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by Charlsie Dewey | THEATRE

Repertory Theatre, James and the Giant Peach and the inspiring musical favorite Fame. Fame follows a group of students at a performing arts high school whose four-year pursuit of artistic and academic success reveals several harsh, but also inspiring, realities about grow- ing up. “The Summer Repertory Theatre is an

outstanding experience for students (age 14-19) because it is a 360-degree approach to live theatre,” said Nancy Brozek, director of development and community relations for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. “In addition to performing in a main stage production, stu- dents participate in set design, costume design, props, ticket sales, program ad sales, and front house activities.” This program design fosters the students’

interests and skill set while exposing him or her to new areas of importance. Summer Repertory Theatre is a full community theatre experience. “Our hope is that the community ap-


Summer Theatre around West Michigan


HE CURTAIN DOE SN’T CLOSE on the theatre stage dur- ing the summer in West Michigan; instead, several theatres are just get- ting started with full summer line-ups. “Programming for summer theatre tends

to be different than program- ming for the rest of the year,” said Lynne Brown, managing director of the Circle Theatre, about their summer produc- tions. “Generally, audiences prefer lighter options, so our shows tend to be farce-style comedy, traditional comedies and sometimes dramadies. Even the musicals tend to be either musical revues or musical comedies, although not all of our musicals are comedies. We also offer a variety of concert cabaret performances for those patrons who prefer strictly music.” Each summer, Circle Theatre offers five

main stage plays. The season kicked off in May with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a musical from the authors of Guys and Dolls about power, sex, ambition and greed in

60 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2011

the office. This is the perfect satire for anyone who needs a break from the cubicle walls. The rest of the summer season includes

Circle Theatre, (616) 456-6656

something for just about everyone with Rumors, Robin Hood, Same Time, Next Year, Ain’t Misbehavin and Honk!, which is based on Hans Christen Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling. Same Time, Next Year

GR Civic Theatre, (616) 222-6650

Mason Street Warehouse, (269) 857-4898

Red Barn Theatre, (269) 857-5300

and Ain’t Misbehavin will be especially exciting with two well-known directors at the helm of the productions. “Same Time, Next Year will

be directed by Paul Dreher, former managing director of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre,” Brown said. “Ain’t Misbehavin’ will be directed and choreo- graphed by Ken Tepper. Ken has been directing and choreo- graphing in the West Michigan area for the past 35 years.” The Grand Rapids Civic

Theatre will finish its 2010-2011 season with a trip back to 1962 with larger-than-life guide Tracy Turnblad in the musical Hairspray, play- ing from June 10 - July 2, and is gearing up for summer with two offerings from its Summer

preciates and supports these students’ efforts by attending the performances of James and the Giant Peach and Fame,” Brozek said. After a long day at the beach, Saugatuck

has plenty of theatre offerings for sun wor- shipers ready for a little air conditioning and entertainment. Chicago: the Musical, Five Guys Named Moe, The 39 Steps and Scott Nevins’ One Night Stand can all be found at the Mason Street Warehouse from June through the first days of September. Also in Saugatuck, the not-for-profit

Red Barn Theatre will present a variety of productions. “This summer we are producing more

plays than ever,” said Patricia Huyge, execu- tive director of the Lakeshore Arts Alliance, located in the Red Barn Theatre. These productions include a two-act radio

show about Oct. 30, 1938 when “The War of the Worlds,” a controversial live radio show, was presented. Several comedies beginning with Nana’s Naughty Knickers, No, No A Million Times No, The Coarse Acting Show, and Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story. “We will also play host twice to the

Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, as well as present Bernhardt on Broadway, a one- woman show about Sarah Bernhardt, the first theatrical super star,” Huyge said. These Shining Lives is also available at the

Red Barn Theatre in May and June. The play is inspired by the true events of four friends and co-workers at the Radium Dial Company who fight to reveal the truth about the corpo- rate travesty that threatens to ruin their lives. So during the “dog days of summer,” be

sure to spend some time checking out these great theatre offerings. n

Other Theatre

Events | by Scotty Vernon

Orphans Dog Story Theater, Grand Rapids June 3-4, shows at 8 p.m. $10;, (616) 894-1252

Lyle Kessler’s play is a drama about two orphaned brothers Treat and Philip in Philadelphia. Older brother,Treat, is a small- time thief who mugs people at knifepoint in order to provide for himself and Philip. Philip is rather innocent and naïve and has grown up relying on Treat to provide and support him. Things get shaken up a bit when a not-so-honest Chicago business man who is also an orphan moves in with the brothers and becomes a father figure.

Hairspray Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Grand Rapids June 10-July 2, shows at 2 and 7:30 p.m. $30-$16;, (616) 222-6650

In this fun ‘60s throwback musical, the above-average-sized teen Tracy Turnblad has above-average-sized dreams. The performance follows Tracy as she dances her way onto the popular “Corny Collins Show” and falls in love with teen heartthrob and star of the show, Link Larkin. Besides having a passion for dance and a huge crush, she still pushes for integration on the all-white

“Corny Collins Show.” This isn’t just your aver- age song and dance. “Hairspray” will bring the laughs, the love and the heart.

Chicago Mason Street Warehouse, Saugatuck June 24-July 17, shows at 2, 7 and 8 p.m. $39.75-$26;, (269) 857-4898

This musical takes place in the good ol’ jazz era of the 1920s. It’s a tale of murder, fame and seduction. Velma, a vaudevillian performer, gets locked up for the murder of her husband and the woman in bed with him. She makes the best of times in prison and is using the extra attention as leverage to boost her career when she gets out. But she isn’t the only hot young performer with a murder under her belt. Roxie gets booked for the murder of a nightclub regular. Roxie also has a passion for fame and begins to steal the spotlight as well as Velma’s lawyer.



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