinee performance only at this time. Keep checking back for returned tickets for other performances.

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: Much of the music that underscores the play was composed by sound designer Tom Whalen and Ann Arbor musician Dan Bilich.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673 (ROSE),

Show: “A Little Night Music” music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheller, 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: 14+
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") The New York Times called "heady, civilized, sophisticated and enchanting... an orgy of plaintively memorable waltzes." 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: The musical has also become part of the repertoire of a few opera companies. Michigan Opera Theatre was the first major American opera company to present the work in 1983, and again in November 2009.
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681
Special Ticket offer: All preview performances are sold at a discounted rate, with one pay-what-you-can performance on Thursday, Nov. 15.



Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Seats have been added for all performances of Bat Boy at U-M.