WMU Theater

WMU Theatre

In a near-miraculous resurrection, a production of Steven Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George will be staged from Sep 18 - Oct 4, with three of the four leads maintaining their roles. 

Western Michigan University Theatre Department students Marcus Jackson and Aaron Czarnecki, double-cast in the title role of George, and Miranda Vandenberg as Dot, were closing in on opening night last April when the show was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, as seniors, they're able to pick up where they left off. Ally Taylor, who had another role originally, is newly double-cast as Dot. Jackson, Czarnecki, Vandenberg and Taylor, joined by director Jay Berkow, professor of music theatre performance, join Cara Lieurance to talk about their second chance to perform a classic work.

Marissa Harrington, Artistic Director of Face Off Theatre Company, says the group, which was founded in 2015 to focus on stories of the Black experience, has been more active than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic - and during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

C. Lieurance

Dr.Steve Feffer is a professor of English at Western Michigan University, and is a founding organizer of Theatre Kalamazoo's New PlayFest. He and playwright Bethany Gibson, whose Dreamgirl will be performed twice during the two-day festival, join Cara Lieurance to expand on the events of the festival and the importance of showcasing Kalamazoo's playwrights.    ​

The free festival, now in its 10th year, is Saturday and Sunday, Feb 15 and 16 at the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre in downtown Kalamazoo. Eight new 10-minute plays will be performed, under the direction of eight theatre organizations.

For a full schedule and more information, visit the New Playfest site.

"Theatre is not dead!" is Gordon Bolar's emphatic answer to the question posed by Paul Simon in the Simon & Garfunkle song, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme." The WMUK theater reviewer and Cara Lieurance highlight some of the upcoming productions, Jan - Jun 2020, offered by the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Farmers Alley Theatre, WMU Theatre, Kalamazoo College, Queer Theatre Kalamazoo, and Miller Auditorium.


Joan Herrington, chair of the Department of Theater at WMU, and professor of music theatre performance, Jay Berkow, share their insight and behind-the-scenes details on the new season of WMU Theatre. Musicals include the satirical Urinetown and Sondheim's classic Sunday In The Park With George. In December, the Tony Award-winning performer Cady Huffman, who originated the role of Ulla in The Producers, appears in Next Stop, Broadway.

Several productions encourage audiences to contend with issues from diverse viewponts, as in Tribes, in which a deaf person grows up in a hearing family. Gem of the Ocean, by playwright August Wilson, examines black life at the turn of the last century;  Dominique Morriseau's Blood At The Root is a ripped-from-the-headlines play about the Jena Six. On the lighter side, there's the farce Restoration Comedy and Peter Schaffer's classic about classical composers, Amadeus.


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