Get theatrical 

Even though television and movie producers are pouring millions of dollars into advertising campaigns promising an exciting array of dramas and comedies for this fall, local and regional theater artists still believe that there’s nothing quite like the live performance experience. They know that despite the Hollywood bombast, there’s an audience breathlessly awaiting the new live theater season, and across metro Detroit performers are gearing up.

The Performance Network begins with a touching and funny look at relationships, sex, loss and love in The Maiden’s Prayer (opens Sept. 22), and continues with Wit (opens Oct. 27), a Pulitzer Prize-winning play that asks profound questions about the value of wit in the face of life and death.

Proving it’s not hesitant to tackle plays with unusual themes of social significance, Detroit Repertory Theatre’s season includes This Blood’s for You (opens Nov. 2), a dark comedy about a career criminal on death row who’s being considered as a candidate for organ harvesting.

Showcasing African-American playwrights, the Plowshares Theatre Company is usually a guarantee of good performances that should not be missed, especially when the artistic voice of diversity is often lacking elsewhere in the theater community. Its season gets hoppin’ with the Fats Waller revue, Ain’t Misbehavin (opens Nov. 9).

Just in time for the presidential election season, Planet Ant Theatre presents a dark comedy, The House of Yes (opens Sept. 21), a story of family dysfunction, obsession and presidential assassinations.

The Fisher Theatre is always good for a big Broadway musical; this fall they present the critically acclaimed Annie Get Your Gun (opened Sept. 12).

Meanwhile, the Masonic Temple Theatre showcases a more unusual musical, delivering a Blast (opens Oct. 3). Combining the showmanship of outdoor pageantry with classical, blues, rock and jazz music, Blast could be unique.

Although Shakespeare may be done to death, Meadowbrook Theatre seems determined to put a different spin on it, incorporating the distinct physicality of Walk and Squawk’s ensemble to Macbeth (opens Oct. 19). They’re starting the season with a version of Brian Friel’s well-known play Dancing at Lughnasa (opens Sept. 13).

While much of the upcoming theatrical season seems to hint of theater as usual, several inclusions are leaning toward performances off the beaten path. And given the level of acting and directing in and around Detroit, probably all will be worth leaving the multiplex cinemas and TV rooms for. Paula Farmer writes about theater for the Metro Times. Send comments to

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