Many dress up for Halloween, but thespians take great pleasure in masquerading as other characters year-round, so once the pumpkins are gone and the skeletons are packed away, seek some entertaining characters on local stages: “Peter and the Starcatcher” at Dearborn Heights Crestwood High School, “Noises Off” at Trenton High School and the debut of “The End of a Society” at Wayne State University.
CRESTWOOD HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS ‘PETER AND THE STARCATCHER’
Crestwood presents Rick Elice’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19 in the high school auditorium, 1501 N. Beech Daly, Dearborn Heights.
Cayla Kolbusz directs the show, with choreography by Mina Haidi and musical direction by Paul Abbott.
The cast includes Harry Krafchak as the Boy; Maysa Abouzenni as Prentiss; Lara Elhajj as Ted; Mohammed Manasir as Lord Leonard Aster; Kelsey Genga as Molly Aster; Ali Fawaz as
Ms. Bumbrake; Falcon Scott as Capt. Robert; Isabella Jomaa as Grempkin and Hawking Clam; Ali Nachar as The Black Stache; Carl Littlejohn as Smee; Fay Bazzi as Sanchez, Mack and a teacher; Madison Porter as Bill Slank; Adam Nasser as Alf; and Yanjie Zhu as a Fighting Prawn.
In the ensemble are Sharon Adjanohoun, Adam Baitamouni, Aleena Bazzi, Maisa Jurdi, Hanadi Kassir, Kajana Selim and Megan Zundel.
Kolbusz said the group wanted to produce a family-friendly show that focuses on childhood and creativity after having done some darker and more adult-themed shows.
“‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is a show I have been wanting to do for years because of the way it was written to be a vehicle for story-telling,” she said. “This show really allows the audience to use their imagination and, in turn, allows us the opportunity to be really creative with the staging.”
Kolbusz said the play is relevant because most of us remember a time during our childhood when we were unencumbered by the stressors and difficulties that accompany adulthood.
“This play helps us remember the importance of hope, imagination, and friendship,” she said. “I hope the audience takes away a little bit of the joy of childhood with them as they leave the theatre.”
Kolbusz said that while the show itself is difficult to direct, she has added an additional challenge by staging the show in a non-traditional manner.
“The theme of storytelling will be seen in many different ways on our stage, and the process of making that work has been difficult and satisfying. I would say that is also the most rewarding part as well.
Krafchak said he’s never had to play as broad a character arc as the one he is trying to create for the show.
“It’s challenging, but I’m having a lot of fun trying new things in rehearsals and finding ways to get better as an actor,” he said.
Krafchak said the play is creative and engaging.
“We tell stories with props that you have to use your imagination to see, and we make shadow puppets and use light and sound in ways that no other stage production ever will,” he said. “This play is the most audience-engaging one that I’ve ever taken part in and it’s one you won’t want to miss.”
Genga said that Molly is her most challenging role to date.
“The most challenging aspect is attempting to balance the perfect amount of child-like while still maintaining a certain type of mature energy,” she said. “The most enjoyable part of this role is all the magic that happens around it, and really getting to see my character come out of her shell and find feelings she didn’t know she had throughout the show.”
Genga said the show embraces the importance of family, whether or not one is related by blood.
“No matter how much growing up you may want to do, you will never be able to without being surrounded by supportive and familiar love,” she said. “This show has so much creativity, funny hidden jokes and love – platonic, romantic and familiar – packed within it. It’s a show that will make you laugh, cry, and truly just enjoy all around.”
Manasir said one of his challenges is developing a British accent for the show.
“While I’m in character it gives me a sense of prestige and authority,” he said.
Nachar said his biggest challenge is tapping into his character’s inner child.
“Having to play a villain who is also a joke, it becomes hard to tell when he’s serious or not,” he said. “The most enjoyable part of playing Black Stache is having the villainous presence, and to be feared by the other characters is just such a thrill because I feel that I have the higher ground when speaking to them.”
Littlejohn said it is difficult to find his character Smee’s individuality.
“He’s such a complementary character to The Black Stache that finding what makes Smee his own person is a challenge,” he said. “But there’s nothing like a good challenge, and the dynamic between Stache and Smee is my favorite part of my character — there’s such a genuine comedic energy between the two of them, but Nachar and I have it under control.”
Littlejohn said the show is about the power of imagination.
“With such creativity and storytelling, the show is really an emotional experience that I know will be talked about long after the curtains close,” he said.
Tickets are $13, or $11 for students. VIP seating, which includes popcorn and a beverage, are $18, or $16 for students. To order, go to crestwoodtheatre.com.
TRENTON HIGH SCHOOL PERFORMS “NOISES OFF”
Trenton High School presents the comedic play-within-a-play “Noises Off” at 7 p.m. Nov. 3, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 5 in the high school’s auditorium, 2601 Charlton Road, Trenton. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.
Directed by Cheyla Wagner, the show features nine student actors and seven students on the production team, with student direction by Emma Cislo, Hannah Gilliand and Ava Hook.
The cast includes Avalon Francis as Dotty Otley, Olivia Schotthoefer as Brooke Ashton, Ava Cheff as Belinda Blair, Madalyn Bailey as Poppy Norton-Taylor, Alex Zettlemoyer as Lloyd Dallas, Fiona McCardell as Garry Lejeune, Trent Chadwell as Frederick Fellowes, Anthony Anderson as Selsdon Mowbray, and Chelsea Kings as Tim Allgood.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY DEBUTS ‘THE END OF A SOCIETY’
Wayne State University debuts LaRaisha Dionne’s “The End of a Society” at 8 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5 and 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Underground Theater at the Hilberry.
Dionne, a Master of Fine Arts acting candidate, said “The End of a Society,” her second full-length play, was inspired by the poems of Alice Dunbar Nelson, a Harlem Renaissance poet, whose meter reminded her of Shakespeare.
She said she hopes audiences, regardless of their background, will see the urgency and inter-connectedness of racial inequality, last stage capitalistic-individualism and climate crisis.
“Living in community with one another and our planet could be a way out of this mess,” Dionne said. “Also, I hope they see that Blackness is not monolithic and that perhaps we can trust Black women in our community with more than just saving the Democrats on election years.”
Director Kennikki Jones, a WSU alumna, said she was excited to direct a science fiction piece in which she and others can see themselves.
“Afrofuturism allows Black people to ruminate on the past, present and future,” she said. “We get the chance to see ourselves as the masters of the universe and vividly dream up ideas that reveal and diminish past pain into a freedom that exists between the here and now.”
Jones said while the small footprint of the Underground Theater is a challenge, she has enjoyed working with her cast of young actors, listening to their interpretations and ideas and watching them discover new things about their characters.
“Superheroes aren’t just Marvel characters or Greek gods,” she said. “There are many African folktales and proverbs that have informed and guided us way before the silver screen did. I hope the audience is inspired to learn about the Orishas and the magic of Afrofuturism.”
THE RINGWALD DOES READING OF ‘MARRY ME, DENNIS BRANIGAN’
The Ringwald Theatre will present a staged reading of Michael Mizerany’s romantic comedy, “Marry Me, Dennis Branigan” at 8 p.m. Nov. 4 at Affirmations, 290 W. 9 Mile Road in Ferndale.
Inspired by the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s, the show follows Dennis, whose sister is trying to get him to date again after his fiancé died. However, when he does date, the ghost of his late fiancé shows up, visible only to Dennis, causing those around him to think he has gone crazy.
The cast includes Miles Bond, Peter Giessl, N’Jeri Nicholson and Brandy Joe Plambeck.
To reserve a free ticket, go to theRingwald.com.
HURON HIGH SCHOOL PERFORMS ‘THE BARDY BUNCH’
Travel back in time as the thespians of Huron High School present “The Bardy Bunch,” a satirical look at a war between television’s Brady Bunch and Partridge Family, at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4, and 5 p.m. Nov. 5 at the high school, 32044 Huron River Drive in New Boston.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for student. For tickets, go to hsd.booktix.com.