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Posted on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 : 6:33 a.m.

'Prince Darling' at Dreamland Theater and two world premieres

By Carla Milarch

This week’s offerings are small but mighty, with only three listings, two of which are, as they say, “kind of a big deal.” “Why?” you ask? Well, because they represent this year’s first crop of world premieres, which have the potential to go on to continued life at other theaters, bringing recognition and prestige to Michigan’s thriving theater scene.

Since both “Brill” and “The Meaning of Almost Everything” have now been through a full week of previews—in which scripts are tweaked, performances are tightened, and playwrights and directors gain more than a few grey hairs—both should be polished up and shiny, just in time for opening night.

Have you seen one (or both) of these plays in previews? Let us know what you think so far in the comment section below. Or come back to see the finished product, which just might incorporate your feedback as it makes its official opening on Friday night!

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 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: Puppetry was practiced in ancient Greece and the oldest written records of puppetry can be found in the works of Herodotus and Xenophon, dating from the 5th century BC.
For tickets and information:

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?
Preview from
Fun Fact: Many of the works of the Brill Building were written by a group of songwriter-producer teams — mostly duos —who collectively wrote some of the biggest hits of the period. Many in this group were married couples and/or close friends that often worked together and with other writers in a wide variety of combinations. Some famous Brill Building duos included Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield.
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681.

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
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.
Preview from
Fun fact: Including one show when Matthew Gwynn was an apprentice, this is the 6th time Michael Brian Ogden and Matt Gwynn have worked together on stage at the Rose.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673 or