Thanks 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.
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 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
DeAnnah 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 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.
Sonja 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!
Katherine 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!
Kez 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 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.
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!
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.
Donations can also be mailed to us at: The Penny Seats, 2720 White Oak Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
With Generous Support From: