Avondale Theatre Company Announces 2015-2016 Season Celebrating “Two Worlds, One Family”

The Avondale Theatre Company (ATC), Avondale High School’s award-winning drama troupe, announces the main stage productions for the 2015-2016 theatre season revolving around the theme “Two Worlds, One Family,” which focuses on plays and musicals that show how opposites can attract, or struggle, to live side-by-side.

“We wanted to follow up this year with a season that shook up the expectations and routine,” explains Mr. Edmond Guay, Avondale theatre teacher and director who will be starting his 29th year at the school in September. “This year celebrated the grand and entertaining elements of theatre, so we felt it appropriate to turn the tables on what most people expect us to do.”


The ATC will kick off the year by flip-flopping its traditional season set-up and offering its annual musical in the fall instead of the spring, with a stage version of the Disney musical Tarzan, with music by Emmy and Oscar Award-winning rock musician Phil Collins, and a script by Tony-winner David Hwang.

Based on the film that won the hearts of generations of movie-goers and expanding the storyline and songs to utilize all that the theatre can offer, the production will feature onstage jungle vines, zip lines, built-in trampolines, and a cast that will feature elementary and middle school students as the younger generations of Tarzan’s ape-family including young Tarzan himself, a role to be cast from the youth of the district.

Tarzan is such a well-loved story and film that didn’t do well when it went to Broadway,” Mr. Guay outlines. “When the licensing became available allowing amateur productions, I was wary at first. But after studying the script, which has been revised since the New York show closed, and listening to the original cast recording numerous times, I really feel this is a great fit and challenge for us. We want to make a splash this year since we’re moving the musical to the fall, and what better way to do it than with a show that is already quite well known.”

Tarzan Performance Dates:
Thursday, November 5       7:35 p.m.

Friday, November 6            7:35 p.m.

Saturday November 7        2:05 p.m.

Thursday, November 12    7:35 p.m.

Friday, November 13         7:35 p.m.

Saturday, November 14    2:05 p.m.

No Saturday evening shows will be offered for this production.

Sweet Nothing In My Ear

The ATC will then do a 180-degree turn by offering one of the most powerful, yet personal plays ever written about the clash of worlds when it presents Sweet Nothing In My Ear as its offering for the winter touring festival season and its annual Dessert Theatre in January and February. Written by Stephen Sachs, Sweet Nothing tells the story of a young couple, one hearing, one deaf, who find themselves in deep conflict when their deaf son’s doctor offers to restore his hearing with a new medical procedure. The value of life is at the center of this intense but intimate story as both sides of the deaf debate struggle with the meaning of “whole.” The challenge to the company will be that every member of the cast must communicate the story in both English and American Sign Language (ASL). Guay elaborates: “I saw Sweet Nothing in My Ear years ago at the MIFA Festival and was swept away by this message and method and have been thirsting to do the show ever since. Add to that the amazing challenge of having everyone in the cast needing to communicate in ASL… well isn’t that what education is all about?”

Sweet Nothing In My Ear Performance Dates:
Annual Dessert Theatre Presentation, Friday, February 6 at 7 p.m.

Sweet Nothing is Avondale’s offering into the annual Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association (MIFA) Theatre Festival, which begins on Saturday, January 30 and culminates with the two-day State Finals on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20.

The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

The main stage season closes with one of the funniest and highly energetic comic romps ever written: The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). The audience-interactive improv-based vaudeville style show that follows a rather dedicated but questionably inept troupe of actors who attempt to perform all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 90 minutes. Hilarity ensues as the actors squeeze Romeo and Juliet into a ten-minute farce, write the Othello Rap, and try to perform Hamlet backwards, to name just a few.

“With our season flip-flop, the spring show offers us a chance to do something very interesting,” explains Mr. Guay. “The students in the advanced Theatre Practice class have traditionally been commissioned with mounting a “black box” show on their own at some point during the year. However, next year, they will use their in-class time to design and create the infrastructure of Compleat Works, making the final show of the season a truly completely student-driven production.”

The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) Performance Dates:
Thursday, April 28               7:35 p.m.

Friday, April 29                    7:35 p.m.

Saturday, April 30               7:35 p.m.

In addition to the shows, the ATC will also mount a string of comedy nights featuring the Company’s improv troupe along with local comedians and hypnotists. Next summer will also see the ATC’s 9th bi-annual Drama Camp for younger thespians ages 5-14.

The ATC student board consisting of Avondale seniors Sarah Monahan, Robin Coker, Caitlin Blomberg, and junior Antonio Vettraino, along with community volunteer mentors Mr. Matt Bramble, Mrs. Julie Semones, Mrs. Samantha Monahan, and Ms. Betina DuBois, finalized the selection process.

All productions next season will be presented at The Avondale Performing Arts Center located in Avondale High School, 2800 Waukegan in Auburn Hills. Visit the ATC website AvondaleDrama.com for more information on the productions. Patrons can also reach the ATC through its Facebook page at Avondale Theatre Company.

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at Meghan@rochestermedia.com

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