Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Miracle Productions unveils a...
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Miracle Productions unveils a Phantom

Rick Coates - July 14th, 2008
Every town has its “best kept secrets,” and certainly Northern Michigan is no exception. One of these is Miracle Productions. This local production company is now in its fourth season of offering
off-Broadway productions here in Northern Michigan.
This week Traverse City-based Miracle Productions will present Yeston & Kopit’s “Phantom” at the Milliken Auditorium, located within the Dennos Museum on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College. “Phantom” will be performed July 17-19 and July 24-26.
“I really believe we are the best-kept secret in the area,” said Pat Gallagher, co-founder and producer/director of productions at Miracle. “These are professional productions that are as good if not better than any of the traveling productions out there.”
Gallagher knows talent. She is legendary in local theater circles for overseeing the annual theatrical productions at Traverse City West and Traverse City Central (for the past 21 years), with 35 productions to her credit. She created Miracle Productions with her husband Bernie four years ago because she wanted to give students from the area an opportunity to gain professional experience.
So confident in the talent of students from the region Gallagher invested money from her retirement to launch Miracle Productions.
“I cashed in a few things,” chuckles Gallagher. “But it is important to me that these students who are serious about the performing arts get this opportunity. My biggest expense is paying the royalty fee for the production. My husband and I have yet taken a dollar because we take the proceeds from each year and put it in a six month CD so we have the money for the royalty fee, which is $15,000 this year for the two productions (“You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” will be performed in August).

PRO PRODUCTION
Equally important to Gallagher is that her performers are paid and treated like professionals.
“I pay them all,” said Gallagher. “This is a professional production and professionals are paid. For me it is very exciting to have students that I have worked with in high school head off to college to further study for a career in the performing arts. All of our performers are high school graduates from the area who are currently in college.”
Gallagher said there is a disproportionate amount of talent here in Northern Michigan and her answer as to why is a simple one.
“It has to be the water,” laughs Gallagher. “I don’t know to explain it. It is also a credit to the many wonderful teachers we have here, who inspire these young adults.”
For Gallagher there is real joy in having her former students come back and perform, along with seeing how their voices and acting skills have matured with age and further education.
“I love having them back and seeing what college has done for them because in high school they receive limited voice and stage training and when they head to college or a conservatory they have personal coaches and take several voice and theatrical classes.”
Each year Gallagher selects her cast by late winter and rehearsals start in May with the lead characters starting a few days a week.
“I start in May because that is when they come back home from school,” said Gallagher. “While they are getting paid by the production company they also take on traditional summer jobs. As we get closer to a performance we start rehearsing five to six nights a week from 7 pm to at least 11 pm.”

OPERATIC VERSION
Gallagher is assisted by her daughter Erin Cate Peck, who is an instructor of musical theater dance at the Interlochen Arts Camp and also teaches at Ballet Etc. in the fall. Gallagher credits the success of Miracle Productions to both her daughter and also musical director Jeffery Cobb.
“It is such a pleasure having Erin work with me,” said Gallagher. “I can’t say enough how blessed we are to have someone of Jeffery’s talent here in Northern Michigan. Certainly the commitment and professionalism of the performers has also played a crucial role in our success. I can’t emphasize enough the level of talent that takes the stage is equal or better than you are going to see anywhere.”
As for the actual production, Gallagher emphasizes that the Yeston & Kopit version is different than the one made famous by Andrew Lloyd Weber.
“They both have the same story line they just take different approaches in telling it,” said Gallagher. “Weber’s approach is more of the violence, gore and horror. We have elements of that in this production but Yeston & Kopit’s version is more operatic than Weber’s and delves more into the psyche of the Phantom. This version is safe for families, though I don’t recommend it for kids under eight. All of the productions we put on are family friendly.”
“Phantom” stars Hanna Brammer, who is currently attending the Manhattan School of Music, and Trevor Kolle, who is on a full ride scholarship at the Michigan State University studying in the school of music. Both are graduates of Traverse City West and former students of Gallagher.
“I don’t require the cast to be former students. We have had Interlochen students in the past and this year we have a student from Elk Rapids,” said Gallagher. “My requirement is that they are in college or some advanced school furthering their training to pursue a career in the theatrical profession. I get students from the area because we are not able to pay for room and board. What is nice is that parents, families and friends get a chance to see how these kids transformed from high school stage stars to true professionals. Also all of these kids will be equity performers someday; some will go on to Broadway, and others will find their success elsewhere.”

“Phantom” opens July 17 and will be performed over the next two weekends. Miracle Productions will return in August with the production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.” Tickets for both productions are available online at miracleproductionstc.com or by calling 231-995-1553.
 
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