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Posted on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

Pioneer, Huron and Skyline all gearing up for new stage productions

By Jenn McKee

Three Ann Arbor high schools are gearing up for major stage productions.

Pioneer High School’s Theatre Guild will present the Jonathan Franzen translation of Frank Wedekind’s stage play, “Spring Awakening,” directed by Kate Mendeloff and Keith Medelis, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4, at 7:30 p.m. at Schreiber Auditorium, at 601 W. Stadium.

“Spring Awakening” follows the lives of 10 teenagers struggling with the transition from adolescence to adulthood. The show was originally written in 1891 and not performed in its full length until the 1960s because of its controversial nature. This groundbreaking piece deals with suicide, sexuality, abortion and self-exploration - difficult issues that still resonate with teens today.

This is Pioneer's entry into the statewide MIFA (Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Assocation) one-act play competition, which this year focuses on drama. The set, costume, lights, makeup, props and paint are all designed by students. This year, students also composed music for the play. Not only does the entire show and company travel to other schools, but the students have 25 minutes to set up their play and 45 minutes to perform it and remove the set from the stage.

Though the play contains mature subject matter, this 45-minute adaptation for competition was made with high school students and student audiences in mind. Tickets are $7 at the door.

On the same weekend, Skyline High School Theatre will present “Amadeus” by Peter Shaffer - Skyline’s entry in the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association Theater Festival - on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4, at 7:30 p.m. in Skyline’s auditorium, at 2552 N. Maple.

Winner of the Tony Award for best play and the Academy Award for best film, “Amadeus” weaves a confrontation between mediocrity and genius into a tale of breathtaking dramatic power.

In the court of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, Antonio Salieri is the established composer. Enter the greatest musical genius of all time: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Obsessively jealous of his God-given gift, Salieri realizes that his talent is no match for Mozart's genius and sets out to destroy his rival. This theatrical masterpiece, part biography and part murder-mystery, is filled with some of the greatest music ever composed. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased online at, by phone at 866-967-8167 or at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. For more information visit

The following weekend, the Huron High School’s Huron Players and Huron Music Association will present the school edition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” directed by Wendy Sielaff, with music direction by Dr. Richard Ingram, on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. at Meyer’s Auditorium, 2727 Fuller Rd.

“Sweeney Todd” premiered on Broadway at the Uris Theatre on March 1, 1979 and ran for 557 performances. The musical tells the story of Benjamin Barker, alias Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years' transportation on false charges. When he learns from his former landlady that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge who wrongly transported him, he vows revenge.

Tickets—$13 general, $10 for students/seniors, $40 for a family of four—go on sale at the door 45 minutes prior to performance, or may be ordered in advance at; for more information call 734-994-2096.