Friday, April 13, 2012

'Chicago' and other community theater spring productions blooming

Last year at this time we were all strangers.

We shared only the stage, our commitment to the play and the vision of its director. By opening night of Clintondale Community Theater's winter production - and following the many, long hours spent tweaking dialogue, building sets and promoting the show -- I  understood why cast members consider themselves family.

This weekend Clintondale Community Theater family will present its newest production, "Chicago."

Set in the roaring ‘20s, “Chicago” tells the story of Roxie Hart, an aspiring chorus girl, who murders her lover and convinces her gullible husband, that he was a burglar. The husband agrees to take the rap until the police convince him that the burglar was Roxie's lover. In the slammer, Roxie joins another famous stage performer and murderess, Velma Kelly. Both Roxie and Velma are headline hunters seeking to capitalize on pre-trial publicity for the sake of acquittal and stage careers. Thanks to their tricky lawyer, Billy Flynn, the two are released from jail. However, another woman shoots up the courthouse steps and steals the limelight - effectively ending the careers of both Roxie and Velma.

Macomb Daily staff photo of Chicago cast by Ray J. Skowronek.

"The Broadway and film versions of 'Chicago' are extremely risqué," said Todd Swanboro, longtime CCT director, who spent eight years getting the licensing rights to do the show, in a previous article. "We really had to tone it down for community theater because of the costumes and some of the language, etc."

This is part of the tweaking process.

Also tweaked for this show was the set, an incredible four-tiered stage not unlike that which you might see built for a production at Stratford or Niagara on the Lake.

Swanboro said he has Anthony Fisher to thank for that. The former student, who just finished touring with the "Wizard of Oz," volunteered his time and talents to the show. "Fisher succeeded in capturing a 1920s-style-look with bright lights and glowing marquee-style accents."

When asked about his work on the play, Fisher reiterated my feelings exactly: "It's just like family here with Todd."

Clintondale Community Theater will present "Chicago" at 7:30 p.m., April 13-14 and 19-21. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. CCT is at 35200 Little Mack, north of 15 Mile. For more information, or to reserve tickets, call 586-791-6300, ext. 2409.
So musicals aren't your cup of tea. There are plenty of other productions to see. Check out our list of upcoming shows along with other family-friendly events going on in the Metro Detroit area:

Local talent
Warren Woods Tower High School presents "Once Upon a Mattress," 7 p.m. April 14 and 2 p.m. April 15, at Warren Woods Middle School auditorium, 12 Mile Road west of Schoenherr. Tickets $6 students/seniors, $9 adults, at the door. Call 586-215-6629 or visit WWTDramaClub@hotmail.com.
Utica High School Fine Arts Department stages the musical "Rhythm City," April 26-28, at the school's Performing Arts Center, 47255 Shelby Road. Admission $9 adults, $8 students/seniors, $5 ages 12 and younger. Call 586-797-2267.
St. Clair Shores Players present "A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody," 8 p.m. April 27-28, May 4-5, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 31601 Harper. Doors open 7:30 p.m. Tickets $10 adult, $9 seniors and students at the door. Visit www.scsplayers.org.
Roseville High School Drama Society presents "Bye Bye Birdie," 7 p.m. April 27-28 and 2 p.m. April 28, in the RHS McLeod Auditorium, 17855 Common Road. Admission $5 at the door. Call 586-445-5559.
"Mother Superior's Habits" 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 12, and 2 p.m. select Sundays at Broadway Onstage, 21517 Kelly Road, Eastpointe. Tickets $14 opening night, $16 other performances; for reservations, 586-771-6333.
"Arsenic and Old Lace" presented by Rodgerland Productions at the Sterling Heights Lions Club, 12828 Canal west of Schoenherr, April 21 and 28, May 12 and 19. Buffet dinner 6:30 p.m., show follows; dinner and show package $25 including tax and tip. For reservations and information, 586-776-9844.
Stagecrafters present "Titanic - The Musical," Thursday-Sunday April 13-May 6, at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. Show times 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; to purchase advance tickets, $18 and $20, call 248-541-6430 or go to www.stagecrafters.org. Available tickets also available one hour before show time at box office for additional $2 per ticket.
Rosedale Community Players perform the comedy "Moonlight and Magnolias," 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays April 20-May 12, and 2 p.m. Sundays, April 22 and 29, at Peace Lutheran Church, 17029 W. 13 Mile Road, Southfield. Tickets $14; call 313-532-4010 or www.rosedalecommunityplayers.com.
Farmington Players stage "Little Shop of Horrors," Thursdays through Sundays, April 27-May 19, at the Players Barn, 32332 W. 12 Mile Road between Orchard Lake and Farmington roads. For tickets, $18 adults, $2 off for students, call 248-553-2955 or www.farmingtonplayers.org.

'Film Movement'
As part of its "Film Movement" series of free showings of independent or foreign films, St. Clair Shores Cultural Committee and St. Clair Shores Public Library present "Queen of Hearts," 6:30 p.m. April 19, in the William R. Gilstorf Meeting Room at the library, 22500 11 Mile Road. Free. Call 586-771-9020 or go to www.scslibrary.org.

Relay for Life
Photo road rally to benefit American Cancer Society's Relay for Life-Shelby Township, check-in 6 p.m. April 21, at VFW hall, 8311 Wilson, Shelby Township. Advance tickets only, $20 includes pizza, snacks, soft drinks, prizes, cash bar; live entertainment 9-11 p.m. Digital camera mandatory to participate. Call 586-884-6422. Also, Relay for Life Team Charlie's Angels fundraiser at Cold Stone Creamery, 23 Mile and Schoenherr roads, 6-8:30 p.m. April 19.

Mom 2 Mom
Shelby Parks and Recreation Department's Mom 2 Mom Sale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 21, at the Shelby Community Center, 51670 Van Dyke, north of 23 Mile Road. Adult admission $1, no strollers before 11 a.m. Call 586-731-0300.
Macomb Township Recreation Center Mom 2 Mom Sale, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 21, at 20699 Macomb St., off Broughton south of 25 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank. Admission $1 per adult.

Spaghetti dinners
Spaghetti dinner and auction to benefit Boy Scout Troop 1478, 6 p.m. April 21, at St. Anne Church on Mound Road in Warren. Admission $7 adults, $3 children.
Benefit spaghetti dinner for Caden LaFontaine, 4, for health care treatment, 2-8 p.m. April 15, at Memphis Youth Center/Lions Club, 34758 Pratt Road. Admission $7 adults, $3 ages 14 and younger. Call 810-650-6407.
Annual VVW spaghetti dinner, 1-5 p.m. April 15, at 35011 23 Mile Road, New Baltimore. Admission $8, free ages 8 and younger. Call 586-725-2444.
All-you-can eat spaghetti dinner to benefit Relay for Life Team Soul Survivor, 1-5 p.m. April 15, dinner served 2-4 p.m., at The Detroit Pub, 33401 Harper, Clinton Township. Raffles, entertainment by Cherry Street. Admission $5 per person, free 5 and younger. Call 586-791-1288.
Jefferson Chapter No. 489 Order of Eastern Star serves spaghetti dinner, 4:30-7:30 p.m. April 30, at the Masonic Temple, 22000 11 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Adults $10, ages 6-12 $5, younger than 5 free. Proceeds go to Relay for Life. Call 586-206-2831.

Hope Center
The Chapin Family performs 8 p.m. April 20, at WCS Performing Arts Center, 12901 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, in a benefit for Hope Center in Macomb. For tickets, $35 VIP reserved, or $30 general reserved, call 586-294-4673 or visit www.hopecentermacomb.org.

Nautical Nibble
Lake St. Clair Symphony Orchestra presents 50th Anniversary Nautical Nibble, sponsored by St. Clair Shores Nautical Mile TIFA, 6-9 p.m. April 24, at Blossom Heath Inn, 24800 Jefferson. More than 20 area restaurants serve specialties. Tickets, $25 adults, two for $45, available at Gifts Afloat, 25025 Jefferson, Dockside Café at St. Clair Shores Public Library, and at the door. Visit iscso.org.

Wolcott Mill
"Babies, Babies, Everywhere!" events 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. through April 15, at Wolcott Mill Metropark Farm Center in Ray Township. Interpreters or volunteers at each barn with animals available to pet. Admission $3 per person. Wagon rides available for extra fee.

Celebrate Earth
Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm presents "Celebrating the Earth" 1-2 p.m. April 14, in the Dairy Barn at the historic site, 1005 Van Hoosen Road off Tienken Road between Rochester and Dequindre roads. Admission $5 adults, $3 students 5 years and older and ages 60 and up; free for museum members. To register, 248-656-4663.

About art
Anton Art Center 2012 exhibits include Macomb County Annual Secondary Student Show, through April 22, and Macomb Community College Department of Continuing Education, Oct. 2-21, at 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. Call 586-469-8666.
Lakeside Palette Club presents its Spring Exhibit and Sale 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through May 1 at St. Clair Shores Adult Education Center, 23055 Masonic near Jefferson. Reception and awards ceremony 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 12. For details, 586-285-8880.

Book sales
Spring used book sale at Clinton-Macomb Library Main Branch, 40900 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township, noon-8 p.m. April 19, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. April 20-21, 1:15-3:15 p.m. April 22 ($5 bag day), 9:30 a.m.-noon April 23 (free book day, as available). Friends Night is 5:30-8:30 p.m. April 18.
Annual book sale of Friends of the Lois Wagner Memorial Library, 5-8 p.m. April 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 20 and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 21, at 35200 32 Mile road, Richmond. Books may be donate during regular library business hours April 16-18. Call 586-727-2665.

Wine tasting
Taste of Michigan wine Tasting to benefit southeastern Michigan Association of Neonatal Nurses, 6 p.m. April 19 at Champane's Wine Cellars, 7007 Chicago Road between Van Dyke and Mound Road, Warren. For tickets, $20, call 586-978-9463.

Exotic animals
Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center presents exotic animal day (includes spiders, snakes, turtles), 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 21, at the Center, 4101 River Bends Drive in River Bends Park, Ryan and Hamlin roads entrance, Shelby Township.
Admision $3 for ages 4 and older. Call 586-323-2478.

Fishing clubs
Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester's Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.

Blind bowlers
Macomb Blind Bowlers for visually impaired and/or blind individuals 18 and older, league bowling 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fraser Star Lanes, northeast corner of 14 Mile and Garfield roads. Fee $10 per week. Call 586-360-9543.

Square dancing
Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169. 

Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this list.

Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish -- Anne Bradstreet

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