Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Setting the Stage for Summer Theatre

Robert Downes - June 14th, 2010
Setting the Stage for Summer Theatre
“There’s no business like show business, there’s no business I know.” That’s one of the tunes in the lineup of plays and musicals across the region this summer; but do you know what Broadway hit it comes from? (Hint: it involves a lady who can shoot the wings off a fly.)
If “the play’s the thing” for you, then there’s a robust season in store at theatres across Northern Michigan this summer. Here’s a sneak preview:

Bayview, Petoskey
• “Razzle Dazzle”: Petoskey’s theatre scene shifts to Bayview in the summer, kicking off with a roundup of Broadway hits from a professional company, Creative Edge Productions. This four-person show aims to hit all of the high points of Broadway’s top musicals at Voorhies Hall, July 1-3 and 6-9. Tickets $7-$25.
• “The Magic Flute”: Perhaps Mozart’s best-known opera, “The Magic Flute,” which premiered in 1791, is an astonishing mishmash of a ideas leading from chaos and superstition to the spirit of progress as told through a cast of characters from ancient Egypt at the Temple of Isis in Memphis.
“The libretto to ‘The Magic Flute’ is considered such a jumble of nonsense that it is as well to endeavour to extract some sense from it,” notes one critic, but that doesn’t stop audiences from enjoying it as the eighth most popular opera performed in the U.S. At Ross Stoakes Theatre, July 22. Tickets $7-$25.
• “The Wizard of Oz”: Thirty-six years before the debut of the film that rocked the world’s socks off, this play introduced the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion and Dorothy (with her pet cow!) to audiences in a theatrical version at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway in 1903. The original play was adapted for the stage by author L. Frank Baum himself. Aug. 5-7 in John M. Hall Auditorium. $7-$25.

Cheboygan Opera House
• “Tom T,” a play based on Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” is a production of the Northland Players Children’s Theatre at the Cheboygan Opera House, June 25-27. Relive Tom’s shenanigans, whitewashing the old fence, the murder in the graveyard, and getting lost in the big cave in this musical reminiscence in two acts by Bruce Scigliano and George Krawczyk. Adults $6, kids $3.

Interlochen Center for the Arts
• “MacBeth”: Interlochen’s Shakespeare Festival brings “bubble, bubble, toil and trouble” to the Harvey Theatre stage with “MacBeth” on July 1-4 and 8-11. With the Scottish throne up for grabs in a time of war and upheaval, Lady MacBeth urges her husband to kill the king, who is a guest at their home that night. The repercussions of guilt and self-loathing result in the couple’s downfall in a psychological drama which has overtones of horror. Sculptor Bill Allen helps set the stage with original works based on Shakespeare’s vision. $26.
• “The Capitol Steps”: Washington D.C.’s bipartisan roastmasters should have plenty of material to work with this summer, given the tidal wave of environmental, financial and political events over the past year. Their song parodies take shots at both sides of the political aisle. July 3 at 5 & 8 p.m., $30.50.
• “Post Comedy Theater”: Comic, mime, juggler and master of many characters Robert Post brings his one-man show to Corson Auditorium for laughs as Burglar Burt, Chef Pasquale, stunt pilot Ace Wingspan and more. July 14, $17.50.

• “Aida”: Verdi’s grand opera of ancient Egypt gets an update in this high school theater presentation which features the Tony Award-winning score by Elton John and Tim Rice. “Aida” follows the love story of Nubian princess Aida and her nation’s enemy, the Egyptian captain Radames. Tickets $9-$24. Aug. 5-8.

Lakeside Shakespeare Festival • Frankfort
As you like it, indeed: Benzie County’s annual tribute to the Bard has a new home this year at the old Forest Hill ice rink in Frankfort. It’s an outdoor setting, nestled in the woods just north of town; bring chairs and coats. The Chicago-based company offers two plays this summer, both running in late July - early August:
• “King Lear,” the story of a befuddled oldster who divides his kingdom among his treacherous children, forsaking the child who really loves him. July 28 & 31 and August 3 & 5.
• “As You Like It”: a light comedy of love and mistaken identity. July 29-30 and August 4 & 6.

Manistee Ramsdell Theatre
• “Annie Get Your Gun”: This classic musical from Irving Berlin offers a hard lesson in the disparity between feminism and the demands of romance. Crack shot Annie Oakley is the star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but her sweetheart, sharpshooter Frank Butler, can’t handle losing an upcoming match to a woman. Annie gets some lovelorn advice from Sitting Bull on “Doin’ What Comes Naturally...” June 25-27 and July 1-4. $19.80.
• “Year of the Census -- Or, Stimulate This!” Live radio show offers satire on everything from current events to popular movies and plays. July 23-25. $5.
• “Plaza Suite”: Neil Simon’s comedy of manners in New York’s finest hotel is composed of three acts with different players telling different stories, but all taking place in Suite 719. August 13-15 & 20-22. $13.20.

Old Town Playhouse
As the curtain rises on the summer season, it falls on TC’s Old Town Playhouse which wrapped up its year in May. OTP will be celebrating 50 years of great shows at its annual Black & White Gala, however, to be held Saturday, June 19 at the City Opera House. The event always features outtakes from popular shows of the past. Tickets are $95.

Riverside Shakespeare Productions • TC

• “The Taming of the Shrew” is literally all over the map this year, with productions in multiple locations in the Grand Traverse area.
As in the past, the main event will be held in Traverse City’s Hannah Park. Located along the banks of the Boardman River on Union Street just off downtown, the park makes a beautiful, natural setting for Shakespeare, with the river serving as a backdrop for the action. This tale of a suitor seducing a spitfire takes place July 23 at 7 p.m. and July 24-25 at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
You can also catch the play in the following communities:
- July 16 - Waterwheel Park in Suttons Bay - 7 p.m.
- July 17 - Memorial Park in Elk Rapids - 6 p.m.
- July 18 - Fife Lake Village Park -
6 p.m.
- July 22 - Kalkaska Mill Pond Park -
7 p.m.

Traverse City Opera House
Perhaps the best musical ever ripped from the pages of the Bible is “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” offered by Miracle Productions at the City Opera House, June 24-26 and July 1-3.
This is a repeat performance for the company, which performed the show four years ago. It’s back by popular demand, with a youthful cast and Kellen Swift-Godzisz, as the Pharoah (Elvis character) reprising his role, as well as Jay Schumacher from Elk Rapids who was Potiphar in the previous production.
The story is that of Joseph, who is sold into slavery to the Egyptians by his jealous brothers, only to become Pharoah’s top adviser. Will Joseph seek revenge against his starving family when a plague strikes many years later, or will he be filled with the spirit of brotherhood? Only his coat of many colors can reveal that pattern of fate… Tickets: $15 - $30.

The Williamsburg Showcase Dinner Theater

• “The Sensational ‘70s” opened on June 10 at the dinner theater in Acme, just east of TC. The high-energy, singing & dancing tribute to the music of the ‘70s is directed by Dominic Fortuna, who’s spent the past year touring with a national production of “Grease.”
Running Thursday through Saturday through the end of August, the $39.95 ticket includes a three-course dinner with salad, entree and dessert. There’s also a full bar and cocktail service.

-- by Robert Downes


 
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