Please Support Us


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Click Here to Donate:    Donate Button with Credit Cards

(remember- a $100 donation gets you two free tickets to every show!)

Thanks, all, for joining us this season.  This is is the most important, most exciting time in our history. After five years of steady growth and our 2014 season ending with a tremendous sold-out run of Tomfoolery, we ask for your help as we finally achieve a long-awaited dream:  in Summer 2015, our fifth year at Ann Arbor’s West Park, The Penny Seats will present two full-scale, professional shows, for nine performances each, over six weeks. This will double our summer residency, and at last build us into the summer repertory company we set out to be.


In five years we have enjoyed enthusiastic and growing support from the community.  We’re proud and excited, and we have many to thank.  Since day one, our funding model has been simple:  raise every season’s funds in advance, and don’t spend what you can’t raise.  We rely on donations and grants for 100% of our season budget.  We don’t count on ticket sales, so we can keep ticket prices very low.  We want to be the best theatrical value in town, delivering top-quality theatre at bargain prices.  That’s where you come in.


Our goal is ambitious:  to achieve our dream this year, we need to pay two sets of royalties, two times the rent for West Park and rehearsal space, and, most importantly, we need the proper funds to pay the dedicated Michigan artists at the center of it all.  Can you help us?

Helping out is easy, and it comes with some great perks, including free tickets to all our shows!  So please, Click Here, and this year, help us achieve what we set out to do.  Let’s give Ann Arbor a fabulous, top-quality summer theatre festival in the park.



Tomfoolery Sells Out Every Show. Encore Date Added!

Guys. Can you believe it?  Our little show, Tomfoolery, sold out Every Single Performance at Conor O’Neill’s this month. Every single one!  How thrilling!  We filled the restaurant.  We sang our hearts out.  We even got to talk about it on the radio.  The phone rang off the hook all month, and we’ve been overwhelmed with support and warm fuzzy goodness.

Which brings us to this:  Due to high demand, we added one additional performance: Sunday, November 9th. Same time, same place, same everything.  Just on a Sunday.  Audience members can purchase tickets for the dinner-and-show package for just $20, or for the show only, for $10.Click here to buy tickets, or just call us at (734) 926-5346.

Brent, Roy, and Matt sing a Southern Song.

Brent, Roy, and Matt sing a little Southern Song.

We were thrilled at the reception this got, from patrons and critics alike. See this awesome review for Encore Michigan by Martin F. Kohn!  And Ann Arbor Observer columnist Davi Napoleon honored us with this tidbit: “I suppose it’s kind of mean to tell you how much fun Tomfoolery is – they keep adding chairs to accommodate the crowds, but I doubt the room at Connor O’Neill’s will even have SRO for the next show. But really, it’s that much fun. … Maybe The Penny Seats can be talked into extending the run. … In fact, they should ‘be prepared’ to spend every week at Conor O’Nell’s. I’m expecting a long, long run …”

As Director Lauren London put it, “This is one of those lightening-in-a-bottle moments for us.”  Come see what all the fuss is about!  Grab one of those last tickets, before they’re gone.

Featured performers are Ann Arborites Matt Cameron, Laura Sagolla and R. Brent Stansfield, and Roy Sexton of Saline.  Lauren London (of Ann Arbor) directed the show, with musical direction and accompaniment by Rebecca Biber (also of Ann Arbor). Victoria Gilbert (of Ypsilanti) choreographed, and Stephen Hankes (of Ann Arbor) designed the set and stage managed.


Tomfoolery Opens Thursday, October 2!

Hi all,

It’s time for our next offering of the 2014 Season!  Get your tickets HERE for Tomfoolery, a musical revue celebrating the off-kilter world of Tom Lehrer.

We open at Conor O’Neill’s on Thursday, October 2nd.  Yes, we said Conor O’Neill’s, that Irish Pub and Restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor!   We’re thrilled to offer this show in partnership with Conor’s, to take full advantage of the fabulous food and space available in their beautiful Celtic Room. We think it’s a match made in heaven.  Come for dinner and pay a flat fee of just $20 per ticket for both dinner and the show (what a deal)!  Or, join us for the performance only, which begins at 8pm, for a mere $10.  Get your tickets by clicking HERE or call (734) 926-5346.

After you order (using the link or phone number), your name will go on our door list for the night. Just show up, give your name, and you’re in.  We will not send you physical tickets.  Folks coming for dinner should arrive before 7:00pm (we suggest 6:30ish), to make sure they’ve eaten before showtime.  Doors to the Celtic Room, where the performance happens, will open at 7:40pm, for general seating.  Enjoy!

Tomfoolery Poster


August has arrived with much to anticipate!

THANK YOU to those that attended and supported our successful production of Elektra. We couldn’t have done it without your support.

Coming up…Tomfoolery


Elektra has arrived!

PS LogoJoin us July 10 – 12, 17 – 19 or 24 – 26 for our current production in West Park. Tickets available now!


Elektra Poster


“I act because it compels…” The Penny Seats’ upcoming production of Elektra


Thank you to local arts journalist and (Penny Seats co-founder) Roy Sexton for voicing his impressions of Elektra. Read on for some additional thoughts from our cast and crew on the production!

Originally posted on Reel Roy Reviews :

“…The audience is being given the gift of live theater. Films do not ask from us in their enacting, a film can merrily play out to an empty room, but the very beauty of live theater is the human exchange. Without that sense, it is dead.”

– Emily Miller Mlcak

(Mlcak is a beloved professor from my undergraduate days at Wabash College, and she wrote this in response to “scha·den·freu·de.”)

Elektra cast photo by Dawn Marie KaczmarElektra cast photo by Dawn Marie Kaczmar

These words rang in my ears the other week when I crashed a rehearsal of The Penny Seats’ summer production Elektra (as adapted by Ann Arbor’s own Anne Carson) for a sneak peek of the glorious mayhem that is sure to delight audiences at the West Park Band Shell July 10 – 26.

In the spirit of transparency (oh, how I do hate that overused expression), I am one of the…

View original 1,170 more words


Site – Specific Rehearsal

PS LogoThanks to Dawn Kaczmar for taking these photographs of our recent site – specific rehearsal at West Park. Additional photographs are viewable here.

Tickets are now available for Elektra, openingon July 10!


Director Russ Schwartz, at right, speaks with cast members gathered in our performance space. We will be using this area for the performance (for the first time!) rather than the band shell stage.


Clytemnestra (DeAnnah Kleitz-Singleton) speaks with Elektra (Emily Caffery)


Orestes (Scott Wilding) expresses his wishes while Pylades (Sarah Lovy) looks on.


Clytemnestra (Sonja Marquis) enters from the house as a chorus member (Kez Settle) reacts.


Elektra (Emily Caffery) has a pensive moment.


Meet the Cast of Elektra

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We are delighted to welcome the cast of Elektra. Here they are!


Samer Ajluni is excited to be working with Penny Seats Theatre for the first time.  His most recent stage work includes “Emma”, a staged reading at the Matrix Theatre, Matt Friedman in “Talley’s Folly” with Puzzle Piece Theatre, and Louie in “Lost in Yonkers” at the Dio Theatre. He also appears in a short film called “Open House” that was shot in Ann Arbor, currently in development. He received his formal training in acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Arts Management.

emily caffery Headshots color-1Emily Caffery is originally from Leyden, Massachusetts, but has been privileged to call Ann Arbor home for the past four years. Local productions include The Glass Menagerie at the Performance Network and Steel Magnolias with Two Muses Theatre. She is newly returned from the East Coast where she was traveling with the nomadic street theater troupe The Vagari Project and training at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute. She could not be more thrilled to be back and working with this fantastic team on Elektra! A heartfelt thanks to Russ and Penny Seats for this opportunity and, as always, her family for their support. http://www.emilycaffery.com

DeAnnahDeAnnah Kleitz – Singleton is so excited to be a part of this production! Hailing from Biloxi, MS, she is beyond ready to make her dreams come true in her new home, Detroit. Having worked with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre as the 2012-2013 intern, she has since performed with the JET, Water Works, Kitchen Plays, Planet Ant, and now Penny Seats. Her favorite play is A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill. She is a scasion fiend, and linguistics nut; DeAnnah is also a working dialect coach. DeAnnah likes tacos, craft beer, and vintage dresses. She is very thankful for the sunshine and heat after this, her first real winter.

Sarah HeadshotSarah Lovy is thrilled to be in her first show at the Penny Seats Theater! She was last seen as Daisy in Rhinoceros at the Abreact Theater. Sarah has been trained in musical theater, contemporary, and Shakespearean acting. She is also a member of the Murder Mystery improv company and a student at the Michigan Acting Studio of Ferndale. She would like to thank her friends, family, and dog, Sassy, for all their support and love.

SonjaSonja Marquis is happy to make her Penny Seats Theatre debut! Other credits include: Tipping Point Theatre, Purple Rose Theatre Company, The Dio Theatre, Detroit Ensemble, Planet Ant, Encore Musical Theatre, Two Muses, The Ringwald and Detroit’s Music Hall. Sonja is a momma of three who lives in Brighton. When not performing, she teaches theater camp, mentors at Mosaic Youth Theatre, and sings for her supper. Smooches to Mike!

Kate NelsonKatherine Nelson is excited to be making her Penny Seats debut! Originally from Maryland, she attended Cedarville University. She is a proud graduate of the Purple Rose Theatre Company apprenticeship program and is now a PRTC Resident Artist. She performed most recently with the AKT Theatre Project. Katherine is also a costume designer, with her recent credits including productions with the Purple Rose, Performance Network, Waterworks Theatre Company, Flint Youth Theatre, and Wild Swan Theatre. She is so grateful to her castmates and the rest of this production team!

KezKez Settle is an actress of both film and stage. She has appeared in several stage productions around Southeast Michigan most recently in Two Muses Theatre production of ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore.‘ She is also part of the resident cast of improvisers with Comdeysportz Detroit. She is excited to make her debut with Penny Seats in ‘Elektra’ – See you at the park!

Scott WildingScott Wilding hails from Dearborn Heights, MI. He has recently completed his training at Wayne State University’s theater department, and after finishing one math class, will earn his BA in Theater Arts from Wayne State. Recent credits include Horace in The Doctor In Spite of Himself at the Hillberry Theater and Jean in The Abreact Performance Space’s performance of Rhinoceros. This is his first play with the Penny Seats. He would like to thank his friends and family, his amazing girlfriend, and not least of all you, the audience.


Cast members pose at the end of a recent rehearsal along with stage manager Steve Hankes, director Russ Schwartz and assistant director JP Hitesman.





Elektra Rehearsals are underway

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We have officially begun rehearsals for our fourth summer residency at the West Park Band Shell, and this year, we are excited to present Sophocles’ Elektra, translated by former University of Michigan professor Anne Carson and directed by our co-founder Russ Schwartz.  Tickets are available HERE!  We are so excited.

We encourage our patrons to make an evening of coming to the show, which will perform Thursday,  Friday, and Saturday evenings in July, starting July 10th. Tickets are just $10, and grounds will open at 5:30pm each night with performances at 7:00pm. Picnic dinner packages will be available at the park.


Here’s our stark, arresting poster.  Doesn’t that make you curious?

Anyway, Russ describes how we found Carson’s Elektra to be a thrilling prospect from its first experimental reading. “We didn’t want that session to end – there was too much to discuss. The story shows you a character who has been pushed to her limits by betrayal, hatred, and evil, fighting back with wit, subterfuge, open rebellion, and above all, total dedication to righting the wrong at the center of her life. It’s easy to love her while also being kind of afraid of her, and the same is true for the people around her. Through them, you can see how families pass along and transmute their pain, and how the traits they share can tear them apart.”

For the first time, we’re going to present the play in the brick promenade space in West Park, with the audience on the surrounding grass enjoying a direct view of the action. By working with the space rather than attempting to transform it, we allow the elements we choose for costumes and props – as well as the company itself – to suggest the world of the play. So, Elektra will be more immersive than any of our previous outdoor offerings, and will focus audiences on a surprisingly immediate drama and the questions at its core. The show suits us, and will challenge us to grow in meaningful ways. It is of a genre we have not yet attempted: a new translation of a classical work.

We are thrilled to have Emily Caffery, a veteran of Ann Arbor’s Performance Network Theatre, Carriage House Theatre and the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, starring as Elektra. She is joined by Scott Wilding, Sonja Marquis, DeAnnah Kleitz-Singleton, Samer Ajluni, Kez Settle, Katherine Nelson and Patrick Hanley. All cast members are performing with our company for the first time.

The production team includes Lauren London (producer), JP Hitesman (assistant director), Stephen Hankes (stage manager and set designer), Bridget Bly (costume designer) and Sean Murphy (technical director.)  Don’t miss this one!


We Value Your Support

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​It has been another incredible year for the Penny Seats Theatre Company.

​Hundreds came out to see our summer show, “Little Me,” at West Park in Ann Arbor, enjoying not only a fun musical, but the chance to put down a cozy blanket and have a picnic with loved ones while they watched. In addition to “Little Me,” we partnered with local restaurants, Ann Arbor Brewing Co. and Vellum, to bring you staged readings of “Thorstein the Staff-Struck,” written by our own Russ Schwartz, and “Nightfall,” a play adapted from Edgar Allen Poe’s most well-known writings. The events included themed menus, private dining spaces, and intimate performances.

That’s what it’s all about for us: we strive not simply to put on shows, but to create unique, affordable experiences you can’t find anywhere else in town. 2014 will be our most ambitious season yet. We’ll have more offerings than ever before, including more restaurant partnerships and performances in new spaces. The season culminates with a modern translation of “Elektra” at West Park. We’re excited to get going, and can’t wait to see you at our performances.

We pride ourselves on being able to make theatre accessible to everyone in our community—that’s what drives us to partner with local organizations (City of Ann Arbor Parks & Rec, A2 Senior Center, 826michigan, A La Rouge, and more). It’s also why we feel strongly about keeping the cost of ticket prices low. We’re able to do this thanks to you: our season is completely donor-funded!

As we continue to set ambitious goals for our theatre company, we look to our supporters for aid. We want to make sure our community can experience affordable, enjoyable theatre for years to come, but we can’t do that without your help. Any amount helps–and as always, a $100 donation gets you two free tickets to ALL of our shows this year.

To make a donation, call us at (734) 926-5346, or just click on the Donate button below.

Donate Button with Credit Cards



Donations can also be mailed to us at:  The Penny Seats, 2720 White Oak Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

Thank you!

With Generous Support From:
mcaca_logo_final  Arts Alliance Color Logo