Theater plans to knock your socks off

Originally published on August 30, 2011 by The Eastern Echo


As the new school year approaches, students look forward to many activities.

Football is coming back with an exciting new addition to the coaching staff, the Student Center is starting up its free movie series, and all of the student organizations are revving back up after the long summer.

For those among you who enjoy a science fiction double feature or a little bit of razzle dazzle, the 2011-2012 season of the Eastern Michigan University Theater Mainstage has got you covered.

This year the Mainstage is featuring six announced shows, with a seventh being kept a secret.

The shows range from comedies about hysterical hypochondriacs and mediocre medical professionals to Tony Award-winning musicals.

The performances will take place at the Quirk Dramatic Arts building, which is located behind the newly renovated Pray-Harrold building on East Circle Drive at the Best Hall intersection.

The tickets for the performances are available online at, in person at the Convocation Center or by phone at 734-487-2282.

The cost is $15 for general admission, $12 for students, $9 for Mainstage patrons and $7 for children ages 6-12.

“The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee”

If your Roxie heart is bursting at the seams, and you can’t wait until Sept. 9th for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” to get the ball rolling on the new season, you’re in luck.

Thanks to some inside dish, we can give you an exclusive preview of the new season.

Le gasp is right.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will be leading this season beginning, with shows in the Sponberg Theater at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9-10 and a show at 2 p.m. on the 11th.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a Tony Award-winning musical comedy written by William Finn.

This show has been brought back due to popular demand after its successful run during EMU’s spring semester.

Directed by Ken Stevens, the show follows six kids, “caught in the clutches of puberty and clinging to the outskirts of popular society.”

If its original run is any indication, this definitely will be a highlight of the 2011-2012 season.

“The Imaginary Invalid”

Next up will be the first run of the hilarious comedy “The Imaginary Invalid.”

This production is director Lee Stille’s imaginative contemporary take on the French classic of the same name by Molière, which debuted in 1673.

“The Imaginary Invalid” tells the story of Argan, a massive hypochondriac, who, in an attempt get free health care, tries to marry off his daughter to a clumsy and incompetent doctor.

This highly regarded physical comedy will take the stage at 7 p.m. in Quirk Theater on Oct. 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 with a 2 p.m. show on the 16th.

“Go, Dog! Go”

Beginning Dec. 2nd, the “colorful adventure” “Go, Dog! Go” will start its run.

The play “Go, Dog! Go” is an adaptation by Steven Dietz and Allison Gregory of the P.D. Eastman children’s book of the same name.

This family-friendly play with music follows a group of “highly mobile” dogs who drive cars, work, party and wear hats.

“Go, Dog! Go” will call Quirk Theater home Dec. 2, 9 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 3, 4, 11 and 16 at 7 p.m. On Dec. 7 and 8, school matinée performances will be put on at 10 a.m.

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone”

If a dead man’s phone wouldn’t stop ringing, would you answer it?

In Sarah Ruhl’s play, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” we follow Jean, who decides to answer the call and is subsequently sent stumbling through a series of unfortunate events.

Through the quirky adventure, she comes to question much of life’s little complications.

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is going to play the Sponberg Theater on Feb. 3, 4, 11 and 16 at 7 p.m., with shows at 2 p.m. Feb. 5 and 12.

“No Child”

Based on Nijala Sun’s one-woman show, “No Child” is a story about one teacher’s struggles working within the education system.

The play unfolds as her plans to transform a New York City high school through the arts are sidelined by the harsh realities of the modern education system.

Once bright-eyed and optimistic, she soon has to come to grips with the limitations of her position. She then must decide if she should give up or fight to bring about the change she wants to see.

This story of determination will play the Sponberg Theater on Feb. 11 and 19 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 9, 10, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. This show is recommended for mature audiences.

“Guys and Dolls”

Rounding out the announced shows for this season, the Tony Award winning musical theater classic “Guys and Dolls” will be storming onto the Quirk Theater stage on April 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. and April 12 at 2 p.m.

Set in the 1940’s, “Guys and Dolls” is an “upbeat musical classic about gambling guys who won’t commit and determined dolls who won’t give up.”

The story is based on a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows adapted from stories by Damon Runyon.

The final play of the 2011-2012 season has not yet been announced but the rumors say it’s something big.

Look for an official announcement, which is scheduled for January 2012.

This Ken Stevens-directed mystery project is set to fill seats in the Sponberg Theater June 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and June 3 at 2 p.m.

With this great lineup of shows, the 2011-2012 theater season at EMU is going to be a blast.

Make sure to get your tickets early. Don’t let a sold-out show rain on your parade.

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