Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Dress Your Wives in Floor Length Denim (The Aries Play)” – Nov 1-3

Dress Your Wives in Floor Length Denim Art

From The Dog Story Theater website:

Dress Your Wives in Floor Length Denim is a new play by Christopher vanDer Ark.

Set in a cozy, Wyoming Polygamist Sect- Warren Smith III keeps dominion with his six dainty wives. When one of his wives hatches the idea that – being a polygamist – she should also reserve the right to marry multiple husbands, she recruits the other wives into a household petition to gain the right to mutually marry. Their initial tactic? Refuse their husband sex until he gives in to their demands. His rebuttal, however, is taking on a much younger, bustier, and more willing wife to enrage jealousy and pit the women against themselves. This begins a farcical battle between husband and wives as neither side plans on, nor is willing, to back down their fight.

Featured actors: Catherine Berg, Ruth Ann Molenaar, Brenda Zinger, Mimi Russel

Show times are Nov 1-2 at 7:30 PM and Nov 3 at 5:00 PM

Tickets are $10-general admission / $7-student. For more information and to reserve your tickets go to

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Announcing the Grand Award Winners…

The following article can be found on

Actors’ Theatre leads Grand Award winners with outstanding musical, play

Henry, played by Duncan McCarger, listens to Natalie, played by Maggie Nye, in a scene from Next to Normal by Actors' Theatre. (Jon M. Brouwer|MLIVE.COM)

Henry, played by Duncan McCarger, listens to Natalie, played by Maggie Nye, in a scene from Next to Normal by Actors’ Theatre. (Jon M. Brouwer|MLIVE.COM)

By Sue Merrell |

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Racking up awards is next to normal for Actors’ Theatre, which won a total of 11 Grand Awards Sunday night including Outstanding Musical for “Next to Normal” and Outstanding Play for “A Steady Rain.” Circle Theatre productions won seven awards including four for the season’s final show, “Sweeney Todd.”

“It’s just been a really good year for theatre,” said Larry Young, who won the lead actor award for “Sweeney Todd.” Young also was nominated as the lead actor in “Next to Normal.” Both shows were favorites for Young, who said he felt more of a connection to “Next to Normal” which deals with mental illness in a realistic, sympathetic manner.

Grand Awards, which raises money for the Combined Theater Scholarships, filled Civic Theatre with a rowdy crowd of dressed up performers, ranging from an oversized female impersonator to child actress nominee Zoe Meyering. In honor of the 17th annual event, the evening opened with a snazzy dance routine by a group of 17-year-olds, who then ran the rest of the show by announcing the nominees and winners.

A highlight of the three-hour program was a tribute to Paul Dreher, longtime managing director of Civic Theatre, who died in June. The tribute featured many area performers, including Actors’ Theatre founder Fred Sebulske, coloratura pops artist Diane Penning-Koperski, Circle managing director Lynne Brown-Tepper and Chicago actor Kirk Swenk, all performing songs they learned at Civic Theatre under the direction of Dreher.

Dreher also received posthumous Grand Awards for his direction of “Amadeus” at Aquinas College and for his lighting design, with daughter Catherine Marlett Dreher, for “Wait Until Dark.”

Duane Davis, longtime director of choral music for Grand Rapids Community College, received the Norma Brink Lifetime Achievement award. Lou Vanderhave received a special award for his volunteer commitment. The stage crew of “Legally Blonde” won the new techie award for collecting the most additional contributions for Combined Theatre Scholarships.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Brook Bruce Purnell, Daniel Orris Jr. and Will Vicari.

After the presentations ended, and people were starting to leave, a flash mob dance routine snowballed on the stage, starting with one dancer, then three, five, more. Local actress Ellie Frances was brought onto the stage and given roses by many more performers who filed onto the stage. Then her friend, local actress Tracey Walker, took a microphone, got down on one knee and proposed before the assembled friends and family. The acceptance was sealed with a kiss and a ring.

Here’s a list of this year’s Grand Award winners:

• Outstanding Musical: “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
Lead Actor: Larry Young, “Sweeney Todd” (Circle)
• Lead Actress: Kelly Carey, “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
• Supporting Actor: Stephen Grey, “ Sweeney Todd”
• Supporting Actress: Maggie Nye, “Next to Normal”
• Director: Fred Sebulske, “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
• Musical Direction: Wright McCargar, “Sweeney Todd” (Circle)
• Choreography: Mary Lohman, “The Wedding Singer” (Circle)

• Outstanding Play: “A Steady Rain” (Actors’)
• Lead Actor : (Actors’); Todd Lewis, “A Steady Rain” (Actors’)
• Lead Actress: Samantha Rena Dam, “Nadia”(Actors’)
• Supporting Actor: Andrew McClelland, “Looking for Normal” (Actors’)
• Supporting Actress: Kitty Carrico Carpenter, “Looking for Normal” (Actors’)
Director :Jeralyn Pinsky, “A Steady Rain” (Actors’)

• Scenic Design: Christian Poquette, “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
• Lighting Design: Catherine Marlett Dreher, “Sweeney Todd” (Circle); Paul A. Dreher and Catherine Marlett Dreher, “Wait Until Dark” (Circle)
• Costume Design: Robert Fowle “Boeing-Boeing” (Circle)

• Outstanding Production: “Amadeus” (Aquinas)
• Lead Actor: Micah Hazel, “The Ladies Man” (GRCC)
• Lead Actress: Rachel Varley, “Reckless” (Aquinas)
• Supporting Actor: Christopher VanderArk, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (Cornerstone)
• Supporting Actress: Meeka Postman, “Crooked” (GRCC)
• Direction: Paul A Dreher, “Amadeus” (Aquinas)

• Outstanding production: “The Mystic Tale of Aladdin” (Circle).

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This Week: “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Opera Grand Rapids!

A Streetcar Named Desire

This week at Opera Grand Rapids

Nov. 1 and 2 at Opera Grand Rapids

A classic of American theater and cinema is now a powerful work of musical theater! Sung in English with English titles. Featuring a national cast, and the music of the Grand Rapids Symphony.

By André Previn
Conducted by Robert Lyall
Directed by Brad Dalton

Performance Dates and Times:

7:30pm, Nov. 1 & 2, 2013
DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe NW

Tickets start at $21.
Students/Seniors rush tickets day of show 50% off.

More information can be found at:

Opera Grand Rapids

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“Children of the Corny” October 24-27

From the Stark Turn Players’ website:Stark Turn players

Children of the Corny
An Original Musical by Joel L. Schindlbeck

5th Annual Halloween Horror Musical Parody
Adapted from the film Children of the Corn, based on the original story by Stephen King and George Goldsmith.

A lost couple stumbles upon a farming town where children seem to roam free on the streets, but someone or something is hiding in the corn fields that could shatter the strange peace of this idyllic adult-free town. Where really are all the parents of Gatlin, Nebraska? Running on the heels of four well-received productions, this show will feature original musical numbers, hilarious campy versions of the characters, and absurd moments of comic novelty. What better way to celebrate Halloween!

Production Dates and Times:

October 24-27, 2013
Thursday – Saturday 8:00 pm
Special Midnight Show on Friday, October 25
Costume Contest & Party with Prizes – October 26
Sunday – 3:00 pm

All shows are performed at the Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Tickets are $12/Adults & $8/Students & Seniors and are available in advance on the Dog Story Theater website
using quick and secure Google Check-out. No phone sales.
Tickets are also available at the door – but don’t be disappointed, we often sell out!

For more information goto:

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The Grand Awards on!

Did you see this great article on mlive about this year’s Grand Awards? Check it out:

Grand Awards Gala to recognize best Grand Rapids theater productions, raise money for Combined Theater Scholarship

By Sue Merrell | 

Imagine a bubbly blonde, perpetually dressed in pink, doing battle with a deep, dark dysfunctional

Gabe, played by Kyle Los, watches as Dan, played by Larry Young, talks to Henry, played by Duncan McCarger, and Natalie, played by Maggie Nye, in a scene from Next to Normal by Actors' Theatre. (Jon M. Brouwer|MLIVE.COM)

Gabe, played by Kyle Los, watches as Dan, played by Larry Young, talks to Henry, played by Duncan McCarger, and Natalie, played by Maggie Nye, in a scene from Next to Normal by Actors’ Theatre. (Jon M. Brouwer|MLIVE.COM)

family, and they’re all being chased by a mad, razor-wielding barber and three color-coordinated airline stewardesses.

That’s this year’s Grand Awards.

“Next to Normal,” which Actors’ Theatre presented last December, leads the contenders with 11 nominations, closely followed by Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s June production of “Legally Blonde” with 10. Nipping at their heels with eight nominations each are Circle Theatre’s productions of “Boeing-Boeing” and“Sweeney Todd.”

The winners will be announced Oct. 27 at the Grand Awards Gala at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. The annual event, which recognizes the best in local community and college theater productions, benefits the Combined Theater Scholarship.

This year’s list of nominees is longer than in previous years because categories with more than eight eligible entries have been expanded beyond the traditional three nominees.

“Some categories have 30 or 40 people who are eligible,” said co-chair Greg Rogers. “Why not have more nominees? It’s more fun and makes somebody’s day because they got nominated.”

Categories that have eight to 12 eligible candidates can have up to four nominees; categories that have 13 or more eligible candidates have five nominees.

“It’s a fund raiser and this is one way to get more people involved,” Rogers said. “That’s what it’s all about anyway.

The nominations also include two posthumous nods for legendary local director/lighting designer Paul Dreher who died in June. Duane Davis will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. []

Read more of the article, and check out a complete list of nomination at!

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