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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

“Every Brilliant Thing’s” Steve McDonagh’s dream role is one that depends on you

Actor Steve McDonagh
Artist publicity photo
Actor Steve McDonagh

“Every Brilliant Thing” needs a great storyteller to succeed, and Farmers Alley Theatre has that in Chicago-based actor Steve McDonagh, says Kathy Mulay. A veteran director of live theater, Mulay is an advisor for the production directed by Jeremy Koch. McDonagh and Mulay join Cara Lieurance to talk about the one-man play, in which every member of the audience is given a numbered piece of paper with a “brilliant thing” written on it as they enter the theater.

McDonagh explains how the list of brilliant things is begins when his character is 7. It is his way of keeping his mother thinking about happy things after a suicide attempt. But the habit of listing brilliant things continues through the character’s life, playing an unexpected role in his own life path.

Farmer Alley Theatre broke its tradition of staging a holiday musical this year, partly because Mulay championed this play so passionately. She says the holidays are tough for lots of people, which this play acknowledges — and then celebrates life in all its big and small brilliant things.

Performances continue through Dec 17; for tickets and more details, visit the Farmers Alley Theatre website.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
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