Monthly Archives: September 2010

Grand Awards Nominations for Actors’ Theatre

This year’s Grand Awards will take place on October 3, 2010 at the Aquinas Performing Arts Center.

Congratulations to all the community and college theaters involved in the program! This is a wonderful way to raise money for a theatre scholarship. To learn more about the Grand Awards, check out their Facebook page.

The Actors’ Theatre nominees are:

Leading Actress in a Play:
Krystina Schripsema – Mr. Marmalade
Kitty Carrico Carpenter – Frozen

Lead actor in a Play:
Ralph Lister – Frozen
Greg Rogers – Drawer Boy

Supporting Actress In a Play:
Becky Monterusso – Frozen

Supporting Actor in a Play:
Dylan Harris – Mr. Marmalade
Rob Karel – Mr. Marmalade

Direction of a Play:
Fred Sebulske – Top Dog/Under Dog
Michelle Urbane – Mr. Marmalade

Best Play:
Top Dog/Under Dog
Mr. Marmalade

To see a complete list of the Grand Award nominations for this year, go to Spotlight on the Grand.

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You’re Called Back! Auditions for “Distracted” and “Opus” This Weekend!

Auditions for Distracted by Lisa Loomer and Opus by Michael Hollinger, our 2nd and 3rd productions in the season, will be held this Saturday, September 25th and Sunday, September 26th.

Distracted, a wild ride of role-doubling, off-stage antics, and real-world issues is directed by Fred Sebulske and requires a cast of 8 – including one 9 year-old boy! A separate audition for children auditioning for the role of Jesse will be held from 12PM-2PM on September 25th.

Opus, with its blend of dedicated, if quirky, characters, requires a cast of 5 – 1 woman and 4 men. Actors’ will be required to learn how to “play” the music without actually playing! (A special musical advisor, in combination with videos and special rehearsals, will be there to help.)

For more information visit our audition page at

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Get a Sneak Peek at “Lines” During ArtPrize – Tonight Only!

ArtPrize is open and things are happening in downtown Grand Rapids! This year, ArtPrize is conducting special events to celebrate the neighborhoods of Grand Rapids. If you have the time and the inclination this evening, stop down to the Hillside Event on Gay Street between Fulton and Washington and catch a sneak preview of Lines: The Lived Experience of Race!

What: ArtPrize Hillside Neighborhood Party
When: 5 – 7pm
Where: Gay Ave, between Washington and Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI

This neighborhood street party will spotlight the talent of Grand Rapids’ theatre district for a beer-tasting happy hour with some of Michigan’s best-loved brews. See past and upcoming theatre highlights from community and college theatres, and original pieces written locally.

FREE event – and a keepsake item for the first 500 guests! Brought to you by Founders Brewing Company.

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“Lines” in On The Town

Check out this article from On The Town on our first show of the season…

Actors’ Theatre Opens its Season with a Look at Diversity in our Community

Stephanie Sandberg

Grand Rapids Press
Published: Friday, September 17, 2010, 1:07 PM
Article by: Kristin Austin

Lines: The Lived Experience of Race is the story of race, discrimination, and diversity in West Michigan today as told by the people who live it.

More than 150 area residents were interviewed for the project with their responses compiled into the ethnographic play by Stephanie Sandberg and her team of devisors. The work brings the interviewees own words to the stage and illustrates how an individual’s experience shapes his or her racial identity.

The interviews include experiences of housing discrimination when making an appointment by phone to view an apartment and then being told it is already rented when meeting the landlord in person, or racial profiling when an African American professor is followed by police while jogging.

Sandberg compiled the interview transcripts into a 110-minute original production in conjunction with Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids. Jonathan Clausen, Actors’ Theatre’s interim director of development and marketing, said the play continues the theater’s rich tradition of presenting new works that have a unique voice, adding the play is an exciting, innovative, and thought-provoking piece to open the theater’s thirtieth season. …(continued)

Be sure and read the rest of the article here on

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An Inside Look at the Development of Lines

With only 16 days until the world premiere of their original work, the devising team (and cast!) of Lines have been hard at work in the rehearsal room at Spectrum Theater. Devising team member, Calin Skidmore (last seen on Actors’ Stage in The Little Dog Laughed), took a moment to give us an update on the the background of the work and what term “ethnography” means:

Calin Skidmore

Sometimes called “theater of testimony,” this theatrical genre uses only actual words of real people, culled from personal interviews to create the play’s narrative. This style has been popularized in recent years in the work of Anna Deveare Smith, most recently with her off-Broadway hit Let Me Down Easy.

Actors’ Theatre has produced ethnographic works twice before, first with The Exonerated and then with Stephanie Sandberg’s world premiere work 3 years ago- Seven Passages. Lines has followed a similar devising process as did Seven Passages, with Dr. Sandberg and her team conducting approximately 150 personal interviews over the past two years. The interviews were designed to create a broad sample of voices from throughout the West Michigan area, with interviewees all responding to questions regarding their understanding and perceptions of how their own racial identity has shaped their life experiences in the greater Grand Rapids area.

On the story behind the title:

The script is structured by using various metaphors of lines to describe the experience of race. The actual physical lines and boundaries we draw around our communities, the theoretical or perceived lines that divide people, as well as the ideas of “staying within the lines,” “breaking the lines,” “how we learn the lines” etc. Ideas, topics and issues addressed in the script include the housing situation, (can people really choose to live wherever they want in Grand Rapids?) the education system (experiences in public, private, and charter schools and how the community understands these), the justice system, how race issues affect the broad West Michigan religious community, the various ideas and understandings surrounding “white privilege” and the various reactions to the economic redevelopment along Wealthy Street.

Voices represented in the script include a wide range of racial, economic and age demographics from throughout Grand Rapids, from teachers and educators to police officers, contractors, pastors and other members of the community. Prominent individuals from the area whose voices will be heard include (among many others) Rev. David May (founder of the Institutes for Healing Racism), real estate developer Guy Bazzani, and Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, as well as personal stories from the cast and devising team.

Stay tuned for more on the cast, including bios, and the development process of Lines: The Lived Experience of Race in the days to come!

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