By Sue Suchyta
Wayne State University’s Studio Theatre will perform an original one-act play, “Dog Girl Suicide,” written by Dearborn resident and WSU student Lauren Reynolds. Two other winning scripts, “Help Wanted,” by Dylan Stuckey, and “The Kings of Unionville,” by James Kuhl, will also be performed at the annual Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition at WSU. The shows will be performed at the Studio Theatre, in the basement of the Hilberry, Thursday through Saturday and March 5-7, at 8 p.m.
The three original, student-written plays will be produced and performed by all-student casts and technical crews. There is no charge for admission. For more information, call the WSU Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972.
“Dog Girl Suicide” explores the lives of two sisters. Magda, played by Natalie Burtney, and Maria, played by Jessica Green, seem to have little in common. However, when small talk turns existential, the sisters’ buried past is unearthed, forever changing the chemistry of their codependence.
‘ZORA IS MY NAME’ at the BONSTELLE
Wayne State University’s undergraduate theater at the Bonstelle celebrates the rich life of cultural anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston in their upcoming production of “Zora Is My Name!” The Ruby Dee adaptation, which opened Friday, explores on the life of Hurston, a storyteller and folklorist who preserved African American oral histories during the Harlem Renaissance for future generations. This show follows her childhood memories, adult reflections and her life journey. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 28 at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. today and March 1.
Aku Kadogo directes a talented and enthusiastic ensemble cast. In a unique departure from the norm, graduate student and Hilberry actress Safiya Johnson leads the cast as Zora. The splendid role showcases Johnson’s unique strength, as well as her strong storytelling ability.
The WSU undergraduate students in the show include: George Abud, William Eric Bryson, Justin Dejuan Crutchfield, Christopher Lamar Edmonds, Erica A. Fuller, Taurean Hogan, Ciarah Amaani-Jerri Mosley and Victoria Weatherspoon. The cast responded well to the challenges of playing multiple roles, embracing the rapid changes in body language and speech. They sing together well, too, with harmonious results.
Designer Christa Koerner’s bright costumes feature multi-colored fabric swatches that mirror the stitching and color artistry in Zorah’s quilt, which is featured prominently in the show, and serves as a symbolic conduit of folklore.
Xiaopo Wang’s set blends artistry with function, giving the set pieces multiple uses, from a tenant farmer’s cabin to the dressing room of an opera singer.
The Bonstelle Theatre is located at 3424 Woodward, near Orchestra Hall in Detroit. For tickets, call (313) 577-2960, or buy them online at www.wsushows.com. For more information, go to the Bonstelle Web site at www.bonstelle.com.
ADAM PASCAL missing from Detroit run of ‘RENT’
Diehard fans were dismayed this week when Adam Pascal, the original Roger in the Broadway cast of “Rent,” suffered a herniated disc, and had to withdraw from the Detroit run. Cary Shields, who performed the role for 18 months on Broadway, was called to the road company to perform in Pascal’s absence. The charismatic Pascal is a tough act to follow, and even more challenging to achieve when your character is depressed!
However, the energy in the Opera House was palpable on Tuesday — opening night — when the cast took the stage and infused the house with their inimitable magic. There were those in the house, though, who literally screamed their pleasure in lieu of clapping — and to them I wish a dose of their own medicine.
For more information about “Rent” and other upcoming Fisher Theater shows, go to the Web site www.broadwayindetroit.com.