PRESS RELEASES

 

July 12, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Michigan Shakespeare Festival 

Announces 2019 Season

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, announced their 2019 Mainstage Season.     

 

Opening night of the MSF always features the announcement of the following season and there were happy gasps from the audience when the Festival’s 25th Anniversary – Silver – Season was announced featuring Shakespeare’s KING LEAR and THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, and Edmond Rostand’s 1897 epic romance CYRANO DE BERGERAC. “It’s our 25thAnniversary—and as they say, go big or go home.  We decided to go big.”—said Artistic Director Janice L Blixt.

 

KING LEAR, considered by most to be one of the best plays in the English language, was last produced by the Festival in 2004. “King Lear combines personal and familial breakdowns with the failing of a country’s peace and prosperity—it’s a play that makes huge themes personal and makes personal themes universal and has as much human emotion as any play in the cannon,” said Blixt.

 

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, one of Shakespeare’s early comedies, has never before been produced at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival which, according to Blixt, “is quite sad as in the right hands, and it definitely will be, Two Gents is a delightful romantic comedy about the sweet silliness of being young and in love and will be a truly enchanting romp.”

 

The third show of the 2019 season will be the witty, heartbreaking and completely icongraphic CYRANO DE BERGERAC.  The verse play, written originally in Alexendrine couplets, is the story of a charming French cadet (a soldier who is from a noble family) who is a poet and musician in addition to being an expert swordsman—but lives in personal doubt about himself due to his extremely large nose. He sacrifices his own secret hopes by helping  a handsome young cadet woo the woman he himself loves as he thinks it will make her happy.  The third show on the MSF calendar is always a classical play from a playwright other than Shakespeare.

 

2019 Season tickets are on sale now—go to michiganshakespearefestival.com for more information—at the best prices that will be offered all year (including rush tickets) from now through the end of August.

 

The announcement of the 2019 Season was announced along with appreciation for the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts / Arts Works Program for their generous support for the 2018 Season and appreciation for the John George Foundation of Jackson which is supporting free tickets to all students – from gradeschool through college—for the 2018 MainStage Season.  Call the box office (517.787.0800) to reserve student tickets.

 

The 2018 Season continues for one more weekend at the Potter Center of Jackson College—through July 29—and then moves to the Village Theatre of Cherry Hill in Canton where it will run from August 3 through August 19.

 

For more information check the MSF website: www.michiganshakespearefestival.com.

 

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600

 

By Phone in Canton at734-394-5300

 

June 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

John George Foundation Funds FREE Student Tickets

To Jackson County Students for all MSF 2018 MainStage Performances

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, celebrating its 24th Season in Jackson, Michigan, is offering free tickets for their summer MainStage Season to all students in Jackson County. 

 

Thanks to a recent grant from the John George Foundation, the MSF, designated the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan by the state government, can provide free tickets to all students in Jackson County to its productions of The Tempest, Measure For Measure, and Aphra Behn’s The Rover.

 

“The purpose of this grant,” writes William M. Abbott of the John George Foundation, “is to provide the youth of Jackson County with increased access to Shakespeare productions, including complimentary tickets for high school and college students, and special programming for high school students.”

 

“The works of Shakespeare remain a cornerstone of high school English classes,” says Janice L Blixt, MSF’s Artistic Director. “Yet students often find reading and understanding Shakespeare difficult, because Shakespeare did not write books, but plays. They are not meant to be read, but to be seen performed. Live performances are the best means for high school students to see why these plays are still being performed 400 years after they were written. We’re overjoyed to offer this opportunity to local students to experience Shakespeare in a positive and entertaining way.”

 

Each year the Michigan Shakespeare Festival brings the classical poetry and plays of Shakespeare into the lives of as many students as possible. In past years the number of free tickets the MSF offers has been limited. This year the shows are available to all students in the county, free of charge. There are also discounted tickets for chaperones. 

 

Certain performances have additional educational benefit. Friday and Saturday evening performances include a “Bard Talk” before the show, with an MSF artist talking about elements of the play about to be performed. And after every matinee performance the theatre company holds a talkback for audience members to ask questions directly to the Artistic Director and the cast. 

 

This grant will also provide funds for the MSF to bring its touring company to certain Jackson County schools during the school year. In 2010, the MSF launched its educational touring company, the MSF High School Tour, also known as The Misfits. That first year they performed Romeo & Julietfor six schools in Jackson County. Since then the tour has expanded to reach between 6,000 and 8,000 students each year across Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, performing both Romeo & Julietand Macbethwith a full cast, costumes, lights, and sound. The MSF Tour visits over 50 schools each year, 25% of which are in underserved urban and rural communities.

 

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600

 

By Phone in Canton at734-394-5300

 

May 15, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Casting is announced for Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s

2018 MainStage Season

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, has announced their casts for the 2018 MSF Season consisting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Measure for Measure and Aphra Behn’s Restoration Comedy The Rover.

 

Returning to the Festival are Artistic Associates: Alan Ball as Caliban, Elbow, and Cassis.  Alan is best known for his brilliant portrayals of Shakespeare’s clowns (Feste, Dogberry, Bottom, Don Armado) and character turns like Gen Hood in The Killer Angels and Doolittle in Pygmalion. Janet Haley as Prospera, The Abbess and Mistress Overdone, and Angelica.  Haley has been a mainstay of MSF’s summer seasons for years and has thrilled audiences in silly comedies and heavy drama winning multiple Wilde Awards for her work; and Brandon St. Clair Saunders as Ariel and Lucio.  Saunders, the poster model for the 2018 brochure and imaging, has been with the Festival for 8 seasons playing roles such as Horatio, Tranio, Lysander, Benvolio, Fabian, Dumaines, and Claudio.

 

Also returning are Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong (Dexter, MI, previously Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew and Gen. Lee in The Killer Angels) as Gonzalo, The Provost, and Blunt, and Destiny Dunn (Flint, MI previously Constance in She Stoops to Conquer and Ensemble in King John), Ian Geers (previously Constantine in the Seagull, Octavius in Caesar, Bushy in Richard II, and the Troubadour in The Killer Angels) as Vincentio and Fredericke; and 2016’s breakout favorite Robert McLean (Duke Frederick in As You Like It, Gen. Longstreet in The Killer Angels and Bolingbroke in Richard II) as Stephano, Angelo, and Willmore, aka. the Rover.

 

Joining MSF for the first time are Claire Jolliffe (Bloomfield Hills, MI) as Francisca, Mariana, and Florinda, Jason Briggs (Flint, MI) as Alonso, Stephan, and Froth; Cody Robison (Detroit, MI, 2018 Hilberry grad) as Trinculo and Don Antonio; and Zach Fischer (of Chelsea, MI, and Theatre Department Chair / Assistant Professor at Albion College) as Antonio, Escalus, and Don Pedro.

 

Regional newcomers include Diana Coates as Adriana, Isabella, and Valeria; Kevin Tre’Von Patterson as Ferdinand, Pompey, and Officer; and Laurence Stepney as Sebastian, Claudio, and Belvile.

 

The Festival Jackson previews begin with THE TEMPEST on Thursday, June 12, and Aphra Behn’s THE ROVER on Saturday, July 14, and MEASURE FOR MEASURE on Thursday, July 19.  The shows continue in Jackson at the Potter Center through July 29 and reopen in Canton at the Village Theatre on August 3 and run through Sunday, August 19.

 

Tickets for THE TEMPEST, THE ROVER, and MEASURE FOR MEASURE are available online at www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com.

 

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600

 

By Phone in Canton at734-394-5300

 

April 10, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Michigan Shakespeare Festival 

Announces TAKING LEAVE reading with Robert Grossman

 

Canton-   The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce that local treasure and beloved actor Robert Grossman will take on the leading role of Elyiot Pryne in Nagle Jackson's King Lear inspired comedy-drama TAKING LEAVE Village Theatre of Cherry Hill in Canton, 8 pm, Saturday May 12.

 

Grossman, most recently known for his reoccurring role on HBA's Better Call Saul is an accomplished stage actor who has graced Michigan stages for over 40 years including his turn as Claudius in HAMLET at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival in 2002.

 

The play is a modern play featuring an aging Shakespeare / literature professional who is struggling with Alzheimers as his three daughters argue what to do to help him and the voice in his head, himself as a younger man, plays the Fool and challenges and comforts him.

Joining Grossman in the reading will be Annie Dilworth, Alison Megroet, and Sara Long (all MSF friends and often featured in the MainStage or Touring productions) as his daughters and Kyle Clark, Tybalt in the MiSFITs Touring Company will play the Fool.  

 

The reading is the Final of the 2018 Season’s LEND US YOUR EARS Reading Series—a set of plays the Michigan Shakespeare Festival presents as readings throughout the “off-season.” The Readings are held in different cities throughout southeast and south central Michigan—this one in Canton—and feature top professional actors in a fun, casual atmosphere.  Audience members at EDWARD III will also be offered wine and desserts to heighten the evening's event.

 

Tickets are available online through the Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s website: www.michiganshakespearefestival.com, for $20.  MSF Members tickets are free.

 

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600 By Phone in Canton at 734-394-5300

 

Reduced price Flexpasses for all three shows are on sale now for the 2018 Season: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Measure for Measure and Aphra Behn’s The Rover.  

 

March 1, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Michigan Shakespeare Festival 

Announces EDWARD III reading

 

Jackson-   The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce this amazing night of Shakespeare as Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt brings Shakespeare's lesser known and often debated EDWARD III to Jackson Symphony Orchestra Hall, 8 pm, Saturday March 10.

 

For hundreds of years considered one of Shakespeare's "apocrypha"-- the plays that might be connected to Shakespeare but who's authorship is under debate-- EDWARD III was claimed to be mostly Shakespeare's work in the mid-90s by the scholars at Yale University Press.  Edward III is now listed among the canon.  The play concerns some of the stranger events of the long-reigning monarch's life and connects most strongly to the beginning of the Hundred Years' War with France.  Edward's mother was a princess of France and the English royals claimed the throne of France due to that connection.  The production will be edited to the strongest speeches and scenes with bit of narration including historical explanations and a bit of aesthetic commentary thrown in throughout by Blixt.

 

David Galido will be reading the titular character, joined by his MSF’s Touring Company The MiSFITs co-company members Daniel A Helmer, Sara Long, Kyle Clark, and Annie Dillworth playing the other characters surrounding the King.

 

The reading is the second of the 2018 Season’s LEND US YOUR EARS Reading Series—a set of plays the Michigan Shakespeare Festival presents as readings throughout the “off-season.” The Readings are held in different cities throughout southeast and south central Michigan—this one in Jackson—and feature top professional actors in a fun, casual atmosphere.  Audience members at EDWARD III will also be offered wine and desserts to heighten the evening's event.

 

Tickets are available online through the Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s website: www.michiganshakespearefestival.com, for $20.  MSF Members tickets are free.

 

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600 By Phone in Canton at 734-394-5300

 

Reduced price Flexpasses for all three shows are on sale now for the 2018 Season: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Measure for Measure and Aphra Behn’s The Rover.  

 

November 30, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Tickets on Sale for 2018 MSF Season: Designers Announced

 

Jackson-   The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is so proud to announce the directors and designers for the 2018 MSF Season.

 

Returning to the Festival as a director (previously directed As You Like It, Cymbeline, She Stoops to Conquer, and Tartuffe) is award-winning MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric (seen last year as Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew and Brutus in Julius Caesar).  Kauzlaric will helm William Shakespeare's The Tempest -- one of Shakespeare's final plays and a dark and beautiful comedy of magic and forgiveness.  Aly Renee Amidei, frequent designer (Cymbeline, As You Like It) will return with Rob to design costumes.

MSF Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt will direct the other Shakespeare of the season, Measure for Measure, a dark and stark play about abuse of power and sexual harassment.  According to Blixt, "We think of Measure mainly for the Angelo/Isabella storyline-- his horrible hypocrisy and assault-- and those scenes form the drama of the play.  But the overall story is the impact these events have on the Duke, the ruler of Vienna.  He starts the play with very black-and-white thinking about power and the righteousness of power and it's through seeing how the characters around him are often humiliated and taken advantage of, he learns that power must be tempered with mercy and grace and that the world is not nearly as easily judged as he'd always thought."  Susan High, new to the festival, will costume this production being set in the Victorian era.

The third show of the season, and second opening, is Aphra Behn's The Rover.  Blixt will also direct The Rover after having adapted the large and ungainly text into a lighter, quicker, more fun and romantic production.  Darice Damata-Geiger (The Seagull, Richard III) will costume the production set in Naples during Carnevale with period accents and modern theatrical flourishes.

Multi-Jefferson Award winning scenic design Joe Schermoly joins the MSF for the first time designing the scenery for all three productions-- which much shift in and out quickly between shows and must be stored together for the entirety of the run.  Returning as Lighting Designer is David Allen Stoughton (2017, 2016, 2011) creating the overall lighting plot for all three shows to run in rep.

 

And the beloved Katie Hopgood returns as Festival Composer and Sound Designer, bringing her amazing talent in composition to these widely varied productions.

 

Reduced price Flexpasses for all three shows are on sale now for the 2018 Season: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Measure for Measure and Aphra Behn’s The Rover.  

 

October 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Michigan Shakespeare Festival 

Announces Cast for October 28th’s ICHABOD

 

Lansing-   The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce an All-Star Michigan Cast for the ICHABOD, a new play by accomplished playwright Joseph Zettelmaier.  The reading will take place at 3 pm on Saturday, October 28, at the Library of Michigan in Kalamazoo. The events of ICHABOD take place in a tiny tavern just outside the village of Sleepy Hollow.  Twenty years earlier, the titular Ichabod had an encounter with the Headless Horseman— and he has at last returned to the town that cast him out.

 

Michigan favorite John Lepard, Executive Director of the Award Winning Williamston Theatre in Williamston, MI, will headline as Ichabod Crane.  Lepard has been seen recently in plays such as Frankie and Johnny in the Clare De Lune, This Wonderful Life, Leaving Iowa, and Bus Stop.  He has directed over 15 productions at Williamston and is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University.

 

Joining Lepard is beloved Detroit actress Vanessa Sawson, who most recently appeared with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival as Calphurnia in Julius Caesar and as Polina in The Seagull, as smart and sassy tavern owner, Daniel A Helmer, a company member with MSF’s Touring Company The MiSFITs plays Jasper Von Brunt, a scoundrel and ne’er-do-well, and Annie Dillworth, also of the MiSFITs as his sister Emily, the heiress to the Von Brunt family fortune.

 

The reading is the first of the 2018 Season’s LEND US YOUR EARS Reading Series—a set of plays the Michigan Shakespeare Festival presents as readings throughout the “off-season.” The Readings are held in different cities throughout southeast and south central Michigan—this one in Lansing—and feature top professional actors in a fun, casual atmosphere.  Audience members at ICHABOD will also be offered apple cider and fresh donuts to round out the autumn experience.

 

Tickets are available online through the Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s website: www.michiganshakespearefestival.com, for $20.  MSF Members tickets are free.

 

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600 By Phone in Canton at734-394-5300

 

Reduced price Flexpasses for all three shows are on sale now for the 2018 Season: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Measure for Measure and Aphra Behn’s The Rover.  

 

July 26, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Michigan Shakespeare Festival at the Ark

And A Professional Reading of a New Julius Caesar Play

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, has announced two very special events taking place this upcoming week.

 

The first is Monday, July 31, when MSF will do their yearly SHAKESPEARE UNPLUGG’D show at The Ark, the premier live music venue in the region.  This one night only free event has been held for the last six years and is a way for the multi-talented company to show of hidden skills and abilities that are not always showcased in the plays.

 

This night of fun and laughter lets the MSF company sing, dance, play music, juggle, improvise, tell great backstage stories, and maybe even do a little Shakespeare. It's a cash bar with membership, and donations to both The Ark and the MSF are always welcome.  The Ark is located at 316 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor.

 

The second will be a reading of David Blixt’s critically acclaimed play EVE OF IDES on Wednesday, August 2, at the Village Theatre of Cherry Hill in Canton.  The play depicts the night before his assassination at the hands of conspirators, when Julius Caesar attended a feast. With him were Brutus, Cassius, and Antony.

 

Based on history and the works of Shakespeare, EVE OF IDES reveals the unexplored relationship between the main players of the famous play, current in production at the MSF.

EVE OF IDES will star 2017 MSF's Brutus, Robert Kauzlaric, Antony, David Blixt, and Caesar, Lee Palmer and will be directed by Janice L Blixt.  Tickets are available through the MSF website www.michiganshakespearefestival.com.

 

July 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens JULIUS CAESAR

And World Premiere Translation of Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, opened their final two productions of the 2017 Season.  Saturday night was the opening of Shakespeare’s political tragedy JULIUS CAESAR starring MSF Artistic Associates Robert Kauzlaric as Brutus and Brandon St. Clair Saunders as Cassius and directed by Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt.  While the play of JULIUS CAESAR has been major news this summer due to a production in Central Park that was repeatedly protested, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival production has been lauded through previews and into opening night with excited crowds and critical raves.  Artistic Associate David Blixt returns to the Festival stage as Marc Antony and newcomer Lee Palmer is playing the powerful and doomed Caesar.

 

According to Kauzlaric, who played last season’s Richard II and was recently nominated for a Wilde Award for the performance, "I'm thrilled to be a part of this take on Caesar and to work with this fantastic ensemble. Jan has created a production heavily invested in the history and relationships between the characters and it's a joy to explore the huge questions this play poses amidst such a rich emotional landscape. The conspirators are more than just random malcontents -- they are friends, school buddies, former lovers, and more; men and women who've fought together, cried together, cheered each other on, and now face a monumental decision hand in hand."

 

Sunday marked the final opening of the MSF Season with the brand new premiere translation of Anton Chekhov’s domestic comedy THE SEAGULL.  Translated from the Russian by Alexandra “Chistyakova” LaCombe and adapted for the stage by Janice L Blixt and the 2017 MSF Company, THE SEAGULL depicts the summer holiday of a family of writers and artists and was met with constant laughter until the bitter end.  Artistic Associate Janet Haley plays a famous actress irritated with the simple fact that her son, played by Ian Geers, is now 25 and his very existence reminds her friends of her age and Shawn Pfautsch (see on the MSF stage as Hamlet in 2014 and Prince Hal in 2015) plays a famous writer dealing the jealousy of her son and his own compulsions.  While the humor is often dark and pointed, THE SEAGULL is one of Chekhov’s very best plays and this production opened to acclaim for the intelligence of the script and the incredible performances.

 

Alan Ball, an Artistic Associate and audience favorite who plays both Cinna in CAESAR and Dr. Dorn in THE SEAGULL said, "Even after seven years at MSF, the thrill of opening night never fades. After weeks of rehearsal, it's so great to see that what cracked us up at read-through is still funny to everyone else.”

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Sound Designer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. The intricate costumes for CAESAR were designed by Melanie Schuessler Bond; and the turn-of the-last century costumes for THE SEAGULL by Darice Damata-Geiger.

 

The shows continue in Jackson at the Potter Center through July 23 and reopen in Canton at the Village Theatre on July 28 and run through August 13.

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July 8, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

Triumphant The Taming of the Shrew

Opens 2017 Michigan Shakespeare Festival Season

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, opened their 2017 MSF Season Saturday night with an hilarious and romantic performance of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. MSF Artistic Associate John Neville-Andrews, MSF’s Artistic Director from 1998-2009 and who helmed such favorites as King John directed the Elizabethan-set comedy for the MSF which stars current Artistic Director Janice L Blixt as Kate and David Blixt as Petruchio, along with Artistic Associates Janet Haley as Bianca, Robert Kauzlaric as Hortensio, Brandon St. Clair Saunders as Tranio, and Alan Ball as Gremio.  

 

The fast-paced romp, set on a beautiful re-imagined “Elizabethan Theatre” stage designed by MSF’s Jeromy Hopgood and lavishly costumed in period splendor by Suzanne Young, is a reuniting of Blixt, Blixt, and Neville-Andrews, who all met 20 years ago working on the 1997 MSF production of the same show. “Returning to it after so many years, there’s a lot that we got right the first time—which we’re bringing back—and yet these are different times and we are different people and so there are entirely new depths for us to explore,” said David Blixt.

 

Opening night of the MSF also always features the announcement of the following season and there were happy gasps from the audience when Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST, to be directed by Kauzlaric, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, and a new compilation of both parts of Aphra Behn’s 1667 bawdy comedy THE ROVER—both directed by Janice L Blixt—were announced for 2018. “It’s rare that a classical theatre company produces works by a female playwright—and I love that we can bring Behn to Michigan audiences,” she said.

 

While the renovation of the Potter Center’s lobby is still underway, the MSF’s Administrative Associate Daniel Helmer made the most of the stripped down walls and construction equipment with clever wall hangings containing information about the shows and other displays—making it all feel light and fun for the champagne toasts that followed the performance.

 

Alan Ball, an Artistic Associate and audience favorite said, "Even after seven years at MSF, the thrill of opening night never fades. After weeks of rehearsal, it's so great to see that what cracked us up at read-through is still funny to everyone else. I can't wait to see people's reactions to Caesar and Seagull!"

 

Returning favorites Shawn Pfautsch (2014’s Hamlet and 2015’s Prince Hal) as Grumio, Ian Geers as Lucentio, Eric Eilersen as Biondello,  and Tobin Hissong as Baptista join newcomers Risha Tenae as the Widow, Lee Palmer as Vincentio, and Christopher L. Martin as the Pedant on the MSF stage.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Sound Designer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer.

 

The Festival openings continue next week with JULIUS CAESAR on Saturday, July 15, and Anton Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL on Sunday, Jul6 16.  The shows continue in Jackson at the Potter Center through July 23 and reopen in Canton at the Village Theatre on July 28 and run through August 13.

 

March 25, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  

MSF Announces Major 2017 Season Details at Saturday Night’s Triumphant PRIVATE LIVES

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, designated by the Governor and State Legislature, continued their 2017 “Lend Me Your Ears” reading series with Noel Coward’s sophisticated comedy PRIVATE LIVES.  The reading, held at Jackson’s Symphony Orchestra Hall (which also houses the offices of the MSF), featured touring company actors Derek Ridge and Sara Long, long-time artistic associate David Blixt, and Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt.

 

Over wine and hors d’oeuvres, Blixt also made further announcements concerning the 2017 Mainstage season (announced last July 9) including the unveiling of the official poster.  The 2017 Season will open with THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, starring David and Janice Blixt in the roles where they met 20 years ago, directed by retired Artistic Director and Artistic Associate John Neville-Andrews, and featuring festival favorites Janet Haley as Bianca, Brandon St. Clair Saunders as Tranio, Shawn Pfautsch as Grumio, and Alan Ball as Gremio.  The second production of the season will be the political thriller JULIUS CAESAR starring Robert Kauzlaric (last season’s glorious Richard II) as Brutus, Saunders as Cassius, and introducing Lee Palmer as Caesar.  The non-Shakespeare classical play will be Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL in a new adaptation by Janice L Blixt and the MSF Company from a new translation by Alexandra Christykova LaCombe and will feature Janet Haley and Shawn Pfautsch as Arkadina and Trigorin.

 

Also returning are Tobin Hissong, Ian Geers, and Eric Eilersen (all featured in last season’s THE KILLER ANGELS), and the MSF will be introducing Risha Tenae as Masha, Detroit’s own Christopher L Martin, and Lauren Grace Thompson.

 

The MSF’s award-winning design team of Jeromy Hopgood (Scenic Design), Kate Hopgood (Composition and Sound Design), David Allen Stoughton (Lighting Design), Suzanne Young (Costume Design, SHREW), Melanie Schuessler (Costume Design, CAESAR), and Darice Damata-Geiger (Costume Design, THE SEAGULL) return to the Festival.

 

The MSF will open July 6 at the Baughman Theatre in Jackson and re-open July 28 at the Village Theatre of Canton.  The 2018 Season will be announced at July 8th’s Gala Opening of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.

 

September 5, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Presents Renaissance Man Reading in Ann Arbor

 

Ann Arbor— The Michigan Shakespeare Festival will present a staged-reading of the Joseph Zettelmaier comedy The Renaissance Man on Saturday, October 8, at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor.  The “Macbeth-ish” comedy is the first of the MSF’s 2016-2017 “Lend Us Your Ears” reading series of plays – read by professional actors and directed by MSF’s Artistic Director Janice L Blixt. 

 

Zettelmaier, a respected local playwright, is currently having his work produced around the country and has been a staple at Michigan Theatres like Williamston and Tipping Point. four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for All Childish Things, then in 2007 for Language Lessons, in 2010 for It Came From Mars and in 2012 for Dead Man’s Shoes. His plays It Came From Mars and Dead Man’s Shoes both won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and he was recently profiled in American Theatre Magazine.

 

“We love Joseph’s plays,” said Artistic Director Blixt, “They don’t really fit our mission of classical theatre, but they are so clever and enjoyable, that we’re thrilled we could produce The Renaissance Man—which is a modern comic take on Macbeth—in our reading series.  We love the combination of Zettelmaier and MSF!”

 

The Renaissance Man is the story of a young man who plays a knight in a Renaissance Festival whose girlfriend helps convince him he’d be a better King of the Faire than the current holder of the throne. The reading features local professional actors Derek Ridge, Daniel A. Helmer, David Galido, Jaclynn Cherry, and Annie Dilworth—all of whom have performed with the MSF Company or with the MiSFITs—the MSF Touring Company.

 

Saturday, October 8

7:30 pm

Greenhills School

850 Greenhills Dr.

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Campbell Auditorium

Tickets $20

www.michiganshakespearefestival.com

 

Tickets for the 2017 Season are now on sale.

See our website at www.michiganshakespearefestival.com for more information.

 

August 31, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Wins 3 Wilde Awards for the 2015 Season

 

West Bloomfield-- Monday, August 29 at West Bloomfield’s Berman Center for the Performing Arts, Michigan’s professional theater community came together for The 15th Annual Wilde Awards presented by EncoreMichigan.com, and the Michigan Shakespeare Festival walked home with three: Best of the Bard, Best Design – Costumes, and Best Supporting Actress - Play.

 

Established in 2002, The 2016 Wilde Awards honored the best productions, performances, and technical accomplishments of the recently concluded 2015-16 season.The awards were determined by EncoreMichigan.com’s team of professional critics who reviewed 241productions produced or presented by 66 professional theater companies located in 36 communities across the state. The critics included Paula Bradley, Don Calamia, Tom Emmott, Carolyn Hayes-Harmer, Marin Heinritz, Tanya Gazdik Irwin, David Kiley, Martin F. Kohn, Jenn McKee, Sue Merrell, Amy J. Parrent, Frank Anthony Polito, John Quinn and Bridgette M. Redman.

 

The MSF’s 2015 Season was nominated for eight awards, one of the highest number for any theatre, and won three.

 

Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy, THE RIVALS, directed by MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric was honored with a Wilde for Best Supporting Actress – Play, Wendy Katz Hiller, for her hilarious turn as Mrs. Malaprop and Best Design – Costumes, Melanie Schuessler, for her glorious period costumes. 

 

The big win for the MSF came in the form of the Best of the Bard award—best Shakespeare production—for the epic HENRY IV, directed (and adapted from the two plays of Henry IV) by Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt.  After thanking Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood, in her acceptance speech, Blixt gave a heartfelt shout out to classical theatre performance, “I often get asked why I do Shakespeare—there are so many wonderful new plays out there, why do the dusty old ones?  Well, I love new plays, I love hearing new voices—but the plays that have survived for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years survive because audiences have made the choice to attend them again and again.  They speak to truths of the human condition, to our hopes, our fears, and our dreams.”

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival has won the “Best of the Bard” award at the Wildes each season they’ve been part of the awards calendar (in 2013, the calendar had changed and then, in 2014, was changed back so there were no MSF submissions for 2013 and the 2013 and 2014 seasons were both submitted for the 2014 awards)- winning in 2011 for THE WINTER’S TALE, 2012 for LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST, 2014 for CYMBELINE, and now 2015 for HENRY IV.  The MSF also has production wins in the Comedy category for TARTUFFE in 2012 and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST in 2014.

 

Tickets for the 2017 Season are now on sale with a pre-season deal (through Labor Day) of 2 Season Passes for the Price of One.  See our website at www.michiganshakespearefestival.com for more information.

 

 

2017 MSF Season in Jackson, MI and Canton, MI

Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and JULIUS CAESAR

Anton Chekhov’s comedy of artistic pretensions THE SEAGULL

 

July 31, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens 2016 In Canton

 

JACKSON, Mich. — The Award Winning Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, continues its tradition of presenting three shows in its summer season: two Shakespeare masterpieces, and one other classic or pivotal piece. This year, the non-Shakespeare piece is “The Killer Angels,” a play by Karen Tarjan’s based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel by Michael Shaara.

 

“The Killer Angels” is presented in repertory with “As You Like It” and Richard II” at The Village Theatre in Canton, Michigan from August 3 through August 14.

 

Current Hilberry Actors Michael Phillip Thomas and Brandon A. Wright are featured in the acting company along with Hilberry grads Alan Ball and Dwight Tolar and Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt.

  

Tickets for are now available online at www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com, or by Phone in Canton at 734-394-5300

 

July 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens RICHARD II and THE KILLER ANGELS

 

JACKSON, Mich. — The Michigan Shakespeare Festival continues its tradition of presenting three shows in its summer season: two Shakespeare masterpieces, and one other classic or pivotal piece. This year, the non-Shakespeare piece is “The Killer Angels,” a play by Karen Tarjan’s based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel by Michael Shaara.

 

“The Killer Angels” is presented in repertory with “As You Like It” and Richard II” in both summer venues — Potter Center at Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan, and The Village Theatre in Canton, Michigan from July 9 through Aug. 14.

 

The 1974 Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel by Michael Shaara tells the story of the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg — from June 30, 1863, as the opposing troops moved into position, through July 1, 2, and 3 when the bloodiest of Civil War battles was fought.

 

This epic novel has been adapted by award-winning playwright Karen Tarjan and is directed by MSF’s own acclaimed Artistic Director, Janice L Blixt, for a glorious and stirring stage event which will be a Michigan theatrical premiere.

 

Playwright Karen Tarjan will be in attendance at the official opening performance of “The Killer Angels” on July 17 and will be participating in a talk-back directly following the 2 p.m. performance.

 

Tickets for The Killer Angels and MSF’s Shakespearean offerings are now available online at www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com, by phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600 or by Phone in Canton at 734-394-5300

 

Reduced price Flexpasses for all three shows are available by calling the venue in which you plan to attend the productions (cannot be used across sites, good only at one venue only).

 

July 9, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens with Redemptive AS YOU LIKE IT

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, opened their 2016 MSF Season Saturday night with a glorious and romantic performance of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT.  The award winning MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, who previously helmed such favorites as Cymbeline, the Rivals, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed the fairy-tale fantasy comedy for the MSF which stars Artistic Associates Janet Haley as Jaques and Alan Ball as Touchstone along with newcomers Larissa Marten as Rosalind and Brandon A. Wright as Orlando.

 

Announcements were made by Artistic Director Janice L Blixt concerning the Festival’s organization and the contents of next year’s Season. 

 

Blixt introduced Ron Baumanis of Ann Arbor as the Festival’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors, and announced that long-time company member Brandon St. Clair Saunders would be joining the MSF’s foundational group of Artistic Associates currently consisting of Alan Ball- Actor, David Blixt- Festival Fight Director and Actor, Janet Haley- Actor, Jeromy Hopgood- Festival Scenic Designer and Technical Director, Kate Hopgood- Festival Composer, Sound Designer, and Music Director, and Robert Kauzlaric- Director and Actor. 

 

She also announced the 2017 Season which will consist of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JULIUS CAESAR along with the biting Anton Chekhov comedy THE SEAGULL.

 

Opening Night followed the first preview of Shakespeare’s RICHARD II- directed by Janice L Blixt and starring Robert Kauzlaric as the King, which will open this upcoming Saturday night at 7:30- following a Bard Talk by Blixt featuring the history relevant to the play which will start at 7 pm.

 

2016’s final production, THE KILLER ANGELS, a play by Karen Tarjan from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Michael Shaara, will begin previews on Thursday the 14th and will open on Sunday, July 17, to be followed by a talk-back with the playwright and a fundraiser dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor featuring a four-course menu created by Zingerman’s chef of culinary favorites from the 1860s.

 

Returning performers Alan Ball, Janet Haley, Brandon Saunders, and Eric Eilerson join Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong, Larissa Marten, Allison Megroet, Michael Phillip Thomas, Terrance Wayne Wilburn, and Brandon Wright, with the return of Dwight Tolar and Robert McLean to Michigan theatre, and the debut of Ian Geers, Anu Bhatt, Matt Daniels, Kate Suffern, and Jacob Schrimpf on the MSF stage. For the first time, director Kauzlaric also performs this season, playing the titular tragic king in RICHARD II.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Composer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. Costumers Aly Renee Amidei, Patty Branam, and Suzanne Young join the MSF company: Katherine Adams, David Blixt, Meredith Deighton, Aaron Delnay, Christine Franzen, Brittney Gillespie, Elise Kauzlaric, David Koltunchik, Lauren Montgomery, Anthony Petrucci, Sera Shearer, Betty Thomas, and Scott Tobin. Stefanie Din stage manages.

 

July 9, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens with Redemptive AS YOU LIKE IT

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, opened their 2016 MSF Season Saturday night with a glorious and romantic performance of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT.  The award winning MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, who previously helmed such favorites as Cymbeline, the Rivals, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed the fairy-tale fantasy comedy for the MSF which stars Artistic Associates Janet Haley as Jaques and Alan Ball as Touchstone along with newcomers Larissa Marten as Rosalind and Brandon A. Wright as Orlando.

 

Announcements were made by Artistic Director Janice L Blixt concerning the Festival’s organization and the contents of next year’s Season. 

 

Blixt introduced Ron Baumanis of Ann Arbor as the Festival’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors, and announced that long-time company member Brandon St. Clair Saunders would be joining the MSF’s foundational group of Artistic Associates currently consisting of Alan Ball- Actor, David Blixt- Festival Fight Director and Actor, Janet Haley- Actor, Jeromy Hopgood- Festival Scenic Designer and Technical Director, Kate Hopgood- Festival Composer, Sound Designer, and Music Director, and Robert Kauzlaric- Director and Actor. 

 

She also announced the 2017 Season which will consist of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JULIUS CAESAR along with the biting Anton Chekhov comedy THE SEAGULL.

 

Opening Night followed the first preview of Shakespeare’s RICHARD II- directed by Janice L Blixt and starring Robert Kauzlaric as the King, which will open this upcoming Saturday night at 7:30- following a Bard Talk by Blixt featuring the history relevant to the play which will start at 7 pm.

 

2016’s final production, THE KILLER ANGELS, a play by Karen Tarjan from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Michael Shaara, will begin previews on Thursday the 14th and will open on Sunday, July 17, to be followed by a talk-back with the playwright and a fundraiser dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor featuring a four-course menu created by Zingerman’s chef of culinary favorites from the 1860s.

 

Returning performers Alan Ball, Janet Haley, Brandon Saunders, and Eric Eilerson join Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong, Larissa Marten, Allison Megroet, Michael Phillip Thomas, Terrance Wayne Wilburn, and Brandon Wright, with the return of Dwight Tolar and Robert McLean to Michigan theatre, and the debut of Ian Geers, Anu Bhatt, Matt Daniels, Kate Suffern, and Jacob Schrimpf on the MSF stage. For the first time, director Kauzlaric also performs this season, playing the titular tragic king in RICHARD II.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Composer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. Costumers Aly Renee Amidei, Patty Branam, and Suzanne Young join the MSF company: Katherine Adams, David Blixt, Meredith Deighton, Aaron Delnay, Christine Franzen, Brittney Gillespie, Elise Kauzlaric, David Koltunchik, Lauren Montgomery, Anthony Petrucci, Sera Shearer, Betty Thomas, and Scott Tobin. Stefanie Din stage manages.

 

July 9, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens with Redemptive AS YOU LIKE IT

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, opened their 2016 MSF Season Saturday night with a glorious and romantic performance of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT.  The award winning MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, who previously helmed such favorites as Cymbeline, the Rivals, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed the fairy-tale fantasy comedy for the MSF which stars Artistic Associates Janet Haley as Jaques and Alan Ball as Touchstone along with newcomers Larissa Marten as Rosalind and Brandon A. Wright as Orlando.

 

Announcements were made by Artistic Director Janice L Blixt concerning the Festival’s organization and the contents of next year’s Season. 

 

Blixt introduced Ron Baumanis of Ann Arbor as the Festival’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors, and announced that long-time company member Brandon St. Clair Saunders would be joining the MSF’s foundational group of Artistic Associates currently consisting of Alan Ball- Actor, David Blixt- Festival Fight Director and Actor, Janet Haley- Actor, Jeromy Hopgood- Festival Scenic Designer and Technical Director, Kate Hopgood- Festival Composer, Sound Designer, and Music Director, and Robert Kauzlaric- Director and Actor. 

 

She also announced the 2017 Season which will consist of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JULIUS CAESAR along with the biting Anton Chekhov comedy THE SEAGULL.

 

Opening Night followed the first preview of Shakespeare’s RICHARD II- directed by Janice L Blixt and starring Robert Kauzlaric as the King, which will open this upcoming Saturday night at 7:30- following a Bard Talk by Blixt featuring the history relevant to the play which will start at 7 pm.

 

2016’s final production, THE KILLER ANGELS, a play by Karen Tarjan from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Michael Shaara, will begin previews on Thursday the 14th and will open on Sunday, July 17, to be followed by a talk-back with the playwright and a fundraiser dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor featuring a four-course menu created by Zingerman’s chef of culinary favorites from the 1860s.

 

Returning performers Alan Ball, Janet Haley, Brandon Saunders, and Eric Eilerson join Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong, Larissa Marten, Allison Megroet, Michael Phillip Thomas, Terrance Wayne Wilburn, and Brandon Wright, with the return of Dwight Tolar and Robert McLean to Michigan theatre, and the debut of Ian Geers, Anu Bhatt, Matt Daniels, Kate Suffern, and Jacob Schrimpf on the MSF stage. For the first time, director Kauzlaric also performs this season, playing the titular tragic king in RICHARD II.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Composer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. Costumers Aly Renee Amidei, Patty Branam, and Suzanne Young join the MSF company: Katherine Adams, David Blixt, Meredith Deighton, Aaron Delnay, Christine Franzen, Brittney Gillespie, Elise Kauzlaric, David Koltunchik, Lauren Montgomery, Anthony Petrucci, Sera Shearer, Betty Thomas, and Scott Tobin. Stefanie Din stage manages.

 

July 9, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Opens with Redemptive AS YOU LIKE IT

 

Jackson- The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, opened their 2016 MSF Season Saturday night with a glorious and romantic performance of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT.  The award winning MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, who previously helmed such favorites as Cymbeline, the Rivals, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed the fairy-tale fantasy comedy for the MSF which stars Artistic Associates Janet Haley as Jaques and Alan Ball as Touchstone along with newcomers Larissa Marten as Rosalind and Brandon A. Wright as Orlando.

 

Announcements were made by Artistic Director Janice L Blixt concerning the Festival’s organization and the contents of next year’s Season. 

 

Blixt introduced Ron Baumanis of Ann Arbor as the Festival’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors, and announced that long-time company member Brandon St. Clair Saunders would be joining the MSF’s foundational group of Artistic Associates currently consisting of Alan Ball- Actor, David Blixt- Festival Fight Director and Actor, Janet Haley- Actor, Jeromy Hopgood- Festival Scenic Designer and Technical Director, Kate Hopgood- Festival Composer, Sound Designer, and Music Director, and Robert Kauzlaric- Director and Actor. 

 

She also announced the 2017 Season which will consist of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JULIUS CAESAR along with the biting Anton Chekhov comedy THE SEAGULL.

 

Opening Night followed the first preview of Shakespeare’s RICHARD II- directed by Janice L Blixt and starring Robert Kauzlaric as the King, which will open this upcoming Saturday night at 7:30- following a Bard Talk by Blixt featuring the history relevant to the play which will start at 7 pm.

 

2016’s final production, THE KILLER ANGELS, a play by Karen Tarjan from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Michael Shaara, will begin previews on Thursday the 14th and will open on Sunday, July 17, to be followed by a talk-back with the playwright and a fundraiser dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor featuring a four-course menu created by Zingerman’s chef of culinary favorites from the 1860s.

 

Returning performers Alan Ball, Janet Haley, Brandon Saunders, and Eric Eilerson join Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong, Larissa Marten, Allison Megroet, Michael Phillip Thomas, Terrance Wayne Wilburn, and Brandon Wright, with the return of Dwight Tolar and Robert McLean to Michigan theatre, and the debut of Ian Geers, Anu Bhatt, Matt Daniels, Kate Suffern, and Jacob Schrimpf on the MSF stage. For the first time, director Kauzlaric also performs this season, playing the titular tragic king in RICHARD II.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Composer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. Costumers Aly Renee Amidei, Patty Branam, and Suzanne Young join the MSF company: Katherine Adams, David Blixt, Meredith Deighton, Aaron Delnay, Christine Franzen, Brittney Gillespie, Elise Kauzlaric, David Koltunchik, Lauren Montgomery, Anthony Petrucci, Sera Shearer, Betty Thomas, and Scott Tobin. Stefanie Din stage manages.

 

July 4, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

THE MICHIGAN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL PRESENTS PREVIEW PERFORMANCES STARTING THIS WEEK

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, in partnership with JTV and with the Commercial Exchange, will be holding our season preview performances starting this Thursday evening at the Baughman Theatre of Jackson College, 2111 Emmons Rd.

 

Each production of the season has two previews. Preview performances are held at the end of the rehearsal process prior to opening. After the actors have rehearsed the text and the designers and builders have created the sets and costumes, lights and sound, after the directors and company have brought all of these elements together onstage, audiences are brought in to see the plays and give feedback to the company about the show. Following each preview, there is a talk-back session with the audience and director of the production and the MSF Artistic Director. Based on the comments (and the reactions of the audience during the performances) subtle changes are made to the production prior to opening night.

 

In honor of our hometown of Jackson, MI, and in an effort to increase accessibility to our productions, the MSF offers deep discounts for these preview performances. The first for each show being Pay-What-You-Can, sponsored by Jackson’s own JTV, where the audience is asked to pay what they are able to pay for their ticket -- average tickets tend to be about $15, but $1 - $100 is not out of the ordinary. The second is a Two-for- One (or 2-4-1), sponsored by Jackson’s Commercial Exchange, which allows audience members to buy one ticket and get one free—perfect for date night.

 

The 2016 Season consists of the Romantic Comedy (with a fairy-tale twist brought by director Robert Kauzlaric) AS YOU LIKE IT, the historical tragedy (containing some of the most oft-quoted lines in all of Shakespeare) RICHARD II, and THE KILLER ANGELS, a play by Karen Tarjan from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the Battle of Gettysburg by Michael Shaara—both directed by MSF’s award winning Artistic Director, Janice L Blixt.

Returning performers Alan Ball, Janet Haley, Brandon Saunders, and Eric Eilerson join Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong, Larissa Marten, Allison Megroet, Michael Phillip Thomas, Terrance Wayne Wilburn, and Brandon Wright, with the return of Dwight Tolar and Robert McLean to Michigan theatre, and the debut of Ian Geers, Anu Bhatt, Matt Daniels, Kate Suffern, and Jacob Schrimpf on the MSF stage. For the first time, director Kauzlaric also performs this season, playing the titular tragic king in RICHARD II.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Composer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. Costumers Aly Renee Amidei, Patty Branam, and Suzanne Young join the MSF company: Katherine Adams, David Blixt, Meredith Deighton, Aaron Delnay, Christine Franzen, Brittney Gillespie, Elise Kauzlaric, David Koltunchik, Lauren Montgomery, Anthony Petrucci, Sera Shearer, Betty Thomas, and Scott Tobin. Stefanie Din stage manages.

 

Tickets for AS YOU LIKE IT, RICHARD II, and THE KILLER ANGELS are now available: Online at www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600 By Phone in Canton at 734-394-5300

 

July 4, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

THE MICHIGAN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL PRESENTS PREVIEW PERFORMANCES STARTING THIS WEEK

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, in partnership with JTV and with the Commercial Exchange, will be holding our season preview performances starting this Thursday evening at the Baughman Theatre of Jackson College, 2111 Emmons Rd.

 

Each production of the season has two previews. Preview performances are held at the end of the rehearsal process prior to opening. After the actors have rehearsed the text and the designers and builders have created the sets and costumes, lights and sound, after the directors and company have brought all of these elements together onstage, audiences are brought in to see the plays and give feedback to the company about the show. Following each preview, there is a talk-back session with the audience and director of the production and the MSF Artistic Director. Based on the comments (and the reactions of the audience during the performances) subtle changes are made to the production prior to opening night.

 

In honor of our hometown of Jackson, MI, and in an effort to increase accessibility to our productions, the MSF offers deep discounts for these preview performances. The first for each show being Pay-What-You-Can, sponsored by Jackson’s own JTV, where the audience is asked to pay what they are able to pay for their ticket -- average tickets tend to be about $15, but $1 - $100 is not out of the ordinary. The second is a Two-for- One (or 2-4-1), sponsored by Jackson’s Commercial Exchange, which allows audience members to buy one ticket and get one free—perfect for date night.

 

The 2016 Season consists of the Romantic Comedy (with a fairy-tale twist brought by director Robert Kauzlaric) AS YOU LIKE IT, the historical tragedy (containing some of the most oft-quoted lines in all of Shakespeare) RICHARD II, and THE KILLER ANGELS, a play by Karen Tarjan from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the Battle of Gettysburg by Michael Shaara—both directed by MSF’s award winning Artistic Director, Janice L Blixt.

Returning performers Alan Ball, Janet Haley, Brandon Saunders, and Eric Eilerson join Michigan favorites Tobin Hissong, Larissa Marten, Allison Megroet, Michael Phillip Thomas, Terrance Wayne Wilburn, and Brandon Wright, with the return of Dwight Tolar and Robert McLean to Michigan theatre, and the debut of Ian Geers, Anu Bhatt, Matt Daniels, Kate Suffern, and Jacob Schrimpf on the MSF stage. For the first time, director Kauzlaric also performs this season, playing the titular tragic king in RICHARD II.

 

Artistic Associates Jeromy and Kate Hopgood continue in their roles of Scenic Designer and Composer, while David Allen Stoughton returns as Lighting Designer. Costumers Aly Renee Amidei, Patty Branam, and Suzanne Young join the MSF company: Katherine Adams, David Blixt, Meredith Deighton, Aaron Delnay, Christine Franzen, Brittney Gillespie, Elise Kauzlaric, David Koltunchik, Lauren Montgomery, Anthony Petrucci, Sera Shearer, Betty Thomas, and Scott Tobin. Stefanie Din stage manages.

 

Tickets for AS YOU LIKE IT, RICHARD II, and THE KILLER ANGELS are now available: Online at www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com

By Phone in Jackson at 517-796-8600 By Phone in Canton at 734-394-5300

 

October 14, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

MICHIGAN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL DONATES TO JACKSON COMMUNITY GROUPS

 

JACKSON, MI – This month the Michigan Shakespeare Festival has been working with local charities to donate furniture, properties, and decorative goods to groups in need. Mattresses, bedroom tables, lamps, and other usable furnishings including tables, carpets, and couches all went to people in need, in one case allowing a family to sleep in their own beds for the first time in five months.

 

“We used to rent houses each summer for our company of actors and technicians, and had to furnish them,” explained MSF Artistic Director Janice L Blixt. “For the last three years we’ve been housed quite comfortably at Jackson College, so we no longer need beds and such. Which means we’ve been able to donate it all to the community, which means the world to us. It’s how non-profits survive, really. By helping each other.”

 

The MSF partnered with Together We Can Make A Difference, a non-profit Jackson ministry organization, to give MSF stock furniture to families in Jackson County in need. In addition to their own giving, Together We Can Make A Difference’s director, Wendy Wight, announced that additional MSF furniture was given to Jackson’s St. Vincent DePaul for further distribution.

 

“We’re tremendously proud that we can help local families and partner with community groups here in Jackson,” said Nona Bennett, MSF’s General Manager. “We often have pieces of furniture or small appliances that we use for a show or a season and then they just end up in storage—I’m always glad when they can be put to use.”

 

In addition to the domestic pieces, some theatrical lighting equipment and a wind machine no longer needed by the Festival has found a home with CenterStage Jackson. “As we continue to grow and upgrade our capabilities, we’re happy to pass on and share the fruits of our 22 years here in Jackson,” said Bennett.

 

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, the Official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan performs July 7-24 at the Baughman Theater in the Potter Center, celebrating 22 years of Jackson theatre with AS YOU LIKE IT, RICHARD II, and Karen Tarjan’s adaptation of THE KILLER ANGELS, Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on the Battle of Gettysburg.

 

Visit www.michiganshakespearefestival.com for tickets or to volunteer.

August 1, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MICHIGAN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL BRINGING CIVIL WAR TO THE STAGE IN 2016 

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival last night announced its 2016 season, which includes Shakespeare's As You Like It and Richard II, and The Killer Angels, Karen Tarjan's critically-acclaimed adaptation of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel.

 

Producing Artistic Director Janice L Blixt revealed the line-up of plays from the stage of the Village Theatre in Canton before a packed Midsummer audience, drawing gasps and applause. "Each year we try to challenge ourselves," Blixt told the crowd. "For 2016, we're expanding our mission with an adaptation that is Shakespearean in scope."

 

Blixt, who helmed this season's epic Henry IV, will direct this Michigan-premiere of The Killer Angels, which tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg, in July and August of 2016, 153 years after the battle itself. The play premiered at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago in 2004, and is described thus:

 

It’s the third summer of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee leads the Army of Northern Virginia into the North and the Army of the Potomac has no choice but to pursue. Over the course of three historic days, beside campfires and amidst firefights, a remarkable group of soldiers wrestle with their doubts, their fears, and their hopes for a shattered nation. Cemetery Hill, Culp’s Hill, Little Round Top, and Pickett’s Charge come to vibrant life through the indelible stories of the men who fought these legendary battles.

 

The announcement came the day that tickets for the 2016 MSF season went on sale.

 

"As we continue to grow as part of the Michigan cultural scene, we want to broaden the reach of the stories we tell," says Blixt. "That includes adaptations of great works of literature set in the past. We are a classical company, and this is a classical story that is also very much a part of our history. The script is both epic, and extremely personal. Like Julius Caesar or Henry V, The Killer Angels is so immediate, so very real, it feels like Shakespeare."

 

The Killer Angels joins Shakespeare's brilliant comedy As You Like It and his timely exploration of leadership and duty, Richard II. MSF Artistic Associate Robert Kauzlaric, director of 2014's Wilde Award-winning Cymbeline, will direct As You Like It. Artistic Director Blixt, who has won multiple Wilde Awards for both Best of the Bard and Best Comedy, will direct both Richard II and The Killer Angels.

 

The official Shakespeare Festival of the State of Michigan, the MSF has expanded to a second location this year, performing both in its longtime home at Jackson's Baughman Theatre and now at the Village Theatre in Canton. The Canton performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV, and The Rivals continue through August 16th.

 

Tickets for the 2016 season are on sale exclusively at the MSF website, www.michiganshakespearefestival.com. From now until September 1st, season passes are on sale at two-for-one prices. The Killer Angels is expected to sell out, so purchase tickets soon!

 

February  27, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MICHIGAN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL COMES TO CANTON, MI

 

This summer marks the 21st season of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, and for the first time, there will be performances in Canton, MI.

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is proud to announce that the second half of this summer’s season will be performed at the Village Theatre — a state-of-the-art theater in the heart of Canton. Tickets for all performances are now on sale, as are group tickets, and season tickets. Performances in Canton run in repertoire July 29 through August 16. A full performance schedule for the Village Theatre is attached. Many performances feature talks before or after the show.

 

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival is a professional Actors Equity Association-LORT theatre festival, and features all-professional actors, artistic staff, and technicians.

 

Theater lovers travel to the Michigan Shakespeare Festival from across the country, not just locally...and it has come to rival Ontario’s Stratford Festival in quality and accolades. The festival had a 3.5 million dollar statewide economic impact last summer. The company is the most award-winning theatre in the state, and has garnered not only local acclaim but national acclaim. Reviews called last season’s productions “Outstanding” (MLive), “You may never again see this play done so well” (Encore Michigan), “Remarkably

relevant” (Examiner), “Four out of Four stars” (Detroit Free Press), and “Exquisite... gorgeous...perfect” (Jackson Citizen Patriot). BroadwayWorld named last season’s production of Hamlet the Best Shakespearean Production of 2014 nationwide.

 

Since 1995, the Michigan Shakespeare Festival has made a commitment to the highest standards of artistic quality and in 2003, the Governor and State Senate designated the event as the official Shakespeare festival of Michigan.

 

The Festival maintains high artistic professional standards, resulting in top quality productions utilizing artists of the highest caliber. This July 9- August 16, 2015 we will offer William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry IV, along with Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals, at both venues — in Jackson and in Canton.

 

Attached, you’ll find information about the Festival, dates, and ticket prices. Contact us at our office number or by email, we can answer your questions, provide artistic information, and do interviews and appearances for you on the radio, in print media, and television. 

 

215 W. Michigan Ave. Jackson, MI 49201

517-998-3673

msf@acd.net

www.MichiganShakespeareFestival.com 

2019 MainStage Performances in Jackson, MI and Canton, MI

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