Alyssa Lucas (left) of Garden City as Sister James and Annabelle Young of Dearborn as Sister Aloysius appear in “Doubt” through Saturday at Wayne State University’s Studio Theatre. For more information call (313) 577-2972 or go to www.wsushows.com.
By Sue Suchyta
Wayne State University’s Studio Theatre production of John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt, A Parable” is a wonderfully acted, fascinating show that is both timely and thought-provoking. And even though it is set in 1964, its story could have been taken from yesterday’s headlines.
Most of us go to the theater to be entertained. We don’t want to deal with ponderous themes and heavy issues. We want to escape into the story, and we want to enjoy it.
“Doubt” is about a nun who suspects a young priest of possibly molesting a 12-year-old boy. Not light entertainment, and possibly enough to keep patrons away.
That, however, would be a mistake. The wonderful script, strong direction and talented cast makes the Studio Theatre’s performance of “Doubt” one you won’t want to miss.
Annabelle Young of Dearborn leads the cast as Sister Aloysius, a strict Catholic school principal from the Bronx. A senior in the undergraduate company, she is wonderful in the role, her last as an undergraduate at Wayne State University.
To prepare for her role Young met with and learned about the life of nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Greensburg, Penn. She humanizes a character that could have been easily stereotyped, a woman living by a strict set of rules in a rapidly changing world.
Andrick Siegmund of Pleasant Ridge is marvelous as Father Flynn, a charismatic young priest full of energy and ideas. One wants to believe in his innocence, but by the end of the show Sister Aloysius has created a strong case against him.
Alyssa Lucas of Garden City as Sister James is very believable as an enthusiastic and idealistic young teaching nun who wants to believe in Father Flynn’s innocence.
Bridgette Jordan of Southfield nails the part of the potentially molested boy’s mother, Mrs. Muller. Her son, the only black child in a Catholic grade school, is there to escape the harsh environment he would face in a public school where his effeminacy in the ’60s would have put a target on his back. The boy’s mother sees an overly interested priest as the lesser evil.
In a show that is talk-intensive, the cast nailed the dialogue to the extent that at times the audience forgets they are watching a show and become caught up in the on-stage tension.
Jordan also looks stylishly chic in the mid-’60s ensemble costumer Cal Schwartz put together for her. Sammy Campbell’s set design is visually pleasing and very workable for the needs of the show.
“Doubt,” which opened March 24, continues its run at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Studio Theatre’s temporary location, the Hilberry rehearsal studio on the fourth floor of Old Main at 480 W. Hancock in Detroit.
The show runs for 90 minutes with no intermission, and there is no late seating.
For tickets and more information call (313) 577-2972 or go to www.wsushows.com.
The cast of “Les Miserables,” in town through April 3, sing “One Day More” in the 25th anniversary production now playing at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit.
‘LES MIZ’ AT THE FISHER
The 25th anniversary production of the much-loved musical “Les Miserables” at the Fisher Theatre for a limited run, leaving after its April 3 performance.
If the buzz on Facebook is any indication, those who have seen it are definitely thrilled with the fresh rendition of one of the most popular musicals of all time.
Longtime “Les Miz” fans will experience the swell of emotion and the magnificent music they’ve come to love.
Newcomers will finally understand the hold the show has had on their friends for years.
“Les Miz” is a “larger than life” show that theater junkies can’t help but love. The story, emotions and music of the through-composed, non-stop score are a feast to the senses.
The show envelopes audiences and reminds them why they love musical theater.
“Les Miserables” is based on the Victor Hugo novel. It’s about a man who tries to start life anew after being harshly imprisoned for stealing bread. To get a fresh start he has to break his parole, assume a false name and always look over his shoulder.
Jean Valjean is spared and inspired by the kindness of a stranger who gives him a chance at a new life. In return, he vows to reinvent himself into someone worthy of his benefactor as he strives to put the needs of others ahead of his own.
As Valjean is chased by a seriously obsessive-compulsive detective, Javert, for the remainder of his life, both men come to re-evaluate their own lives and choices.
The show, which spans three decades, occurs in 1815, 1823 and 1832, and is set in France. The lives of the main characters, both tragic and comic, tend to overlap and intersect. Lives are lost, people are rescued and others fall in love.
And while the French Revolution offers a wonderful backdrop, the show could be recast anywhere people are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their freedom.
Ron Sharpe, who played both Marius and Jean Valjean on Broadway, is now playing Jean Valjean for the Detroit run. He is incredible.
Of course, the entire cast is superbly talented. Add to that a thrilling score, songs that touch your heart with stories of sacrifice, love and triumph, and you have the type of show that makes its devotees love Broadway epics.
In a stellar cast, standouts are even more so: Betsy Morgan as Fantine, Katherine Forrester as Young Cosette, Chasten Harmon as Eponine, Jenny Latimer as Cosette and Justin Scott Brown as Marius.
Michael Kostroff as Thenardier and Shawna Hamic as his wife are hysterical as the comic relief. They are wonderfully outrageous as bad guys that make one laugh throughout the show.
And – of course – there are the incredible songs. Who ever will forget the first time they heard the students at the barricade singing “One Day More,” informally known as “The Song of Angry Men?”
There’s Eponine’s love song, “On My Own,” young Cosette’s, “Castle on a Cloud” and the tear-provoking “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”
So if you enjoy musicals and have not yet seen “Les Miz,” add this incredible production at the Fisher to your to-do list. And if you already love the show and want to leave your own troubles and cares behind for three hours, “Les Miz” is a wonderful way to escape.
Tickets are available at the Fisher Theatre box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. For Ticketmaster, call (800) 982-2787, or go to www.ticketmaster.com.
For ticket and performance time information, call (313) 872-1000 or go to www.BroadwayInDetroit.com. For show information, go to www.LesMis.com.