Come to the Islands!

Island Banner

Hello Readers!

Some time has gone by since the Holidays, but here we are! If you are looking for a little get away from that cold, dreary weather outside; come on by the theatre to see this beautiful show! It will take you are a journey in the Caribbean and it is a wonderful story. I walked into the theatre the other day and all I can tell you is WOW!! (notice all caps). The set is gorgeous, the costumes are gorgeous, the music is phenomenal and the actors are incredible. This is going to be one of the best show this season, which means that you need to get your tickets soon.

Just to show you how beautiful the set is here are a couple of pictures taken by our Managing Director Cheryl Marshall.

OOTI set 2

OOTI set 1

Trust me when I say you want to see this show! It is full of beauty, so get your tickets soon. Call the box office at 248.377.3300 or visit ticketmaster.com.

Stay Tuned…

Casey S. Hibbert©

 

We were here….where were you?

It has been a while since we have posted anything on the blog so I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about the Andes Awards. Contrary to popular belief it was not name after the delicious chocolate mints. Although that would have been pretty funny if it had, right? No, it all started with a subscriber of many years, she always said that we should have a subscribers choice awards. So in 2009 we had our first awards ceremony and in honor of her we named it the Andes Awards. She still wanted to remain somewhat anonymous so we decided on Andes. The first annual Andes was a huge success; with hand etched awards we thought it couldn’t get any better! However, this last Andes Awards doubled in size and we had many more awards to give. This year was an amazing turn out with several hundred people, amazing hor d’oeuvres, wine and good company; made for an amazing ceremony! Check out our website for the winners!

Cheryl accepting her award.

Be sure to be here next week for my next blog

In line for food.

Greek Theatre…

 

 

Mike receiving his award for Favorite Sound Design.
Katie accepting her award.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casey S. Hibbert© Guest Blogger

Preparing THE 39 STEPS workout

The Meadow Brook Theatre Guild prepares for THE 39 STEPS meet and greet

If you’ve already seen THE 39 STEPS at Meadow Brook Theatre, then you know what kind of exhilarating workout performing and running the show must be.  However, before the show makes it to the stage, before rehearsals begin, we hold what is called a Meet and Greet, hosted by The Meadow Brook Theatre Guild.

The 39 Steps Meet and Greet

A meet and greet generally begins with a festive spread of show themed food and beverages.  For The 39 Steps, the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild (a group of volunteers that help support the theatre) prepared Scottish sandwiches, chesse plates, Scottish eggs and awesome cider.  As there is a Scottish theme in The 39 Steps, the Guild dressed up in their best Scottish attire to make the event extremely festive.

The 39 Steps Meet and Greet

The cast and crew of The 39 Steps was invited to attend and partake in the delicious goodies along with the staff of the theatre.  This is always a good opportunity to welcome newcomers and get to know the ‘who’s who’ of the show, the staff and the guild.   After we partake of the food we gather in a circle and introduce ourselves to everyone else.

 

Staff, cast and crew enjoying the meet and greet

Once the festivities die down, it is time for the first rehearsal to begin.  The Guild is always invited to stay and watch design presentations and the first read-through of the show.

Design presentations consist of the designers of the show presenting the audience with renderings/models of what their finished designs will look like.  Kristen Gribbin, our scenic designer for The 39 Steps showed off her wonderful set model for example.

 

 

Kristen Gribbin talks about her set design
Liz Moore describes The 39 Steps costumes

Liz Moore, the costume designer, showed colored renderings while she explained her designs.

After the design presentations are finished, we have a read-through of the show with the cast.  This is always my favorite part of starting rehearsals, because although the cast has been chosen though a rigorous audition process, this is the first time that I get to hear the show come to life.  It is a very exciting first step because all of the actors come in with their own ideas of the characters… who they are… what they want… how they will get it… etc.  For this production in particular it was extremely fun because many of the actors play several characters and it was fun listening to them change so quickly from one voice to another.

The whole rehearsal process was amazing for this show… but it all starts with the Meet and Greet hosted by that wonderful group of volunteers, The Meadow Brook Theatre Guild!  The guild is always looking for new members… if you like volunteering for a good cause and meeting the actors of upcoming Meadow Brook Theatre productions, consider joining this awesome group!  For more information on the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild, please visit their website at www.meadowbrooktheatreguild.com

DON’T FORGET TO SEE THE 39 STEPS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

Opening weekend we had almost 500 people in the Sunday matinee and tickets are selling quickly.  Don’t be left out of the “Must-See” event of the season.  Call the box office for tickets today at 248.377.3300 or for groups of 8 or more contact group sales at 248.370.3316.  For more information on this and all shows at Meadow Brook Theatre visit our website at www.mbtheatre.com

See you at the theatre!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director

 

The cast of The 39 Steps gather around for a first read-through of the show.

A Cup of Cheer with Judy Dery of A Christmas Carol

Today Judy Dery joined me for A Cup of Cheer.  She is playing Mrs. Fezziwig and other roles in A Christmas Carol. Judy was in the cast the first year that I joined the A Christmas Carol family.  She has a wonderful smile and such a warm heart that it draws you in.  I am so pleased that she continues to share the holidays with us.  Please come see her in the show… she is truly something special!

A Christmas Carol is open to the public now!!!  Get tickets by calling the box office at 248-377-3300 and remember to check our website at www.mbtheatre.com for more information!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director

 

Judy Dery portrays Mrs. Fezziwig and others in A Christmas Carol

 

A Cup of Cheer with Judy Dery

 

How many years have you been in A Christmas Carol?

This is my 10th year.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas!  I’ve had 5 Mr. Fezziwigs (4 “1 or 2-nighters” with understudies), and 8 Fezziwig daughters.  I have so enjoyed watching the young actors grow up in the cast.  I’d love to see one of them who “graduated” at 14 (per our agreement with Actors’ Equity) come back at 18 and be a caroler.

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

The lights.  I go a little crazy at my house – something different in front every year.  I start them on Thanksgiving and keep them up till January 6 for Epiphany/Twelfth Night.  I like to drive through neighborhoods looking at what others do.  They just make me feel good.

What is your favorite part of the story A Christmas Carol?

The happy ending.  “God bless us, every one.”

There are many school matinees for A Christmas Carol, what is fun/special about performing for children?

Their reactions are so honest.  Many of them are happy to be coming to see the show.  Some of them are just happy to be out of school for the morning.

Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge for “one more piece of coal” do you prefer your house to be “warm as toast”, “just right”, or “cold enough to hang meat”?

“Just right” for me; which might be “warm as toast” to someone else.

Scrooge promises to find Peter Cratchit a job and Martha almost misses Christmas dinner because she has to work … what kind of jobs did you have when you were young like Peter and Martha?

Mostly I babysat.  Living in a neighborhood where there was an elementary school and a public park with a swimming pool, there were lots of children.

Favorite Christmas Drink.. Egg Nog or Wassail?

Wassail.  I have a great recipe.

Scrooge loves money… When you get a present, do you prefer money or a gift?

I like a gift – preferably something small, personal and inexpensive.

Scrooge is visited by two charity men early in the show… have you done any charity work or are there charity organizations that you support?

Let’s see…  I’ve answered phones at, and donated to, public television.  I was chair of our local fund-raising group, Equity & Friends Fight AIDS.  And I’m a member of the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild.

Scrooge is visited by four ghosts… do you believe in ghosts?

Yes.  (insert sly smile)

If you were visited by the spirit of Christmas past how would you welcome looking back on your life?

I’d love it!  Memory Lane is one of my favorite places to stroll.  I’ve been blessed.  There are so many times I’d like to recollect; and people.  I’d love to see my high-school drama and music teachers; my first audition for Terry Kilburn (I got the part!  Guys and Dolls – my first Equity contract.)…  And my grandmother.  I think I miss her most at Christmas.

Next project after A Christmas Carol?

Costuming at Detroit Repertory Theatre.  I’ve been doing costumes there for about eight years.

The Fezziwigs host the best parties. Any memorable moments from holiday parties you’d like to share?

Oh, my!  I used to throw a Fezziwig-worthy party on the Sunday after New Year’s – sorta the last party of the holiday season.  Did it for years.  Took the tradition with me when I moved to California (1978-83).  They went away when I started getting acting work around the holidays, sometimes, even, out of town.

The spread at the Fezziwig’s party is unbelievable…. what is your favorite holiday food?

Mom’s kielbasa and chrzan (horseradish with beets) served with her fried onions and potatoes and two kinds of kapusta.

Other favorite Charles Dickens novels?

A Tale of Two Cities.  “’Tis a far, far better thing I do….”

Why do you think so many families come to see this show year after year?

Tradition.  Ours is so faithful to the novel in Charles Nolte’s script and the set and costume designs.  I like to tell people our show looks like a Victorian pop-up book.

What is your favorite holiday?

Oh…   Christmas!

Baking is huge during the holidays, do you bake? if so what do you like to bake?

I don’t.  But I enjoy what others bake.

What message do you hope the audience takes with them about A Christmas Carol?

Kindness wins.  We need more kindness in the world.

Finish this sentence: “My favorite gift that I ever received during the holiday season was_________”

“… my first typewriter.  I was 11 and wanted a toy typewriter like the one my best friend had.  You turned a wheel to the desired letter, pressed down on it and the letter was printed on the paper in the roller.  Santa brought me a Remington Rand.  I cried happy tears.  I still have it.”

A Cup of Cheer with Tobin Hissong of A Christmas Carol

In today’s Cup of Cheer I have the distinct pleasure of chatting with Tobin Hissong.  Audiences will remember him as the loveable jokester Harvey from Breaking Up is Hard to Do last season as well as playing the title role in Murder by Poe. Tobin is a wonderfully honest actor.  His portrayal of Bob Chratchit in A Christmas Carol has almost brought me to tears on several occasions.  We are so lucky to have him back with us celebrating his 3rd year in A Christmas Carol. Many thanks to his wife Chris, the sweetest woman on earth, for allowing us to share him during the holiday season.

Come see Tobin’s performance.  Tickets for A Christmas Carol are on sale now and going quickly!  Get yours today!  Call the box office at 248-377-3300 or purchase tickets online at ticketmaster.com or through our website at www.mbtheatre.com

See you at the theatre!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director


Tobin Hissong returns to the role of Bob Cratchit for his 3rd year!

A Cup of Cheer with Tobin Hissong


How many years have you been in A Christmas Carol? This will be my 3rd year as  Bob Cratchit.

What is your favorite part of the holiday season? Seeing all of  the lights and decorations!

What is your favorite part of the story A Christmas Carol? All of it!  It is such a spectacular adaptation and it’s just a pleasure to see it all come together again!

There are many school matinees for A Christmas Carol, what is fun/special about performing for children? Seeing and hearing the kids react to all of the great scenes in the show!

Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge for “one more piece of coal” do you prefer your house to be “warm as toast”, “just right”, or “cold enough to hang meat”? I like it “as warm as toast!”  (with a little egg nog thrown in for good measure!)

Scrooge promises to find Peter Cratchit a job and Martha almost misses Christmas dinner because she has to work … what kind of jobs did you have when you were young like Peter and Martha? I delivered paper for a while, but I really didn’t work until after I graduated from high school.

Favorite Christmas Drink.. Egg Nog or Wassail? Egg Nog!

Scrooge loves money… When you get a present, do you prefer money or a gift? I like being surprised, so either works for me!

Scrooge is visited by two charity men early in the show… have you done any charity work or are there charity organizations that you support? The two charities that I regularly support are Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and WEMU Public Radio  at Eastern Michigan University .

Scrooge is visited by four ghosts… do you believe in ghosts? Not in the traditional sense of the word, but I do believe that what some people call “spirit” remains with us  or with a place for many years.

If you were visited by the spirit of Christmas past how would you welcome looking back on your life? I’d like to hope that most of my Christmas memories would be happy!

Next project after A Christmas Carol? REUNION, here at Meadow Brook in February!

The Fezziwigs host the best parties. Any memorable moments from holiday parties you’d like to share? We have a family tradition where we all meet at my Mom’s house on the Sunday between Christmas and New Years.  It’s always packed, hot, and noisy, and invariably a euchre game breaks out!

The spread at the Fezziwig’s party is unbelievable…. what is your favorite holiday food? Turkey with stuffing!

Other favorite Charles Dickens novels? A Tale of Two Cities

Why do you think so many families come to see this show year after year? It’s become a tradition!

What is your favorite holiday? New Year’s Eve, because it’s also my wedding anniversary!

Baking is huge during the holidays, do you bake? if so what do you like to bake? I’ve been relegated to Deviled Eggs – my wife is the baker of the family!

What message do you hope the audience takes with them about A Christmas Carol? The hope that the story is filled with!

Finish this sentence: “My favorite gift that I ever received during the holiday season was_________”

…Seeing my son’s smile on Christmas morning!”

A Cup of Cheer with Alex Pedica of A Christmas Carol

In today’s Cup of Cheer I talk with Alex Pedica, who many will remember from Dracula, A Rock Opera.  Alex joined us last season as an Acting Intern and returns again this season to the role of Dick Wilkins in A Christmas Carol.  We are thrilled to have Alex back on the stage and we know you’re going to love him as much as we do.  Enjoy the ‘Cup of Cheer’ and then get your tickets to see Alex in A Christmas Carol!!!

Tickets are on sale now and range from $25 – $40 depending on day/time.  Call the box office for tickets at 248-377-3300.  A Christmas Carol is celebrating its 29th year this season.  Don’t miss this special occasion!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director

 

Alex Pedica returns to the role of Dick Wilkins for the second year in A Christmas Carol at MBT.

 

 

A Cup of Cheer with Alex Pedica

 

How many years have you been in A Christmas Carol? This is my second year.

What is your favorite part of the holiday season? Getting together with family and eating a lot of good food.

What is your favorite part of the story A Christmas Carol? The Fezziwig Party!

There are many school matinees for A Christmas Carol, what is fun/special about performing for children? They respond! Adult audiences sometimes seem a bit jaded, but to children live theatre is still magical.

Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge for “one more piece of coal” do you prefer your house to be “warm as toast”, “just right”, or “cold enough to hang meat”? I actually like my house to be a bit chilly. I can always throw on a blanket if it gets too cold.

Scrooge promises to find Peter Cratchit a job and Martha almost misses Christmas dinner because she has to work … what kind of jobs did you have when you were young like Peter and Martha? The first job I had was working at Chuck E. Cheese…as Chuck E. Cheese.

Favorite Christmas Drink.. Egg Nog or Wassail? Egg Nog! Although I tried Wassail for the first time last year, and it’s definitely a close second.

Scrooge loves money… When you get a present, do you prefer money or a gift? A gift. It doesn’t matter what it is, it will always mean more to me because there was some thought put into it.

Scrooge is visited by two charity men early in the show… have you done any charity work or are there charity organizations that you support? I went on a few work missions when I was younger.

Scrooge is visited by four ghosts… do you believe in ghosts? I lived in the attic of a 180 year old farm house. Too many spooky things happened there for me not to believe.

If you were visited by the spirit of Christmas past how would you welcome looking back on your life? I’d be fine with it if I could pick and choose when.

Next project after A Christmas Carol? Nothing lined up yet.

The Fezziwigs host the best parties. Any memorable moments from holiday parties you’d like to share? When I was really young my cousins hosted a Christmas Tree party out in Chelsea. We would all get together and pick out Christmas trees, and then head back to the house for food and games. I looked forward to it every year.

The spread at the Fezziwig’s party is unbelievable…. what is your favorite holiday food? Every Christmas morning my aunt would make Italian donuts and my cousins and I would fight over them.

Other favorite Charles Dickens novels? Oliver Twist. ‘Oliver!’ was the first show I ever performed in so the story has been one of my favorites.

Why do you think so many families come to see this show year after year? It’s a beautiful show and for some families it has become a tradition.

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas!

Baking is huge during the holidays, do you bake? if so what do you like to bake? I do bake, in fact it is my job to make bon-bons for my family every Christmas.

What message do you hope the audience takes with them about A Christmas Carol? Never pass up an opportunity for happiness!

Finish this sentence: “My favorite gift that I ever received during the holiday season was_________”

“…A music box in the shape of a gingerbread house. My godfather gave it to me when I was really young and for years I kept it on display on my bookshelf.”

A Cup of Cheer with Rachel Arbaugh of A Christmas Carol

It’s that time of year again.  The cold and snow is on its way and A Christmas Carol has started rehearsals at Meadow Brook Theatre.  Since the “20 questions” series was a hit for Dracula, A Rock Opera… I’ve decided to make it a tradition.  This Christmas season you’ll get to know the actors in A Christmas Carol a little better through our “Cup of Cheer” series.  It was my pleasure to sit down and ask each actor some questions that pertain to the show and this time of year.  Enjoy their answers and leave comments for them if you’d like.

First up is Rachel Arbaugh, who is new to A Christmas Carol this season.  She is thrilled and excited to be joining the cast and will be playing Belle, Scrooge’s love interest.

After reading through her questions, contact the box office at 248-377-3300 to reserve your tickets for the show.  A Christmas Carol runs from November 20 – December 23, 2010. Find out more on our website at www.mbtheatre.com

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director

 

Rachel Arbaugh joins the Cast of A Christmas Carol this season

 

A Cup of Cheer with Rachel Arbaugh

 

How many years have you been in A Christmas Carol? This is my first year, but my husband Rob was in it four years ago, so that’s kind of fun.
What is your favorite part of the holiday season? The overall cozy feeling that accompanies home-baked goodies, music and family.
What is your favorite part of the story A Christmas Carol? I think Scrooge’s transformation is my favorite part because it shows that we all have the opportunity to change and start over.


There are many school matinees for A Christmas Carol, what is fun/special about performing for children? Children give you this energy that you cannot acquire elsewhere; they remind us why we perform and provoke us to have fun.


Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge for “one more piece of coal” do you prefer your house to be “warm as toast”, “just right”, or “cold enough to hang meat”? As a child I would snuggle up with a blanket and lay with my feet over the heat vent…I like it toasty.
Scrooge promises to find Peter Cratchit a job and Martha almost misses Christmas dinner because she has to work … what kind of jobs did you have when you were young like Peter and Martha? My very first job was going door to door asking people if I could pick up sticks in their yard…for 10 cents! Later I got smart and sold candy canes at school for 25 cents each and made some serious cash for Christmas!

Favorite Christmas Drink.. Egg Nog or Wassail? There is only one magical time of year when you can drink raw egg and sugar and not feel disgusting-Christmas is that time.

Scrooge loves money… When you get a present, do you prefer money or a gift? It depends on the gift…

Scrooge is visited by two charity men early in the show… have you done any charity work or are there charity organizations that you support? Yes, but I hate when people talk about how charitable they are.


Scrooge is visited by four ghosts… do you believe in ghosts? I’ll only whisper this once, “…I see dead people…”.

If you were visited by the spirit of Christmas past how would you welcome looking back on your life? Oh boy, I was a pretty bossy kid so I’d like to skip over that part.

Next project after A Christmas Carol? I am helping with a TBA project in Chicago with UnCovered Theatre Company.

The Fezziwigs host the best parties. Any memorable moments from holiday parties you’d like to share? My parent’s hosted an annual Old Fashioned Christmas Party that involved presents, friends, family, food, singing…it was actually kind of like the Fezziwig party. (My mom’s favorite movie is A Christmas Carol.)

The spread at the Fezziwig’s party is unbelievable…. what is your favorite holiday food? I actually love to eat, so everything except the fruit cake.

Other favorite Charles Dickens novels? I just love Great Expectations.

Why do you think so many families come to see this show year after year? It brings families together and reminds us that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.

What is your favorite holiday? It would most definitely be Christmas.


Baking is huge during the holidays, do you bake? if so what do you like to bake? I love to bake, it doesn’t matter what it is. Ask me and I’ll bake it!


What message do you hope the audience takes with them about A Christmas Carol? No matter how terrible you are, you can always change yourself. People are never lost causes.


Finish this sentence: “My favorite gift that I ever received during the holiday season was_________”

“…my husband Rob (we started dating  around Christmastime).”

Stonewall Pumpkin Festival/Scarecrows in the City

Dracula, A Scarecrow

 

I know that October/Dracula, A Rock Opera/Halloween is over, but I wonder if anyone saw this guy stalking the streets of Rochester?

This is the second year that our interns participated in the Stonewall Pumpkin Festival at Van Hoosen Farm in Rochester.  Each year they have created a scarecorw to join in the festivities during the festival and to then ‘hang around’ downtown Rochester.

Last year they made William Shakespeare into a straw creation, this year they “created a monster” by spending two days bringing Dracula, A Scarecrow to life!  Dracula was one of many entries to the festival this year.  Last year, the “Shakespeare” scarecrow won 3rd prize!

Dracula, A Scarecrow was proudly displayed until October 31, 2010 on the corner of  University and Main in Downtown Rochester.

I’d like to congratulate all of our interns on a job well done!  I love this year’s scarecrow and I love the imagination/teamwork/effort that went into building him!  I’m proud of all of you!

You can learn more about the Stonewall Pumpkin Festival here.

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director

Dracula, A Rock Opera Cast Recording

After seeing Dracula, A Rock Opera, many people have asked how they can hear the music again.  My answer is always, “buy another ticket!” 🙂  However, there is another way……  In 1997 John R. Briggs the creator of Dracula, A Rock Opera assembled some very talented musicians and created a 2-CD studio album.  This is still available for purchase on amazon.com.  It features John R. Briggs himself as Van Helsing!  Here’s what it looks like.

The Cover to the Studio Album

Although it is not the Meadow Brook Theatre cast, and the orchestrations are a bit different.  This is still a good representation of the show.  I myself bought this CD many… many… years ago and dreamed of staging this production.  I’m so thrilled that I finally got the chance to stage it for an audience with an open mind.  This show has been a real treat and if you would like to purchase the studio album… CLICK HERE.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the show there is a link on our website at www.mbtheatre.com.

The show must close October 31, 2010… come see it before it’s too late!  Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the box office at 248-377-3300.  Come join us on this energetic thrill ride!

See you at the theatre!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director

‘Dracula’ continues to fly high!

Is Lucy an angel or a demon?

There are only two weeks left to see Dracula, A Rock Opera.  The audience continues to rave about the show.  Here are some of our favorites quotes from audience members.

_______

“I loved this more than any show I’ve ever seen! I would most definitely see it again! I had just finished the book, and the actors completely brought the entire story to life, especially Katie Hardy. Amazing performance, everyone!”

 

“The male cast was unbelievably strong- many of their vocal ranges far exceeded my expectations. One of my favorite shows that I’ve seen at Meadow Brook… I’m still singing the songs at home! Katie Hardy was absolutely haunting, and I was holding my breath for more than once throughout the show.”

 

“Dracula, A Rock Opera was an EXCELLENT show! The cast was probably the strongest cast I have seen on the Meadow Brook Theatre stage. The Three wives of Dracula, Ann O’Brien, Janet Caine, and Jennifer George, blended so well and were so seductively intriguing. Paul Hopper blew the audience away with his powerful voice!! A must see!!”

 

“Saw the performance, outstanding! This is Broadway quality. All of the cast members were totally awesome! The best of everything to all of you.”

 

“I loved the show, the songs were amazing! I would love to buy a recording of the songs so I could listen to them over again!”

(Note from the Artistic Director: A studio cast album does exist.  It is not our cast, but the two cd album can be purchased through amazon.com here. )

 

“Mic-ing of individual performers was impressive and clear. Use of the set, stage and turntable was great. hope to come back again.”

________

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the show there is a link on our website at www.mbtheatre.com.

There are only two weeks left of the show… come see it before it’s too late!  Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the box office at 248-377-3300.  Come join us on this energetic thrill ride!

See you at the theatre!

~Travis W. Walter, Artistic Director