Tag Archives: Interviews

Learn More about Actors’ Managing Director, Debbie Playford

Recently there were several articles about Actors’ Managing Director, Debbie Playford. Want to learn more about our fantastic staff? Check out this article by Jan Hoist on mlive.com.

Debbie Playford of Actors' Theatre

Debbie Playford of Actors’ Theatre

East Grand Rapids woman taking new role in hopes of expanding live theater

EAST GRAND RAPIDS – Debbie Playford, an East Grand Rapids resident, found a love for theater through her two school-age children.

Playford has an extensive business background, including the building of a successful business with her husband of 18 years, Brad Playford, but until last fall had never worked in the theater world.

Today she is the managing director of Actors’ Theatre – a decision made by the board of directors in a move members hope will expand the horizons of live theater.

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We’re thrilled to have Debbie as part of our team. When you see her at the theatre, be sure and say hello!

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There is a great article on www.mlive.com about Venus in Fur! Here’s an excerpt:

Kink or comedy? ‘Venus in Fur’ brings both to stage at Actors’ Theatre

By Todd Chance | tchance@mlive.com 

Ellie Frances and Kyle Los star in the Actors' Theatre production of "Venus in Fur." Photo credit: Dave Kagan

Ellie Frances and Kyle Los star in the Actors’ Theatre production of “Venus in Fur.” Photo credit: Dave Kagan

[Kyle] Los plays Thomas Novachek, an arrogant playwright who cannot find the perfect woman to represent a character in his upcoming play based on “Venus im Pelz,” a novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch from whose name the term sadomasochism was based. Then a brass, foul-mouthed actress named Vanda, played by Ellie Frances, shows up to audition and possesses an uncanny ability to inhabit the character.

What happens next is a play within a play as we watch the only two actors in this 90-minute one-act show start to inhabit the characters from the play as they read lines.

While reading those lines, others begin to blur. […]

Be sure and read the rest of the article on www.mlive.com. Are you planning on seeing the show? Leave a comment at mlive and let us know!

More information on Venus in Fur can be found at www.atgr.org, be sure and reserve your tickets today – opening night is December 12th!

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Shelley Irwin Interviews Cast of “A Steady Rain”

Just in case you missed it – here is a link to Shelley Irwin’s great interview on the Morning Show. You can download the interview or listen to it on the site.

Shelley IrwinShelley Irwin January 18, 2013 | WGVU
Actors Theatre presents the production, A Steady Rain, the story of a relationship of almost biblical intensity and riddled with love, loyalty, guilt, and shame. We have actors in studio. (Click here to hear the interview.)

Also, make sure you check out the Actors’ Theatre Facebook page. There are great photos of A Steady Rain taken by photographer Dave Kagan, of Sensitography:

Actors Jim Cantrell and Todd Lewis as "Joey" and "Denny" in the Actors' Theatre production of "A Steady Rain" www.atgr.org/a-steady-rainPhoto credit: Dave Kagan, Sensitography

Actors Jim Cantrell and Todd Lewis as “Joey” and “Denny” in the Actors’ Theatre production of “A Steady Rain” http://www.atgr.org/a-steady-rain
Photo credit: Dave Kagan, Sensitography

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“Next to Normal” in the News!

Check out this excerpt from article about our next production on mlive.com:

Actors’ Theatre production of ‘Next to Normal’ relies on small cast, strong lyrics

By Sue Merrell | grentertainment@mlive.com

From left, Kyle Los as Gabriel, Kelly Cary as Diana and Larry Young as Dan rehearse a scene from “Next to Normal” Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at Spectrum Theatre in Grand Rapids Mich. The show, put on by Actors’ Theatre will open Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 at Spectrum Theatre. A portion of the proceeds from the performance will go to the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan.
Sally Finneran | MLive.com

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — It’s not normal for a musical to win the Pulitzer Prize. But then who would expect a routine response to a musical named “Next to Normal?”

Since the Pulitzer Prize for Drama was established in 1918, only eight musicals have made the grade, including such stage triumphs as “South Pacific”(1950), “A Chorus Line” (1976), and “Rent” (1996.) Each of these shows dares to go beyond entertainment to take on issues.

“It has to be a good drama as well as an excellent musical,” said Fred Sebulske, who is directing “Next to Normal” at Actors’ Theatre.

But when “Next to Normal” won the prize in 2010, it was a double surprise. Not only is this a musical drama that dares to talk about mental illness, but unlike all other prize-winning musicals, the show doesn’t feature a huge cast.

“It’s surprising because it’s such a small piece,” Sebulske said. “It’s all on the shoulders of six characters.”

And even though the Broadway production was up against best musical winner “Billy Elliot” in the 2009 Tony Awards, “Next to Normal” managed to walk away with the award for best score. Composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Brian Yorkey have created a rock score with lots of texture, Sebulske said.


Read the rest of the article over on www.mlive.com. Then head on over to www.atgr.org to reserve your tickets before it sells out!

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Radio Interview and Photos of “August: Osage County”

Monday morning Shelly Irwin interviewed Director Fred Sebulske and Cast Members Amy Osborn and Jean Reed Bahle of August: Osage County on her Morning Show on WGVU Radio.  If you missed it, you can listen to it on www.wgvu.org.

Also in the media, Katie Greene of MLive.com got some great photos of the cast on Dress Rehearsal.  Click the photo below to see more!

Shelly Urbane as Ivy Weston in “August: Osage County” by Tracy Letts. Photo credit: Katie Greene

Go to www.atgr.org to learn more about Actors’ final production in our 31st Season. Box office and ticketing information are also available on the site.  As a reminder:  August: Osage County closes this weekend, so call ahead for tickets!

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