You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 7:09 a.m.

'The UFO Show' at Emergent Arts, 'Backstage Cafe' at Performance Network

By Carla Milarch

Now that the 4th of July is past, you might call these the Halcyon Days - OR - the Dog Days of Summer, depending on your perspective. Hot, sticky, muggy, buggy - OR - lush, sultry, relaxing, steamy - your descriptors may vary depending on your mood.

One way or another, you’re going to need some theater. Whether you love the experience of it, need a date night out with a spouse or loved one - OR - just want to escape to the cool darkness, a night at the theater is a great way to escape FROM the great outdoors.

Show: “The UFO Show,” one-time event, July 11 at 7 p.m.
Company: Emergent Arts
Type of Company: Pre-Professional
Venue/location: Washington Street just North of Michigan Ave., next to Bona Sera Cafe, downtown Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: 12+
Description: Ypsilanti- Emergent Arts, in conjunction with the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti, will present the first installment of The UFO Show (Unidentified Funny Objects), an evening of standup and sketch comedy. M.C.’d by retired Ann Arbor Police Detective and professional standup Khurum Sheikh, the outdoor event will feature comedians Marty Smith, Andy Jentzen, Mark Johnson, David Kleitch and more, and feature Shelly Smith’s Improv troupe Gorillas In Human Suits.
Fun Fact: The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be gratefully and enthusiastically accepted. Go to for up-to-date listing of featured performers.
For tickets and information:, 734-985-0875,

Show: Backstage Cafe with Sarab Kamoo, star of “Becky Shaw,” one-time event, July 14, immediately following the matinee (about 4:15 p.m.)
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 East Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended Ages: 12+
Description: Backstage Cafe is a series of in-depth, on-stage conversations, exploring the nuances of making theater from the artist's perspective. Join us in the Performance Network Theatre’s lobby for an in-depth conversation exploring the nuances of making theater from the artist’s perspective while sipping complimentary coffee from Mighty Good Cafe. Associate Artistic Director Carla Milarch interviews Sarab Kamoo on how she has managed to have a full career as an actress on stage, on television, and in film without ever leaving the state of Michigan.
Fun fact: Sarab Kamoo’s career as a professional actress has led her to the silver screen and numerous Michigan theaters. She has been seen alongside A-list celebrities in films such as “The Giant Mechanical Man” with Jenna Fischer from “The Office,” “Conviction” with Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, and “Stone” with Robert DeNiro. Kamoo has performed at Performance Network Theatre (most recently “God of Carnage”, “Sonia Flew”, and “9 Parts of Desire”) as well as the Purple Rose Theatre Company, Meadow Brook Theatre, Williamston Theatre, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, and Tipping Point Theatre. For upcoming projects and full film bio check out her IMDB page at
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681

Show: “Rounding Third” by Richard Dresser, through July 27
Company: Carriage House Theatre
Type of Company: Pre-professional
Venue/location: Carriage House Theatre, 541 Third St, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 12+
Description: In a small town, coaching little league is no walk in the park. Michael joins on as assistant coach to Don, who's been coaching baseball for years, and whose philosophy is simple: Win. Don’s son is the star pitcher on the team, while Michael’s son, like Michael himself, is new in town and very inexperienced in baseball. The two coaches struggle to employ their differing philosophies on winning the game and enjoying the game. Can the two philosophies coexist? And what changes when the men's personal lives are drawn into the game?
More information
Fun fact: Dresser was inspired to write “Rounding Third” by his own coaching experiences and by his son's Little League coach, who ignored parents' objections and cheated in a playoff game.
For tickets and information:

Show: “Little Me,” book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, through July 27
Company: The Penny Seats
Type of Company: Professional Non-Equity
Venue/location: The West Park Band Shell
Recommended ages: All ages, though please note, there is some burlesque-type humor and innuendo
Description: The Penny Seats’ third annual West Park Summer offering is the farcical autobiography of Belle Poitrine, supposed star of stage, screen, and sinking ship. From her humble origins as Belle Schlumpfert on Drifter's Row, to her adventures (and misadventures) in achieving wealth, culture, and social position, to her many mates and her one true love, all are here. Neil Simon's script is a scream and the music sparkles. Better still, the Penny Seats’ Roy Sexton will attempt a comic tour de force originated by Sid Caesar and designed just for this show: he will play no fewer than 7 characters.
More information
Fun fact: This show grew out of Neil Simon’s relationship with Sid Caesar, for whom he wrote a number of shorts on Caesar’s hit T.V. series, Your Show of Shows. The play was an adaptation of Patrick Dennis’s 1958 bestseller spoofing the celebrity tell-alls that were in vogue in the 60’s. Dennis’s original book was called Little Me: The Intimate Memoirs of That Great Star of Stage, Screen and Television, Belle Poitrine, as told to Patrick Dennis. And in a tip of the hat, Patrick Dennis himself makes an appearance as a character in the musical.
For tickets and information:, 800-838-3006.

Show: “Becky Shaw” by Gina Gionfriddo, through July 28
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: The New York Times called it “a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics…as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage.” Step-siblings Suzanna and Max couldn’t be more different. When the shy sister fixes the cocky brother up with her husband’s sexy and sweet co-worker, the blind date takes a dark turn and crisis and comedy ensue. Mixing sharp wit and humor with the taut suspense of a psychological thriller, this comedy of romantic errors keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
Review from Encore Michigan
Fun fact: Gina Gionfriddo is an American playwright and television writer. For her writing she has received an Obie Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Gionfriddo's most recent production, “Rapture, Blister, Burn” premiered at Playwrights Horizons in June 2012.
For tickets and information: 734-663-0681,


photo by Sean Carter Photography | courtesy of the Purple Rose Theatre Co.

Show: “Miles & Ellie” by Don Zolidis, through August 31
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: 17+ (contains adult language and content)
Description: Miles and Ellie are two teenagers in love when a youthful misunderstanding breaks them apart. Flash forward 20 years and a disenchanted Ellie has come home for what she expects to be a typical dysfunctional family Thanksgiving. Not long into the family shenanigans, however, Ellie learns that Miles is still in town and carrying a torch for her. Is it possible to get a second chance at your first love? This charming romantic comedy will make you wonder “what if?”
Review from Encore Michigan
Fun fact: The play is set in 1991 and the #1 song for that year, according to Billboard charts, was Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You.
For tickets and information:, 734-433-7673.