Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Food for thought at Matrix

It's not often that I react so negatively towards a character in a play, but Kaitlyn Valor-Bourque's performance in "A Kid Like Jake" at Detroit's Matrix Theatre had that serious of an impact on me. And not because it was an awful performance this past Saturday night; in fact, it was just the opposite.

In Daniel Pearle's drama, Valor-Bourque plays Alex, the mother of a highly intelligent 4-year-old boy who'd rather dress up as Snow White for Halloween and obsess over Cinderella than toss a ball or play with other boys. And while Alex is fine with that in the confines of her home, she's faced with making a tough decision: Should she or should she not mention her son's uniqueness in the applications she's preparing to get her son into one of Manhattan's uber-competitive kindergarten programs?

She should, says Jake's pre-school teacher, Judy (played by Krystle Futrell) - a friend and veteran of the admissions process - as his "gender-variant play" would give him an extra point in the diversity column. But Alex is unconvinced; why put a target on her son's back before he's even admitted into one of the schools? And lurking beneath the surface is Alex's hope that Jake's behavior might be nothing more than a "phase" he's going through; that over time, he might change into what society expects of little boys.

Jake's dad, however, is more concerned about his wife's increasing fixation on the admissions process than he is about his boy's behavior. A therapist, Greg (Patrick Hanley) seems to accept the fact that his son could turn out to be gay (or not) or transgender (or not). It doesn't matter; he'd love him anyway. "He's not exactly Johnny Basketball," he acknowledges about his son.

For that matter, neither is Greg, which - in the heat of an argument - Alex nastily points out. And as the friction between the two rapidly escalates - and Alex challenges Judy's sincerity in obtaining the best placement possible for Jake - reports begin to trickle in: Jake is increasingly acting out, and it's looking very unlikely that the tonier schools will accept him.

And the thought that Jake may have to attend - ick! - public school is something Alex won't accept!

Pearle's script smashes together a number of hot-topic issues, not all of which generate much sympathy from the audience. (In my day, kids just showed up at the kindergarten nearest their house; there were no hoops to jump through, no snooty people making judgments about you. And the average middle-class theatergoer will likely find amusing the dog-eat-dog ferocity at which the upper classes will fight to keep their spoiled kids from mingling with our kids in kindergarten.)

But class isn't the only issue at stake here. How does one parent a child like Jake, Pearle asks. What's best for him? Is it better to let him "be himself" (and maybe outgrow his girl-like tendencies)? Or should he be seen by a specialist who works with children like Jake?

It's a tough call, to be sure. And in this case, Alex is dead set against sending Jake to see a specialist. (In her mind, it's acknowledging there is a problem that needs fixing instead of helping Jake and the family explore the range of full possibilities.) So instead, she becomes a Mama Bear on steroids, not seeing that the protection she's trying to provide her cub is instead causing more problems - potentially destroying not only her friendship with Judy and her marriage to Greg, but Jake's health and well-being, as well.

So why did Valor-Bourque's performance dig so deeply into my psyche, you might be wondering? Because I - like a lot of little boys - was Jake in my early years. At school, I was the perpetually skinny, uncoordinated and sensitive kid that was always the last to be picked for anything athletic, was one of the few kids not involved in little league, and was far more artistically inclined than anything else - and, oh, guess what? I turned out to be gay.

What separates my story from Jake's, however, is my mother. Yes, she tried to protect me. (She even duked it out with a fifth-grade teacher who seemed to delight in harassing me and several other kids; he was ultimately fired.) But she also understood that pretty much every kid gets teased and bullied at some point - that's human nature, which many people won't admit - and so she gave me the tools and skills to deal with it. And she made sure I knew I was loved.

As such, we never had the Sturm und Drang that Jake was living with, and so I was free to be me (and happily so) - and I think I turned out just fine.

Jake, however, may not. (There's no resolution to the play, so we don't know for sure.) With a mother hell-bent to go to war and destroy everything in her path, what signal is sent to her son who instinctively knows he's different? Will he believe he's a disappointment to his mother and behave accordingly? Will he loathe who he thinks he is? Will he find solace in negative behavior as he grows older?

As the script shows, actions have consequences - and Valor-Bourque's rigid and powerful portrayal helps prove that even the best of intentions often have unintended (and negative) results. (One also has to ask: Was Alex more concerned about what people would think of her than what they'd think of Jake?)

And so that's why I reacted so strongly against Alex (and not Valor-Bourque, who took the written words and breathed a fiery life into them). My sympathies were with Jake, who was simply being himself and facing a rocky road ahead of him - and as such, I wanted to shake some sense into her because of the damage she was inflicting upon her son, her family and her friends. (Luckily, the fine folks at Matrix didn't have to restrain me.)

The bottom line is this: It's rare for a show to have that much of an impact on me - and for all the right reasons. With powerful acting, insightful direction by David Wolber, and a thought-provoking script, "A Kid Like Jake" is a fine opening to Matrix Theatre's 25th anniversary season. If I have a quibble, though, it's with the scene changes during which I wasn't always sure what was going on. (Although I like thematic scene changes, these may have been too artsy for me.) So check it out and let me know what you think...

For performance dates and times, CLICK HERE!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A special night with Vicki Lawrence, Mama and a special fan named Elyse

As a kid in grade school way back in the dark ages (also known as the 1960s), I was allowed to stay up late only one school night a week - and that was to watch "The Carol Burnett Show." Every Monday night at 10, my mother and I would grab some munchies and something cold to drink, take our respective corners on the couch, and let our daily troubles fade away as Carol and her gang kept us entertained.

I loved the show and faithfully watched it throughout its 11 years of merriment. What didn't end then, however, was my fascination with the career of Vicki Lawrence, who inspired many theater kids to dream that one day we too might find ourselves discovered by a famous star and be given an opportunity of a lifetime. (Vicki is only a handful of years older than me; she was a high school senior when she started on the show in 1967, and I was a seventh grader.) That didn't happen to the vast majority of us, of course, but as a big fan of Vicki's work, watching her grow and mature as a performer was a treat - and the "Mama's Family" spin-off and her daytime talk show were part of my TV viewing habits for several years to come.

So when I learned the Macomb Center was opening its 2015-16 season with "Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show," I knew I had to get tickets. And so I did.

Then, a few days ago, I received a call from Sandy Hazelton-Pianko of the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, who invited me to attend a private meeting between Vicki and a special fan that was to take place a short while before the night's sold-out performance. And, of course, I said yes - I'd love to be there!

The fan was 28-year-old Elyse Zebra, who has Downs Syndrome. She's been a major fan of Vicki's for more than 15 years, ever since the first time she laid eyes on Thelma Harper, the role Vicki played on "Mama's Family." And so Elyse's family - who bought tickets for the show - contacted the Macomb Center to see if it was possible to arrange the meeting. It was - but Elyse didn't know her dream to meet Vicki would come true until she walked through the door of the Macomb Center's intimate black-box theater and discovered her favorite star was standing there waiting to greet her.

It was a wonderful and memorable moment - one that impressed me for several reasons. For starters, it was great that the Macomb Center staff was agreeable to arrange such a life-changing experience for this young woman. But more importantly, in an era that's saturated with the antics and bad behavior of its "stars," it's moments like this that make you appreciate the many positive things stars do in secret or when the public isn't watching. Vicki didn't have to meet this young woman, but she did - and then she warmly spent plenty of time with Elyse to truly make it a memorable event for her.

If that's not a class act, then I don't know what is.

* * * * * * * * * *

So how was "Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show," you might be wondering? As my guest said immediately after the performance, "That was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time!" (And that's from someone who wasn't very familiar with Vicki or Mama!) I agreed 100% with her, as I laughed through both halves: the first with Vicki and the second with Mama.

* * * * * * * * * *

Here are two videos from yesterday's meeting: The first is Elyse's arrival, and then her conversation with Vicki.

And for a bonus, since many people aren't aware this exists, the third video is a complete CBS special from 1982 that takes a more serious look at Mama and her family - which helps explain the dynamics that shaped their lives...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Always a critic

It's no secret that my theater-going has slowed down from 75-100 shows a season to barely a couple dozen these past two years, thanks mostly to health issues and a heavy workload in 2013 and 2014. But as I looked through the list of shows I did see in recent years, I discovered I've been to Two Muses in West Bloomfield more than any other. Why that's so is easy to explain: They do consistently good work, and Diane Hill regularly invites me to their performances.

So as I gear up to resume the role of cranky critic and all-around theater gadfly - both for EncoreMichigan.com and elsewhere - it came as no surprise that I found myself last weekend back at Two Muses to check out "Always A Bridesmaid," a comedy it co-produced with The Dio, where it recently ran as a dinner theater show. From what I heard through the grapevine (and on Facebook, of course), its run in Pinckney was quite popular, with many sold-out performances - and I can see why: Frothy comedies usually do well at dinner theaters, as people want to be entertained rather than emotionally challenged between the main course and dessert. And "Always a Bridesmaid" certainly fits that description.

The question I had, then, was how would the show translate to an audience that's become used to comedies and dramas with more of a bite to them? (Two Muses' previous two productions were "Clybourne Park" and "God of Carnage.")

Well, I'm happy to report the audience seated around me laughed at all the right places and - thanks to my eavesdropping - everyone seemed to enjoy the production quite a bit.

And for good reason: "Always a Bridesmaid" is an entertaining show! And if there's a standout performer, it's Sonja Marquis.

The story of four high-school girlfriends who take an oath on the night of their senior prom to always stand-up in each others' weddings, Marquis is simply delicious as the out-going, but self-centered Monette who tests everyone's patience and loyalty through multiple marriages - many of which were her own. But as husbands come and go, the girls learn one important lesson: Close friends truly are forever - even if they drive you crazy!

Despite it fulfilling Two Muses' mission of providing opportunities for women theater artists - it's a six-person, all-female cast - "Always a Bridesmaid" is not a typical Two Muses production; rather, it's the theatrical equivalent of a "chick flick," which I don't associate with the theater. (Not that there's anything wrong with "chick flicks" - they have their place in the entertainment pantheon. But Two Muses aims higher than that.)

All six women handle their material quite well, however, and Steve DeBruyne's direction mines every laugh possible from the script. I did, through, find myself momentarily distracted by his casting choices. (Not to offend anyone, but I didn't believe for a second that the four best friends were high-school seniors together.)

And unless I missed a major plot point, I'm not sure why authors Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten placed their comedy in the South; nothing about the production seems to require specific geographic placement. (The story wouldn't be harmed one bit if the women were located in Seattle, Los Angeles, Newark or Detroit; if it was, the actresses wouldn't have to bother with those pesky Southern accents.)

The set by Bill Mandt is charming - my grandmother had similar wallpaper in her flat - and Norma Polk's costumes help define each character.

So what's my bottom line? I've never been disappointed with a show at Two Muses, and that trend continues with "Always a Bridesmaid." And I can't wait to see what Diane and company do with "The Light in the Piazza" that opens Nov. 6. (I'm also hoping to catch The Dio's current show, "The Drowsy Chaperone," which runs through Oct. 18. I've heard nothing but great things about it!)

For more information about "Always a Bridesmaid," CLICK HERE.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Young actors are totally convincing as best friends

I have to hand it to the young actors who are currently starring in "BFs!" - the impressive two-hander at Slipstream Theatre Initiative in Hazel Park. For almost two hours, the story unfolds in a bedroom that's in a performance space barely the same size as the living room inside my typical 1950s suburban ranch (yes, that small!), where Maxim Vinogradov (left, as Brad) and Jackson Abohasira (right, as Jack) must age their characters four years while struggling to come to terms at their own speeds with their sexuality - all while performing mere inches away from the 28 or so voyeurs sitting quietly around them.

Even the most seasoned veterans of the stage would find such a scenario a bit intimidating. But these two teenage performers - one a senior in high school and the other a college freshman, I was told last night - understood the need to "keep it real" - that is, to not play to the back to the house, but to act as naturally as one possibly can in a setting that demands total intimacy of its performers.

The result, then, were performances that seemed so real and so authentic that it was easy to forget one was watching a play - but instead were peeking in on private conversations between best friends since seventh grade.

Although I was not there in an official capacity, I nonetheless found myself looking at the play through the eyes of a critic. In particular, I kept close watch on the reactions of each actor when he wasn't the one speaking. Did noises and movement in the room distract him? Was he totally "into the moment" and truly listening to the other actor? Were his eyes connecting with those of his fellow actor?  Because the slightest deviation could ruin the moment in such an intimate performance space, how successful were these boys - these young men - in sustaining their characters throughout a two-hour span of time, I wondered?

Only once did an actor break - albeit for a second, and so did many in the audience - thanks to a door that unexpectedly slammed shut in the back of the house. (Did someone leave the room, I wondered?) For the rest of the time, these actors performed a miracle: They transformed themselves into Jack and Brad, alone in Jack's bedroom, sharing their experiences, their hopes, their dreams and their fears as only best friends can.

Because I'm familiar with the source material - the play is based on the book autobiographical "Band Fags" written by Frank Anthony Polito, whose name began gracing reviews on EncoreMichigan.com in recent months - I entered the theater curious how Polito took a book with a plethora of interesting characters and whittled it down to only two people. Would anything important get lost in the translation? Would it get boring hearing about these other folks rather than watching them tell their own parts of the story directly to us?

Not at all. In fact, the story unfolded quite well, with the boys filling in whatever information was needed for us to understand who everyone was and how they related to the plot. If there was anything important missing, I sure didn't detect it - nor did I hear anyone asking plot-related questions as they left the theater. (You can often gauge the potential success of a show or lack thereof by eavesdropping on audience comments after a performance, and in this case, everything was positive. However it should be noted that many at Saturday night's performance were friends and neighbors of Polito's, which might skew their reactions. Heck, I even discovered that one of his neighbors is an old friend I hadn't seen in over a decade, which made the night even more special!)

For a show that was a last-minute addition to the Slipstream schedule, Polito should be quite pleased with the results. (It was the Michigan premiere - but not for the lack of trying: He had shopped the script around for quite awhile, but with no bites.) And director Bailey Boudreau should be equally proud of his production. His insightful eye kept the emotions real, and his use of the limited space kept his audience engaged in the production at all times.

(In all honesty, it probably kept some of us TOO engaged - especially me, who was evicted from my original choice of seats when I got up to say hello to my long-lost friend, only to ultimately end up in a musical-chairs-like scenario in which I was left with one of the few seats still available when the show began. So where was that? Right next to Jack's desk and wall calendar, where I found myself pretty much rubbing shoulders with him at the start of many scenes, and where at one point Brad was at my feet with a lit candle holding a seance. Luckily for me, my ancient stage training kicked in, and I stayed deathly still whenever the action was close by so that I wouldn't steal the focus. It was tempting, though, to blow out that candle...)

"BFs!" continues through Sept. 27. For complete show details, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My fall season preview

As a freelance writer, one of my handful of clients is CultureSource, a professional association comprised of 115+ arts and culture organizations in seven counties of Southeast Michigan. I'm hired on occasion to produce content for its website, IXITI, which is billed as "the Experience Engine for Southeast Michigan: one central place to see arts and cultural events happening in Detroit, Ann Arbor and beyond." Think of it as EncoreMichigan.com, but on steroids, as it covers a wide variety of

As you might imagine, I'm asked to write about what's happening in our theaters - and my most recent assignment was to highlight what I believe are the top five events happening in our theaters this fall. As you can imagine, it's not easy to choose from 70 or more shows that are opening throughout the months of September and October - but I did, selecting programs from throughout the area and from theaters large and small. (I included an additional dozen or so shout-outs, as well.)

But unlike last year's fall preview, my top five centered around a specific theme: anniversaries. Why? Because several of our theaters are celebrating special birthdays this season, and Detroit will also witness the birth of what could become one of its major institutions.

So what, then, are my top five?  Find out by clicking here. And then be on the lookout in November when IXITI and I will reveal the top holiday shows of the season...

Friday, September 11, 2015

One era ends, another begins

Concurrent with the launch of the new EncoreMichigan.com website, I was asked by Susan Horowitz (editor-in-chief of Between The Lines) to write the following article, which serves as a "closure" to BTL's involvement with Encore. (Despite all the ownership changes, the website itself remained hosted by BTL - but that ended with the debut of the new site.)

As I was thinking about my approach to the story, it dawned on me that there were actually TWO closures occurring: BTL's and the Calamia era of EncoreMichigan.com. The old website reflected my own personal editorial philosophy - that is, how I envisioned a media company should cover the professional theater community, given budget constraints and technical limitations of the website.

But times change. And the new website reflects a new owner with new sensibilities and approaches. So out with the old and in with the new!

Here's the story:

A New Owner And Expanded Mission For EncoreMichigan.com

One Era Ends As Another Begins

It lasted far longer than it was supposed to.

When Pride Source Media Group and I launched EncoreMichigan.com in 2008, the website devoted exclusively to professional theater in Michigan was intended to be in use for no longer than about six months or so. Seven years later, however, the site was still up and running and attracting several thousand visitors per day - that is, until Aug. 28, when it was finally retired and replaced with a totally redesigned version with all the latest bells and whistles.

Long live EncoreMichigan.com!

What few people know is that the original site, designed and built by BTL technical genius Kevin Bryant, was launched quicker than originally planned, as rumors of a similar site surfaced - and as BTL owners Jan Stevenson, Susan Horowitz and I are a competitive bunch, we wanted to beat our competitors to the marketplace. (We did; the other site never materialized.) And so we launched with a "beta" test site - fully functional, but without all the products and services it was intended to have.

CLICK HERE to read the complete story!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Don and Jaime do it again: The 2015 Wilde Awards are in the books!

ANN ARBOR, Mich – It was yet another Wilde night at West Bloomfield’s Berman Center for the Performing Arts, as Michigan’s professional theater community gathered for The 14th Annual Wilde Awards presented by EncoreMichigan.com. Established in 2002, The 2015 Wilde Awards honored the best productions, performances and technical accomplishments of the recently concluded 2014-15 season.

In all, 28 artists and 19 productions produced or presented by 16 theaters across the state earned an award. In a rare feat, no single show, artist or production dominated the awards – something almost unheard of in Wilde Awards history.

“This year’s winners come from all over the state, and they represent theaters both large and small – and one just opened its doors this year,” said co-founder and editor-at-large Donald V. Calamia. “That to me indicates that great work is happening in all our theaters regardless of their sizes, budgets or locations.”

Standing out from the crowd, The Purple Rose Theatre and Michigan Opera Theatre each took home three awards.

“Annapurna” from The Purple Rose Theatre took home the most awards for a single show, winning Best Drama (Guy Sanville, director); Best Design for Sets (Bartley H. Bauer); and Best Design for Props (Danna Segrest.)

The awards were determined by EncoreMichigan.com’s team of professional critics who reviewed 168 productions produced or presented by 49 professional theater companies located in 25 communities across the state. The critics included Calamia, Carolyn Hayes Harmer, (owner and editor-in-chief) David Kiley, Martin F. Kohn, Jenn McKee, Sue Merrell, Amy J. Parrent, Frank Anthony Polito, John Quinn, Bridgette M. Redman, Judith Cookis Rubens and guest critic Jennifer Knightstep.

Representatives from theaters around the state attended the event that began at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres; the awards presentation began at 8 p.m.

Hosted by Calamia and popular actress and improviser Jamie Moyer, the evening mixed entertainment with announcements of the awards.

“This year was especially fun with the return of Jaime as my co-host,” said Calamia. “Her dance card is quite full in Los Angeles these days where she relocated a few years back, and her celebrated comedic genius helped ensure our guests had one ‘Wilde’ night indeed!”

Other top winners were the Michigan Opera Theatre’s “Elektra,” which won Best Opera for Nicholas Muni, director, and Best Performance, Opera, for Christine Goerke. MOT also took home a Best Design -- Costumes for Monika Essen for the opera “Frida.”

Best Comedy went to Beth Torrey, the director of Tipping Point’s “Leaving Iowa.” Best Musical went to Steve DeBruyne, director of “Violet” at The Dio – Dining and Entertainment.

Other theaters that took home two awards were The Dio – Dining and Entertainment (Best Musical and Best Performance Actress in a Musical), Shakespeare in Detroit (Best of the Bard, Best Performance – The Bard), PuppetArt (Best Theatre for Young Audiences, Best Choreography), Williamston Theater (Best Performance Actress – Comedy, Best Teamwork) and The Jewish Ensemble Theatre (Best Performance Actress – Drama, Best New Script).

Special awards went out to Farmers Alley Theatre; the Detroit Improv Collective; Kurt Stamm of Mason Street Warehouse; Bailey Boudreau of Slipstream Theatre Initiative; and Kristine Thatcher, former artistic director of Lansing’s BoarsHead and Stormfield Theatres.

The night also featured an announcement by David Kiley of New Roads Media, the new owner of EncoreMichigan.com and The Wilde Awards, which detailed his many plans for the company. “I love this community,” he told the audience – after which he earned thunderous applause when he pledged to work hard at keeping this vital resource alive and successful for generations to come.

Only shows that are produced or presented by Michigan’s professional theaters and opera companies—both union and non-union—and reviewed by EncoreMichigan.com’s theater critics during the 2014-2015 season were eligible for a 2015 Wilde Awards nomination. Shows had to be performed for four consecutive days or more or over two weekends or more to be eligible for a review.

The 2015 Wilde Awards were sponsored by Detroit Public TV, Pride Source Media Group and Actors’ Equity Association. The Council Cargle Award for Dedication to the Michigan Theatre Community was sponsored by Little Bill’s Trophies.

EncoreMichigan.com is web-based publication established in 2008 that is focused on Michigan's professional theater industry. Designed as a one-stop shop for consumers, industry professionals and others with an interest in the performing arts, EncoreMichigan.com is updated daily and packed with informative interviews, insightful reviews, comprehensive show listings, thoughtful commentary, audition notices, podcasts and much, much more. Original content is created by a dedicated team of veteran freelance journalists and theater professionals. For more information about EncoreMichigan.com, log onto www.encoremichigan.com.

WINNERS: The 2015 Wilde Awards

Best Comedy
Leaving Iowa, Beth Torrey, director; Tipping Point Theatre

Best Drama
Annapurna, Guy Sanville, director; The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Best Musical
Violet, Steve DeBruyne, director; The Dio - Dining & Entertainment

Best Opera
Elektra, Nicholas Muni, director; Michigan Opera Theatre

Best of the Bard
King Lear, Frannie Shepherd-Bates, director; Shakespeare in Detroit

Best Theatre for Young Audiences
Sleeping Beauty, Igor Gozman, director; PuppetART

Best Touring Production
Kinky Boots, Jerry Mitchell, director; Broadway in Detroit: Fisher Theatre

Best Performance, Actress - Comedy
Emily Sutton-Smith, Miracle on South Division Street; Williamston Theatre

Best Performance, Actress - Drama
Inga R. Wilson, Sugarhill; The Jewish Ensemble Theatre Company

Best Performance, Actress – Musical
Mahalia Greenway, Violet; The Dio - Dining & Entertainment

Best Performance, Actor - Comedy
Brandy Joe Plambeck, Boeing Boeing; Hilberry Theatre

Best Performance, Actor - Drama
Mike McGettigan, Buried Child; The Abreact

Best Performance, Actor – Musical
Sebastian Gerstner, Spamalot; The Encore Musical Theatre Company

Best Performance – Opera
Christine Goerke, Elektra; Michigan Opera Theatre

Best Performance – The Bard
Julia Garlotte, King Lear; Shakespeare in Detroit

Best Performance – Theater for Young Audiences
Sam Carter, The Diary of Anne Frank; Flint Youth Theatre

Best Teamwork
Tony Caselli and John Lepard, The Best Brothers; Williamston Theatre

Best New Script
Linda Ramsay-Detherage, Sugarhill; The Jewish Ensemble Theatre Company

Best Music Direction
Brian E. Buckner, The Ugly Duckling; Wild Swan Theater

Best Choreography
Irina Baranovskaya and Igor Gozman, The Crane Maiden; PuppetART

Best Design – Sound or Video
Tim Culver, Cameron Lake and Lauri Rowe, It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play; Great Escape Stage Company

Best Design - Sets
Bartley H. Bauer, Annapurna; The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Best Design - Props
Danna Segrest, Annapurna; The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Best Design - Lights
Harley Miah, Red; Open Book Theatre Company

Best Design - Costumes
Monika Essen, Frida; Michigan Opera Theatre


Critics’ Choice Award:
Farmers Alley Theatre

Critic’s Choice Award
Detroit Improv Collective

Founders Award for Excellence
Kurt Stamm, Mason Street Warehouse

Jim Posante Community Pride Award
Bailey Boudreau, Slipstream Theatre Initiative

Council Cargle Award for Dedication to the Michigan Theatre Community
Kristine Thatcher