Ann Arbor’s Penny Seats Theatre Company is set to open its seventh season this year, with four shows, the largest season the company has ever attempted. Through an operational support grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, the company has expanded its offerings and will have a year-round presence.
First up in February is Sing Happy!, a celebration of the work of the famed songwriting duo, John Kander and Fred Ebb. Kander and Ebb wrote some of the most beloved musicals of all time, including Chicago, Cabaret, and others. Sing Happy! will feature well-known favorites and hidden gems from the famed songwriters’ catalogue as the performers explore matters of the heart. Directed by Thalia Schramm with Music Direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, this show arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day, and will be presented in a dinner theater format in partnership with Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor.
The Penny Seats’ 2017 Summer Season will again feature two shows, running back-to-back in Ann Arbor’s West Park. In June, the group is proud to present the world premiere of Renaissance Man, a farcical look at Macbeth, as told by the workers at a Renaissance Faire. Renaissance Man tells the hilarious story of a hard-working Knight who dreams of transforming his beloved Faire, though his ambition proves unpopular among his co-workers. The show is the work of Michigan’s award-winning playwright Joe Zettelmaier, who will direct it himself.
In July, the group will present Peter and the Starcatcher, the daring and sweet prequel to J. M. Barrie’s beloved Peter and Wendy. A play (with music), the show is based on the 2006 novel of a similar name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play opened on Broadway in 2012, receiving critical acclaim and Tony Award recognition, including a Best Actor statue for Christian Borle. The Penny Seats production will be directed by Phil Simmons, who serves on the theatre faculty at Eastern Michigan University.
Finally, just in time for Halloween, the company will perform The Turn of the Screw, a two-person adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher (who also authored What Corbin Knew, performed in the Penny Seats’ second season) of Henry James’ well-known psychological thriller and ghost story.
Executive Director Lauren London observes, “This is our most ambitious slate to date. When we started this venture six years ago, while we had grand visions, I don’t think any of us could have foreseen such rapid growth or the kinds of artistic acknowledgement we’ve received from the Southeast Michigan theatre community. We received our first Wilde Award nomination [Paige Martin, Urinetown] as a company in 2016, and have seen tremendous expansion of the talent desiring to work with us. Our audiences continue to multiply, and we are busier than ever. I’m so proud of this company, our board, and all the artists and community members who continue to join this adventure.”
In fact, the Penny Seats recently added James Cameron to the Board to head up the group’s business development and corporate fundraising efforts. Cameron is a successful attorney and businessperson, having served as Managing Member of Dykema’s Ann Arbor office for a number of years. Cameron lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Linda.
Cameron comments, “I’ve been a long-time supporter of the Penny Seats, never missing a production. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be able to play such a crucial role in ensuring the ongoing success of this group and their outreach to the Ann Arbor community. The future is indeed bright for the Penny Seats.”
What: Sing Happy!: A Celebration of Kander and Ebb
When: February, 2017
Venue: Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
318 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Show Dates for Sing Happy!
Sing Happy! will run on February 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 at 7:30pm
–tickets: Online – $30.00 for dinner-and-show combo; $15 for show-only
Directed by: Thalia Schramm
Music Director: R. MacKenzie Lewis
What: Renaissance Man
When: June 2017
Venue: West Park
215 Chapin St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Show Dates for Renaissance Man:
Renaissance Man will run on June 15 ,16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, and July 1 at 7:00pm
-tickets: Online – $15.00 At the Door – $20.00
Directed by: Joe Zettelmaier
What: Peter and the Starcatcher
When: July 2017
Venue: West Park
215 Chapin St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Show Dates for Peter and the Starcatcher:
Peter and the Starcatcher will run on July 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29 at 7:00pm
– tickets: Online: $15.00 At the Door: $20.00
Directed by: Phil Simmons
What: The Turn of the Screw
When: October 2017
Show Dates for Turn of the Screw: TBD
ABOUT THE PENNY SEATS
We’re performers and players, minimalists and penny-pinchers. We think theatre should be fun and stirring, not stuffy or repetitive. We believe going to a show should not break the bank. And we find Michigan summer evenings beautiful. Thus, we produce dramas and comedies, musicals and original adaptations, classics and works by up-and-coming playwrights. We also provide cabaret shows, acting classes, and wacky improv evenings. And you can see any of our shows for the same price as a movie ticket.
If you’re interested in helping The Penny Seats have a great 7th season, then a SPONSORSHIP may be for you! Please contact Lauren London at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you/and or your company could receive free tickets to our shows, full-page ads in our programs and other wonderful benefits of being a sponsor!
For tickets, please visit our box office at http://www.pennyseats.org/box-office .
For more information, press interviews, photos or for press comps, please contact Lauren London, Penny Seats President at email@example.com or by phone at 734.846.3801