March 19, 2019

Parallel 45’s Latest Coup

An open-air theater, just in time for summer
By Ross Boissoneau | Jan. 12, 2019

New season, new shows, and a new venue make this summer a big one for Parallel 45, the professional Traverse City-based theater company that brings high-caliber actors and production and tech pros from around the world (and northern Michigan) to stage innovative new and classic works.
 
Recently, the theatre group reached an agreement with Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation to refurbish its Civic Center Park amphitheater. For four weeks this summer, the company will host three rotating shows on its stage.
 
The shows will take place under a “saddlespan” tent (think: big, wide, and with curved “roof” edges) that will protect cast, crew and theatergoers from all but the most inclement weather. The company also will install professional lighting and sound equipment, which will also be available for rent to other entities when it’s not being used by P45. The new venue will seat 148 people.
 
From July 11 through Aug. 4, three plays will rotate: Hair, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and Stupid F---- Bird, loosely adapted from Chekhov’s The Seagull. The casts for the shows will draw from the same set of actors.

Hair is vocal and dance — how does that work with Stupid Bird and a children’s show? That’s a puzzle for the artistic director and set,” said Parallel 45 Executive Director Erin Whiting.
 
It’s a puzzle she said the actors and crew are comfortable solving. Whiting said there are efficiencies in having a cast that morphs from one role to another, principally in terms of finances. Rather than bringing in new groups for every play, they keep the same people in different roles. It will also allow P45 to have more than one performance in a day, providing more opportunities for audiences that might only be in the area for a brief time, or for locals to see all three efforts at different times.
 
Whiting said that also makes actors more available as larger markets typically follow a fall-to-spring season. That’s much the same model as used in decades past by Cherry County Playhouse, a summer stock theater founded in 1955 by former summer Northport resident and early star of "The Guiding Light" (when it was a radio soap opera), Ruth Bailey. CCP ran in Traverse City until 1990, when it moved to Muskegon.

Whiting is hopeful that audiences will embrace the opportunity to enjoy the summer while taking in these cultural offerings, perhaps picnicking prior to the show and enjoying the Civic Center. The company is also lookingto additional performing opportunities in years to come.
 
Tickets are on sale now at www.mynorth.com.

(Pictured: A rendering of the soon-to-be refurbished Civic Center Park amphitheater.)
 

Trending

Welcome to Michigan’s Most Remote Brewery

After years of planning and honing his beer-making skills, this spring, Patrick McGinnity plans to open Beaver Island’s first microbrewery. Opening a craft brewery is challenging. Opening one on a remote island in Lake Michigan that’s either a 15-minute plane ride or a two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from ... Read More >>

Gaylord: A boomtown Up North

Gaylord native Gary Scott had moved to Indiana, where he and some partners started a business to invest in distressed properties. He was talking to a banker in Detroit about real estate in Bloomington when he asked what kind of deals might be available in northern Michigan. ... Read More >>

Small Up North Towns on the Rise

Spotlight on Bellaire (pictured)Seems Traverse City isn’t the only place in the region making those “Best of” lists. The Antrim County hamlet of Bellaire was recently named to the list of Best Lakeside Towns in the U.S. by Country Living Magazine, alongside the likes of Vergennes, Vermont, Greenville, ... Read More >>

A Wicked Cool Ride Around the Straits

You expect to see boats around Mackinac Island in summer. Sailboats, power boats, cruisers, and the ubiquitous ferries that run residents and guests back and forth across the Straits of Mackinac, sure. But there’s a more unusual vessel visible these days — an all-wooden Down East lobster ... Read More >>