Theatre and Dance at Wayne Announces the Last Full Season in the Hilberry Theatre Before Moving to Gateway Performing Arts Center

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, a program within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University is thrilled to announce its 2020-2021 season, the last in the historic Hilberry Theatre before transitioning to the new Gateway Performing Arts Center which is scheduled to open in Fall of 2021. Marking the 58th season of the Hilberry Graduate Company, the 92nd season of Dance at Wayne, and the 70th season of theatre at Wayne State University, this is a season like no other

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Theatre and Dance at Wayne State Presents Annual December Dance Concert at Detroit’s Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts

December Dance Concert. Photo by Scott Lipiec.
December Dance Concert. Photo by Scott Lipiec.
Download a high-resolution version of this image here.

DETROIT – The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, a program within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University is proud to present its annual December Dance Concert at Detroit’s Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts (350 Madison St, Detroit, MI 48226), December 7 at 7:30 p.m. and 8 at 3 p.m.   
 
Audiences will be thrilled to witness the remarkable power of celebrated guest choreographers along with faculty and student choreographers in this two-show-only event.
 
Wayne State Dance Alumna Della Hamby’s commercial dance choreography in “POWER in Invisible Insecurities,” showcasing the strength of nine women.  Hamby explores and showcases the paradox of one’s image as perceived and/or felt. 
 
Company One guest artist Hanna Brictson, choreographer of “Dear Diary,” responds to artistic director Lisa LaMarre’s theme “Letters of emPOWERment”.  The dancers embody strikes of typewriter mechanisms, diary memories and smiles.  This piece, “Letters of emPOWERment,” is also available as a separate touring piece, traveling to local schools this Winter. Teachers interested in booking Company One’s tour can contact the Box Office or visit theatreanddanceatwayne.com to learn more.
 
In “SOULTY,” choreographed by Allesee Guest Artist and celebrated artist from Israel, Bosmat Nossan, the face becomes a mask, the voice turns into sound and body movements become decorative shapes.  The performers do not express themselves through movement, rather they separate their “selfs” from it.  They disconnect from facial expressions, movement and voice, which usually act as mediators of inner feelings.  The voice, the face and the shape of movement do not seek authenticity or manifestation of the individual, but emerge out of the body as sculptural elements; costumes through which new figures are composed.  Thus, they act as a medium that suddenly channels the voice of a spirit; a spirit that is not confined to an individual, but is connected to the zeitgeist. 
 
Driven by BAIRA’s signature athleticism and lushly organic, gravity-grappling movement style, the ensemble of 24 in “Waking Life” will lead audiences into and out of an intricate forest of dreams and reality.
 
To Sangana Guest Artist Germaul Barnes choreographs “Goddess Whispers,” which is in celebration of all women; our struggles as well as triumphs in this life we live.
 
Karen Prall, faculty member and director of To Sangana, choreographs a piece called “Before Me.”  It is a snippet of Mother Africa in her glory, who then collapses from the force of outsiders.  It explores the effect African movement has on many styles of dance that are present today as Africa works to regain their glory.
 
“I’ll be seeing you,” choreographed by faculty member Jessica Rajko, explores tensions between security and privacy by asking, “What does it mean to feel safe?”  During the creative process, artists researched contemporary, local issues related to public surveillance and juxtaposed this research with personal experiences of feeling safe/unsafe, secure/unsecure, seen/unseen, and heard/unheard.
 
Additionally, audiences will experience pieces choreographed by Dominique Denson, Brooklyn Parks, and Ashley Taravella, each pursuing their undergraduate degrees in Dance at Wayne State.
 
The 2019 December Dance Concert is sure to excite audiences of all ages as student dancers celebrate the artistry and athleticism of dance at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
 
Additionally, Company One Dance will perform two additional concerts on Saturday, December 7 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. as part of Midtown’s Noel Night celebration. Tickets for Company One’s Noel Night Dance Concert are just $5 each (fees may apply).
 
Tickets for the December Dance Concert range from $15 for students and children to $27 for adults. Fees may apply. For more information and tickets, visit theatreanddanceatwayne.com or call 313-577-2972. The Box Office is available Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
 
About the Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://research.wayne.edu/

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Performance Dates:

DateTimeLocation
Saturday, Dec. 77:30 p.m.Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
Sunday, Dec. 83 p.m.Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
Creative Team
ChoreographerHannah Andersen
ChoreographerBryan And Shaina Baira
ChoreographerGermaul Barnes
ChoreographerHannah Bricston
Sound DesignerBrian Cole
ChoreographerDominique Denson
ChoreographerDella Hamby
ChoreographerBosmat Nossan
ChoreographerBrooklyn Lashae Parks
Costume DesignerJane Pastor
Artistic DirectorMeg Paul
ChoreographerKaren Prall
ChoreographerJessica Rajko
Lighting DesignerMatt Taylor
ChoreographerAshley Taravella
Dance Injury SpecialistDr. Steven J. Karageanes, Do
Production Team
Production CoordinatorDana Gamarra
Assistant Stage ManagerKristal Georgopoulos
Technical DirectorJohn Keisling
Associate Lighting DesignersCarrie Heisler, Megan O’Brien
Deck CrewMikayla Anderson, Hannah Brown, Molly Chieca, Natalie Garban, Anne Laforet, Faith Sheffield, Amanda Teehan
Costume Shop ManagerMary Copenhagen
Costume Crew Courtney Furman, Alicia Pomponia, Andrew Panckiewicz
Costume Construction CrewCaleb Matthews, Samantha Chmiel-Willcock, Lupe Vasquez, Stephanie Bedore, Jasmine Bullock
Master ElectricianSlu Stone
Gel MasterDeclan O’connell
Light Board OperatorNick Easterling
Sound Board OperatorJack Welcher
Marketing LeadEthan Williams
Marketing AssociateLuke Lecher
Media Center/
Digital Content Coordinator
Alesyn McCall
Production PhotographerScott Lipiec

Theatre and Dance at Wayne Presents the Final Performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Bonstelle Theatre

A Christmas Carol image featuring Ebenezer Scrooge with the Ghost of Jacob Marley in smoke
John Bergeron as Ebenezer Scrooge and Tyler Black as the Ghost of Jacob Marley
Photo by Chuk Nowak Photography
Download a high-resolution version of this image.

DETROIT – Ebenezer Scrooge returns to the Bonstelle Theatre one final time to delight audiences with this heartwarming tale of family and redemption. After four years of bringing joy for the holiday season, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” takes its final bow at the Bonstelle Theatre from December 4 to December 15 as Wayne State University prepares for the construction of the new Gateway Performing Arts Center.
 
Ebenezer Scrooge is back in this adaptation by John Wolf, Chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, and Tom Aulino. On the night before Christmas Ebenezer Scrooge encounters three ghost who persist he see the error in his ways before it’s too late. Charles Dickens’ classic tale stands the test of time on many stages, including the historic Bonstelle Theatre. Showing audiences that it is never too late to change, and seek forgiveness.
 
Wolf expresses his admiration for the production and the Bonstelle Theatre by saying, “Our production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ is near and dear to my heart, as is the Bonstelle Theatre. Both have deep roots for us and both serve this community in ways that are truly magical. This being the final production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the Bonstelle Theatre, it is my sincere hope that every family has an opportunity to enjoy the wonder and delight that is ‘A Christmas Carol’ in this historic venue.” He continues, “Let’s be clear, the new Gateway Center for the Performing Arts will bring astounding new opportunities for students and audiences. And the Bonstelle Theatre will be restored to its former glory. We look forward to working with the developer on ways to include the renovated Bonstelle in our future programming. Throughout this year, the Bonstelle will host both the 91st Annual Spring Dance Concert on February 27 and 28, 2020 and ‘Mary Poppins the Broadway Musical,’ April 10 through 19, 2020.” The Bonstelle Theatre is ready for “A Christmas Carol,” the beloved holiday spectacular that entertains the young and the young-at-heart.

While construction continues around the Bonstelle Theatre, a limited number of parking spaces will be available next to the theatre on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are encouraged to enter the lot on Eliot Street from Woodward Avenue. Street parking may be available around the venue and WSU offers paid parking in Parking Structure 7, located next to Whole Foods (a five-minute walk). We appreciate your patience as we continue to celebrate theatre in the Bonstelle Theatre this season.

Tickets are available online at theatreanddanceatwayne.com, or by phone at (313) 577-2972. The Box Office is open Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.  A convenience fee of $2 per ticket is automatically added to your ticket when purchasing online. Additional fees may be required per order.

About the Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://research.wayne.edu/.

Performance Dates

DateTimeNote
Wednesday, Dec. 410 a.m. 
Wednesday, Dec. 42 p.m.Meet the Cast Event*
Thursday, Dec. 510 a.m. 
Thursday, Dec. 57 p.m.Curtain Up Event**
Friday, Dec. 67 p.m.Opening Night
Saturday, Dec. 72 p.m. & 7 p.m. 
Friday, Dec. 137 p.m. 
Saturday, Dec. 142 p.m. & 7 p.m. 
Sunday, Dec. 153 p.m. 

 
Cast 
Lani Call (Lamplighter-Narrator), John Bergeron (Scrooge), Quint Mediate (Fred), Emily Braun (Mrs. Fred) Ace Thuma (Laundress), Jacob Lipski (Bob Cratchit) Camden Maccagnone (Mr. Fezziwig), Miranda Cole (Mrs. Cratchit) Emma Orr (Ghost of Christmas Past), Layton Gonsalez (Tiny Tim), Tyler Black (Marley’s Ghost/Old Joe), Quinn Hysni (Apprentice Scrooge), Gillian Marshell (Belle) Allie Farmer (Chairwoman), Jeremiah Boglin (Ghost of Christmas Present), Amanda S. Kennedy (Lady 1/Partier 1), Anna Marie Bethune (Fruit Seller), Brittney Holliday (Mrs. Fezziwig), Gabe Brinkley (Toy Seller/Man 1/ Topper), Isabel Luther (Fan), Jacob Wilson (Gravedigger), Joshua Poppink (Dick), Kylie Ann Stone (Martha), Mary Zoran (Belinda), Melissa Figliuolo (Caroline), Michael Danaj (Peter Cratchit), Naci Carter (Charity 1), Nicholas Guevara (Caroline’s Husband), Paige Heath (Flower Seller), Reilly Kerrigan (Charity 2), Samantha Stafford (Lady 2/Partier 2), Abby Bolas (Street Kid/Street Urchin/William), Adriana Farrugia (Matchstick Girl/Zachariah/Street Urchin/Want), Olivia McClelland (Benjamin/Street Urchin/Ignorance), Parker Watson (Young Scrooge/Street Urchin/Turkey Boy)   
 
Production
Dave Davies (Director), Trever Wilson (Stage Manager), Megan Lewis (Assistant Stage Manager), CJ Caldwell (Assistant Stage Manager), Jae Clinton (Assistant Stage Manager), Alexandria Sczotka (Costume Designer), Michael Barnes (Dialect Coach), John Wolf (Lighting Designer), Chante Randle (Associate Lighting Designer), Chante Randle (Master Electrician), Ben Geibel (Marketing Lead), Rachael Rose (Music Director), Sarah Pearline (Projections Designer), Matthew Taylor (Projections Engineer), Kaden Reynard (Property Master), Fred Florkowski (Scenic Designer), Beth Lake (Sound Designer), Kade Kriewell (Assistant Sound Designer), John Keisling (Technical Director) ​

No Better Place

by Sarah Renko, 4th year BS in Dance

If you are not familiar with the play Sweat, I will give you the run down here. Sweat takes place in a city called Reading, Pennsylvania. It is a play that delves into the lives of American workers inside a factory. These workers are taking on the jobs that their family before them did, when suddenly everything changes. Their steady jobs are now being moved across the border under the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Photo Courtesy of DSA

While taking the time to research this play, of which I had never heard of before, I began to connect this play with the similar conditions in the city of Detroit. I realized that this was a play that showed the real life problems of American labor jobs. Not only did I start to think about how Sweat was clearly a non-fictional story, but I began to dive into how this could be a play that many people could relate to. 

This past January, I attended a march in Downtown Detroit in front of the TCF Center. This was a march for the Green New Deal, occurring right after the shut down of the GM plant in Hamtramck. This was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Having the opportunity to be present for such an event really had an effect on me. I saw firsthand the fear, anger, and many more emotions that came along with having that promise of a job to be stolen from you. The grounds were filled with people. Some were workers, some just supporters, but they were all fighting for the same thing. They fought back for the jobs that were going to be taken away from many people. I remember thinking about how deeply it affected me and I didn’t have anybody who was working at that plant just because of the energy that filled the air. I just thought about how I would feel if the life that you were so used to was going to be completely turned around and there was nothing you could do. I know that this march was not just for this one plant closing. I now realize that it was an example of the disappointment and the let down in American Labor jobs. That is why as soon as I became familiar with Sweat, I understood right away that Lynn Nottage was in fact, writing about the stories of American workers who have lived through it. 

There is no better place for Sweat to be put on other than the city of Detroit. It is truly a play that will pull you into the lives of real working people, including the hardship and downs that come along with it. I know while getting the chance to read it, it did just that for me. 

How “Sweat” Hits Home

by Morgan Listenbee, 2nd year BA in Theatre

Lynn Nottage’s Sweat  tells the story of a group of friends who have worked together, laughed together, and drank together. However, when layoffs and picket lines occur, they realize they are now competing with one another and face the cruel reality when lines are crossed.  

My goal for this blog is to offer a learning experience, not only for me, but for you as well. I want you to gain a better understanding about unions in our city and I also want you to have a better understanding of  Sweat and how its story relates to Detroit. According to unionplus.org, a union is an organization of workers dedicated to protecting members’ interests and improving wages, hours and working conditions for all. Additionally, unions not only affect the city, it affects the people, the environment, society, culture, and economics.   

I am personally impacted by unions. Both of my parents work for Ford Motor Company. They are members of UAW Local 228 at the factory plant in Sterling Heights. To better understand unions, their purpose, and how they benefit or disadvantage members, I interviewed my mother. 

Morgan Pictured With Her Mother
Morgan Pictured With Her Mother

Q: What made you want to join the union? What is the purpose of your union? What does your union do for the city of Sterling Heights and how does being part of the Union make your work life better?  

A: “I was young, and I didn’t take school seriously. I went to Macomb Community College for a little bit. My cousin called and asked me to go to a testing for Ford Motor Company. I didn’t know how good of a job it would be. It changed my life. The purpose of my union is: justice for all hardworking families; negotiate pay, medical, and pension; made to serve us; and protect our jobs. Ford creates a lot of jobs and businesses. It allows for people to have great job opportunities. Ford is not an easy place to work at. However, I can go home safe knowing that my job is protected. Because if you work at a non-union company, they can get rid of you at any time.”  

Q: Is there any criticism or backlash you receive because you’re a part of the union? If so, why? Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a high amount of Seniority?  

A: “Majority of us don’t have a college education, so a lot of people think we’re overpaid. Also, I can’t wear UAW gear at certain public places due to not supporting unions. There aren’t any disadvantages. The advantages are the following: you can pick your jobs; if a layoff happens, they would lay off people that have less time working than me who has a lot of time. For instance, I have a higher end date, which means I’ve worked here since 1999. If someone was hired in 2011, they would pick me to stay and let the other person go.”   

Q: Is the Union you work for any different from when you first started? What has joining a Union taught you? Has there been any recent strikes? If so, have you participated in them?   

A: “Yes, the new people in office aren’t as strong as they used to be. They’re more into pleasing management and the upper authority rather than the people. Personally, I think this is why a lot of strikes happen, along with contract issues. Ford Motor Company has taught me how to make a good living for my family and has given me great opportunities. No, I have not participated in a strike before, but I know many of my coworkers have for other unions and people who have participated in strikes for their own unions. However, there hasn’t been a strike at Ford since 1945.”   

I hope this interview with my mother, a hard-working union member, expanded your knowledge on the topic of how relevant these issues for unions are today.  Sweat  by Lynn Nottage runs from November 1-17, 2019 at the Hilberry Theatre. Get your tickets now at www.theatreanddanceatwayne.com/sweat/. You don’t want to miss this!  

Wayne State University Invites Local Children to Audition for Roles in “A Christmas Carol” and “Mary Poppins the Broadway Musical”

Detroit – The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University invites children age 6 to 14 (not taller than 5’0”) to audition for roles in “A Christmas Carol” and “Mary Poppins the Broadway Musical”. Auditions will take place on Saturday, October 12, 2019 beginning at 10 a.m. in the rehearsal rooms on the fourth floor of Old Main (enter at 480 W Hancock Street and take the elevator to the fourth floor). Please arrive by 10 a.m. to register. Parents with questions may call the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at 313-577-3508 or email theatreanddance@wayne.edu.

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$5 Walkup Tickets

$5 Walkup Tickets?

You’re not imagining things.

Wayne State University students can purchase $5 Walkup tickets (normally $15 to $20) for select weekday matinees pending availability! if available the

This program is for current Wayne State University students only. $5 Walkup tickets may not be purchased in advance and are available on select dates pending availability. You must present your current Wayne State University student I.D. at the time of purchase at the Box Office.

Alternatively, students may purchase $15 or $20 (for Mary Poppins) tickets in advance online, calling the Box Office at 313-577-2972, or by visiting the Box Office in person during regular business hours.

Availability is not guaranteed. Some shows may sell out in advance. If you must see the production (for fandom or for a grade), we recommend buying regularly-priced student tickets in advance.

So, which shows offer these $5 Walkup tickets during weekday matinees?

Blithe SpiritWednesday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.
SweatTuesday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m.
A Christmas CarolWednesday, Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m.
The Winter’s TaleTuesday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m.
Company One Dance ConcertFriday, February 28 at 10 a.m.
Tobacco RoadTuesday, March 24 at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, April 1 at 10 a.m.
Mary PoppinsTuesday, April 14 at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, April 15 at 2 p.m.
Friday, April 17 at 10 a.m.
Stage KissWednesday, April 29 at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, May 5 at 10 a.m.

What are you waiting for? Mark these dates on your calendar and join us for exclusive savings throughout the season.

Interested in becoming a theatre and dance major or minor? Check out our admissions page for helpful information on how you can succeed at Wayne with us.

Theatre and Dance Students at Wayne State University to Perform Social Justice Play at 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Freedom Players
The Freedom Players – Wayne State University students participating in social justice project performance in Scotland

Wayne State University theatre and dance students are heading to Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe — the world’s largest international performing arts festival — to perform “I Am,” a devised theatre performance which illuminates and engages audiences in current socio-political challenges.

Led by faculty members Billicia Charnelle Hines, Dr. RAS Mikey Courtney and Karen Prall, and created with student members of the Freedom Players, the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance’s Black Theatre and Dance touring ensemble, “I Am” explores identity and the path toward liberation in our society. Participating in this unique opportunity are Wayne State University theatre and dance students Cameron Blackwell, Micah Bolden, Dewight Braxton, Jane Clinton, Alexandra Failoc, Morgan Listenbee, Brooklyn Parks, Yakeem Tatum and Nigel Tutt.

“I Am” is an inspiring play that states that even through oppressive forces holding us down, through our own liberation we can break the shackles that binds us. It is about the continual challenge of seeking liberation. As a group of young Detroiters meet and interact, challenges arise as they realize their birth was political. The show is vibrant and eclectically diverse. It addresses universal themes of the human experience and each person’s independent journey of the liberation of self. This play offers a creative opportunity to initiate conversations about race, gender, sexuality, masculinity and privilege. Because of this creative process and performance, the performers have been able to increase their confidence in telling stories about their experiences. The show has been a way of healing, empowerment and discovery, for all of us.

The company will perform “I Am” at the Greenside at Royal Terrace in Edinburgh, Scotland from August 3 to August 9, 2019.

Luckily, Detroit audiences have a chance to experience “I Am” before the company embarks for their international tour. The 75-minute “pay what you can” performance takes place in the Hilberry Theatre on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. and includes a twenty-minute post-show discussion with the cast and creative team. Tickets for this exclusive performance are sold at the door as a donation to support the company’s international expenses.

Additional information about the Freedom Players is available online at http://theatreanddance.wayne.edu/about/freedomplayers.php.