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Posted on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:58 a.m.

'The UFO Show' at Mix, 'My Name is Asher Lev' at Performance Network

By Carla Milarch

The August countdown to the beginning of the school year has begun (parents—can you say “29 days and counting?”) What a great time to feature two great plays that began as novels! Both “Les Miserable” and “My Name is Asher Lev” began life in paperback, and are colorfully and epically adapted for the stage.

According to vintagephotopaper the top five novels adapted into stage plays are:

1. "The Phantom of the Opera," by Gaston Leroux (performed more than 10,000 times)

2. "Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats," by T.S. Eliot (adapted to “Cats,” and performed more than 7,000 times)

3. "Les Miserables," by Victor Hugo (performed more than 6,000 times)

4. "Wicked," by Gregory Maguire (performed nearly 4,000 times)

5. "Mary Poppins," based on children’s books by P. L. Travers (performed more than 2,500 times)

Show: “The UFO Show (unidentified funny objects), Part II,” one-time event, Aug. 8, at 8 p.m.
Company: Emergent Arts
Type of Company: Pre-professional (non-paid)
Venue/location: The Mix Studio Theatre, 8 North Washington, Ypsilanti
Recommended ages: 18+
Description: Stand up comedians Jon Houser, Marty Smith, Chevy Hungerford, Allen Smock and Andy Jentzen, with storyteller Lyn Davidge, and songwriter/humorist Marc Holland. Also featuring a scene from "Timmy And Lar's Florida Trip 1986" - a work in progress.
Fun fact: "Timmy And Lar's Florida Trip 1986" is based on Tim Henning's and Larry Rusinsky's infamous 1986 trip to Florida, where they visited The Tupperware Museum of Historical Food Containers, Spongeorama, Medieval World, and other miraculous kitschy wonders, recording an improvisational travelogue as they went.
For tickets and information:
Special ticket offer: Emergent Arts Theatre's "The Truth Is In Ypsilanti" t-shirts will be available for $5 each with purchase of a ticket.

Show: “Les Miserables,” based on the novel by Victor Hugo, music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, and English libretto by Herbert Kretzmer, through Aug. 18
Company: The Encore Musical Theatre Company
Type of Company: Professional Equity Special Appearance Contract
Venue/location: The Encore Musical Theatre Company, 3126 Broad Street, Dexter
Recommended ages: 12 +
Description: Set in early 19th-century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean and his quest for redemption after serving 19 years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister's child. Valjean decides to break his parole and start his life anew after a kindly bishop inspires him to, but is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade. Songs include "I Dreamed a Dream", "On My Own", "Bring Him Home", "Master of the House", "Castle on a Cloud", and many more!
Review from
Fun fact: More than a quarter of Hugo’s famous novel—by one count 955 of 2,783 pages—is devoted to essays that argue a moral point or display Hugo's encyclopedic knowledge, but do not advance the plot, nor even a subplot, a method Hugo used in such other works as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Toilers of the Sea. One biographer noted "the digressions of genius are easily pardoned."
For tickets and information: 734-268-6200,

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
Fun fact: According to what traditionally is known as "The First Thanksgiving," the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony contained turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash.
For tickets and information:, 734-433-7673.


"My Name is Asher Lev" is coming to Performance Network.

courtesy of Performance Network

Show: “My Name is Asher Lev” by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok, through September 8
Company: Performance Network Theatre
Type of Company: Professional Equity (SPT)
Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 East Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 16+
Description: Based on the famous 1972 novel by Chaim Potok, this provocative play tells the story of a boy growing up in a sheltered Hasidic community in 1950s Brooklyn, who discovers he has a prodigious talent as an artist. Struggling to reconcile his gift with the community’s Orthodox values, he immerses himself in an art form steeped in Christian imagery. When he brings forth a masterwork entitled “The Brooklyn Crucifixions,” he must decide whether or not to honor his self-expression and exhibit, potentially bringing shame on his family, his community, and even his faith.
Preview article from
Fun fact: Although the play is currently running Off-Broadway in New York, Performance Network secured the performance rights last year, months in advance of that production.
For tickets and information: 734-663-0696,