Theatre in the news

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A Wayne State University Theater Ensemble Performs Original Play in Scotland

Exploring topics such as race, gender, sexuality, and mental health, members of the Freedom Players — an ensemble formed out of Wayne State University’s Black Theater and Dance Program — went no holds barred this month when they performed their honest and original play, I Am, at the Scotland-based Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The trip marked the first time WSU students have attended the month-long, city-wide celebration, and their play was one of more than 50,000 performances showcased during the festival’s run. Following their experience across the Atlantic Ocean, Hour Detroit spoke with Billicia Hines, artistic director of the Black Theatre and Dance Collective at WSU, about the decision to attend this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, how it felt to bring their heartfelt work to an international audience, and the unforgettable impression this experience has had on the young Freedom Players.                                                    
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Theatre and Dance honors Jeffrey Seller with 2019 Apple Award at Hamilton

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, a program within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, is honoring Michigan native and Tony Award-winning producer of "Hamilton," Jeffrey Seller, with the 2019 Apple Award on March 27 at the Fisher Theatre. On March 28, Seller will meet with Wayne State Theatre and Dance students for a conversation about his Michigan roots and his rise to one of Broadway's most-celebrated producers. This event will take place in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry at 11:30 a.m. The Apple Award, named for Sarah Applebaum Nederlander, is given by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University on behalf of the Nederlander family. Previous Apple Award winners include Garth Fagan, Neil Simon, Carol Channing, Stephen Schwartz, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Marvin Hamlisch, Elaine Stritch, Tom Skerritt and Natasha Katz.
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Roxbury's Bonstelle Theatre lease OK'd as part of boutique hotel project

The Wayne State University Board of Governors approved Wednesday a long-term lease of the to-be-decommissioned Bonstelle Theatre as part of Detroit-based developer The Roxbury Group's planned West Elm hotel project. David Di Rita, principal of Roxbury, said the 45-year lease also includes a number of options to renew and that the property would be renovated and restored with things like updated HVAC systems and interior, auditorium and finishes. A specific budget for the theater renovation project has not been calculated, but the overall effort to restore it and construct the West Elm hotel on Woodward Avenue on the edge of Midtown and Brush Park is expected to cost $50 million. Wayne State is decommissioning the Bonstelle and a building at 95 W. Hancock St. as part of the $65 million Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex project.
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Fall theater mixes Broadway hits, old faves and more

Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University has “The Underpants” by Steve Martin running Sept. 29-Oct. 15 at the Hillberry Theatre. The actor/comedian/novelist/playwright adapted the play from a 1915 German farce, “Die Hose,” by Carl Sternheim, involving a wardrobe malfunction that leads to a bored wife attracting a fleet of suitors. The company also has Shakespeare (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) and Tennessee Williams (“A Streetcar Named Desire”) on tap.