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Posted on Wed, May 15, 2013 : 7:14 a.m.

'Ragtime' in concert at the Michigan Theater, 'Bernhardt on Broadway' at Vinology

By Carla Milarch

It’s quite an “historical” week in Ann Arbor Theater, with four shows featuring major figures from the ages. From Booker T. Washington, to Beethoven, to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to Sarah Bernhardt, it’s a great week to find inspiration in the lives of some of history’s star performers.

This week introduces a new player to the bustling scene of Ann Arbor theater companies. Ann Arbor In Concert (A2IC) is a new performing arts group that focuses on bringing members of the community together to perform the great pieces of musical theater in a concert setting. A portion of ticket sales will go toward founding and funding an annual scholarship to benefit the performing arts in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

No matter which show you choose, there’s bound to be plenty of inspiration in store.


photo courtesy of Ann Arbor in Concert

Show: "Ragtime" the Musical in concert, one-time event, May 18 at 8 p.m.
Company: Ann Arbor in Concert.
Type of Company: Pre-professional.
Venue/location: Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor.
Recommended ages: 16+ "Ragtime" includes graphic language and scenarios.
Description: A special one-night-only presentation of the three-time Tony Award-winning hit musical “Ragtime” will be presented by Ann Arbor’s newest performing arts group: Ann Arbor in Concert (A2IC). Winning Tony Awards for Best Score, Book and Orchestrations, and Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score, “Ragtime” has been called “a triumph for the stage” (Time Magazine) and “the best musical in twenty years” (International Herald Tribune).”Ragtime” is not only a powerful portrait of life in turn-of-the-century America but also has themes that are topical and relevant for modern audiences. Written by the award-winning composer/lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, noted playwright Terrence McNally, and based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished novel, the musical intertwines the stories of three extraordinary families as they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to live in America.
Fun Fact: The many talented community members involved on stage include Clark Baxtresser, Bob Galardi, Taureen Hogan, Ashley Harlock, Imani Mchunu, Hank Miller, Adrienne Pisoni, Stephanie Rose, Christopher Taylor, Rowan Tucker-Meyer and Ronald Woods as Booker T. Washington.
For tickets and information:, 1-800-745-3000
Special ticket offer: Tickets are $15 for Student/Seniors, $25 for General Admission, $50 for VIP and $100 for Pre-gala with VIP seating

Show: "Bernhardt on Broadway" by Carol Dunitz, one-time event, May 19 at 4:30 p.m.
Company: The Last Word LLC
Type of Company: Professional Non-Equity
Venue/location: Vinology, 110 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 12+
Description: "Bernhardt on Broadway" is a no-holds-barred exposé about the daughter of a courtesan who overcame countless obstacles to become the most famous woman in the world. Now, almost a century after her last appearances in the United States, audiences can once again experience the wonder of Madame Sarah in this one-woman musical. In real life (and in the show) Bernhardt traveled from Russia to Australia, Brazil to Canada performing to sold out crowds everywhere. She volunteered her time for good causes including entertaining troops and selling War Bonds, raising money for Madame Curie when she had no money to build a laboratory after her husband’s death, and encouraging Emile Zola to write ‘J’accuse’ which helped to turn the tide with the Dreyfus Affair. She was a woman with incredible determination who succeeded against all odds using her education, resourcefulness and drive to reach untold heights.
Fun fact: Playwright, composer, and performer Carol Dunitz read close to 100 books in French and English as well as countless articles and reviews about Sarah Bernhardt while creating "Bernhardt on Broadway."
For tickets and information: 734-222-9841
Special ticket offer: Group tickets for 10 or more are available for $22 with a two drink minimum by calling 312-523-4774

Show: “33 Variations” by Moisés Kaufman, through June 1
Company: The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: The Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, Chelsea
Recommended ages: 16+ (contains adult language and content)
Description: In 19th century Austria, Ludwig van Beethoven works obsessively on a commission he cannot complete. In present day, musicologist Katherine Brandt struggles to solve the mystery behind her professional passion: Beethoven’s oft overlooked “Diabelli Variations”. As she races against time, Katherine not only discovers the true nature of Beethoven’s work, but gains insight into the other mystery in her life: her daughter. Moving between the past and the present, 33 Variations illustrates how the very passions that threaten to overwhelm us can also save us.
Review from Lansing City Pulse
Fun fact: Each of the musical books that are used as props in the show contain actual copies of Beethoven's sketches.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673,

Show: “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall, through June 2
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 16+ (contains adult language and content)
Description: It's April 3, 1968 at Memphis' Lorraine Motel the night before Martin Luther King, Jr. would be assassinated there. In room 306 King prepares his speech for the coming day, as a thunderstorm rages outside. Chain-smoking Pall Malls and thundering to himself "America, you are too ARROGANT!" he is startled by the mysterious Camae, a motel maid who shows up dripping wet on his doorstep. As they strike up a conversation, sharing cigarettes and laughter, King begins to suspect that her purpose there may not be what it seems. This inspiring drama brings one of America's freshest dramatic voices to the Network stage.
Review from
Fun fact: On April 3, 1968 Dr. King was booked in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, owned by Walter Bailey, in Memphis. Abernathy, who was present at the assassination, testified to the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations that King and his entourage stayed at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often it was known as the "King-Abernathy suite.”
For tickets and information: 734-663-0681,