Your Subscription Makes an Impact

Purchasing a subscription for the Theatre and Dance at Wayne 2018-2019 season includes priority seating, free ticket exchanges, show swap, discounts for additional ticket purchases and invitations to exclusive events throughout the season.

Purchasing a yearly subscription is much more than just a ticket.

Subscription purchases also make up a significant portion of the department’s annual operating budget.

“I love interacting with our patrons,” said third-year MFA candidate, Brian Haven. “I especially enjoy meeting patrons who have been coming to shows at Wayne for years and hearing the stories they tell of the many shows and many company members they have seen go through the program.”

Performers, stage managers, and designers appreciate the support and dedication to the arts through subscribers’ attendance.

“A packed audience can provide energy that can greatly impact the performance,” said Haven. “They are such a valuable component to any live performance.”

Subscription funds aid students in their ability to explore, create and design in the classroom. Then take their work to the stage. Subscribers are directly contributing to building the next generation of theatre artists.

“Keep supporting the arts, but especially keep supporting the educational arts!” said fourth-year BFA student Patrick Roache. “You’re empowering the future of theatre here!”

Connecting the community through the arts works to support more than the theatre and dance department. It supports Wayne State University and the Detroit community.

“From faculty/staff to guest artists to my peers, the people have made such an impact on my life,” said Haven. “I hold a special place in my heart for my fellow graduate company members. We are a family that supports one another and help each other to grow.”

Your Subscription in Action

Rachel Smith is a fourth year BA theatre student who has performed in lead roles at the Bonstelle Theatre including Grandma in Harriet Jacobs, Women’s Leader in Lysistrata, and Paulette Bonafonte in Legally Blonde.

When asked how she has grown as an artist she replied, “I’ve reached a level of confidence that has allowed me to continually and unabashedly follow my dreams. I didn’t have that same sense of security before I came here. That feeling of being on the right path is invaluable.”

For Rachel seeing returning patrons’ faces is a positive experience. She loves the energy and liveliness audience members can bring to a performance.

“We are working for you! Putting our best foot forward as sort of a thank you for your support.”

Sister Act: The Musical

“The subscribers are what makes everything possible.”


Natalie Colony is a third-year MFA Lighting Candidate. She has been the lighting designer for Inspecting Carol, Raisin in the Sun, Alice in Wonderland and more!

She is grateful for being a part of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne and for the opportunity to really hone her craft in an open and respective environment.

“There is nothing more gratifying than knowing people return time and time again to watch your art,”

“Knowing that you want to come back and see live theatre and watch us grow as artists make the work we do that much more meaningful.”

Colony loves seeing returning patrons. She enjoys when audience members recognize her work and even start up conversations about her lighting choices.

“Gail and her husband remember me even though I’m never onstage,” said Colony. “They know which shows I’ve designed and they always have insightful questions about my art. I always am happy to see them and welcome them back to the theatre.”

Brian Haven is a third-year MFA Stage Management Candidate. He has been stage manager for Underpants, Clybourne Park, Twelfth Night, You Can’t Take it With You and most recently The Colored Museum and the 89th Annual Spring Dance Concert.

His work in the department of theatre and dance at Wayne has been highly valued.

“I have had many great experiences and opportunities to learn and work with many intelligent, talented, and wonderful people,” said Haven.

Wayne State theatre and dances hols a special place in many of the student’s hearts and audience members have a lot to do with the positive experience stage managers, lighting designers, actors, and directors have when working on graduate and undergraduate productions.

“I love interacting with our patrons. I especially enjoy meeting patrons who have been coming to shows at Wayne for years and hearing the stories they tell of the many shows and many company members they have seen go through the program,” said Haven.

Patrick Roache is a fourth year BA theatre student who has performed in lead roles at the Bonstelle Theatre including Jud in Oklahoma!, Men’s Leader in Lysistrata, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Warren Huntington III in Legally Blonde.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Over his undergraduate career, Roache has had the opportunity to participate in several productions on the Bonstelle and Studio Theatre stage. He has been a part of Motor City Cabaret for three years and study at the Moscow Art Theatre School through Wayne State’s study abroad program, Month in Moscow.

All of these opportunities have been supported by subscribers and returning patrons who support the arts in the Detroit and University’s community.

“Keep supporting the arts, but especially keep supporting the educational arts! You’re empowering the future of theatre here!”


We’re excited to welcome guest artist, Gelsey Bell to Wayne State University

Gelsey BellWe’re thrilled to have performer and vocal artist, Gelsey Bell to Wayne State University this week where she’ll lead workshops in Voice and Movement and Performing on Broadway with our current students.

Gelsey Bell is a New York City-based singer, songwriter, and scholar. Her performance creations have been presented internationally. She has released multiple albums. She was a 2017 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Music/Sound award and she is currently the Exploring the Metropolis Ridgewood Bushwick Composer-in-Residence. She is a core member of new music ensemble thingNY, performance collective Varispeed, and improv trio the Chutneys. Her works include ScalingOur Defensive MeasurementsThis Takes Place Close By (with thingNY), and Prisoner’s Song (with Erik Ruin). She originated the role of Princess Mary for Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (from Off-Off-Broadway to Broadway) and Pearl in Ghost Quartet. She is also known for her performances in Robert Ashley’s Crash, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River of Fundament, John King’s Micro-Operas, Yasuko Yokoshi’s BELL, Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens, and Gregory Whitehead’s On the Shore Dimly Seen, which incorporated her original vocal improvisations. She has a PhD in performance studies from New York University and is the Critical Acts Co-editor for TDR/The Drama Review and the Reviews Editor for The Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. She is currently finishing a book on American experimental vocal music in the 1970s.

Want access to amazing guest artists?  Consider furthering your education and training with a degree in Theatre or Dance from Wayne State University. Learn more.

Sister Act Fun Facts!

Sister Act: The MusicalAs the opening of Sister Act: The Musical approaches we thought it’ll be cool to share some fun facts about the show!

  1. Deloris as sister Mary Clarence was partially inspired by a real nun. Mother Dolores Hart was a Hollywood actress, singer, and dancer. She starred in movies like Where the Boys Are and King Creole. She became a nun and left the industry at 24 years old.
  2. There are two different versions of Sister Act: The Musical. One is set on Christmas Eve and Deloris wants to go to Philadelphia to become a star; this musical is performed on Broadway here in America. The second musical is already set in Philadelphia and is performed at the West End, which is like Broadway in London, England.
  3. Paul Rudnick, the writer of the movie, wanted it to be a drag comedy and thought a nun’s habit was close enough for drag for a woman.
  4. The musical originated in 2006 in Pasadena, CA.
  5. The musical was nominated for five Tony awards, including Best Musical, but sadly did not win any of them.
  6. Bette Midler was the original lead actress in the movie and not Whoopi.
  7. Carrie Fisher helped with re-writing the script.
  8. The actor who played the detective in the Sister Act movie is named Bill Nunn!
  9. The original character name was not Deloris, but Terri Van Cartier. It changed to Deloris because Whoopi wanted to play someone named Deloris.
  10. The original music was made by Alan Menken, an eight-time Oscar winner.

Bird Poop: Wild Style or Fashion Faux pas?

And no – this isn’t clickbait.

If you’re just as confused about the title of this article like most people are – don’t be. For years, avant-garde and head-turning trends have been the go-to look for designers and streetwear lovers alike. From the looks that just hit the runway at NYC Fashion Week, to style pieces that stand the test of time, it seems as though new trends are always emerging, and that doesn’t stop

Enter the use of bird poop – the fashion world’s lost salvation and only hope. As unconventional (and just downright gross) it may seem at first, it’s still the only thing that’s highly recognizable by the general public, albeit something that annoys the hell out of us when we see it on our car. The bird poop that’s being used is a lot less gross in practice; there’s a whole process designers have to go through to use it. Celebrities and internet personalities alike are embracing the trend, and we’ve provided some examples down below just in case you needed inspiration for your next look.

GOOD LUCK?! Why Bird Poop is a Sign of Hope in Disguise

I’m sure we can all agree that we’ve had our fair share of annoyance with bird defecation – it leaves a nasty stain on our cars and clothing, and any time birds are around, we’re instantly aware of their presence and hope that they don’t decide to use our clothes (or skin) as a toilet. It’s simply become a random, everyday occurrence and constant annoyance. How could anyone ever like it?

If you agreed with any of the statements I’ve said above, then it’ll come as just as much of a surprise to you when I say bird poop is actually a symbol of good luck. Believe it or not, there’s an entire mythical world behind the existence of and the importance of when a bird sh*ts on your car. If you’re a bit skeptical, keep reading.

For centuries, birds have always been, to a degree, mythical creatures; the Phoenix is an example of this in many cultures. Imagine, an animal able to simply spread their wings and glide across the sky with no issue keeping in sync formation with the birds around them.

Unfortunately, the price of being an airborne member of the animal kingdom is never knowing or having the appropriate means of defecation. Where would their waste go if they have no time to reach the ground to release it? Good enough for birds though, they’ve figured out the answer to that question long before humanity could even form adequate societies: give the humans good karma if they ever had a direct encounter with their droppings.

The main reason why we get mad at seeing bird poop “fly-by’s” is because of its unexpectedness and the annoyance brought on by the thought of cleaning it up. That doesn’t stop the Karma Gods from working, which in turn will bring you good luck and good fortune. With that being said, the next time you see bird poop in someone’s (or your own) hair, clothing, or windshield, don’t get mad – take a sigh of relief!

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Obituary: Lari the Seagull

Lari the Seagull died on March 1st in Detroit Michigan at the ripe old age of 41.

Quite the specimen, Lari had a wingspan of 63 inches, above average compared to his peers. At the age of 34, Lari was involved in a midair collision fracturing a wing and ultimately losing a toe. This led to big life changes in diet and exercise, causing Lari to drop from a heavy 3.2lbs to a gaunt 2.5lbs. He enjoyed showing off his adult plumage and newly slimmed figure, while wooing the ladies with his impressive wingspan and powerful squawk.

Lari is survived by his longtime companion Ani and together they have 16 children who all still live at home in their Motown Caesar colony, where Lari served as Chief Flight Pattern Commissioner for 15 years. Family will be receiving visitors for light fare and flight show as a tribute as Lari’s memory. The family asks that any donations of food (dead or alive) be made to their neighborhood colony or when flying by your local bird sanctuary.

For more information on Lari and those lives that he touched, check out Stupid F*ing Bird, playing in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry Theatre, March 1st – 31st. Please visit for more information.

“The Guide for Becoming Famous”

By: Nina

So you’ve decided you want to be famous. Well just follow these easy 5 steps and you’ll be on the cover of magazines, or acting, in no time!

#1 – Attach Yourself to a Bright Star


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Just standing next to someone powerful can help your status increase. Who is standing next to you? Is it a famous playwright, beloved by many, or a penniless writer who’s only excess is of empty pieces of paper? Maybe it’s a two degrees of separation situation. Do they have famous parents? Often times direct decedents of famous and legendary individuals don’t want to be in the public spotlight, but that doesn’t mean that their social presence has to go completely unnoticed.

#2 – Stalk your favorite celebrity

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Nothing says “I’m talented” like following another famous person’s every move. They love it when you call them at all hours of the day, send them unsolicited “notes”, and show up at parties and gatherings that you are not invited to. They have total control of casting for their new film and they are always ready to help people they don’t know get cast. If they resist, just pursue them harder. Everyone likes to play hard to get, and this is your future we’re talking about.

#3 – Make Your Own Online Videos

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It doesn’t take a genius (trust me) to record themselves and post it online. If you have don’t believe that, boy have I got the website for you! and media website like it have given anyone, and I do mean anyone, a platform to put any type of content (within reason according to website guidelines) out into the universe where is can be viewed by a neighbor or a person on the opposite side of the world at the exact same time. Finding fame is all about casting a wide net, so why shouldn’t it be a global one?

#4 – Get a Reality Show

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If you have the ability to take the online video to a new platform, try an actual show! Some would say that getting a reality show would be reaching the top of fame. I agree with those people, but for a select few it can actually serve as a stepping stone to bigger things. With the wide range of “realities” being put into the universe, there is no lack of “interesting” things that can land you your very own show. The only thing you have to be good at, is being your authentic self. What are you good at doing that is generally appropriate for families? Film it and put it online. There is a good chance that you’ll risk friends and family relationships along the way, but if they’re not helping you up, then they are holding you back.

#5 – Audition

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Not the strongest recommendation, but hitting the pavement and auditioning is sometimes a successful way of making it big. You never know when you will impress a casting director and earn a legitimate part in their show. This is the least reliable method when it comes to striking it big, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. A quick word of advice: make sure all auditions are held in public and that an actual script is ALREADY written.

5 Ways to Recover from a “Fly By”

There you are, minding your own business walking through the park or under a tree and “BLOOP”, you feel a slight tap on the top of your head as if being touched by some higher power. When you reach up to meet that comforting touch, you quickly discover that this was not some divine interaction, but quit the opposite. Your touch is met with a slimy, and somewhat gritty substance that seems to have already woven itself into the fibers of your hair. What do you do? Here are five ways to recover and move forward after the “incident”.


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This may seem like the most extreme reaction, but if you’ve ever been in the path of “falling good luck”, you know that it’s a texture and feeling that you can’t soon wipe from your memory. Like an Etch A Sketch*, sometimes it’s better just to wipe the slate clean and start over. Make sure to cur your hair short, before taking a razor to the whole “canvas”.

*Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy that uses two knobs to create solid lines and ultimately terrible images.


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Don’t be fooled. What starts as a simple grainy liquid will quickly turn into a thick paste as it dries, but once it does, it will be much easier to clean. Attempting to remove wet bird poop will likely result in a bigger mess. Scrape off all the excess bird droppings living beneath the underlying spot. Then summon all your best chemistry skills and mix a solution of two cups cool water and one tablespoon of dish soap. Using a clean cloth (not that any cloth could be dirtier than what you are trying to remove), blot the area until the liquid is absorbed. Follow up by a rinse with white vinegar and blot with a second clean, and not bird dropping stained cloth.

Extra Tip: If you can use a microfiber cloth for the dabbing process, you won’t have to stress about leaving lint behind.


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This shouldn’t come as a shock, but if you get bird poop in your hair the best thing to do is wash your hair as soon as possible. I know, I know, groundbreaking. What happens though if you can’t jump in the shower right away? As with your clothing, that pesky liquid will quickly turn into a thick paste and then harden. If you’ve found yourself with crunchy hair, first soak your hair in warm water to loosen up those clumps. After you’ve softened up the “contents” start by shampooing your hair and make sure to build up a good lather. Let the shampoo sit in your hair for a few minutes and then take a fine tooth comb and carefully run it through your hair a few times. If I were you, I’d do that once or twice or until you don’t feel disgusting anymore.


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It’s a long standing superstition that getting pooped on by a bird is good luck. This may just be something that people wanted to tell themselves after a horrific, wrong place at the wrong time incident, but the legend has long stood the test of time. What better way to turn a frown upside down than winning a million dollars? Now, it’s not guaranteed you are going to hit the jackpot, but with odds at one to 175 million, a person could use all the help they can get. I can only guess there are studies that are diligently trying to link lottery winnings to bird droppings, but I am left to believe the science is still out. So why not try to look at the bright side of things? Hellen Keller had a quote “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow”. Just don’t think too much about what could have happened if you had been looking up when the feces began to rain from the sky.


#5 – RUB IT IN

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The is a very small group of aestheticians out there that believe bird poop may actually be beneficial to your skin. Known for paying and doing almost anything seemingly stupid creative to look younger, the New York Times published an article reviewing the Shikuza Day Spa which incorporated droppings into high priced facials. To explain the reasoning for this I’ll share a quick (and I mean quick) history lesson. Centuries ago, Japanese entertainers were damaging their skin with high lead levels in their white makeup. They began using nightingale droppings because the enzymes were thought to break down the dead skin. If that wasn’t enough, poop contains guanine, which supposedly shines the skin as well. One catch: the droppings are first sanitized under ultraviolet light and then mixed with Rice Bran to help exfoliate and brighten. I’d probably prefer to shave my hair before this option, but to each their own!

The Bonstelle Theatre: Serving Detroit for 115 Years Today!

Did you know that on this date in 1903 the first services of Detroit’s Temple Beth El were held in what is now known as the Bonstelle Theatre?

Thanks to a Facebook user and the the Historical Detroit Area Architecture group, we can share several photos of the rich architectural history of the Bonstelle.

From Wikipedia

When Rabbi Leo M. Franklin first began leading services at Detroit’s Temple Beth El in 1899, he felt that the construction of a new temple building on Detroit’s “Piety Row” stretch of Woodward would increase the visibility and prestige of Detroit’s Jewish community.Accordingly, in October 1900, the congregation held a special meeting at which it was decided to build a new temple. A site for the new temple was purchased in April of the next year, and Albert Kahn, a member of the congregation, was hired to design the building. Groundbreaking began on November 25, 1901, with the ceremonial cornerstone laid on April 23, 1902. The first services were held in the chapel on January 24, 1903, and the formal dedication was held on September 18–19 of the same year.

After Temple Beth-El relocated to another space in 1922, Jessie Bonstelle purchased the building and converted it into the Bonstelle Theatre. The remodeling was done by architect C. Howard Crane in 1925 and renamed the Bonstelle Playhouse. In 1928, the Bonstelle Playhouse became the Detroit Civic Theatre, and in the 1930s became the Mayfair Motion Picture Theater. In 1951, Wayne State University rented the building as a performance space for its theater company, and purchased it outright in 1956, renaming it the Bonstelle Theatre in honor of Jessie Bonstelle. [source]


You can visit the Bonstelle Theatre next on March 1 and 2 as we present our 89th Annual Spring Dance Concert and again from April 13 to 22 with Sister Act: The Musical. Click each title for performance schedule and tickets!

Images from Indiana University’s Building a Nation: Indiana Limestone Photograph Collection and from the Burton Historical Collection, circa 1902.


Celebrating Our Alumni – Peter Van Wager

Our alumni are always astounding us with their remarkable success. For example, you can catch Peter Van Wagner‎ (Hilberry company member, 1977-1980) in The Post as Harry Gladstein, opposite Meryl Streep. Mr. Van Wagner is also finishing a run of Rachel Bond’s play Curve Of Departure at Studio Theatre in Washington DC. (pictured) Check out Studio Theatre’s website for information and be sure to catch Mr. Van Wagner on the silver screen.

Photo from Curve of Departure. Pictured: Ora Jones, Justin Weaks, and Peter Van Wagner.