Tony Humrichouser

Jack Pinto ("Buddy the Elf"), director Tony Humrichouser, choreographer Lesa Denklau, actress Kathleen Weissert ("Deb") and marketing director Janet Gover each contribute behind-the-scenes stories about the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre's production of Elf The Musical, in a live interview with Cara Lieurance. This stage adaptation of the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell will run from Friday, Nov 22 - Sunday, Dec 8.


Image provided by Farmers Alley Theatre

Actor Tony Humrichouser wanted to play the role of Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home from the moment he saw the show on Broadway. A musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic novel-memoir, opening June 7 at Farmers Alley Theatre, young, middle, and adult Alisons search for ways to connect with her father, Bruce, a small-town funeral director, antiques restorer, English teacher, and closeted gay man. Throughout his life, he instinctively avoided addressing Alison's own lesbianism. That avoidance rang true for Humrichouser, who says that playing the role has been cathartic for him - helping him process memories of his own childhood.

Kalamazoo Civic

War Paint is a musical fresh off its Broadway run ( where it starred Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole) coming to the Kalamazoo Civic in a new production led by artist director Tony Humrichouser May 3-19. It will be the regional premiere of this jazzy, true-life show about the rivalry between two self-made women: cosmetic titans Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, who battled for domination of the global makeup market from the 1920-60s.

In a conversation with Humrichouser, actress Gina Chimner (Elizabeth Arden), and marketing director Janet Gover, the extraordinary details of Arden and Rubinstein's careers and personal lives are revealed. One small example: when Arden first introduced her clients to mascara, Rubinstein upped the ante by inventing the mascara wand. Both women feared losing control of their companies to their right-hand men - and ended up losing the men to each other's companies.

Music and lyrics are by Grey Gardens team Scott Frankel and Michael Korie. Humrichouser says War Paint will feature the debut of new technology at the Civic - a "Cyc," or digital cyclorama, which projects  detailed backgrounds onto a rear screen. Looking ahead, Humrichouser and Gover preview the shows the Civic will present in season 91, starting with Matilda next September.


Kalamazoo Civic

Based on the 1968 film version of Ian Fleming's children's book, and featuring a score by the Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins), the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang follows the adventures of inventor Caractacus Potts, his sweetheart, Truly Scrumptious, his father, and his two children, Jeremy and Jemima, in a flying car, as they outwit a child-hating Baron and Baroness and their Child-Catcher henchman. The Kalamazoo Civic's production features Dan Coyne (Grandpa Potts) and Donna Willoughby (Baroness Bomburst) in a cast directed by Tony Humrichouser. Coyne, Willoughby, and Humrichouser joined Cara Lieurance to preview the production and its central feat of engineering: a full-size, remote-control car that can fly.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs from Nov 23 - Dec 9 at the Kalamazoo Civic mainstage. 

The view from the Civic Theatre's stage
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre's Senior Class Reader's Theatre is brimming with experience and talent, says artistic director Tony Humrichouser. Twenty-one players and a band of three musicians will perform The Civic in Song: 1929-2018 this weekend at the Civic mainstage. A musical revue created by director Art Nemitz, advisor Stephen Wallem and music director Doug Gaertner, it combines fresh and classic showtunes in surprising ways -- one highlight being a patter song naming the titles of all 140 musicals the Civic has staged. Cara Lieurance talked to Humrichouser, Nemitz, and actress Tammy Bailey about the work that's gone into the production.


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