Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
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ACT introduces holiday dinner production

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    Mallory Avnet, left, is Mistress Page, Liam Loomer is Sir John Falstaff, and Christiana Moyle is Mistress Ford in the University of Michigan's presentation of 'The Merry Wives of Windsor.'


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    Jeffrey Albright and Marissa Rex star in 'Unchained,' one of three short plays staged Saturday by Actors Collaborative Toledo.

    Jeremy Allen

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    Josh Silver, Patrick Boyer, Dennie Sherer, Angela Bylicki, Sue Dessner. In background Madge Levinson.

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    Patrick Boyer, Angela Bylicki.


Actors Collaborative Toledo debuts a new idea for celebrating the holidays Saturday. On the menu for the festive evening are three short plays plus hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and the sweet ending of dessert.

“We wanted to do something different and had talked about doing more of a revue, a cabaret,” said Jon DuVall, a founding member of ACT. Tickets for the event are sold out.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Guests enter Pam’s Corner, 116 10th St., and move into the Common Space of the Davis Building with the presentation of the first two works, Unchained, by local playwright Tanner DuVall, and Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Time for mingling, hors d’oeuvres, holiday punch, and wine will be available before and after the productions. All of the evening’s food is provided by Pam’s Corner.

Unchained, featuring Jeffrey Albright and Marissa Rex and directed by Elizabeth Cottle, centers on a woman visiting her aging father, who is suffering from dementia but can remember playing the ghost of Marley in A Christmas Carol. His daughter is hoping to break the chains of the past.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales, a classic that recalls memories of Christmas from a child’s point of view, features Mark Owen, Michael Schmitz, Bob Welly, Brandie Culbreath, and Liane Golightly, and is directed by F. Scott Regan.

The evening continues in Pam’s Corner with the performance of The Road to Nineveh, a play by Le Wilhelm, and dinner, including gourmet grilled cheese, soup and salad, and dessert.

“I’m very excited about the dinner theater concept,” DuVall said. “Instead of a progressive dinner party, it will be a progressive theater experience.”

In The Road to Nineveh, a traveler meets a waitress working in a small-town diner on Christmas Eve, and the two lonely people discover what they have in common. 

The performance is directed by Carol Ann Erford and features Greg Kissner, Reina Lauffer, and Tom Hofbauer.

The evening fits ACT’s mission, DuVall said; it is thought-provoking and he hopes it will spark discussion and reflection.

“We believe theater can change perceptions and understanding of the human condition,” he said.

‘Merry Wives’

Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, featuring one of his most memorable characters, Sir John Falstaff, will be presented by the University of Michigan department of theater and drama Thursday through Sunday in the Power Center for the Performing Arts in Ann Arbor.

Falstaff, in need of money, comes up with a plan to collect the needed funds by pursuing two women with rich husbands, but problems begin when he sends the women identical letters.

“Supposedly Shakespeare wrote the play in 14 days, and some critics say it shows,” said director John Neville-Andrews, a professor of theater and drama. “This play has received a great deal of derision over the years — considered intellectually slight, having little or no depth to the characters — just a bunch of country bumpkins posing as middle class.

“I have to respectfully disagree with all these critics. I think Shakespeare has given us a play of true comic depth; he bestowed upon us a gallimaufry of rich, vibrant characters who possess individual and hilarious personalities and who energetically demonstrate a lust for life.”

Performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Power Center for Performing Arts, 121 N. Fletcher St., Ann Arbor. 

Tickets are $30 and $24 for reserved seating. They are available by calling 734-764-2538 or visiting music.umich.edu. Ticket availability is limited.

Tune in

Tree City Playhouse, a theater program of the Sylvania Community Arts Commission, presents It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Church 3TwentyOne, 5845 Centennial Rd., Sylvania.

Joe Landry’s work presents a live 1940s radio broadcast, telling the story of idealistic George Bailey as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.

The cast includes Patrick Boyer, Angela Bylicki, Sue Dessner, Kari Duffy-Shrader, Larry Farley, Madge Levinson, Keith Ramsdell, Dennie Sherer, and Josh Silver. Dave Nelms is the director.

Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 seniors and students, and $8 for children 12 and younger from sylvaniaarts.org, 419-517-0118, or at the door.

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