1515 Broadway, Detroit
Though you might not know it, 1515 Broadway has been a 115-seat black box theater in Detroit for more than 15 years. It also accommodates a small café and occasionally serves as a gallery. The theater produces locally written and produced plays and is a favorite spot of small touring companies, several of which focus on gay themes (a surprising number of shows contain full male nudity). Located directly across Broadway from the Detroit Opera House; their schedule has been sporadic over the years, so call first.
Oct. 1-2: Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad
Sept. 30–Oct. 10: NoSuch Group presents Laura’s Bush, a benefit for MoveOn.org, by Jane Martin
Abreact Performance Space
442 E. Lafayette, Detroit
313-378-5404 • 313-443-5802
The Abreact is the closest you’ll get to Greenwich Village-style off-Broadway theater in Detroit. Located near Greektown, with the hustle and bustle of the Greektown Casino and the surrounding bars and restaurants just below, patrons walk up a dark stairwell to a loft, which is actually home to the owners — their kitchen, living room and bedrooms are part of the “lobby.” A cozy, makeshift theater, it seats about 50 people comfortably on old couches and wooden chairs. The Abreact produces plays by local writers, as well as works from Mamet, Shepard and Bogosian, favoring the dark, macho worlds that attract Detroit area artists, philosophers and musicians. Though the productions aren’t always technically clean, you will always see strong acting and young directors learning the craft in a setting that caters to free experimentation with no threat of compromise. Abreact is always free, donations requested.
Sept. 24-Oct. 16: The Adventures of Captain Neato-man by Timothy Scott Harris and Space Fuckers by Mike McGettigan
Nov. 12-Dec. 10: Monologues by Eric Bogosian
Date TBA: Metamorphosis
3424 Woodward Ave., Detroit
The Bonstelle is a beautiful historic theater just a few miles north of the Fox on Woodward Avenue. It’s the home of the undergrad program of Wayne State University’s department of theatre and, according to some, Jessie Bonstelle’s ghost. Lily Tomlin and Tom Sizemore learned their craft on this stage. Because of the educational nature of this theater, you never know what you’re going to experience, except young, eager talent directed by area actors and professionals. Tickets are only $12-15 and the runs are just two weekends.
Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 5-7 A Flea In Her Ear by Georges Feydeau
Dec.10-12 and 17-19 Anne Of Green Gables adapted from the novel by L.M. Montgomery
Jan. 21-23 and 26-30: Metamorphoses based on the Myths of Ovid. Written and directed by Mary Zimmerman
March 4-6 and 11-13: Anna Lucasta by Philip Yordan
April 22-24 and April 29-May 1: Evita music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice
Detroit Repertory Theatre
13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit
The Detroit Repertory Theatre is arguably the most daring of theaters in Michigan since the demise of theater at the Zeitgeist. Their mission statement is the clearest, staunchly advocating interracial casting, and respecting its neighborhood by keeping theater affordable and relevant. Though sometimes the scripts have been questionable, other productions have been some of the most powerful theater produced in Michigan. No theater in the area nurtures indigenous artists like this one. If you’ve never been, go now — you’ll be surprised by this cultural oasis off Davison. Free, fenced-in, guarded parking. Tickets are always $17. Make reservations well in advance, the theater sells out nearly every show.
Nov. 4-Dec. 26: Coming To Life by June August. With a special performance on New Year’s Eve.
Jan.13- Mar. 20, 2005: Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage
Mar.31- May 22, 2005: Byrd’s Boy by Bruce Robinson
Jun. 2-26, 2005: Hannibal in the Alps by Michael Dinwiddie
3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit
The Fisher Theatre is Detroit’s source for big touring shows from New York, seating over 2,000 audience members in an ornate setting. Decades ago, it was the venue to see the premieres of Hello Dolly! and Fiddler on The Roof. Rarely will you be enlightened, but you will almost always be entertained. You won’t see local artists at work here, just big, recognizable productions from national touring companies. Tickets: $25.50 - $69.50
Sept. 8-12, 2004: Camelot
Oct. 12-31, 2004: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Nov. 2-21, 2004: The Full Monty
Nov.30-Dec.12, 2004: Evita
Jan.11-30, 2005: The King and I
Feb. 8-27, 2005: Disney’s On The Record
May 17-22 and May 31-Jun. 12, 2005: Little Shop Of Horrors
333 Madison Ave., Detroit
The Gem and Century Theatre is a beautiful 100-year-old building. Like the Fisher Theatre, rarely will you see a play that makes you think, but unlike them, you will see native actors and technicians at work. The Gem has the reputation of breaking run records with Escanaba in da Moonlight and currently with Menopause: The Musical. The building itself was also a Guinness Book of Records holder as the heaviest building (5.5.million pounds) ever moved on wheels, after Illitch forced the theater out of its Comerica Park location. Make reservations early. Tickets: $34.50 - $39.50.
At the Century Theatre:
Nov. 9 – Dec. 31, 2004: Forbidden Christmas
At The Gem Theatre:
Open-ended run: Menopause: The Musical
Hastings Street Ballroom
715 E. Milwaukee, Detroit
The Hastings Street Ballroom is housed in a charmingly rough-edged warehouse on Milwaukee amidst mostly industrial buildings. An intimate yet spacious theatre, Hastings is adjacent to the Tangent Gallery, and one of the few theaters in the area that offers cabaret seating. The theater has a relaxed and welcoming vibe, and plays hots to everything from traditional plays to music festivals.
Oct. 1-24: Entertainer Zero Machine: A Cyber Peep-Show Lyric of Illigitimate Theater written by Ron Allen and directed by John Jackery.
Nov. 19-Dec. 19: Wizard of Oz. A Planet Ant Theatre production directed by York Griffith.
April 15-May 8: Manny and the Mirror: A Rock Opera. A Planet Ant Theatre production, written by Chris Korte and Dan Roth, and directed by York Griffith.
4743 Cass Ave., Detroit
The Hilberry Theatre is the graduate theater of Wayne State University. A decade ago theirs was one of the top 20 theater programs in this country, and their current company might bring them back to that select fold. This is true repertory theater, meaning multiple shows are in production at the same time, and actors play different roles in the various plays. Many from this company stay in Michigan to work after receiving their MFA, and many have become nationally known after their training here. Tickets: $10 Student Rush, or $13-$17. Check the schedule for exact dates and times.
Oct. 8-Nov. 13: Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward
Oct. 22-Dec. 18: The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
Nov. 19-Jan 29: Mother Courage and her Children by Bertolt Brecht
Jan. 7-Feb. 22: Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller
Feb. 4-Mar. 31: I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick
Mar. 4-May 5: Henry IV, Part I by William Shakespeare
Apr. 8-May 14: Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw
500 Temple Ave., Detroit
The Masonic Temple seats over 4,000 people in another historic building. Like the Fisher, it hosts out-of-town touring shows from New York. If you didn’t see Phantom the last times it was at Masonic, here’s another chance.
Oct. 5-10, 2004: Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
March 2-26, 2005: Phantom of the Opera
April 26-May 15, 2005: Hairspray
Meadow Brook Theatre
Oakland University Campus, Rochester Hills
Though Meadow Brook is on the campus of Oakland University, it is not a university theatre. This is Michigan’s largest professional theater, employing Michigan artists, actors and technicians. After a change in management in the recent past, it has slowly begun steering away from safe shows and has begun producing plays that sometimes challenge its Oakland County audience. Tickets: $20-$36
Aug. 25-Sept. 19: Golf, The Musical by Michael Roberts, with the original New York cast.
Oct. 13-Nov. 7: Art by Yasmina Reza
Nov. 26-Dec. 15: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jan. 5-30: Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
Feb. 9-March 6: Private Lives by Noel Coward
March 16-April 10: And Then They Came For Me: Remembering The World Of Annie by
April 20-May 15: And The World Goes Round by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Planet Ant Theatre
2357 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck
The Planet Ant is a tiny professional black box theater in the heart of Hamtown. You’ll see classics, Shakespeare, absurd theater, locally written plays and locally directed sketch and improv comedy. It’s the unofficial new home for Second City alumni while the company awaits its move to Novi. Tickets: $5-$15 Call for times.
Sept. 17-Oct. 10: Waking The Witch directed by Kate Peckham
Oct. 1-Oct. 9: Preview of Usher by John Sousanis
Oct. 29-Nov. 28: The Shape of Things by Neil Labute and The Plastic Happy written and directed by Joel Mitchell
Nov. 12-Dec. 19: Planet Ant at the Hastings Street Ballroom: The Wizard of Oz
Dec. 17-Jan. 9: Original Comedy Show #15 directed by Margaret Edwartowski
Dec. 31-Feb. 20: Planet Ant Late Night Series: a one-act comedy, written through improv.
Jan. 28-Feb. 20: Untitled Parts 1: The Architect and The Storyteller written and Directed by Eric Maher
Feb. 11-19: Original Drama #1 directed by Nate Dufort
March 18-April 10: Usher by John Sousanis
April 1-9: The Teachings of Don B. adapted and directed by Maureen Bierman
April 15-May 8: Planet Ant at Hastings Street: Manny and the Mirror: A Rock Opera by Chris Korte and Dan Roth
May 13-June 5: Original Comedy Show # 16 directed by Shawn Handlon
May 27-June 4: Planet Ant Late Night Series : a one-act comedy written through improv directed by Topher Owen.
Plowshares Theatre Company
2870 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit
Plowshares is a professional company devoted to theater about the African-American experience. It’s one the largest African-American theater companies in the United States, and home to many talented local actors and playwrights. It produces necessary and poignant theater for a city that is predominately African-American. Tickets are $15-$30; Thursdays are two-for-one admission.
All performances are at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History unless otherwise stated.
Oct. 7-31: How High The Moon: Sarah, Ella & Pops by Janet Choe
Nov. 26-Dec. 26: He Is Christmas by Gary Anderson. Based on the gospels related to the birth of Christ .
Feb. 23-Feb. 27 at the Music Hall: Paul Robeson by Phillip Hayes Dean
March 31-April 24: The Story by Tracey Scott Wilson
May 19-June 12: Spunk by George C. Wolfe. Adapted from three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston. Original music by Chic Street Man
July 21-Aug. 7: Crowns by Regina Taylor.a
The Second City
Fountain Walk Center
44325 12 Mile Road, Novi
After over 10 years at its downtown Detroit location, The Second City is in the process of moving to Novi. Grand opening in January, exact date TBA.Send comments to [email protected]