Variety of shows light up northern Michigan’s winter nights
By Ross Boissoneau | January 8, 2022
As the New Year begins, venues across the region are open, but performances are still relatively scarce.
Nonetheless, a number of theatrical and musical performances are taking place this winter in northern Michigan for children of all ages.
Cross the city
Three productions will arrive at Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City through March (and April). The first is Disney’s “Frozen Jr”. Presented by The Young Company, the educational arm of the Old Town Playhouse, it brings the now classic characters of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf – everyone’s favorite snowman (sorry, all of you Frosty fans) to life. . The story incorporates magic, adventure, and humor with a backbone of love and acceptance between very different sisters.
The performance includes all songs from the film and five more from the Broadway production. It takes place from Friday to Sunday, from January 14 to 23.
Director Betsy Willis says the revised version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “Cinderella” includes all of the original music first heard in the 1965 TV version of the show, plus a few additional songs that add to the lore. history, as the villagers realize that the court king is getting richer at their expense.
The soon-to-be-king prince is unaware that his advisers are embezzling funds until he meets Cinderella, who helps him restore fairness for all.
“There will be a lot of magic on stage for viewers of all ages, and I always capitalize on a script’s humor to keep it entertaining,” Willis said. “The voices are superb, the actors highly skilled and the choreography is lively. “
The cast includes 22 adults and seven young people. The show’s scheduled duration is five weeks, with performances Thursday through Sunday, February 17 through March 19.
The opening on March 31 is “[title of show]”- a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical – which will run for two weekends. This one-act show chronicles its own creation as an entry to the New York Musical Theater Festival. Originally slated to be played last year, Lesley Tye (co-director with husband Tony Bero) says auditions for two of the four roles are Jan.31 and Feb.1.
Tye and Bero’s Mashup Rock & Roll Musical theater group will also be active this winter. “Queer Cabaret” is February 5 at the Grand Traverse Circuit on 14th Street in Traverse City. At press time, this one-night-only show will be a live in-person presentation, though the organization is also recording it and selling virtual tickets.
In the show, the troupe will unveil several new Mashup ideas, giving audiences the chance to vote on what they want to produce in the future – par for the course of the troupe’s imaginative concepts, such as “Scooby Doo Wop” or “Tom Waits for Godot.
“Our slogan is’ How can we be weird? ”Says Tye, who co-founded the organization with Bero. She says given the planned hybrid nature of the presentation, even if the pandemic scuttles plans for an in-person audience, the show will continue. Tickets go on sale January 15.
The City Opera House in downtown Traverse City will continue to host a variety of events. City Opera House executive director Diana Baribeau says she looks forward to the shows, especially two very different shows.
“Personally, I’m torn between ‘Dinosaur World Live’ and Branford Marsalis,” says Baribeau.
As the premier’s huge puppets take the stage on February 4, and versatile saxophonist Marsalis performs his jazz quartet at the COH on February 24, there is much more to choose from. It kicks off Jan. 14 with The Friars, the a cappella subset of the University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club. Founded in 1955 by Dr Walter Collins, the Friars entertain with “questionable choreography, bad dad jokes and boy band hits.”
The singer-songwriters of the Interlochen Academy of the Arts perform original works in a variety of styles and genres on February 3.
“Love Will Keep Us Together,” the City Opera House’s sixth annual gala on February 12, will feature performances and entertainment by Broadway talent, food, drink, friends, auction items and all. your favorite love songs – or at least a lot of them – in the annual fundraiser.
Alicia Olatuja focused on contributions from a diverse selection of female songwriters on her second album, Intuition: From the Minds of Women. It occurs on March 3.
And if you’re still looking for theatrical performances, COH is once again sponsoring a bus trip from Broadway Bound to the Wharton Center on the Michigan State University campus: All Aboard March 5 for “Mean Girls.” .
COH will also host the National Writers Series with an appearance on January 21 with Daniel Lieberman and March 24 with Ellen Airgood.
The theater also lives in Cadillac. The Cadillac Footliters present “Clue” January 14-15 and 21-22 at Cadillac High School.
Joe Baumann, chairman of the board of Footliters (and Wadsworth in “Clue”) says the group chose the piece because so many people are familiar with the concept, whether it’s in the game or in the 1980s movie.
“Not only do people know that, but it’s really, really funny,” he says. “People will have a great time putting their worries aside as these wacky characters understand why they have all been invited to this spooky and well appointed mansion on a dark and stormy night.”
The Footliters made their debut in 1964 and made their home in two locations: the Old Center Theater building in downtown Cadillac, which was destroyed by an electric fire in 1990, and the former First Christian Church, which the Footliters bought in 1992 and sold to a church group in 2004. The organization has since continued to hold performances in a variety of venues while researching a suitable property to call home.
Interlochen Center for the Arts has resumed live performances, and what better way to start the New Year than with the Bard?
The production of “Romeo and Juliet” by the Dance Division of the Academy of the Arts of Interlochen features the famous score by Sergei Prokofiev and the original choreography by dance director Joseph Morrissey. It will take place from February 11 to 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The Brentano quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw will perform “Dido Reimagined” on March 11. The quartet teamed up with composer Melinda Wagner and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann for the project, inspired by the famous “Dido’s Lament” from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas.
Multi-instrumentalist Dave Bennett will bring his quartet to the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor, south of Petoskey. The January 15 show will salute the roots of pop, covering music from the Swing era to early rockabilly and country, Elvis Presley, The Beatles and more. Bennett is equally at home on the clarinet, piano, drums and guitar, allowing him and his band to easily change stylistic direction. Versatile Grand Rapids singer Mary Rademacher will open the show.
Finally, a combination of live performances and virtual presentations will take place at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. They start with The January Series. “Listen Learn Discern,” presented by Calvin University, is a 15-day lecture series focusing on a number of topics.
Drummer and singer Fred Knapp brings his jazz quintet to Ramsdell on February 12. Named 2019 Jazz Musician of the Year by the West Michigan Jazz Society, Knapp’s quintet will feature the leader on drums with Michael Dease on trombone, David Rosen on bass, Matthew Fries on piano and Randy Napoleon on guitar. .
The Met Opera Live in HD presents “Rigoletto” by Verdi on January 29, “Ariadne Auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss on March 12 and “Don Carlos” by Verdi on March 26. All of them are broadcast simultaneously on Ramsdell.