Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · OTP plans a dazzling season
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OTP plans a dazzling season

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2008
Look for plenty of sizzle on the stage this year at Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City, which is bringing in some of America’s hottest contemporary plays.
The lineup includes the Vegas-flavored laugh-fest of “Nunsensations!,” the edgy urban satire “Urinetown,” the musical version of “The Producers,” the perennial favorite “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and a cross-dressing comedy, “Leading Ladies.”
“We’re very excited about our season and artistic direction this year,” says Phil Murphy, OTP executive director. “This year we decided to be a little more contemporary and have plays that are new up here and haven’t been seen before. The only exception is ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ which was staged 25 years ago.”
Murphy notes that “The Producers” has only now been released to community theaters across the country after its seven-year run on Broadway. “I think we’re the first playhouse in Michigan to stage the play, which is a big coup to get the rights as early as we did.”
Speaking of rights, the licensing rights to stage this season are sky-high. To stage “The Producers,” for instance, OTP must pay $18,000. Then it’s $14,000 or more for “Urinetown,” and $11,000 for “Nunsense,” but a mere $1,500 each for “Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Leading Ladies,” which are
“The licensing rights for non-musicals are quite reasonable, but musicals cost an arm and a leg because everyone wants to do musicals and everyone wants to see them,” Murphy says.
In fact, that dynamic is why tickets are so crazy-expensive on Broadway these days, where seats go for as much as $450 each.
But Murphy is confident that the strength of this year’s season will pull OTP through with its expenses. He adds that it’s also easier than ever to order tickets, thanks to a new on-line ordering system at www.oldtownplayhouse.com. Season tickets are currently available for all five shows for $90.
Look for a gritty line-up of dramas in the downstairs Studio Theatre as well, with season tickets available at $27 for three shows (listed below). Murphy says that playgoers can expect some surprises here in the years ahead in that increasingly, playwrights from around the country are approaching OTP to produce their original works.
Want to have it all? For $115, you can obtain a season ticket package that buys all eight shows being staged in 2008-2009. Again, order at www.oldtownplayhouse.com, or drop by the box office. Here’s the rundown on what’s playing:

MainStage Theatre
Following is a run-down on this year’s season, provided by Old Town Playhouse:

Nunsensations! • Sept. 5-27

The Nunsense Vegas Revue takes the sisters on a new adventure. When a parishioner volunteers to donate $10,000 to the sisters’ school if they will perform in a club in Las Vegas, Mother Superior is hesistant to accept. However, after being convinced by the other sisters that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Reverend Mother agrees. What follows is the most feather-filled, sequin-studded, fan dancing Nunsense show ever.
Performing in “The Pump Room” at the Mystique Motor Lodge, the sisters experience “show-biz” like never before.
Urinetown, the Musical
Nov. 7-29

“Urinetown” is an earnest tale of love, greed, and revolution. The show is set in a town plagued by a 20-year drought, where water has become so scarce that private toilets have become unthinkable. At the mercy of a single dominating corporation that maintains a monopoly on the town’s public amenities, the destitute citizens must pay towering taxes and fines to carry out their most private and basic of needs.
A hero rises to lead his fellow citizens against the tyrannical regime. Drawing from “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” and “Les Misérables,” among others, the show pays irreverent homage to the great American musical theatre tradition. Hilariously funny and honest, “Urinetown” provides a fresh perspective on one of America’s greatest art forms.
The show is the winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critic’s Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, and two Obie Awards.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Jan. 16-31
Prisoner Randle Patrick McMurphy declares himself insane so he’ll be transferred to a mental institution, which he believes will be more comfortable than the jailhouse. But McMurphy soon finds that his ward in the asylum is run with an iron fist by the domineering Nurse Ratched.
McMurphy flexes his individualist muscle in the ward, making a name for himself and causing trouble for the staff. During his stay he attempts to breathe life, masculinity, and individuality back into the submissive and emasculated patients, including the Chief, a tall, deaf-mute Native American. When Nurse Ratched’s tyrannical rule drives one of the patients to suicide, McMurphy takes action, with dire consequences.

The Producers • March 6-28
Mel Brooks’ cult comedy classic involves a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant, who come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history thereby bilking their backers (all “little old ladies”) out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit!
The antics of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom as they maneuver their way through finding a show (the gloriously offensive “Springtime For Hitler”), hiring a director, raising the money and finally going to prison for their misdeeds is a lesson in broad comic construction.

Leading Ladies • May 8-23
Forget love -- what the world needs now is laughs. That’s the creed of playwright Ken Ludwig. Taking as his theme one of the theater’s oldest and surest laugh-getters -- guys in dresses -- Ludwig adds some fresh twists and a few genuine surprises.
Ludwig’s heroes (heroines?) are Leo and Jack, actors reduced to touring rural Pennsylvania (c. 1952) with their “excerpts from Shakespeare.” With few prospects and less cash after a disastrous appearance at the Moose Lodge, they hear of a wealthy, dying woman seeking two long-lost relatives. Even after learning “Max” and “Steve” are nicknames for Maxine and Stephanie, Leo insists they go through with the scheme. “Leading Ladies” celebrates the shared spirit of mischief and fun that connects cross-dressing comedy from the Bard to “Tootsie.” Ludwig’s laugh-a-second farce, will surely join “Charley’s Aunt” in the repertories of regional and community theatres for decades to come.

Studio Theatre

Rabbit Hole • Oct. 8-18
This anatomy of grief doesn’t so much jerk tears as tap them from a reservoir of feelings common to anyone who has experienced the vacuum left by a death in the family. The plot of “Rabbit Hole,” is centered on the impact of the accidental killing of a small child. Grief has obviously not brought the members of the family closer together. Sorrow isolates them.

Panache • Feb. 12-21
The screwball comedy is about upper-class Kathleen Trafalgar, unhappily married, who appears one day at a Brooklyn apartment inhabited by Harry Baldwin -- a frustrated artist who has had an unfortunate tragedy in his life that has left him unable to do anything but booze and gamble. As it happens, Kathleen just found out that Harry has the license plate, P-A-N-A-C-H-E, which she had ordered from the New York DMV. She had received P-A-N-C-A-K-E in error, and now she’s willing to pay any price to get P-A-N-A-C-H-E from Harry.
Don Gordon’s play is a heart-warming romantic comedy, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes sad, sometimes zany. It’s a play with -- well -- panache.

Doubt: A Parable • April 16-25
“What do you do when you’re not sure?” Father Flynn asks the audience in the opening line of this play, setting the stage for a story of suspicion and moral certainty.
His colleague, Sister Aloysius, is an old-school nun who insists that her students not be coddled: “Every easy choice today will have its consequence tomorrow. Mark my words.” Flynn, following the Second Vatican Council’s directive, believes the clergy should be more accessible to the parish and be thought of “as members of their family.”
These two schools of thought come into direct conflict when Aloysius suspects Flynn of “interfering” with Donald Muller, the school’s first black student.
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