Mittenfest is coming to Ypsilanti

MittenfestMittenfest

The fourth annual Mittenfest will be happening this weekend at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti on Dec 31, Jan 1, Jan 2, and Jan 3. Its fourth year expands to four days in length, and this year there is another great line up of nearly 40 local bands and DJs playing each night, including Chris Bathgate, Frontier Ruckus, Timothy Monger, and Drunken Barn Dance, to name a few. All proceeds from Mittenfest benefit the local non-profit 826Michigan. This event is a sure-to-sell-out happening event that raises a lot of money for a good cause. Hearing live music and supporting free tutoring and workshops for kids? You can’t go wrong.

Here is a great interview with Brandon Zwagerman, the organizer of Mittenfest. He talks about how he plans it and discusses everything from why certain bands play to why it benefits 826Michigan.

The event is 18+, doors open at 4pm each night, New Year’s Eve is $9 cover, all other nights are $7 each night. See here for a full schedule of bands.

Christmas Carol'd at Performance Network through Dec. 27

For holiday entertainment, consider Christmas Carol'd at Performance Network Theatre. In this adaptation by Joseph Zettelmaier, five actors play all the parts. Sounds fun. To get into the spirit, you could read the classic story, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, on which the play is based -- or just some words spoken in the original story by Scrooge's nephew, calling Christmas "a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time, the only time ... when men and women seem by common consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

Wild Swan Theater presents Little Women

Meet the March sisters -- Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth -- Dec. 10-13 as they appear in Wild Swan Theater's production of Little Women in Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College. The show is for grades 3-12. I'm hoping to take my 13-year-old son, to see one of our friends play Meg. To get ready, why not read the book, or even check out Becoming Little Women : A Novel About Louisa May At Fruitlands, set in 1843, when Little Women author Louisa May Alcott was ten years old, and moved with her family from Boston to a farm where they tried to set up a community based on equality and love.

A wise, humorous story for families

Eastern Michigan University Theatre presents The Prince, the Wolf and the Firebird Dec. 4-12 at EMU's Quirk Theatre. Described as a funny and fast-paced adventure, the play is based on a a classic Russian folktale, as it tells the story of a young prince's quest to keep a promise to the magical Firebird. Run time is about 90 minutes plus intermission, so the play is recommended for ages 6 and up. Tickets are $7-$15 and can be ordered here.

Hot Theater Date: Impossible Marriage

A quirky comedy written by award-winning playwright Beth Henley is coming up Dec. 4-12 in the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Studio Series. The play "Impossible Marriage" tells the story of an eccentric family as they try to prepare for the wedding of an unlikely couple. The show will play in A2CT¹s 40-seat Studio Theater at 322 W. Ann St. Ticket information is here. Henley's other works include Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest.

Christmas in Vienna at The Hill

Christmas carols have arrived, whether we want them to or not. A different way to experience Christmas music, and perhaps more moving, is live with the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir. The choir will be performing Christmas in Vienna at the Hill Auditorium on Sunday, November 29 at 4 pm. (See here for ticket information.) To get yourself ready, check out some of their CDs.

The Vienna Boys’ choir, one of the best known boys’ choirs in the world, has been around since the 13th century but was officially founded in 1924. For touring purposes the choir is divided into four sub-groups, each named after a famous Austrian composer, and all with equal standing.

Prior to the concert will be Caroling on the Steps of Hill, from 3-4 pm, where local choral groups will perform on the steps of the Hill Auditorium and then invite the public to join them. Joy!

Everyone's favorite orphan on stage starting Friday

The popular musical "Annie" will be presented by Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter at 8 p.m. Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 3-6, 10-13, & 17-19. This highly peppy, Tony Award-winning 1976 musical comedy was inspired by the Little Orphan Annie comic strip. Set in New York in the Great Depression, the story follows feisty Annie and her puppy Sandy as they escape from an orphanage and find a home with millionaire Daddy Warbucks. Popular songs from the show include "Tomorrow," "Hard-Knock Life," and "Easy Street." Buy tickets here.

Ann Arbor Conversations

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In September the Ann Arbor Conversations series started its run at the Michigan Theater. The Conversations are presented by Michigan Radio and are meant to bring the audience diverse entertainment and discussions with culturally relevant personalities. First up was Kevin Smith, last week was Anthony Bourdain, and yet to come are Post Secret creator Frank Warren and best-selling author David Sedaris. If you missed Smith, check out An Evening With Kevin Smith, and if you missed Bourdain, check out his TV show - both on DVD at AADL.

Frank Warren will be reading postcards from his always intertaining blog and sharing the the stories behind them, on Friday, December 4 at 7:30pm. While David Sedaris will be reading stories and sharing recollections, followed by a book signing, on Wednesday, April 14 at 7:30pm. See the theater’s event descriptions for ticket details, and follow all the A2 Conversations action on Twitter while you wait.

Pioneer Theater Guild stages classic musical Oklahoma!

Pioneer High Theater Guild is busy rehearsing Oklahoma! for performances Nov. 7-15. I see on their blog that last month historian Nancy Bryk gave the cast some historical perspective. Ticket info for this fabulous sounding musical is here. All together now: "O-o-o-o-k-lahoma where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain . . ."

YPT presents Wizard of Oz

Young People's Theater presents the classic Wizard of Oz Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 5-8, in U-M's Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. You can view photos of actresses and actors on the YPT website. Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for age 18 and younger and 65 and older. Originally released as a motion picture in 1939, the story has inspired creations including the 2009 graphic novel Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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