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Posted on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 6:06 a.m.

'Under the African Sky' at Wild Swan, 'Bedroom Farce' at Ann Arbor Civic

By Carla Milarch

Ah yes! Now this is more like it. After several weeks of light listings, Washtenaw’s buzzing theater scene is back in top form with a diversity of listings from children’s theater, to staged readings, to puppetry, to world premieres.

It’s a good thing too. With temperatures expected to stay in the “frigid at best” zone for most of the week, outdoor activities are likely to be out of the question, making a night, or afternoon, out at a cozy theater one of your more appealing options.

So, come on out and pick a warming—and heartwarming—experience at the theater this weekend!

Show: “Jamie and Jordan” book and lyrics by Kim Carney, music by Gene Gaunt, one-time event, Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m.
Company: Performance Network’s Children’s Theatre Network Saturday Series
Type of Company: Professional Theater for Children and Families
Venue/location: 120 East Huron, Ann Arbor
Recommended Ages: 4+
Description: Born in the same hospital on the same day, neighbors Jamie and Jordan are lifelong best friends until a twist of fate (and ankle!) separates them. This hilarious musical tale teaches children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and healthy friendship - both important for long-lasting happiness.
Fun fact: “Jamie and Jordan” is written by award-winning Michigan playwright Kim Carney, whose full-length plays for adults include “The Home Team” and “The War Since Eve.”
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681

Show: “Under the African Sky” through Jan. 26
Company: Wild Swan Theater
Type of Company: Professional Theater for Children and Families
Venue/location: Towsley Auditorium, Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College
Recommended ages: 4+
Description: A delightfully humorous collection of African tales performed through storytelling, acting, and drumming. Colorful costumes, masks, and traditional music will delight and teach the littlest fans, with lots of opportunities for audience participation! Watch as Spider learns a lesson about the value of hard work in "The Talking Vegetables," Turtle challenges two bigger animals to a contest of strength in "Tug-of-Vine," and a Nigerian tribe realizes they were foolish to waste the food the Sky had given them in "Why the Sky is Far Away>"
More information
Fun Fact: Drummer Jaclyn Morrow will perform traditional music on the drums. Morrow has performed and studied West African drumming and dance with Like Water Drum and Dance and is currently with the Tree of Life Drum and Dance Society.
For tickets and information: 734-995-0530,

Show Title: “Shaking Earth” by Patricia Zimmer, through Jan. 27
Company: Eastern Michigan University Theatre
Type of Company: Higher Education
Venue/location: Sponberg Theatre on EMU's Ypsilanti campus
Recommended ages: 10+
Description: The play begins in October of 1938 in the Boot-heel of Missouri, one of the most seismically active areas in the United States. The time, however, was fraught with troubles bigger than seismic tremors, including the Sharecropper’s Protest of 1939, when black and white sharecroppers came together to stage a non-violent protest against the unethical actions of landowners. In the midst of the turmoil, Mally, a white girl, and Amelia, an African-American girl, have become secret best friends, knowing that none of their sharecropper parents would approve. The play explores the impact of these troubling times on the children, their friendship, and their families.
Fun fact: This is the world premiere reading of this production. A discussion will follow the reading, with an opportunity for audience members to respond to the work-in-progress.
For tickets and information: 734.487.2282,
Special ticket offer: all tickets for “Shaking Earth” are only $7!

Show: “Bedroom Farce” by Alan Ayckbourn, through Jan. 27
Company: Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Type of Company: Community Theater
Venue/location: The Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin Ave, Ann Arbor
Recommended ages: 12+
Description: “Bedroom Farce” is a wild romp set in the middle of the sexual revolution of the 70's. Over the course of one Saturday evening, a troubled couple, Susannah and Trevor, inflict their misery on unsuspecting parents, friends, and exes. In three separate bedrooms, sexual tension, marital strife, and hijinx ensue.
Preview article from
Fun fact: Alan Ayckbourn almost called this show “Bedroom Farce: The Comedy”, because he wanted people to know it was more a comedy with farcical elements, rather than a full-on farce.
For tickets and information: 734-971-2228,

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. 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?
Review from
Fun Fact: The Brill Building was a classic model of vertical integration. There you could write a song and make the rounds of publishers until someone bought it. Then you could go to another floor, get a quick arrangement, get some copies made at the duplication office; book an hour at a demo studio; hire some musicians and singers, and finally cut a demo. Then you could take it around the building to the record companies, publishers, artist's managers or even the artists themselves. If you made a deal there were even radio promoters available to sell the record.
For tickets and information:, 734-663-0681

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 is 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: Andrew Lang's Fairy Books — also known as Andrew Lang's "Coloured" Fairy Books or Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors — are a series of twelve collections of fairy tales, published between 1889 and 1910. Each volume is distinguished by its own color. In all, 437 tales from a broad range of cultures and countries are presented.
For tickets and information: email

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.
Review from
Fun fact: “The Meaning of Almost Everything” has been in development for nearly two years and had public readings at the Chelsea and Ann Arbor libraries.
For tickets and information: 734-433-7673 or