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This Woman's Work: UMSTMD's "Nora" explores Ibsen's "A Doll's House" through three different eras

Thu, 10/07/2021 - 3:00pm by christopherporter

Alyssa Melani, Ruby Sevcik, Ruby Pérez star in UMSMTD's Nora

Alyssa Melani, Ruby Sevcik, Ruby Pérez star as three generations of Nora in U-M's interpretation of Hendrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Photo courtesy of UMSTMD.

I felt guilty for stealing away, by myself, for a few hours on Sunday to see U-M’s Department of Theatre and Drama production of Stef Smith’s Nora: A Doll’s House, leaving my kids and spouse to fend for themselves.

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Theatre Nova's "The Lifespan of a Fact" is a compelling issue play built on a lopsided debate

Tue, 09/21/2021 - 2:00pm by christopherporter

Theatre Nova's The Lifespan of a Fact

Left to right: Diane Hill as Emily Penrose, Justin Montgomery as Jim Fingal, and Andrew Huff as John D'Agata in The Lifespan of a Fact by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Murrell, directed by Carla Milarch at Theatre NOVA. Photography by Sean Carter Photography.

During a set change in Theatre Nova’s first live, in-person production in front of an audience since March 2020, a stage crew duo flipped and turned an office desk to reveal a fluffy couch.

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Review: Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s “A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call”

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 7:30am by christopherporter

Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call

By sheer coincidence, I experienced the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s theatrical presentation of A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call at a time when I’d also revisited Mandy Len Catron’s viral essay, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” which references 36 questions purported to accelerate intimacy between two strangers.

What’s the connection, you ask?

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Camille Pagán's "Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around" was partly inspired by the Ann Arbor author's disastrous vacation

Tue, 06/01/2021 - 1:15pm by christopherporter

Camille Pagán's Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around

During this cloistered pandemic year, lots of us have daydreamed about escaping to sunny, tropical destinations.

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Theatre Nova’s Zoom play series continues with "Mortal Fools" by Ann Arbor playwright Catherine Zudak

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 3:00pm by christopherporter

Theatre Nova, Zoom Play of the Month graphic

The Goldilocks Principle, though not regularly cited in reference to storytelling, can nonetheless be maddening for those who build narratives.

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From the Fifth Estate to Ann Arbor: Harvey Ovshinsky's new memoir recalls his agitating and publishing days in Detroit

Wed, 03/17/2021 - 3:00pm by christopherporter

Harvey Ovshinsky and his book Scratching the Surface

Ann Arbor’s Harvey Ovshinsky faced a problem when he settled in to write his memoir, Scratching the Surface: Adventures in Storytelling.

“I sat down with Kathryn [Wildfong] at Wayne State University Press, and she said, ‘Oh, my God, Harvey, there are three or four different books in here. You’ve got to pick one,’” Ovshinsky said. “I have all these dots and I really felt the need to connect them, and I knew I could. … What they all had in common was my need to scratch the surface. And that’s when [the book] came together.”

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Ann Arbor native David Blixt discovered a cache of long lost novels by journalist-adventurer Nellie Bly

Tue, 03/02/2021 - 8:30am by christopherporter

Writer David Blixt and covers for the lost Nellie Bly novels

In December 2019, while researching a novel series based on the life of journalist Nellie Bly, Ann Arbor native David Blixt—a Greenhills and EMU grad who’s now a Chicago-based theater artist and writer—made an astonishing discovery.

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UMS's stage-film hybrid production of "Some Old Black Man" explores race and generational conflict

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 8:30am by christopherporter

Wendell Pierce and Charlie Robinson in UMS's Some Old Black Man. Photo by Doug Coombe.

Wendell Pierce and Charlie Robinson in UMS's production of Some Old Black Man. Photo by Doug Coombe.

This review originally ran on January 19, 2021. We're featuring it again because UMS is streaming "Some Old Black Man" for free March 1-12, 2021, but you have to register for the screening here.

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No Slowing Down: Ann Arbor cartoonist Dave Coverly celebrates the 25th anniversary of "Speed Bump"

Mon, 10/12/2020 - 2:30pm by christopherporter

Davy Coverly, Speed Bump

The easy part of compiling a book that celebrates a comic strip’s silver anniversary is, well, you’ve got lots of options.

“I’ll get reviews and comments that say, ‘Not a clunker in the bunch!’—but, you know, I had 10,000 to choose from,” said Ann Arbor-based cartoon artist Dave Coverly, whose book Speed Bump: A 25th Anniversary Collection debuted in September. “If anyone wants to visit my house, you could see a big plastic tub of cartoons that are terrible.” 

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Encore Theatre's junior production of "James and the Giant Peach" finds a way to make everything better

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 12:30pm by christopherporter

James and the Giant Peach

A Nancy Ekholm Burkert illustration from the 1961 edition of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.

Perhaps it’s a sign of how trippy a moment we find ourselves in that the work of Roald Dahl seems suddenly, particularly ubiquitous.