REVIEW: Oakland University’s ‘Seagull’ Dives Deep Into Human Nature

I am sure at one point on my journey to obtain my English degree years ago that the works of Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904) and I crossed paths. To be honest, I really don’t remember, which is why I welcomed the opportunity to attend the opening night performance of the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s production of one of his seminal works, Seagull, under the direction of Lynnae Lehfeldt and translated by Curt Columbus. Divided into four acts, the story unfolds in the … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Avon Players’ ‘Marvin’s Room’ Embodies Hope and Healing

After ending 2018 on a high note with the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Avon Players Theatre kicks off the second half of their season with the emotional Marvin’s Room. Written by Scott McPherson and inspired by his own experiences as a caregiver, most people are probably more familiar with the 1996 film adaptation by John Guare starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton, and Meryl Streep. While I never saw the movie, I had a vague notion of what the story was about, and as I sat in the … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Avon Players’ ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ Inspires and Enthralls on an Epic Scale

At first blush, The Hunchback of Notre Dame seems like an odd choice for a holiday play. Especially when you consider past Avon productions such as A Christmas Story, Forever Christmas, and Miracle on 34th Street have much more overt seasonal messages. However, as the story unfolds it becomes clear that this play is absolutely perfect for this time of year with its message about kindness, love, and the need for refuge in an all too chaotic world. And if that’s not enough to sway you, then … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Oakland University’s ‘Lysistrata Remix’ is Rooted in History and More Relevant Than Ever

  After the season-opening success of Into the Woods, the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance closes out 2018 with another philosophical tale: the Greek comedy Lysistrata—with a few modern enhancements. Originally written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes in 411 BCE, Lysistrata takes the war Athens and Sparta are waging with each other and gives it a comedic tenor. The women want peace and their men back home on a full-time basis. Using salacious wit and a bit of … [Read more...]

REVIEW: ‘Into the Woods’ Takes the Audience on a Magical Journey Filled with Laughter and Introspection

  Before heading to the opening night production of Into the Woods presented by the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance, I learned the entire opening weekend is sold out. And I want to assure you, after the performance I saw, the hype is well justified. Actually, this is not my first viewing of Into the Woods this year. Earlier in the spring another local college performed it on a massive stage with wonderful costumes and props. But in all honesty, I barely remember … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Meadow Brook Theatre’s ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ Concocts the Right Blend of Mayhem and Merriment for a Killer Show

Elaine Harper: Have you gone crazy? Mortimer Brewster: No. But it’s only a matter of time. As Michigan’s Answer to Broadway, Meadow Brook Theatre opens its 53rd season by infusing high-energy hilarity into the 80-year-old classic, Arsenic and Old Lace. And judging by the reaction of the well-heeled crowd on Thursday night, this production is in for a crazy good run. When you mention Arsenic and Old Lace to most people, they are likely to recall the 1944 movie starring Cary Grant and Peter … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Avon Players’ ‘Steel Magnolias’ Dishes Up Sass and Southern Hospitality

  When it comes to southern women, there’s either the notion they are overly genteel (sipping sweet tea on their porches) or like Scarlett O’Hara (prone to theatrical hysterics). But those who have spent any amount of time living in the south know that while the women certainly do have a penchant for manners, they can also be tough as nails and are not to be crossed; like Leigh Anne Tuohy in the movie The Blindside. And it’s this juxtaposition that perfectly describes the ladies of Steel … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Avon Players’ ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ Transcends a Typical Love Story

From real-life tragedy to comedy and even murder, Avon Players has taken audiences on an exciting journey during its 2017-2018 season. Now, for their curtain call it’s time for one final road trip that leads to The Bridges of Madison County. Over 25 years ago, readers fell in love with the book and soon after came the movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. While both these versions were wildly popular when they were released, I confess I never read the book or saw the movie. In … [Read more...]

REVIEW: ‘The Three Little Pigs’ is Great Family-Friendly Fun

Perfect for kids and kids at heart, the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s latest production, The Three Little Pigs, A Very Curly Musical Tale is pure joy to watch. Under the direction of Lynnae Lehfeldt, with musical direction by Jamie Reed, and choreography by Rachel Constantino, the talented cast brings the music by George Stiles and book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins and HONK!) delightfully to life. The Three Little Pigs is a story we all know well, but … [Read more...]

REVIEW: Pick Up and Go See ‘Hands on a Hardbody’ at Oakland University

Timing is everything. When Hands on a Hardbody arrived on Broadway in 2013, it ran for just 28 shows before the curtain came down. Many probably mused at how a musical about 10 down-on-their-luck Texans trying to win a truck was even relevant. Well, a lot can change in three years, and the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance couldn’t have picked a timelier subject to bring back to the stage. Based on true events and a 1997 documentary of the same name, the story centers … [Read more...]