Monthly Archives: June 2010

Actors Theatre: In The News

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news of late, you know that Actors’ Theatre has been a hot topic.   In remaining true to our mission, Actors’ often presents works of theatre which would not otherwise be provided a voice in West Michigan. Often these programming choices are subject to criticism and controversy.

Defending Our Mission

On Tuesday, June 7th an article was published in the Grand Rapids Press which contained assertions about the mission in purpose of Actors’ Theatre.   Our official response was issued on Tuesday morning:

…from its inception, Actors’ Theatre has provided a forum for many voices and diverse points of view. It is because of this rich tradition that we respect Trustee Ryskamp’s right to express his own passionate convictions. While we do not take issue with the expression itself, we feel it necessary to firmly refute any assertion that Actors’ Theatre is, “a group that definitely has an ideological agenda and maybe a religious agenda.” Our mission of inclusion insists upon organizational independence from both…

(Read the full statement)

The Front Page and National News

On Wednesday, June 8th, a follow-up article made the front page of the Press in which Actors’ founder, Fred Sebulske, attempted to clarify the importance of both the 30-year relationship between Actors’ Theatre and Grand Rapids Community College and public support of the type of work that Actors’ Theatre produces.  The subject touched on the convictions of many, in and outside of West Michigan, and soon the subject was syndicated by the Associated Press, appearing in the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, as well as the leading Gay news periodical, The Advocate:

Richard Ryskamp, a trustee at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, wants the school to add a decency standard to evaluate groups that receive funding, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

The decency clause would exclude groups that encourage “evil things,” such as the Actors’ Theater, according to Ryskamp. “Corpus Christi portrayed Jesus Christ as the ‘King of the Queers’ and they’re planning another play that portrays Jesus Christ in an unflattering way,” Ryskamp said.

What You Can Do

Preparations are already under way for our 30th Season.  Despite our long-term, mutually beneficial, relationship with GRCC, our work and our relationship with the college will always be subject to external scrutiny.  The timing and intensity of this scrutiny will, at times, have an effect on our efforts to obtain corporate and organizational funding for our work.   Contributions from private individuals are always necessary and greatly appreciated in ensuring artistic freedom.  Beyond those contributions, however, there is much, much more you can do to support Actors:

Become a Season Subscriber Today!

Measures of public participation are very important in obtaining foundational and corporate support. Our key measures of public participation are ticket sales and dedicated season subscription base. Obtaining corporate support and organizational grants is year-round work and being able to demonstrate these measures of commitment is a key component. With such an exciting lineup for our 2010-11 season, there is no reason not to express your support for Actors’ today!

(Read more about the benefits of a subscription)

Volunteer Your Time!

Preparation for our 30th season requires a great deal of time and the efforts of many. During the season, we are always in need of volunteers to assist in promoting productions, serving our patrons as ushers, and assisting with preparations for our many season events. If you would like to become a member of our corps of volunteers, please let us know.


Since everyone seems to be reading the news lately, we’ve come up with some unique ways to accessorize your experience! Check out the *NEW* “Fred is My Homie” mug (to match the t-shirt) at the Actors’ store and much more. Keep checking back! You never know when or at what time of the day inspiration may strike…
As we enter our exciting 30th season, we remain dedicated those who have played an important part in the previous 29. Stay tuned for future announcements including:

  • An exciting lineup of 2010-11 workshops on contemporary theatre for both performers and non-performers alike!
  • Special 30th Season events celebrating our history and providing glimpses into our future.
  • Detailed insights, information and previews on our productions for the upcoming season – plus much, much more…

Actors’ Theatre is committed to providing West Michigan with the best of innovative, entertaining, challenging, and thought provoking theatre.

We believe in the inclusion of all!


Filed under Communication, In The News

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah Opening Tomorrow

Jewish Theatre of Grand Rapids, who shares our home at the Spectrum Theatre on the Grand Rapids Community College Campus is presenting Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh is a musical review based on the music of Alan Sherman which appeared Off-Broadway.

Through a zany cast of characters and hilarious song parodies, this brilliant and merry musical tells the life story of Berry Bockman and his beloved Sarah Jackman. The story progress from birth, to summer camp, to marriage, to suburbia, to retirement. A laugh-filled and nutty musical party!

Performance Dates of Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah
Directed by Karen Libman
Musical direction by Scott Bell

June 17 – 27, 2010
Thursdays & Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 3 p.m.

Box Office: 616-234-3946
Tickets: $18
$15 for members, seniors
$5 for students with ID

Additional Performances:

Friday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. (Show will be over before Sabbath)
Sunday, July 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets: $20, $15 for Lakeshore Arts Alliance members, seniors, and students
Call 269-857-5300

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Filed under Around Town, Plays and Productions

Show Your Support Today

There has never been a better time to purchase a season ticket! The productions scheduled to appear on our stages for the 2010-2011 are entertaining, innovative, challenging and thought-provoking theatre – true to our mission. More than that, they all remain true to the adventurous spirit and the commitment to diversity that you have come to expect from Actors’ Theatre.

From KIMBERLY AKIMBO, Actors' Theatre Grand Rapids, Jan. 2006 / Photo Credit: Gayla Fox Photography

Season tickets and advance sales are important to Actors’ preparations for the season and ensure that we can communicate our excitement for these productions to the audiences that want and need to see them. We know it’s an easy choice to wait, but we encourage you to make your commitment to our 30th Season today.

Season subscribers receive the following benefits:

  • Attend all five plays for less than the price of four!
  • Receive free parking for every show
  • Receive one complimentary “bring a friend” ticket
  • Reserve your seats one week before the general public
  • Become eligible for special discounts and offers available only to season subscribers

Make the Commitment to Next Season Today!

Go to the Actors Theatre Grand Rapids website to learn more about our 30th Season, and click here to purchase your season ticket today.

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Filed under Plays and Productions

Response to Grand Rapids Press Article

Actors’ Theatre

On June 7th, 2010 an article in the Grand Rapids Press entitled “GRCC board member protests funding ‘evil things’ presented by Actors’ Theater” was published which contained incorrect assertions about the mission and purpose of Actors’ Theatre. The following is our official response to the article and its contained statements:

For more than 29 years, the relationship between Actors’ Theatre and Grand Rapids Community College has been one of mutual benefit. Students of the college have gained from this association in pursuit of scholarly and career goals. The statement on this matter provided by GRCC President Ender to the Grand Rapids Press attests to this, as will many past and present faculty of the college. In turn we continue to benefit in proximity to a diverse and inquisitive population of students who challenge us to seek and produce innovative works reflecting the spectrum of human existence. Actors’ neither seeks to create controversy, nor do we flee from it in the presentation of unique perspectives.

From its inception, Actors’ Theatre has provided a forum for many voices and diverse points of view. It is because of this rich tradition that we respect Trustee Ryskamp’s right to express his own passionate convictions. While we do not take issue with the expression itself, we feel it necessary to firmly refute any assertion that Actors’ Theatre is, “a group that definitely has an ideological agenda and maybe a religious agenda.” Our mission of inclusion insists upon organizational independence from both. We appreciate the continued support and confidence of the community and our educational partnerships in remaining true to this mission

More information on Actors’ Theatre and its mission can be found at

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Filed under Communication, In The News

Theatre and Arts This Weekend

This is a big weekend for theatre and the arts in Grand Rapids!  Be sure and check out the following shows and events going on this weekend:

Actors’ Theatre Grand RapidsLiving On the Edge VII, Making Art, Making Money.  Check out this celebration of the 10 minute play!  This year’s installment of the Actors’ annual ten-minute play series features five works about the joy and dilemmas of creativity.  Performances on June 3 at 8:00 PM and on June 4 at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM

Circle Theatre Steel Magnolias. Come join the ladies in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done. Performances June 3-5, 9-13, 16-19, at 7:30 PM Wednesday through Saturday, 5:00 PM on Sunday.

Grand Rapids Civic TheatreDoubt, A Parable. Set at a Catholic school in 1964, Doubt, A Parable centers on a nun who confronts a priest after suspecting him of abusing a black student. He denies the charges, and much of the play’s quick-fire dialogue tackles themes of religion, morality, and authority. Performances June 4-13, at 7:30 PM Wednesday through Saturday, 2:00 PM on Sunday.

Dog Story TheatreMint. Mint is the story of Charlie who moves back into his childhood home after the sudden death of his father, at the same time his Evangelical aunt Sheralyn moves in to ‘minister’ to the family. The action in Mint centers around the deteriorating mental health of Charlie’s mother, but the real drama arises when his aunt discovers his boyfriend making dinner in the family’s kitchen. Performances Thursday and Friday June 3-4 at 8:00 PM and Saturday and Sunday June 5-6 at 2:00 PM.

41st Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids – 2010 marks the 41st festival of the arts, making it one of the longest-running festivals in the state. Festival always takes place the first full weekend in June in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Festival of the arts is a community celebration featuring arts, entertainment, food and fun activities for the entire family. Festival Hours are Friday, June 4 Noon to 10:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM and Sunday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM.

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Filed under Around Town, Events, Living On The Edge, Plays and Productions