Small Theaters, Big Shows: Local Plays in the D
By: Ryan O'Bleness
September 15, 2014
Dramas and plays are some of the oldest forms of entertainment around, yet are still amazing to watch. That old cliché, “an oldie, but a goodie,” can be applied to this form of good, old-fashioned fun. When you think about the work these actors put in to flawlessly execute a live performance, then one must admit it is certainly impressive.
There are a ton of great shows and theaters around Metro Detroit. As a matter of fact, Detroit is the second largest theater district in the United States, with 18 professional theaters and a ton of smaller venues. Outside of Broadway, Detroit has the most theater seats east of the Mississippi River. Of course, you would have already known this if you read my fun facts about the Motor City article back in April.
We all know about the Fox Theatre, Fisher Theatre and Detroit Opera House, but there are a lot of smaller, local theaters around not only Detroit, but in the entire metropolitan area. Let’s take a look at some, as well as highlight some upcoming shows.
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill, located at 50400 Cherry Hill Rd., in Canton (what’s known as Cherry Hill Village) puts on many plays, poetry events, concerts and more. It is where community theater groups Spotlight Players and Spotlight on Youth present several productions. The next play presented by the Spotlight Players is “The King and I,” which will be this weekend. Shows begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. There will also be a spoken word event this Friday at 6 p.m., entitled “If you Knew Me” read by local youths. Check out the upcoming events to see if anything catches your eye. As a Canton resident, I should definitely take advantage of this theater more often.
The Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, doesn’t even seem to be a quarter of a mile away from my place of employment, so this is another one I could easily visit! Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” parts one and two will be shown on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and some Mondays until Sept. 29. Part one and part two will be shown individually on most days, but you are able to see both parts on Saturday, Sept. 27. Click here for the schedule. “Angels in America” has won a Tony Award for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize in the category of drama. The Ringwald opened up its eighth season earlier this month and has plays and shows scheduled through June 2015.
City Theatre resides at 2301 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. It may be more well-known than the others on the list, but as a big fan of the “Evil Dead” movies, I felt compelled to inform you that “Evil Dead: The Musical” plays 13 shows from Oct. 1 through Oct. 25. It is the fifth season of Sam Raimi’s 1980s cult classic horror movie. The City Theatre is one of Detroit’s smaller venues, with 430 seats, but that makes it a more intimate experience! Several other shows will follow, including “Driving Miss Daisy” from Friday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 2.
Barefoot Productions Theatre, located at 240 N. Main St., Plymouth, is slightly different than the rest, as its shows are performed within a storefront. However, it puts on several plays, musicals, special events and more. It is actually a 501c(3) nonprofit organization. Its next show is “The Lights are Warm and Coloured” by William Norfolk from Friday, Oct. 17 to Sunday, Oct. 19 and again from Friday Oct. 24 through Sunday Oct. 26. The play follows Lizzie Borden several years after her murder trial. Several other shows and events take place after that. If acting isn’t your thing, but you would like to help out this nonprofit, there are several ways to get involved!
Avon Players Community Theatre sits at 1185 Washington Rd. in Rochester Hills, along the banks of Stoney Creek. It is led by a nonprofit community theater group, fittingly called the Avon Players. The Avon Players was founded in 1947 and puts on several productions every year! If you saw the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks, chances are high that you enjoyed it. So check out the play version at the Avon Players Community Theatre, which runs until Saturday, Sept. 20. If you can’t make it, consider checking out the holiday classic “Miracle on 34th Street” on Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 28 through Dec. 13. The ever popular board game, “Clue” starts in late January as well! These all sound like great shows to me.
There are so many theaters in Metro Detroit, all with great people, entertaining shows and a whole lot of fun. If there is a theater closer to you, you should definitely take advantage!