The Hilberry and Jewish Ensemble Theatre production of “Palmer Park” looks at two families – one black and one white – and focuses on their commonalities and differences in a small Detroit neighborhood shortly after the 1967 riots. Remaining performances are at 2 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. For tickets, call the Wayne State University Box Office at the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Ave. at Hancock, at (313) 577-2972, or go to www.hilberry.com.
By Sue Suchyta
The Players Guild of Dearborn has made an early substitution in its 2010–11 season. With the farce “Boeing Boeing” set to undergo some specific script revisions and currently under very limited release, the Guild has voted to instead insert the madcap comedy “See How They Run” into the lineup as their third show next season.
Set in England shortly after World War II, it features an interesting cast of characters. An American vicar’s wife disguises an American soldier and former thespian friend in her husband’s clerical clothes to help him get around curfew restrictions and so they can attend a Noel Coward play, “Hayfever.” This is the first step in many mistaken identities that subsequently ensue.
Soon a visiting vicar, the resident vicar and a Russian spy are thrown in the mix. The local law enforcement tries to determine who’s who. Add a cockney maid and a nosy church lady, and you have a funny setup for mistaken identity, physical humor and laugh-out-loud fun.
“See How They Run” is a classic Phillip King three-act English farce that borrows its title from the nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice.” The fast-paced farce uses a blend of comedy with enough dramatic tension to make it interesting yet enough physical humor and mistaken identity to make it funny. Mistaken identity, different doors and various vicars give it a headlong humorous push that will keep audiences laughing.
Auditions are set for mid November, with the show opening in mid-January for a three-weekend run. For more information see the Guild’s Web site, www.playersguildofdearborn.org.
‘PALMER PARK’ PAIRS THE HILBERRY WITH THE JET
The Hilberry Theatre and the Jewish Ensemble Theatre (JET) pair up to present the U.S. professional premiere of the Joanna McClelland Glass play “Palmer Park.” Like today, the issues of integration, education and diversity play an important role in the play, and remind us of the changes Detroit has undergone in the last 40 years. The Stratford Festival presented the show in 2008.
In “Palmer Park,” two families – one black and one white – focuses on their commonalities and differences in a small Detroit neighborhood shortly after the 1967 riots. As people adjust to a new way of life, as many questions arise as are answered.
The two weekend run concludes with performances at 2 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The cast includes Connell Brown Jr., Jason Echols, Casaundra Freeman, Milica Govich, Patrick Moltrane, Phil Powers, Linda Ramsay, Greg Trzaskoma, Toni Walker, Inga Wilson and Yolanda Fleischer.
Tickets are available from the Wayne State University Box Office at the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Ave. at Hancock. For more information, call (313) 577-2972, or go to www.hilberry.com.
THE HILBERRY ANNOUNCES ITS 2010–11 SEASON
The Hilberry, Wayne State University’s graduate theater company, will open its 2010-11 season with Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever.” The self-absorbed Bliss family spends a weekend in the country. The comedy heats up when each member of the family has invited an unsuspecting romantic prospect without informing the others. When rain traps the passionate family and their guests indoors, life becomes happily chaotic.
“Hay Fever” will play in rotating repertory Oct. 1 to Dec. 9.
Continuing the season is “Of Mice and Men” by Nobel prize-winning author John Steinbeck. George and Lennie travel the workers’ circuit in search of their own “American Dream,” to one day own their own ranch. George, friend and father-figure to Lennie (who possesses a giant’s strength and a child’s innocence) protects his friend until an innocent response causes an accidental death which challenges them both.
“Of Mice and Men” will feature student matinee performances and run in rotating repertory from Oct. 22 to Feb. 5.
“Richard III, ” considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, is next in the season. Daunted by a life of physical challenges, Richard weaves a fiery web of intrigue, removing all obstacles, and all people, that stand between him and his passion for the throne of England. Battles of wits and clashes with swords scorch the life of this political genius. Richard III runs in rotating repertory Nov. 19 to Feb. 25.
The Hilberry rings in the new year with Moliere’s sophisticated comic drama, “The Misanthrope.” A misanthrope is a man who hates human weaknesses and hypocrisy. His own caution and reservations fail when he falls for a woman who embodies many of the traits he claims to distain. The comic masterpiece puts people, passions and personal protest under a microscope.
“The Misanthrope” runs in rotating repertory Jan. 28 to March 5.
As part of the Hilberry experience, audience input is considered. This year, the audience pick was the Terrence McNally and David Yazbek award-winning musical “The Full Monty.”
The show follows the lives of six unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo who bare it all to earn some desperately-needed cash. In a city beset with a similar recession-generated financial downturn, the men’s search for sustaining salaries leads to renewed self-esteem, deeper friendship and heartwarming moments. The play contains nudity and mature themes.
It will be presented on the Bonstelle theater stage April 15 to 24.
The Hilberry will close the season with a two-part epic, the groundbreaking Detroit premiere of John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules,” a show adapted for the stage by Peter Parnell.
Homer Wells is raised in an orphanage as the protégé of the gruff obstetrician who delivered him, forever careful to maintain a distance from the other orphans so they can easily transition into adoptive families. Eager to experience life more fully, Homer ventures into the world and discovers that friendship and love come at an unexpected cost as his best friend is sent off to war and Homer falls in loves with his best friend’s girl.
Passion leads to pregnancy and a return to the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, where Homer resumes his mentor’s work, and perhaps his life. The play contains mature themes and runs in rotating repertory March 31 to May 13.
To subscribe, call (313) 577-2972 or visit the Wayne State University Box Office at 4743 Cass Ave. at Hancock. Performance information may also be obtained by going to the theater’s Web sites, www.theatre.wayne.edu and www.wsushows.com.