Beyond Therapy: Are these people crazy?

Laughs and adult comedy are abundant in Beyond Therapy, being staged by PTD Productions in Ypsilanti. Written by Christopher Durang, the play is set and was first performed in the ‘80s. Impressively it manages not only an account of a bisexual man’s pursuit of romantic happiness, but also a send-up of psychotherapy. A review of the local production is here. The show runs through March 20, and Thursday is pay what you can. Durang's other plays include Baby with the Bathwater, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, and The Marriage of Bette and Boo.

Winter: Good Season for Plays

Theater has deep roots around here, as Grace Shackman chronicles in her Ann Arbor Observer article about the old Whitney Theater. Today we continue to enjoy a lively drama scene; this weekend (Feb. 27-28), at least three stage productions are running:
1) It Came from Mars! a screwball comedy about a group of radio actors terrified by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, playing at Performance Network. Read a review.
2) Gravity, spotlighting the secret life of Isaac Newton, at Purple Rose in Chelsea.
3) Cheaper by the Dozen, based on the book by Frank Gilbreth, at Riverside Arts Center.
Why not pick a drama, style your hat, and head out?

Great Lakes, Great Times Reading Series

Great Lakes, Great Times is a monthly reading series that, according to the host, “showcases the best established and up-and-coming writers working today.” The February reading will take place at 826Michigan, and will feature readings from authors Blake Nelson (Author of teen titles, Girl, They Came From below, and Gender Blender, among others), Kevin Sampsell, and Chelsea Martin.

Check here to see which authors are up next in the series. So many authors are visiting! I hear January’s event had quite the turn-out.

The monthly event is geared towards adults, admission is FREE, and anyone is welcome. It's all happening Saturday, February 27, 7pm at 826michigan/ The Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop at 115 East Liberty.

Mardi Gras Mambo

Mardi Gras MamboMardi Gras Mambo

If you can’t make it to Mardi Gras this year, you can celebrate here in Ann Arbor with Mardi Gras Mambo at the Michigan Theater on Wednesday, February 17th. This event will feature performances from Crescent City jazz legend Dr. John with Lower 911 and New Orleans’ First Family of Funk, The Neville Brothers. These performances will be a real treat to see during this time of year, without even traveling to The Big Easy!

Dr. John of New Orleans has been an iconic figure in music for over forty years, combining jazz, rock, blues and funk. Pianist and guitar player, he has worked with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Al Hirt, and many Louisiana-based musicians. His early musical career in the late 1960s and early 1970s involved many voodoo influences, beginning with his psychedelic debut album Gris-Gris in 1968. The stage name Dr. John was inspired by a 19th century Louisiana voodoo practitioner, and Dr. John himself was Jim Henson's inspiration for the character of Dr. Teeth on The Muppet Show.

The R&B soul troupe, The Neville Brothers, have been recording since the late 1970s. Brother Aaron Neville has enjoyed a solo career of his own with some adult contempory hits, such as a cover of "Everybody Plays the Fool." The Neville Brothers were a consistent closing act at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when they relocated to Nashville. They returned to the festival in 2008.

History of the Bible Exhibit at U of M

Manuscript BibleManuscript Bible
Today I had the opportunity to visit the current exhibit in the Audubon room of the Hatcher Graduate Library, A History of the Bible from Ancient Papyri to King James. As a bibliophile, I loved seeing the ancient papyrus manuscripts dating back almost to the very beginning of Christianity, as well as the illuminated medieval manuscripts. The history of the Bible is a fascinating microcosm for the evolution of the written word. One of the highlights of the exhibit for me was a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, which was printed in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type. I also enjoyed seeing the progression of the language in the English Bibles on display from Middle English into Early Modern English in the 15th century. Another interesting piece in the exhibit is a 1611 King James Bible, which had such an impact on the Christian world that it is still considered the standard translation of the Bible by many Protestant churches today. The exhibit will be open everyday until the end of March and is located inside the Library Gallery, which is just off the North Lobby of the Hatcher Library.

Naturalists and artists may also be interested in another codex on display in the Audubon room. It is John James Audubon's famous Double Elephant Folio, Birds of America. It contains hand colored, life sizes engravings of many American birds and is now worth more than $8 million, although when it was purchased new, as the first book in U of M's collection (before the University opened), it cost $970. If you want a closer look at some of the illustrations, check out The Audubon Society baby elephant folio.

Pioneer to stage "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

Pioneer Theater Guild presents its mid-winter musical -- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee -- Feb. 12-21 in The Little Theater. This is a one act musical comedy about a spelling bee at Putnam Valley Middle School, where six quirky adolescents compete in a bee organized by three odd adults. Sounds fun. The web page says the show "features spontaneous and hilarious audience participation!" Sounds like even more fun. Check out our CD of the original 2005 Broadway cast recording. The show also is being performed this month at Encore Theatre in Dexter.

Valentines Day: Make a Date with Your Kids

To properly celebrate Valentines Day, a little planning is always good. Cards and candy are fun, but this year how about enjoying a craft or dance with your children? Consider a Daddy-Daughter Dance at the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center on Friday Feb. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Or plan to Create a Valentine at our AADL Mallets Creek branch Saturday Feb. 13 from 2-4 p.m. If staying home sounds like just the thing, why not make a paper craft to celebrate the holiday. Whatever you decide to do, have a wonderful celebration!

Rock musical Aida coming to Huron High

The Huron Players and Huron Music Department are gearing up to perform Aida, the version with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. The story is based on the classic opera by Verdi, chronicling the forbidden love between an Egyptian soldier and an exiled princess. The show runs Feb. 11-14, and ticket information is here.

Purple Rose to Spotlight Isaac Newton

Scientist Isaac Newton is the star of the upcoming play Gravity, running Feb. 11 through March 27 at Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea. Here’s your personal invitation from PRTC: “Join us for this magical journey into the 17th century, a World Premiere about the secret life of Isaac Newton that promises to be a production unlike any in PRTC history.” If you'd like to know more about play director Guy Sanville, check out the DVD Guy Sanville Discusses The Art of Directing.

Great Lakes, Great Times reading series

Great Lakes, Great Times is a monthly reading series that, according to this month’s host, “showcases the best established and up-and-coming writers working today.” The January reading will take place at 826Michigan, and will feature readings from authors Brian Evenson, Joanna Howard, and Blake Butler. (Find Evenson's The Open Curtain at AADL.)

The event is geared towards adults, admission is free, and anyone is welcome. It's all happening Saturday, January 23, 7pm at the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop at 115 East Liberty.

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