A range of entertainment awaits on local stages, from thought-provoking drama “Too Heavy for Your Pocket” at Trenton’s Open Book Theatre, to family favorite “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Wyandotte, to the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” at Grosse Ile High School.
TRENTON’S OPEN BOOK THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS “TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET”
In its commitment to presenting stories from diverse points of view, the Open Book Theater Company of Trenton presents its first lead play by a black author, “Too Heavy for Your Pocket” by Jireh Breon Holder.
The show, which runs from May 13 to June 12, is set in Nashville in 1961, during the height of the civil rights movement and the era of the Freedom Riders, and explores the balance between safety and risk.
Artistic director Krista Schafer Ewbank said the show focuses on two couples, whom audiences get to know and love.
“We see how affected they are by Bowzie’s decision to join the Freedom Riders,” she said. “He understands the risk he is taking, but he feels he has to be part of the change.”
Ewbank said the story resonates with what Americans are currently going through with the Black Lives Matter movement, as people weigh the benefits and risks of the protests.
“It’s a very personal story about a very big moment in history,” she said.
The show, directed by Lynch Travis, features Detroit’s Craig Ester as Tony, Livonia’s Ashley Kay as Sally Mae, Dearborn’s Justin Montgomery as Bowzie, and Ann Arbor’s Maegan Murphy as Evelyn.
Travis said the show is about the struggle to take a stand for what is right, knowing it could impact not just you, but those you love.
“I’m excited to help bring different voices to theater and tell a story that we may not know much about,” he said. “In the context of the civil rights movement, it’s important now because we have the opportunity to delve into social issues, to learn more about our subcultures and how they intersect and diverge.”
Kay said the play presented challenges for her as an actress.
“I always seek to be part of projects that force me to reveal the parts of myself that I don’t usually like to share with a lot of people,” she said. “It’s scary, but it reminds me of how far I’ve come not just as an artist, but as a person.”
Kay said the story reinforces the freedom of choice we all face and the impact it has on our lives.
She said faith is as important to her personally as it is to the character she portrays.
“This show is a reflection of the joy, pain, laughter, grief and wisdom that I am able to incorporate into my work and hope to connect with those who see the show,” Kay said. . “It’s the reintroduction of who I am not just as a person, but as a storyteller.”
Murphy said her character, on the other hand, is very different from her own personality.
“There’s this challenge, but it’s exciting,” she said. “I definitely connect with Evelyn as a singer, but I also connect with how stubborn she tends to be.”
Murphy said the show shines a light on a part of history that isn’t explored as often as it should.
“We see the impact the Freedom Riders have on all four characters,” she said. “The main theme is that of love and forgiveness.
“There are different moments throughout the play where each character forgives another, and it’s the love they have for each other that allows them to do that.”
Murphy said she also sang during the show.
“I can’t wait for the public to see it,” she said. “I think they’re going to have a great experience.”
Show times are at 8 p.m. on May 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 and June 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. on May 15, 22 and 29 and June 5 and 12 at 2 p.m. at the cabin, 1621 West Road in Trenton.
Tickets are $30 for opening night and $25 other nights for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students. To order, call 734-288-7753 or visit openbooktc.com.
WYANDOTTE’S PS CENTER STAGE PLAYERS PRESENT “YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN”
PS Center Stage players capture the timeless magic of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts characters from May 12-20 in the 1967 musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” featuring songs about kites, covers, baseball games, book reviews, and America’s beloved beagle.
Whether it’s Snoopy challenging the Red Baron, Linus loving his cover, Schroder playing the piano, or Charlie Brown optimistically trying to fly a kite, the Peanuts gang captures childhood nostalgia and a snippet of a more simple.
Southgate’s Penny Lynn Siler directs the show, with vocal direction from Wyandotte’s Jamie Krause and choreography from Trenton’s Ava Chef.
The cast includes: Taylor’s Brendan Johnson as Charlie Brown, Wyandotte’s Jenna Krauser as Sally, Trenton’s Ava Chef as Lucy, Wyandotte’s Parker Watson as Linus, Wyandotte’s Lily Wilson as Schroeder, and Taylor’s Lydia Cuthbert as Snoopy.
The chorus includes Julianne Moreno and Addison Sauve from Wyandotte, Meghan Perkins from Allen Park and, as swing, Aurora Fisher from Southgate.
Show times are 7 p.m. on May 12, 13, 19 and 20 at the Jo Brighton Auditorium, 4460 18th Street, Wyandotte.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, seniors and military personnel, and $8 for children ages 2-12. Tickets are sold in cash only, at the door, from 6:30 p.m. to the curtain. Call 734-771-0590 for group discounts.
THE GROSSE ILE HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS THE MUSICAL, “THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS”
As the lights go out in the auditorium of Grosse Île High School on May 13 and 14, a voice will warn everyone present of what they are about to witness, intoning sternly: ” At the start of a decade not too long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its existence.
Warning not of pandemics, but of man-eating green plants from outer space, “Little Shop of Horrors” embarks on its campy, delicious musical journey about a sadistic dentist, a dimwitted blonde heart of gold and a nerdy florist. apprentice trying to win over the girl – but at what cost?
As the public is warned never to feed the plants, they take to Skid Row on a journey with lessons in greed and the price of fleeting fame, listening to high-energy songs like “Skid Row “, “Dentist” and “Feed Me”, and ballads like “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Suddenly Seymour”.
Cheyla Bashore Wagner directed the show, along with student director Lexi Yager, assistant director Dylan Buzimkic, voice director Raquel Searles and music director Katie Baynes.
The cast includes Luke Markley as Seymour, Cecily Noonan as Audrey, Josh Baxter as the voice of Audrey II, and Jayden Roos as Mr. Mushnik.
Nolan Swamy plays sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello, with the kids played by Emily Bailey, Sophie Calcut, Madison Sandel, Chloe Lash and Urvi Vaya.
The show runs at 7 p.m. on May 13 and 14 and 2 p.m. on May 14, with tickets $12 for adults and $10 for students at Grosse Ile High School, 7800 Grays Drive.