Welcome to The Penny Seats Theatre Company
Thank you, West Park, for a fabulous 9th summer season!
See you in October for Dr. Seward's Dracula, playing at The Stone Chalet Inn, on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor!
Join Us for Our 2019 Season
Tickets to all shows will be available at our Box Office link approximately one month prior to opening, but with your Annual Gift, you can grab two free tickets to all of our shows Right Now!
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE, and thanks.
April 5-21, 2019 - Murder Ballad
Directed by Matthew Pecek, this immensely popular rock opera tells the story of a murder among friends and lovers. Set in a bar, this powerhouse of a show keeps you guessing until the final scene.
June 13-29, 2019 - Fortinbras
Lee Blessing's hilarious modern bookend to Hamlet tells the story of Fortinbras, the lucky Dane who enters during Hamlet's final scene and orders the bodies of the royal family removed, while he devises a media blitz to legitimize his ascension to the throne. Directed by Joseph Zettelmaier, this past-meets-present comedy is a perfect opener for our West Park summer season.
July 11-27, 2019 - Man of La Mancha
We bring this quintuple-Tony-winning, legendary musical to West Park. With a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, and Music by Mitch Leigh, Man of La Mancha tells the story of the windmill-tilting Don Quixote, his loyal friend Sancho, the glorious Dulcinea, and the various people who move through their lives. Directed by Phil Simmons.
October 24- November 3, 2019 - Dr. Seward's Dracula
Our second annual installment of The Penny Dreadfuls series features this devilishly great adaptation of the Dracula legend, by Michigan-based award-winning playwright, Joseph Zettelmaier. It's fantastic Halloween fodder, delivering humor and suspense in equal measure. Performed at Ann Arbor's Stone Chalet Inn.
Where's the Show?
Presenting The Penny Dreadfuls Series!
Presenting The Penny Dreadfuls Series!
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, by Jeffrey Hatcher
at the College Theater, Washtenaw Community College
October 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Horror and theatre have gone together since before the days of Shakespeare, through the Grand Guignol of 1900s, and even now! Classic horror novels like Dracula and Frankenstein have been adapted for the stage several times; musicals like Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera bring these macabre characters to life (and then death, and sometimes beyond)! The Penny Seats Theatre Company is thrilled to announce that it will be bringing classic gothic horror stories to Ann Arbor stages every October, starting this year, as part of its new Penny Dreadful Series!
Created and curated by award-winning local playwright (and horror aficionado) Joseph
Zettelmaier, the Penny Dreadful Series aims to add theatre to the yearly tricking and treating of Michigan audiences. “The primary focus is on the gothic, the sort of horror that evokes images of decrepit mansions, gargoyles, foggy London streets, wolves howling in the woods…atmosphere over gore.” says Zettelmaier. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work many times with Illinois’ First Folio Theatre, a gorgeous Equity company set in an honest-to-God mansion! Every year, they dohorror-themed plays in October and it’s gone from being just a night at the theatre to a legitimateevent.” Zettelmaier’s plays The Gravedigger: A Frankenstein Story, Dr. Seward’s Dracula, and The Man-Beast have all haunted First Folio’s stage. “Audiences members have shown up in costumes. They’ve had massive Halloween parties…it’s everything I love about theatre, a real sense of fun and excitement.”
Inspired by the success of last year’s The Turn of the Screw, Penny Seats will be bringing these stories to locales around Ann Arbor, each fitting in some way the theme of the play.
This year, we will present Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, an adaptation of the classic Robert Louis
Stevenson story by acclaimed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (who also adapted Turn of the Screw). Performances will be held at the College Theatre, housed inside the Liberal Arts building at Washtenaw Community College, on weekends, October 12 th through 28 th . Zettelmaier said, “The play absolutely thrilled me. It’s incredibly theatrical, the kind of play that only works as a play. In particular, Hyde is actually played by four different actors in the ensemble, really riffing on the concept of identity. And like all the great horror stories, it speaks to something fundamentally human in us…the idea of what we become when our worst selves are brought to the forefront. Hyde is brutal, sinister…but he’s a part of us all, the part that holds nothing back, that acts on pure instinct.” The cast features David Galido, Julia Garlotte, Michael Herman, Dan Johnson, Alysia Kolascz, and Josie Lapczynski.
Over the last year, Zettelmaier has been collecting a wide variety of gothic horror plays in
preparation for future Penny Dreadful productions. “I have to keep the secrets in the crypt, but I can say you’ll see a lot of classic horror stories presented and reimagined in the coming years, from classics like Dracula to uniquely American horror like the Salem witch trials.”
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde runs October 12th through October 28th at the College Theater, at
Washtenaw Community College. Tickets will be available online at www.pennyseats.org/box-office.
New Improv Workshop and Troupe!
Click Here to learn more about how to join our NEW Improv Workshop and Troupe!
Presenting Edges, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Note: all payment for tickets will be at the door. Reservations guarantee seating.
Join us as we bring this glorious song-cycle home to the site of its original World Premier, the Kerrytown Concert House. Laura Sagolla directs and Leah Fox music-directs a troupe of six incredible actors and singers as they confront the problems and rewards of everyday life. Starring Logan Balcom, Kasey Donnelly, Brendan Kelly, Emily Manuell, Kristin McSweeney, and Mat Pecek. Presented in partnership with the Kerrytown Concert House.
ANNOUNCING OUR 2018 SEASON!
Penny Seats Theatre Company Announces Its 2018 Season
ANN ARBOR- Thanks to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as its donors, The Penny Seats Theatre Company is thrilled to say that it will again expand its Ann Arbor offerings presence in the 2018 season and bring more creative performances to the area.
Penny Seats starts its 8th season with a song cycle written by some of the University of Michigan’s renowned alumni, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Edges is a modern coming-of-age story, examining the daily struggle of young adults as they graduate from college and begin their quest for love and professional success. The group will take the show back to the location where it was first produced, the Kerrytown Concert House, on February 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, and 16, 2018.
Next, Matt & Ben tells the story of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as they create the beloved film Good Will Hunting. This bromance, written by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers for two women, will fill the group’s now-annual dinner-theatre slot at Conor O’Neill’s pub, on April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21, 2018. Combination dinner-and-a-show tickets, as well as show-only tickets, will be available.
The theme of this year’s Penny Seats 2018 summer season is, Hail to the "Victors" - a Tale of Two Frankensteins. Performances will begin in June, with Joseph Zettelmaier’s drama, The Gravedigger. In this moving tale, a gravedigger comes face to face with Frankenstein’s monster, though he doesn’t recognize him as such. Together, they form a partnership, but they don’t realize that their shared past is hunting them. The Gravedigger hits Ann Arbor’s West Park on June 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30.
Then, in July, the group will present Young Frankenstein, a cult classic by Mel Brooks, which puts the Frankenstein tale to music. That’s right. This musical tells the story of Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, Frederick Frankenstein (“it’s Frahn-kin-schteen”) as he tries to prove himself a perfectly sane neuroscientist, unlike his grandfather. Upon Victor’s death, Frederick is invited up to Transylvania to collect his grandfather’s things from the castle. Frederick then discovers Victor’s notes on how to bring a dead body back to life. Come and enjoy this electrifying experience, also presented in West Park, on July 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28.
ABOUT THE PENNY SEATS: Founded in 2010, we’re performers and players, minimalists and penny-pinchers. We think theatre should be fun and stirring, not stuffy or repetitive. We believe going to a show should not break the bank. And we find Michigan summer evenings beautiful. Thus, we produce dramas and comedies, musicals and original adaptations, classics and works by up-and-coming playwrights. We also provide cabaret shows, acting classes, and wacky improv evenings. And you can see any of our shows for the same price as a movie ticket.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about The Penny Seats call at 734-926-5346 or Visit: www.pennyseats.org.
The Turn of the Screw Opens October 5
ANN ARBOR - The Penny Seats Theatre Company is thrilled to announce another first in its history: the setting of a spooky, psychological thriller inside a church, just in time for Halloween. Throughout the month of October, the group will present Henry James’s famous Victorian ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, in a recent adaptation by famed playwright and screenwriter, Jeffrey Hatcher, set in Ann Arbor’s own historic neo-gothic landmark, The First Congregational Church on the corner of State and William Streets. The single-act show runs a quick 70 minutes, and recounts the story of an impressionable young governess and her encounter with the odd people—and, perhaps, the ghosts—of a remote English manor. Hatcher’s clever, two-person adaptation is directed by established local director and actor, Julia Glander, and stars regional favorites Mary Dilworth, in the role of the governess, and Will Myers, as every other part in the play. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, October 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21. All shows are at 8:00pm. More information, and advance tickets ($12), are available at www.pennyseats.org or by phone at (734) 926-5346. Door tickets ($15) will also be available. Groups of 10 or more can buy discounted tickets for just $10 per seat.
Glander expressed particular excitement about the place-based nature of this production: “This is an incredible location, a Victorian Gothic church in which the first cornerstone was laid in June, 1872, the same month and year that our story begins. Then, we add two terrific actors in tour-de- force performances who summon a ghostly, imaginative, ambiguous, lurid, downright creepy ‘Turn.’ As a result, this famously eerie tale becomes truly memorable. It’s a wonderful adaptation, with historical context; a psychological thriller for October, on campus!”
Producer Lauren London, The Penny Seats’ Executive Director, added that “place-
based productions are part of The Penny Seats’ DNA. We love to place our shows in locations that lend themselves particularly well to the story’s setting. That way, the
environment enhances the audience experience, making it truly immersive. We can’t wait for people to experience this adaptation, in this space.”
The Turn of the Screw is the last show of The Penny Seats’ 2017 season, and is
suitable for ages 13+. Advance tickets are recommended.
Casts Announced for The Penny Seats Winter 2018 Season!
Thanks to all who auditioned for our Winter 2018 shows! We are excited to announce the casts of Edges and Matt & Ben.
Edges, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul:
Matt & Ben, by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers:
Matt Damon: Allison Megroet
Ben Affleck: Allyson Miko
Edges is a song-cycle about four thriving adults asking the questions of everyday life. Written by Tony Award Winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hanson, Dogfight, James and the Giant Peach) in their sophomore year at the University of Michigan, this show journeys to demonstrate the genuine hardships and experiences that we know to be true, as we do our best to balance on the edge of our lives. Edges will perform at the Kerrytown Concert House on February 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, and 16, 2018.
Matt & Ben takes the audience to the beginning of one of Hollywood’s longest bromances, as we watch Matt Damon and Ben Affleck create the story of what would become Good Will Hunting. This unique take on the story gives two women the opportunity to portray the two Hollywood actors as they create the story that would change their lives. Shows will take place April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21, 2018.
Tickets for both productions will be available at www.pennyseats.org
THANK YOU FOR AN INCREDIBLE SUMMER SEASON!
THE TURN OF THE SCREW OPENS OCTOBER 5, 2017
AT THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF ANN ARBOR
TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE!
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER OPENS JULY 13TH!
The Penny Seats Will Present Peter and the Starcatcher -- a Peter Pan Prequel -- at West Park in July
ANN ARBOR - The Penny Seats Theatre Company is excited to announce that Peter and the Starcatcher, the second show of its seventh summer season, will open on Thursday, July 13th. The story is a clever and imaginative prequel to J.M. Barrie's classic tale, Peter Pan. This Tony-winning play by Rick Elice, based on the best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, is directed by Phil Simmons who serves on the theatre faculty at Eastern Michigan University, with music direction by Rebecca Biber. The show tells the story of how a miserable orphan becomes The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan). Peter and the Starcatcher is a theatrical adaptation where cast members switch in and out of roles constantly, becoming part of the piratical world they weave, and creating magic along the way. This will be Penny Seats’ first outdoor twilight show, with all performances beginning at 8:00 p.m.
The show will star Brendan Kelly in the role of Peter along with Kristin McSweeney, Kimberly Alley, Tyler Calhoun, Anthony Petrucci, Keith Kalinowski, Deborah Secord, John DeMerell, Ali Ghannam, Eddie Rothermel, Jeff Stringer, and Matt Cameron as the wicked pirate Black Stache. The group will perform at Ann Arbor’s West Park, in the band shell area, The Penny Seats’ habitual summer home.
“This show is nothing short of magic,” says Penny Seats Executive Director Lauren London. “It combines so many elements that make theatre delightful: it relies on imagination, it relies on teamwork, it makes good points while laughing at itself, and it’s charmingly self-referential without being cloying. I can’t think of a better show for our summer season.” Director Phil Simmons adds, “the imagination is key here. Props are improvised and don’t match, and many actors play several completely random roles: pirates, orphans, narcissistic would-be villains, mollusks, fish-turned-to-people, etc. But ultimately, this story is about real people with real feelings, and that is where the power of this pies lies.”
Performances are July 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. All shows begin at 8:00pm. More information, and advance tickets (available at a discount), are available at www.pennyseats.org or by phone at (734) 926-5346. Door tickets will also be available.
BID ON SILENT AUCTION ITEMS AT OUR SUMMER PREVIEW EVENT!
Join in the fun of our SOLD-OUT Summer Preview event, and support us as we launch our seventh season. BIDDING IS NOW OPEN FOR THE ITEMS IN OUR SILENT AUCTION, AND YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN!
CLICK HERE TO BID on the fabulous variety of gifts, tickets, and experiences available at our Silent Auction!
Bidding closes at 8:00pm on Friday, May 26th.
THANKS TO OUR EVENT DONORS!
This year, our summer offerings are The Renaissance Man, a World Premier written and directed by Joseph Zettelmaier, and Peter and the Starcatcher, by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, directed by Phil Simmons. Read more about them here!
Summer 2017 Cast Lists
We are exceedingly excited to announce the wonderful casts that will join us for the summer! Thank you so much to everyone who came out for our general auditions and callbacks; the talent that we saw was outstanding and we are so grateful to all of you.
Congratulations to everyone! We can't wait to work with all of you and have a FANTASTIC summer in West Park!
The Renaissance Man
Directed by Joseph Zettelmaier
Performing 6/15, 6/16, 6/17, 6/22, 6/23, 6/24, 6/29, 6/30 and 7/1 all at 7PM
Becky - Julia Garlotte
Laney - Annie Dilworth
Emma - Kelly Rose Voigt
Martin - Pat Loos
Eli - David Galido
Chuck - Robert Schorr
Peter and the Starcatcher
Directed by Phil Simmons
Performing 7/13, 7/14, 7/15, 7/20, 7/21, 7/22, 7/27, 7/28, and 7/29
all at 8PM
Black Stache - Matt Cameron
Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher - John DeMerell
Molly Aster - Kristin McSweeney
Boy/Peter - Brendan Kelly
Smee - Kimberly Alley
Lord Aster - Joel Mitchell
Prentiss - Tyler Calhoun
Ted - Anthony Petrucci
Mack/Grempkin/Sanchez/Fighting Prawn - Jeffrey Stringer
Alf - Deborah Secord
Captain Scott - Ali Ghannam
Slank/Hawking Clam - Eddie Rothermel
ANNOUNCING OUR 2017 SEASON
Our 2017 season will be the largest season we've ever attempted. Through an operational support grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, we are thrilled to expand our offerings and will have a year-round presence!
First up in February is Sing Happy!, a celebration of the work of the famed songwriting duo, John Kander and Fred Ebb. Kander and Ebb wrote some of the most beloved musicals of all time, including Chicago, Cabaret, and others. Sing Happy! will feature well-known favorites and hidden gems from the famed songwriters’ catalogue as the performers explore matters of the heart. Directed by Thalia Schramm with Music Direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, this show arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day, and will be presented in a dinner theater format in partnership with Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor.
The Penny Seats’ 2017 Summer Season will again feature two shows, running back-to-back in Ann Arbor’s West Park. In June, we're proud to present the world premiere of The Renaissance Man, a farcical look at Macbeth, as told by the workers at a Renaissance Faire. The Renaissance Man tells the hilarious story of a hard-working Knight who dreams of transforming his beloved Faire, though his ambition proves unpopular among his co-workers. The show is the work of Michigan’s award-winning playwright Joe Zettelmaier, who will direct it himself!
In July, we will present Peter and the Starcatcher, the daring and sweet prequel to J. M. Barrie's beloved Peter and Wendy. A play (with music), the show is based on the 2006 novel of a similar name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice. The play opened on Broadway in 2012, receiving critical acclaim and Tony Award recognition, including a Best Actor statue for Christian Borle. The Penny Seats production will be directed by Phil Simmons, who serves on the theatre faculty at Eastern Michigan University.
Finally, just in time for Halloween, we'll perform The Turn of the Screw, a two-person adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher (who also authored What Corbin Knew, performed in the Penny Seats’ second season) of Henry James' well-known psychological thriller and ghost story.
It's our most ambitious slate to date. Join us!
Tickets for Sing Happy go on sale November 1, 2016. We can't wait.
They're wacky! They're fun! They're THE TWINTERNS!
Check out their newest blog post here!