Theatre in the news

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Theatre and Dance at Wayne announces 2022-2023 season

Theatre and Dance at Wayne, the producing arm of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University, has announced its 2022-2023 production season. Theatre and Dance at Wayne has curated a season of theatre and dance productions that will delight and inspire you with four plays, two musicals, two dance concerts, and four student-run productions. The season opens in September 2022 with Rent, the iconic musical about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., opening in October 2022, is a wildly experimental and inventive new play that does not behave, is about the conundrums of being a woman in the 21st century. Fans of Shakespeare will be thrilled to attend his comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor in November 2022. 

WSU Theater and Dance offers digital portal to creative performance and learning

While its theaters may be dark, Wayne State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance has reinvented its offerings to reach its audiences digitally, despite the pandemic precautions which keep live performance venues silent. Thomas Karr, director of marketing and audience engagement for the Magee Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, said the 2020-21 season is three-fold, offering digital content to audiences worldwide, and includes a Productions Series, a Dialogue Series and Studio Hours. The Productions Series offers streaming and recorded theater performances. “Our Productions Series is where you’ll find the digital experience of viewing fully-realized theatrical productions, similar to what you might experience when attending in-person at the theatre,” Karr said. “Anyone can attend these digital performances for free, but we suggest a $10 ticket to help us maintain the high quality you’ve come to expect from us.”
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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.