#keepingfamiliesclose – Let’s go $5K for the FIFTH year of my birthday fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor

LINK TO 2021 FUNDRAISING PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/donate/674960266804808/?fundraiser_source=external_url

Want to join me in supporting a good cause? From now until my birthday on December 28, I’m raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. This will be my fifth year of doing this birthday fundraiser for RMHCAA. Last year you helped us raise over $4000. Shall we go $5K for year 5? I think we can! I’m honored to be an RHMCAA board member but I’m even more honored to help support this incredible mission.


The mission of the Ann Arbor Ronald McDonald Houses is to provide families of children experiencing a serious illness or injury requiring hospitalization or treatment on an outpatient basis, a “home away from home” that assists in alleviating the families’ emotional and financial stress.


Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to the nonprofit.


#keepingfamiliesclose

“These are your ghosts. Not mine.” King Richard, Belfast, and House of Gucci

Belfast

The world has been so upside down for so long that it’s hard to reconcile what “normal” even is anymore … if there ever was a “normal” in the first place. For my family, Thanksgiving wasn’t really much about turkey (vegetarianism tends to hamper the typical American holiday diet) or large gatherings (if you met my extended clan you’d understand). Rather, we typically were cloistered away in the dark comfort of the cineplex – sometimes taking in as many as three movies in a row, much to the chagrin of my father’s aching back and wallet. Tickets are expensive enough, but you’ve never seen us hit that concession stand!

2021 has been rough. It hasn’t been the sweet relief from 2020 all had hoped it to be. I lost my beloved mother, but her spirit is with me every day. I’ve lost track of what letter of the Greek alphabet this virus and its endless variants have adopted as nomenclature. I feel sadder and fatter and more exhausted than ever in my life. There have been bright spots, sure, but I feel myself aching for the mundane joys of life circa 2019 (and earlier) more and more.

King Richard

Hell, writing this blog entry is both comforting and daunting. I crave the click of the keys under my fingers, barely keeping pace with the popcorn thinking in my addled brain. Yet, I also feel like someone has asked me to enter an Olympic pole-vaulting competition as I stare at this blank screen.

My wonderful dad and I started some new traditions this year, with an eye toward our past. We met up with new pals for lunch (try the Lucky Moose/Turtle if you’re in Fort Wayne, Indiana – wonderful atmosphere and service and a menu that goes on for days, including many veg-friendly options), and we rekindled some longstanding friendships (Phyllis and Scott Gates are lovely, loving, lively hosts with a cocktail and appetizer array that deserves a Michelin star). And, yes, we finally got back into the movie theatre, safely masked and distanced with hand sanitizer at the ready. We skipped the concession line, though, for multiple and obvious reasons, and my father’s wallet breathed a sigh of relief.

Thanksgiving collage … with pics of new addition Hudson for good measure

We caught up with three marvelous films over the holiday. As I have the unfortunate habit of forcing patterns that may or may not actually exist on random collections, it was clear, at least to me, that King Richard, Belfast, and House of Gucci – taken together – explore, dissect, and celebrate the power of family – the good, the bad, the ugly, the essential, and everything in between.

King Richard covers the developmental years of tennis aces Venus and Serena Williams and the fierce commitment of their parents Richard and Brandi. This is Will Smith’s best work in years as he imbues Richard with a haggardly leonine focus that walks the fine line between Great Santini-esque obsession and Mister Rogers“you can do anything as long as you’re having fun” positivity. I guarantee you’ll never look at tennis shorts and knee-high athletic socks the same way again!

Aunjanue Ellis is an understated marvel as mom Brandi, a fine counterpoint to Richard’s relentless push, filling in the humanity where Richard’s parenting falls short. Jon Bernthal is a delight as endlessly exasperated yet mindfully hopeful coach Rick Macci. His Dorothy Hamill-ish bob deserves an Oscar. The film – never a bore and consistently entertaining – ends where it should, at the beginning of Venus’ pro career and offers unassailable proof of the foundation to success that involved parenting provides.

In Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical Belfast, the parents play a similar yin-yang role in their children’s lives. Jamie Dornan (shedding all the ooky kink of his Fifty Shades of Grey days) and Caitriona Balfe are on the razor’s edge of heartbreak, their idyllic neighborhood torn asunder by the Protestant/Catholic “troubles” in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. The push-pull of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs hangs over the picture, as Dornan’s character urges the family to leave for greener pastures, and Balfe struggles with her husband’s profligacy and not losing the creature comforts of family and friends sharing child-rearing duties.

Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds are akin to a warm, woolen, slightly scratchy blanket as Dornan’s ever-present parents, and Jude Hill is a luminous find as the young protagonist Buddy, golden child of the family. Filmed in lush black and white, the film is a throwback to coming of age fables set against the backdrop of cultural turmoil like To Kill a Mockingbird, at times a bit too artsy for its own good, but leaving the viewer with a poignant, optimistic gut punch as the family finds its legs again.

“These are your ghosts. Not mine,” Maurizio Gucci (a compelling Adam Driver deftly balancing giddy nebbishness and aloof austerity) declares to his father, Gucci fashion empire scion Rodolfo (a miscast Jeremy Irons, desperately in search of an Italian accent by way of Downton Abbey), a spectre who lives hopelessly in the past. Ridley Scott’s fizzy, haunting House of Gucci exposes the dark underbelly of family survival: love and admiration that curdles into resentment and maneuvering. Much has been written (unfairly) about the film and its script, claiming it’s a loose amalgamation of riffs last seen on Dynasty and Dallas. Hogwash. That isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of escapist disco-era glitzy materialistic fun to be had, though.

And, no, Lady Gaga – who is incredibly nuanced and infinitely watchable as Maurizio’s ambitious, brilliant, tortured wife Patrizia – does not sound like Natasha of Bullwinkle fame. I was fine with the accents and mannerisms throughout the cast, Lyons notwithstanding. Italia! (I’ve never seen so many cigarettes smoked or espressos drunk in my life.) Pacino is in fine form as swaggering yet bedraggled Aldo Gucci, and a thrillingly unrecognizable Jared Leto is heartbreaking comic relief as Aldo’s dingbat-yet-deeply-misunderstood child Paolo.

But the star of the show is Gaga – she continues the stunning movie star path she began in A Star is Born, commanding the screen like Liza Minnelli or Susan Hayward, vibrating with the fiery frustration of a woman who knows the way ahead but can’t quite reach past the male egos around her. Like Liza, her eyes can flare from limpid to enraged in a nanosecond. I’d watch her read the phone book at this point.

Family defines us, shapes us, inspires us, frustrates us, comforts us. These three films unpack in beautiful form how one reconciles individuality in the face of such influence. Highly recommend them as a triple feature. Popcorn, candy, and soda pop optional.

Holiday postscript … in the spirit of new traditions

LINK TO FULL PHOTO ALBUM: https://lnkd.in/e_A5CyUM … It’s the hap-happiest season of all. In part because I sort of dust for once in anticipation of putting up our mammoth tree, at which time I spend HOURS nestling what seems like 1,000 ornaments amidst its branches. I know some might go for aesthetics or theme in their holiday decor. But we’re not much on restraint. No, we go for nostalgia.

Every well-loved, slightly tired knickknack or ornament we unearth reminds us of happy times – and a few not-so-happy – but all essential. Yes, John and I have ordered a personalized stocking for Hudson (on its way). And, no, we don’t want to think about packing all this holly jolly away in a little over a month. We shall just enjoy the season as the world spins nuttier and wilder every day.

And thanks, Don and Corinne, for this nifty shirt from Sechler’s Pickles, Inc., reputedly the purveyors of Frank Sinatra’s fave gherkin. Alas, Frank didn’t accompany today’s festive shenanigans – but Jennifer Nettles, Kylie Minogue, and Taylor Swift kept us humming (and singing) along. Happy holidays!

And thank you, Lori, Andrew, and Gabby – between you all and my mom Susie, you account for about 90% of those thousand ornaments on our tree! ❤️

And shameless self-promotion post-postscript …

THIS THURSDAY AT 3 PM ET …

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/155057871244919/posts/4648251118592216/?d=n  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB7GvGtRrX0

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6871173503022964736/

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is back this Thursday to kick off December with host Roy Sexton and his guest, Scott Lawrence, the man responsible for Roy’s professional headshots. Did you know that Roy moonlights as a superhero? He has the headshot to prove it, thanks to Scott!

Roy and Scott will talk about the fine art of personal and professional branding and how having a range of headshots is essential in this glittering age of digital marketing. Different audiences require different looks and styles to create lasting engagement.

Scott observes, “I believe people hire people, so you must use a professional image that reflects who you really are. … I’m a headshot photographer with a business background. Get noticed with an authentic professional headshot. Leave your selfies behind. I work with individuals in customized sessions. We discuss your personal brand and craft an image that sends just the right message to your followers – both professional and personal. I also help large organizations to properly highlight their people – the most valuable asset.”

Join us Thursday, December 2nd at 3 PM ET right here on Facebook

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

Gaga for Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Gail Lamarche and I talk about the power of empathy, authenticity, and family on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk – PLUS one more weekend to “Sing Happy!”

VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/KatesMedia/videos/1499275900428916/


I love my brilliant, kind, creative friend Gail Porter Lamarche. She shared her wisdom and wit with me and a strangely absent Rob Kates on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk today. We discussed the importance of authenticity, the magic of #music and fabulous parenting, the benefit to firms of marketers who engage the community, how much we love Legal Marketing Association – LMA International, the fabulous learning and connection at LMA21, the power of digital thought leadership, how to coach attorneys to network with intentionality, Norman Love Confections, Theatre Nova, taco Tuesdays, beloved furbabies, and more. And how proud we are of ass-kicking Laura Toledo!


Shout outs to beloved family, friends, and colleagues include Nancy Leyes Myrland, Gina Furia Rubel, Heather Morse-Geller, Lindsay Griffiths, Megan McKeon, Kelly MacKinnon, John Byrne, Ross Fishman, Don Sexton, Nancy Slome, David Ackert, Passle, James Barclay, Tommy Franz, Kevin Iredell, Maggie Stuart Watkins, Adrian T Dayton, and more!

LINKEDIN: https://lnkd.in/g4wDRzBT

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/155057871244919/posts/4557471034336892/?d=n

YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/1x1bIcz6X0E

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

Clockwise from top left: Justin Scott Bays, Roy Sexton, Elizabeth Jaffe, Diane Hill, K Edmonds, John DeMerell, Kristin Clark

Just FOUR more chances to see SING HAPPY! http://www.theatrenova.org Come hear the music play – through Sunday!

This celebration of the work of Broadway’s famous duo, Kander and Ebb, features a star-studded ensemble of singers, who take the stage with showstoppers from CABARET, CHICAGO, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, and many others. Directed by Diane Hill, with music direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, SING HAPPY! is not just a musical revue. It’s a show that ultimately weaves a tale of strength and determination, one we can all relate to in these times.

AUDIENCES AND CRITICS ALIKE LOVE SING HAPPY!

From Pulp Magazine:
While the show leads off with the encouraging “Sing Happy” from Flora the Red Menace, the show’s best moments are the wistful, introspective, and sad songs. The singers come and go throughout the 70-minute revue with no intermission. The tentative story they tell is one of guarded hope, which seems appropriate to our current situation.

Photo by Sean Carter

Director Diane Hill keeps it simple and the singers respond with performances that grasp the conflicting emotions that are at the heart of Kander and Ebb songs.

Photo by Sean Carter

John DeMerell brings a meditative quality to his rendition of “I Don’t Remember You,” a song about a once-close relationship that now seems lost forever. Justin Scott Bays brings more heat to a plaintive yearning for a lost love in “Sometimes a Day Goes By.” The two voices sing in counterpointed empathy.

Photo by Sean Carter

Perhaps the best-known song in this mood is the comic sad “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago. Roy Sexton sings the mournful tale of a man who wonders how invisible he seems to be. Kander’s music is a shuffle and Sexton glides across the stage making like a sad, dancing clown.

Kristin Clark brings that wistful quality to “Colored Lights,” another song about what might have been.

Photo by Sean Carter

K Edmonds brings her big voice and expressive face to a rollicking showstopper from Chicago, “When You’re Good to Mama,” a warning to inmates about how things work on the inside.

Photo by Sean Carter

Elizabeth Jaffe has fun with a sassy celebration of a daytime lover in “Arthur in the Afternoon.”

Photo by Sean Carter

Theatre Nova is alive and it wants to stay alive and offer a chance for everyone to come and see fresh, new, exciting plays at a reasonable price. In the music and words of Kander and Ebb, “what good is sitting alone in your room, come hear the music play, life is a cabaret, old chum, come to the cabaret.”

READ THE FULL REVIEW

From first weekend audiences:


“What a fabulous evening of song! The energy level was high and the numbers flowed seamlessly one to another. I especially enjoyed seeing Kristin and her mom sing together. So great to be back to live theatre, and I appreciate the precautions you’re taking to make everyone feel safe.”

Photo by Sean Carter

“The show was yet another reminder of all the fabulous talent we have in our area. Great Performances, wonderful show.”

“Delightful show! Heartfelt and accomplished singers. Enjoyed every song.”

My dear friends Colleen Fowler and Nikki Horn

Pulp Ann Arbor’s rave review of Theatre NOVA’s “Sing Happy!”

Photo by Sean Carter

I’m on Cloud 9! Thank you, Hugh Gallagher and Pulp!

Lovely review of Theatre Nova’s #SingHappy! Excerpt: “Director Diane Hill keeps it simple and the singers respond with performances that grasp the conflicting emotions that are at the heart of Kander and Ebb songs. … Perhaps the best-known song in this mood is the comic sad ‘Mr. Cellophane’ from Chicago. Roy Sexton sings the mournful tale of a man who wonders how invisible he seems to be. Kander’s music is a shuffle and Sexton glides across the stage making like a sad, dancing clown.”

Read the rest here: https://pulp.aadl.org/node/581566 🤡❤️🙌

SING HAPPY! music by John Kander and Fred Ebb with musical arrangements by R. MacKenzie Lewis, a Theatre NOVA Fundraiser

A fundraiser for Theatre NOVA and presented in concert, Sing Happy! is a celebration of the work of Broadway’s famous duo, Kander and Ebb. An ensemble of singers will take the stage with showstoppers from “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and many others while weaving a tale of strength and determination. Directed by Diane Hill, Music Direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, Sing Happy! features Justin Scott Bays, Kristin Clark, John DeMerell, K Edmonds (The Revolutionists, The Devil’s Music), Diane Hill (The Lifespan of a Fact, A New Brain, Follies in Concert, Admissions, The How and the Why, The Stone Witch, The Totalitarians, and The Revolutionists), Elizabeth Jaffe (The Elves and the Schumachers), and Roy Sexton (Follies in Concert). LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

October 28 – November 7, 2021 – Single tickets: $30 at https://www.theatrenova.org

THIS THURSDAY! Fab Gail Lamarche joins us on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk + ONE MORE WEEKEND to “Sing Happy!” with Theatre Nova

Tune in Thursday, November 4th for a brand new Legal Marketing Coffee Talk featuring host, Roy Sexton, and his guest, Gail Lamarche, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

The incomparable, effervescent Gail Lamarche was one of Roy’s very first “LMA fairy godsisters,” adopting him when he was new to the Legal Marketing Association ten years ago. Their close friendship, love of laughter, and keen interest in the power of digital and social marketing will fuel what is sure to be a wide-ranging chat. Gail is Henderson Franklin’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. Over her 14 year career with the firm, she’s helped them see the value of social media. Gail is a guest blogger and speaks to various groups on the use of social media in professional services. Oh, and her signature gifts are the artistically edible Norman Love Confections … if you’re a good kid, maybe she’ll send you some!

Prior to joining Henderson Franklin, Gail worked in the marketing department of Devine, Millimet & Branch, P.A., a prominent New England regional law firm. Gail previously served on LMA’s Social Media Shared Interest Group Leadership Committee, and has presented at three of its national conferences. For over a decade, she also served as a member of the Southwest Florida Seminole Booster Club. Board of Directors. Blending her two passions, she has served on the Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic Committee for over a decade, raising funds for the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Tune in Thursday, November 4th at 3:00 PM ET

LINKEDIN: https://lnkd.in/g4wDRzBT

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/155057871244919/posts/4557471034336892/?d=n

YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/1x1bIcz6X0E

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

We had a wonderful opening weekend for Sing Happy! at Theatre Nova. My father’s *objective* review: “5 GIANT STARS!!!!! Not only are the voices terrific/ the song choices perfect/the pacing excellent/the entire cast is gorgeous❤️ If you miss this show you’ve missed the best Ann Arbor has to offer. Okay, I’m Roy’s dad but you do know parents can be real hard-sses😎on their kids.”

SING HAPPY! music by John Kander and Fred Ebb with musical arrangements by R. MacKenzie Lewis, a Theatre NOVA Fundraiser

A fundraiser for Theatre NOVA and presented in concert, Sing Happy! is a celebration of the work of Broadway’s famous duo, Kander and Ebb. An ensemble of singers will take the stage with showstoppers from “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and many others while weaving a tale of strength and determination. Directed by Diane Hill, Music Direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, Sing Happy! features Justin Scott Bays, Kristin Clark, John DeMerell, K Edmonds (The Revolutionists, The Devil’s Music), Diane Hill (The Lifespan of a Fact, A New Brain, Follies in Concert, Admissions, The How and the Why, The Stone Witch, The Totalitarians, and The Revolutionists), Elizabeth Jaffe (The Elves and the Schumachers), and Roy Sexton (Follies in Concert). LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

October 28 – November 7, 2021 – Single tickets: $30 at https://www.theatrenova.org

Performance photos by Sean Carter

From Theatre Nova: We’re pleased to introduce the all-star cast of SING HAPPY!

“Sing Happy!” opens October 28!!

These talented actors are in rehearsal now!

(counter-clockwise from top left)

Justin Scott Bays is excited to be making his debut on the Theatre NOVA stage. Mr. Bays has performed with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, West Edge Opera, and Toledo Opera. He has participated in the iSing! and Toledo Opera Young Artist Programs. Some of his favorite roles include the Emcee in CABARET, Nicely-Nicely Johnson in GUYS AND DOLLS, Malcolm in THE FULL MONTY, and Gordon Michael Schwinn in A NEW BRAIN. Justin has not only a love of performance, but he also has a great appreciation for coffee.

Kristin Clark is thrilled to be making her debut with Theatre NOVA after many seasons in the audience as the proud daughter of Diane Hill. Particularly at home on the classical concert stage, Kristin made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall in 2015, and she can be heard as Electre on the NAXOS recording of Milhaud’s L’ORESTIE D’ESCHYLE, which was nominated for a GRAMMY for best operatic performance. Kristin completed her doctorate in vocal performance at the University of Michigan and is currently a professor of voice and chair of the music department at Adrian College.

John DeMerell is ecstatic to be back Live on stage again and is excited to make his Theatre NOVA debut with this wonderful fundraiser! Some of John’s favorite musical roles consist of Billy Bigelow in CAROUSEL, multiple roles in I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, Dan in NEXT TO NORMAL, and the role of his life so far, Don Quixote/ Miguel de Cervantes in MAN OF LA MANCHA, which garnered him his first Wilde Award. Favorite dramatic roles include McMurphy in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, Selridge in BILOXI BLUES, and Valmont in LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES. 

K Edmonds is a multi-faceted performer whose stage credits include performances in Jeff Daniel’s ROADSIGNS and WILLOW RUN, both at the Purple Rose Theatre, Bessie Smith in DEVIL’S MUSIC and THE REVOLUTIONISTS, both at Theatre NOVA, GOOD PEOPLE at Open Book Theatre, AIN’T MISBEHAVIN‘ at Performance Network Theatre and RUINED at Plowshares Theatre. An accomplished musician, award-winning director (Boxfest Detroit 2011), and actress (Wilde Awards 2020), K is also an alum of Second City Detroit. She’s thankful of the support from her mother and inspired by her daughter and so many performers she’s been blessed to work with throughout her career.

Diane Hill has performed at many Michigan theatres including the Fisher Theatre, Meadow Brook, MOT, Detroit’s Gem Theatre, Purple Rose, Tipping Point, Encore Musical Theatre, Croswell Opera House, Open Book, and The Ringwald. She won Wilde Awards for Best Actress for WIT and THE HOW AND THE WHY, along with other acting awards for ‘NIGHT, MOTHER and I DO! I DO!  Favorite roles include Diana in NEXT TO NORMAL, Margaret in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA and Sherri in ADMISSIONS. Theatre NOVA audiences have also seen her in THE REVOLUTIONISTS, TOTALITARIANS, THE STONE WITCH and FOLLIES IN CONCERT.

Elizabeth Jaffe is excited to be back at Theatre NOVA where she was last seen in THE ELVES AND THE SCHUMACHERS. Favorite credits include Queenie in THE WILD PARTY (Wilde Award/Best Actress Musical) at the Dio Theatre, The Witch in INTO THE WOODS (Wilde Award/Best Supporting Actress Musical) at Flint Repertory Theatre, Lady of the Lake in SPAMALOT at Encore Musical Theatre, and Sally in CABARET at the Dio. Special thanks to the NOVA team for making this happen, her loving and supportive family and friends, her wonderful and caring husband Ken, and her new adorable and magnificent baby, Noah!

Roy Sexton has spent 25+ years “on the boards,” winning BroadwayWorld Detroit’s Best Actor Musical ‘17 (Ann Arbor Civic’s MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD). He authors the blog reelroyreviews.com, which also inspired two books. Roy is Director of Marketing for Clark Hill and serves on the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, Legal Marketing Association (international president elect), Mosaic Youth Theatre boards. He was recently named one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ 2021 “Notable LGBTQ Leaders.” He thanks Diane for revisiting what was originally suggested five years ago to Penny Seats by his mother Susie Sexton, who passed away in August.

Many shows are selling out!
GET TICKETS TO SING HAPPY!

Want to see all shows and save with Flex Tickets or Subscriptions?
SUBSCRIBE NOW!

As we reopen, the thing on everyone’s mind is “is it safe?” Here are the safety precautions we’re taking to ensure patron and artist safety, and do our part to mitigate the spread of Covid:

1. All artists and staff are fully vaccinated.
2. All personnel not on stage are required to wear a mask inside the building at all times.
3. All actors who are unmasked during the show will take a quick-response Covid test once a week.
4. All patrons are required to be fully vaccinated. Please bring your vaccination card or a photo or scan of it.
5. All patrons are required to wear a mask inside the building. Surgical masks will be available at the door for $1.
6. Two bathrooms (one upstairs) will be available for patrons.
7. High touch surfaces are wiped down after every performance.
8. Unvaccinated patrons will not be admitted.
9. According to Actors Equity guidelines, a ventilation audit is performed once a year.
10. Tickets will be sold at 50% capacity to allow for social distancing between parties.
11. We will not be selling concessions.

Policies are subject to change at any time, in accordance with fluctuating local, state, and federal guidelines. Please check our website for updates before attending.

As always, parking is free! But the parking lot is much nicer!
Gone are the days of dust and gravel. Our beautiful new parking lot awaits you!

Tickets remain at 2019 prices!
We’ve kept our prices affordable, with pay-what-you-can tickets available for all shows for those who need them.

*2019-2020 season subscribers will receive a credit for the shows they missed due to the mandatory shutdown in 2020.

Only child super powers activate! LMA Exec Director Danielle Holland joins us on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk

View on Facebook: https://fb.watch/8vb5IN8hqA/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robkates_legalmarketingcoffeetalk-legalmarketing-lmct-activity-6851210961630691328-bj9Q

YouTube: https://youtu.be/4ne2FhvGL30

ONCE I got my internet (sort of) squared away, Rob Kates and I had a delightful chat with Legal Marketing Association – LMA International Executive Director Danielle Holland. There may be show-tunes.

We DEFINITELY discussed opportunities and challenges of leading in a crisis, the magic that is the LMA community, the power of building a great team, DEI, only child super powers, going to kindergarten in penny loafers, telephoto lenses, “sweep buses,” horse shows, marathons, Chicago fashion, cheerleading, gratitude, statement necklaces, and #LMA21 annual conference in two weeks.

Shout outs abound including Kelly MacKinnon, Jill Mason Huse, Brenda Plowman, Andrew Laver, Jaime Lira, Jessica Aries, Amy Payton Verhulst, Dianne Rychlewski, Cynthia Voth, Jay Majitov, Kelly Bache, Ashley Stenger, Gia Altreche, Gina Furia Rubel, “Sing Happy,” Theatre Nova, Diane Hill, Hudson, BarkBox, Adopt A Pet of Fenton, Michigan, and more. Enjoy!

This Thursday, 10/7 at 3 pm ET, Legal Marketing Association Executive Director Danielle Holland joins yours truly on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk … PLUS Detroit Legal News coverage of the State Bar of Michigan’s upcoming “The Business of the Law Firm” symposium (whew!)

View on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/155057871244919/posts/4473119939438669/?d=n

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robkates_legalmarketingcoffeetalk-legalmarketing-lmct-activity-6851210961630691328-bj9Q

YouTube: https://youtu.be/4ne2FhvGL30

Tune in Thursday, October 7th at 3:00 PM ET!

Roy Sexton’s guest for this week’s LMCT is Danielle Holland, Executive Director of the Legal Marketing Association. Join us for a fun and enlightening hour to hear Danielle’s thoughts on the future of the Association, current priorities, the challenges of pandemic leadership, and how she’s embraced our legal marketing family. Roy and Danielle have that “only child” thing in common, too – so this should be lively!

Danielle’s early career was in various strategic communications roles in Washington, D.C., including press secretary for several U.S. Congresspersons, and also communications director for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. She later moved into leadership positions at such associations as AARP and the Insured Retirement Institute, and most recently as president and CEO of the Financial Managers Society.

In an interview with Attorney at Law, Danielle observed, “One of the primary benefits of becoming actively involved in the Association are the opportunities to network and learn from other experienced members who have diverse backgrounds and skill sets. The connectivity naturally leads to greater professional development, exposure to new ideas and ways of working, and more success on the job.”

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

Thank you, Mark Rossman and State Bar of Michigan for the opportunity to present at their January “The Business of the Law Firm” symposium! Thanks also to Tom Kirvan and Detroit Legal News for this wonderful coverage: http://legalnews.com/detroit/1503983/.

Proud to be joining Clark Hill colleagues Linda Watson and Jonathan Martone as presenters.

EXCERPT from article: “In addition, [Max] Goss will be moderating a roundtable ‘with some great minds on branding and marketing law firms,’ Rossman noted. The panel will include such marketing strategists as Roy Sexton of Clark Hill; Jasmine D. Rippy, Esq. and Ameena R. Sheikh, Esq. of Ladies in Law; Mary Ann Sabo of Sabo PR; and Tyler Cady of CP Solutions.

‘This is a powerhouse roundtable and I’m expecting some very exciting and useful concepts to be presented in a very creative and interesting way, and, importantly, how to respond to crisis when it arises.’ Rossman said. ‘Crisis is unpredictable by its very terms, and we need to know not only what to do, but who to call when it strikes. This is going to be a very useful discussion.’”

Theatre NOVA presents “Sing Happy!” music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, musical arrangements by R. MacKenzie Lewis Oct. 28 – Nov. 7, 2021

It’s been too long. I needed this. Thrilled to revisit a concept my mom Susie Sexton and dad Don Sexton first suggested to The Penny Seats five (!) years ago. They had an acclaimed award-winning run, if I recall. Honored to be able to appear in it this go ‘round. Such a phenomenal cast and crew. Thank you, Diane Hill. Love you! ❤️

Theatre NOVA presents “Sing Happy!”
music by John Kander and Fred Ebb
with musical arrangements by R. MacKenzie Lewis

Oct. 28 – Nov. 7, 2021

ANN ARBOR, MI (September 29, 2021): Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s resident nonprofit professional theatre presents a limited engagement of “Sing Happy!,” a celebration of the work of Broadway’s famous duo, Kander and Ebb.  

An ensemble of singers will take the stage with showstoppers from “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and many others while weaving a tale of strength and determination. Directed by Diane Hill, with music direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, “Sing Happy!” features Justin Scott Bays, Kristin Clark, John DeMerell, K Edmonds (“The Revolutionists,” ‘The Devil’s Music”), Diane Hill (“The Lifespan of a Fact,” “A New Brain,” “Follies in Concert,” “Admissions,” “The How and the Why,” “The Stone Witch,” “The Totalitarians,” and “The Revolutionists”), Elizabeth Jaffe (“The Elves and the Schumachers”), and Roy Sexton (“Follies in Concert”).

The production and design team includes Monica Spencer (scenic design), Jeff Alder (lighting design), and Briana O’Neal (stage manager).

For the health, safety, and well-being of our patrons, staff, and artists, COVID safety measures will be in place. All of the artists and staff participating in the season are required to be fully vaccinated, and patrons must bring proof of vaccination and wear a mask while in the building. Unvaccinated patrons will not be admitted. Tickets will be sold at 50% capacity to allow for social distancing between parties, and concessions will not be sold. This policy is subject to change at any time, in accordance with fluctuating local, state, and federal guidelines. Please check our website for our current policy before attendance. 

“Sing Happy!” will run for two weeks only, Oct. 28 through Nov. 7, 2021. Theatre NOVA is located at 410 W Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. General admission tickets for this limited engagement fundraiser are $30.

Tickets, memberships, flex passes, and subscriptions may be purchased online at www.TheatreNOVA.org. Tickets may also be purchased in person one hour before each performance. Seating in the theatre will begin 30 minutes before each performance. There is ample free parking, and quick access to the city’s restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops. New patrons can find Theatre NOVA across Huron Street from Ann Arbor’s YMCA, through a parking lot entrance on the north side of the street. For more information, visit www.TheatreNOVA.org.

Theatre NOVA is dedicated to raising awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and new playwrights in a diverse and expanding audience; and providing resources and outlets for playwrights to develop their craft, by importing, exporting, and developing new plays and playwrights.

John Kander is an American composer who has produced many well-known scores for the stage, television and film. He is best known for working with his musical partner, lyricist Fred Ebb. Kander was born in Kansas City in 1927. From a young age he played the piano and began formal music training at college, where he composed his first theater scores. After college he worked as a pianist for pre-Broadway musicals in Florida. Kander credits his big break as chancing upon the pianist for a production of “West Side Story” in Philadelphia. He was asked to stand in while the pianist went on holiday and, shortly after, he played for a production of “Gypsy” and was introduced to Jerome Robbins who asked Kander to write the dance arrangements for the show. In 1962, Kander had his Broadway debut with the musical “A Family Affair” and worked with producer Hal Prince. Although the show was not a success, it led to a successful future relationship with Prince. The following year, Kander was introduced to Fred Ebb and the pair began to write together. Their first song “My Colouring Book” was nominated for a Grammy Award. From then on, Kander and Ebb’s writing partnership grew and was consolidated with a string of musical hits. After a slow start with the Hal Prince musical “Flora, the Red Menace” (which featured a young Liza Minnelli making her Broadway debut), the pair wrote the musical “Cabaret” (1966). Their next big success came with “Chicago” (1975) and a fruitful collaboration with choreographer Bob Fosse. Both “Cabaret” and “Chicago” were made into hit films in the 1970s and 2000s respectively. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Kander and Ebb produced a steady stream of musicals with varying levels of popular success. 1990 saw the pair score another musical hit with “The Kiss of the Spider Woman.” His most recent show (without Ebb this time) is “Kid Victory,” which was produced off-Broadway in 2017. As well as his theatrical works, Kander has written the scores for several films and collaborated Ebb on the 1977 film “New York, New York,” as well as “Funny Lady” and “Lucky Lady” (1975). In addition to multiple Tony Awards, Kander and Ebb were made Kennedy Center Honorees in 1998, as well as receiving the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theater in 2000. In 2013 Kander received the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Fred Ebb – One half of the dynamic musical duo “Kander and Ebb,” Fred Ebb was born in New York City in 1928. In 1955 he graduated from New York University with a degree in English Literature; in 1957, he earned his Master’s in Literature at Columbia University. Ebb partnered with other composers before meeting John Kander. He worked with Phil Springer to write individual songs (notably “Heartbroken,” made famous by Judy Garland). Later, Ebb partnered with Paul Klein for his first musical theatre endeavor, the Broadway revue “From A to Z.” In 1962, Ebb met Kander. Their first book musical to hit Broadway was “Flora the Red Menace” starring Liza Minnelli. Their next collaboration was “Cabaret” in 1966 (the 1972 film starred Minnelli). The duo went on to have a widely successful career, including many collaborations with directors such as Bob Fosse and Hal Prince: “Chicago” (1975), “Woman of the Year” (1981), “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1993), “The Visit” (2001). The pair’s last collaboration was “Curtains” (2006), a musical murder mystery. Unfortunately, Ebb died suddenly of a heart attack before it was finished. The pair’s last complete collaboration, “The Scottsboro Boys,” premiered in 2010. After Ebb’s death, the Fred Ebb Foundation and its award was established. The award is given to aspiring musical theatre writers – including Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, who won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Book of a Musical for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (2014).

Diane Hill (Director) was founder and Artistic/Executive Director of Two Muses Theatre, a nonprofit, professional theatre in West Bloomfield. There she performed in and directed many plays and musicals each year and did the work of technical director, publicist, sound designer, webmaster, and graphic designer for every production. Diane was a professor at University of Detroit Mercy and Oakland Community College, where she originated and designed the Theatre degree program. She has a Ph.D. in Theatre from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in Theatre from the University of Michigan. She previously taught high school drama and music in the public school system (Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor) for 20 years. Diane has additionally produced and directed shows for professional theatre companies including Breathe Art Theatre Company in Detroit, Opus Mime in Ann Arbor, Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield, Tipping Point Theatre in Northville, and Heartlande Theatre Company in Detroit. Diane has been a Producing Artistic Director at Theatre NOVA since 2017. At Theatre NOVA, she produced several Michigan Playwrights Festivals, directed “Clutter” (Wilde Award Best New Play), “Follies in Concert,” “Whatcha Doin?,” “The W.I.T.C.H,” and shares with her cast and design team the Council Cargle Award for Excellence in Diverse Storytelling for directing “Kill Move Paradise.” Diane also produced all the Zoom projects since the shutdown, including the Zoom Play Festival and the pro shot filmed version of “A New Brain.”

R. MacKenzie Lewis (Music Director/Musical Arrangement) is composer and music director for EMU’s School of Theatre Arts, and lecturer and accompanist with its School of Music and Dance. Some favorite projects include orchestrating/music directing the national tour and Off-Broadway premiere of “The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical,” orchestrating/music directing “Gypsy” at the Hangar Theatre in New York (Broadway World Award: Best Music Direction); music directing “A Little Night Music” at the Performance Network in Ann Arbor (Wilde Award: Best Music Direction and Best Musical); music directing “Legally Blonde” as a guest artist for MSU (Pulsar Award: Best Music Direction); composing “Irrational” (Wilde Award: Best New Script); associate music directing the workshop of “Romance in Hard Times” with William Finn at the Barrington Stage Co.; composing music for “Mockingbird” (two Helen Hayes nominations), “Wings of Ikarus” and “Jason Invisible” – all of which were commissioned and premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. He also composed the musicals “Video Games: The Rock Opera,” “Treasure Island,” “Pinocchio,” “Soaring on Black Wings” – world premiere with Ben Vereen, and all of Theatre NOVA’s Pantos.

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FACT SHEET

WHO:

Cast:
Justin Scott Bays
Kristin Clark
John DeMerell
K Edmonds
Diane Hill
Elizabeth Jaffe
Roy Sexton

Production Team:
Director: Diane Hill

Music Director: R MacKenzie Lewis

Set design: Monica Spencer

Lighting design: Jeff Alder

Stage Management/Props: Briana O’Neal 

WHAT:
“Sing Happy!” music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, musical arrangement by R. MacKenzie Lewis

Theatre NOVA, 410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 Box office: 734-635-8450, 

Tickets: $30

ON THE INTERNET:

www.TheatreNOVA.org   

http://www.facebook.com/theatrenova  

http://www.instagram.com/a2theatrenova/ 

https://twitter.com/TheatreNova

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

SING HAPPY! an evening of music by Kander and Ebb
October 28 – November 7, 2021

Fri., Oct. 28, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night 

Sat., Oct. 29, 8:00 p.m.  

Sun., Oct. 30, 2:00 p.m.  

Thurs., Nov. 4, 8:00 p.m.  

Fri., Nov. 5, 8:00 p.m.  

Sat., Nov. 6, 8:00 p.m.  

Sun., Nov. 7, 2:00p.m.

Thank you, Don Lee for hosting me on your show #Shift2Growth! High energy, high impact, high fun

YouTube: https://youtu.be/P2ayKjm6YAE

Thank you, Don Lee, for having me on as a guest, for your joy and insight, and for always being so open-minded and open-hearted ❤️. Don writes …

Thank you Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing at Clark Hill Law for joining me on the #Shift2Growth show, where we talk to the worlds best marketing leaders to gain #insights, #strategy and #execution on what the best of the best are doing!

We had a great discussion on what cool #projects Roy is working on with his clients. We spoke about #valueaddedservices , #brandbuilding, #accountbasedmarketing, #legalmarketing, #insightsanddata , #differentiation , #courage and his favorite tool Sprout Social, Inc.

Thank you, Roy Sexton, for sharing your wisdom and passion!

To grow your organization contact Don Lee at dlee@chiefoutsiders.com

P.S. and thank you, Deborah Farone, for these lovely tweets … 🥰🥰🥰