WHAT'S YOUR DAMAGE?
OCTOBER 11 - 27, 2019
HEATHERS THE MUSICAL
The 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Lynn Nottage
November 1 to 17, 2020
November 15 to December 8, 2020 Underground at the Hilberry
A Darkly Comic Christmas Fable by Craig Lucas
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 email@example.com.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University welcomes renowned Israeli choreographer Bosmat Nossan as the Fall 2019 Allesee Guest Artist-in-Residence, October 1 through 11, 2019.
John Woodland is an associate professor of Theatre and leads the Master of Fine Arts Costume Design program here at Wayne State University. His designs grace the stage at during the run of Blithe Spirit, at the Hilberry Theatre (September 20 through October 6, 2019).
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 onThursday, 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.
As our current season comes to a close, we can’t help but get excited about our next season! Check out our 2019-2020 season at here.
It is guaranteed to be a year full of laughs and learning, which is making a lot of our students thrilled for it all. We wanted to hear just exactly what some of our students are excited about!
Chantel Randle, MFA Lighting Design
“Wayne State has impressed me with the atmosphere in the theatre program, the commitment to aesthetics and the beautiful and strong choices made with the productions that are chosen. I believe that the upcoming season is going to continue the conversations we are all facing each day and delve into so many important topics and truly get to the essence of theatre. People together feeling something as a unit. We are storytellers and our job is so intricate in many ways. That being said we sure know how to warm hearts, make you laugh, smile, sing and dance along. This year will be a fantastic series of moments with all those who come to share those moments with us.”
Alex Morrison, BFA Acting
“This season to me just reads as powerful. Every show is so heavily concentrated on intricate relationships and explosive storytelling. I can’t wait for audiences to see the talent that our department has to offer these shows and their characters. From Sarah Ruhl to Shakespeare, our base is set, I can’t wait for everyone to see how high we can set the bar.”
“As a member of the Hilberry Acting MFA Class of 2020, I am especially excited to tackle two plays by contemporary female playwrights in our final year! I’ve been astounded by Lynn Nottage’s work since I saw her first Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined in NYC, and can’t wait to work on Sweat (her newest Pulitzer Prize-Winning play!) Sweat explores the struggles and relationships between unionized factory workers in a Rust Belt town, and I firmly believe that our audiences will appreciate the prescient honesty and humor that Nottage captured in her script. Stage Kiss will be a completely different opportunity to discover the style and comedy of another award-winning American dramatist. Sarah Ruhl has also written some of my favorite new plays, and I look forward to closing the season with a play about love and life in the theatre.”
Alice Duffy, BFA Acting
“A Winters Tale is such a wonderful, fantastical show. If you liked our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you’re sure to love this! Reckless brings a hilarious twist to the holiday season and is sure to be loved by anyone. And Tobacco Road is as real as a show gets, the importance of family and the truth of hardships we experience shine through this beautiful play.”
Jayme Beerling, MFA Stage Management
“Personally, I’m very excited to work on Mary Poppins! It’s such a joyous musical and the storyline is touching. I’m very excited to see how we portray the famous storyline.”
Faith Berry, BA Theatre
“Next season is filled with so many comedies, and I’m most excited for Stage Kiss and Blithe Spirit. These are the two that I know the least, but they have a really unique and hysterical plot lines, so I’m ready to see them on the stage!”
As you can tell, from our graduate program to our undergrad, we are all thrilled to bring a phenomenal 2019-2020 season to the stage.
Purchase your 2019-2020 season tickets today by choosing any six or more shows for your subscription. Learn more here.
As we prepare for another graduation, we asked a few graduating students to share their experience before they leave our hallowed halls to begin their professional careers.
What are your plans for after graduation?
If only I knew! There are so many possibilities and many paths to take and I’m still not sure which to take. After doing the acting showcase in New York and Chicago I feel like I can go to any city and start my career anywhere. But first, I believe I must give myself the time to think and reflect on what I want my “career” to be. What and who do I want to represent? What do I want to portray through my art? What is my art? I think my plans for after graduation is to find out for myself what it means to be an artist and develop my craft even further through different experiences that come my way.
How do you define success?
I believe there’s no one definition for success. Every single person is on their own path with there own goals and dreams. Success for me is being happy, comfortable, and proud of whatever I’m doing at that time. It might be as simple as finally getting my pet rabbit a toy or making it to the latest opening to another Marvel film. Anything that brings joy to one’s life.
What is your favorite thing
about the theatre and dance department at Wayne?
My favorite thing would have to be being able to have close relationships with professors and classmates. There’s a strong community that develops throughout the years.
Why did you choose to study theatre?
I knew that I’d pursue the arts in one way or another. I didn’t think it would’ve been acting but it’s what spoke to me and grabbed my attention. I saw myself thriving in this department and fortunately, I feel like I did. Also, if I had the money I definitely would be getting three other majors.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from the program? And who
taught you that lesson?
The biggest lesson I learned is to take each day at a time, to live in the moment, and to not take life too seriously. I learned this from myself with the help of a therapist and from past school teachers. Also, as John Wolf said at the beginning of this year, “We don’t have to do theatre, we get to do theatre.” Or something along those lines. HAHA! This saying can be applied to everything and anything.
Who was one of the most influential people to your journey?
The most influential person in my life has been Marybeth Kinnell, my high school drama teacher who sadly passed away this last October after fighting ovarian cancer for about four years. She was a ray of sunshine that believed in my talent and potential full heartedly. She was the one who taught me to not take everything so seriously and that anything is possible. One of her favorite songs was “Dancing Queen” by ABBA so I think it was fitting to end my Wayne State career with Mamma Mia. I swear to you that during one of the performances I saw her sitting in the audience. I will forever remember that moment.
What class was the most challenging for you?
The most challenging class for me was my Shakespeare acting class with Lavinia. I had no interest in taking the course, but as soon as it clicked in my mind I fell in love with the course. I also now have a love for commedia dell’arte.
What show did you have the most fun doing?
My favorite production that I worked on during the school year was Xtigone by Nambi E. Kelley. There was so much to learn from the story that the playwright brought to life and the process was just as fun to create. The show became a conglomeration of ideas of everyone from the cast and crew. Another production that I am proud of doing was during the Underground student-led summer season in the Studio Theatre. The show was Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker and I was assistant directing alongside Stephanie Stoiko who had graduated the semester before. We explored the viewpoints techniques and it led to a beautiful piece of work.
How did going to Wayne State help you accomplish your goals?
It gave me a heads up on my career and gave me a better understanding of what it means to be an actor. It opened up my eyes to the world and gave me ideas on how to impact it in my own way.
What were the benefits of going to school for theatre in Detroit?
It allowed me to be closer to my family and to explore the city I’ve been living in even further. It’s a city that seems to be rising and has much potential.
What will you miss most after graduation?
I will miss performing with the people who have become incredibly close friends with me and seeing them on a daily basis. I hope that they all thrive in their lives and become the person they want to be.
How were you able to balance performing and school?
I had to throw away a lot of plans with friends and family. This was one of the hardest things sometimes because I’d be doing 7 am to 11 pm shifts every single weekday when rehearsing for a show. I’d make sure I had plenty of snacks, water, and naps.
What advice do you have for future students?
This is the time to make errors and try for new things. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Is there anything you’re working on right now?
I am currently working on a piece with fellow colleagues I’ll be graduating with. We will be performing Bunny Bunny by Alan Zweibel at Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit. It’s “a sort of romantic comedy” of the retelling of Alan Zweibel and Gilda Radner’s relationship within their career working on SNL. So far this project has been tons of fun and I can’t wait to perform it.
“If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” -RuPaul
We have a packed schedule of exciting events for you to attend and participate in this weekend.
Opening Friday night at the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry, Suzan-Lori Park’s Obie Award-winning play, Venus, explores the turbulent and tragic life of Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman, who became an unfortunate star on the 19th Century London freak show circuit. Venus gives vibrant life to the story of a young black woman’s journey to London, her rise to fame, and her eventual relationship with a French scientist. Inspired by the true story of Baartman, Venus is a tragic-carnival, an intense and devastating journey honoring the life of Baartman and examining the way we live and love today.
Venus runs March 22 through April 13 at the Studio Theatre. This intimate venue, beneath the Hilberry Theatre, has limited seating and several performances are filling quickly. Buy your tickets today!
“Venus is a formidable experience: a gnarly but brilliant meditation on the ambiguity of race, history, the colonized imagination, sexuality, and theatrical storytelling itself.” — The New Yorker
Join us on Sunday, March 24 at 2 p.m. for our 2019-2020 Season Preview Party at the Hilberry Theatre.
Learn more about these exciting shows, enjoy a preview from Mary Poppins, experience the of our dance company, get a backstage tour of the Hilberry Theatre, play games for prizes, participate in a silent auction for our international projects, and more. Light refreshments will be provided.
Buying six or more shows in your season ticket package gets you 20% off the regular price, and you’ll enjoy special benefits like free exchanges, priority seating, discounts on extra tickets for friends and family, and more!
Our 2019-2020 Season includes:
Blithe Spiritby Sir Noel Coward
Sweat by Lynn Nottage (2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner)
Reckless by Craig Lucas
A Christmas Carol based on the Charles Dickens story and adapted by John Wolf and Tom Aulino
December Dance Concert
The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
91st Annual Spring Dance Concert
Tobacco Road by Jack Kirkland. Based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell
Disney + Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins
Stage Kissby Sarah Ruhl
Plus one mystery show we can’t wait to reveal!
Show titles and dates are subject to change.
Bring your friends along! The more, the merrier. We love to introduce new people to the remarkable work created by our students and faculty.
Tickets to the party are FREE but seating is limited. Let us know if you can come by clicking below!
On Sunday, March 24 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance First Year Learning Community presents the 2019 Ten Minute Play & Dance Festival. Enjoy thrilling short works from this talented community of students. Admission: FREE