on stages: 'Painting Churches' at PTD, 'Superior Donuts' at The Purple Rose
What’s better than a home football game against a heated rival, crisp fall air, and breaking out your favorite hoodie? Well, not much, but for theater lovers walking into your favorite theater, settling into a comfy theater seat, and watching the lights come up on a season opener comes pretty close.
As if on cue, Mother Nature provides the perfect fall backdrop against which to stage the unofficial opening of the 2012-2013 theater season. Earlier sunsets and chillier air add incentive for spending your leisure time indoors, while the variety of shows will continue to diversify as the weather gets colder. It’s almost as though we planned it that way!
Show: “24 Hour Theatre” by various playwrights, one-time event, Sept. 22, 11 p.m.
Company: Basement Arts
Type of Company: Student Produced
Venue/location: Studio 1 in the Walgreen Drama Center, 1226 Murfin, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 14+
Description: Four 10-15 minute plays that are all written, cast, rehearsed and performed in 24 hours!
Fun fact: Basement Arts has been offering student-produced, free theater for over 30 years!
For tickets and information: basement.studentorgs.umich.edu/
Show: “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh, one-time event, Sept. 22, 11 p.m.
Company: Threefold Productions
Type of Company: Pre-Professional
Venue/location: Mix Studio Theatre, 8 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: 18+
Description: McDonagh’s Tony-nominated script follows an unsuccessful author and his emotionally stunted brother as they are interrogated by two bulldog policemen about their suspected involvement in a recent string of child murders. This unrelenting story illustrates characters in a fight for life and legacy while they grapple with struggles of identity and morality.
Fun fact: Performances will also include a fundraiser in the form of a book drive. Threefold Productions is offering a dollar discount to any patron who brings at least one book to donate to the Ypsilanti Library.
For tickets and information: www.threefoldproductions.org
Show: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” adapted by Simon Stephens, one-time event, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.
Company: University Musical Society and The Michigan Theater
Type of Company: High-definition cinema broadcasts of live performances by the National Theater, London
Venue/location: The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 13+
Description: Mark Haddon’s celebrated novel is adapted into a stage play for the first time. Christopher, 15 years old, stands beside Mrs. Shears’ dead dog, Wellington. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in his book to solve the mystery. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at math but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
Fun fact: Mark Haddon is also known for his series of Agent Z books, one of which, Agent Z and the Penguin from Mars, was made into a 1996 Children's BBC sitcom.
For tickets and information: tickets.ums.org/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=1242, 734-764-2538
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 donut 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.
Fun fact: Randolph Mantooth, who played iconic paramedic/firefighter John Gage on the 1970s television drama “Emergency!” stars in the PRTC production.
AnnArbor.com interview with Randolph Mantooth
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673 (ROSE), www.purplerosetheatre.org
Special ticket offer: Ticket prices for preview performances are $5.00 lower than the regular ticket price on Wednesday and Thursday, and $10.00 less than the regular ticket price on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Show: "Painting Churches" by Tina Howe; through Sept. 29
Company: PTD Productions
Type of Company: Pre-professional
Venue/location: Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: 13+
Description: Gardner and Fanny Church are preparing to move out of their elegant Beacon Hill home. Gardner, once a famous poet, now is retired. He slips in and out of senility as his wife Fanny valiantly tries to keep them both afloat. They have asked their daughter, Mags, herself an artist on the verge of fame, to come home and help them move. Mags agrees, also hoping to finally paint their portrait. But sometimes the hardest things to see are those with which we are the most familiar.
Fun fact: A special display of family portraits by local artists will be presented in the theater lobby for both weeks of the production.
For tickets and information: 734-483-7345, www.ptdproductions.com
Special ticket offer: Thursdays are pay-what-you-can. $4 discount for Haab's diners with receipts from day-of-show.