Community High School to Present Urinetown: The Musical

Community High School in Ann Arbor will present Urinetown -- a satirical musical from 2001 -- from March 21-23. Here is what Amazon has to say about Urinetown: "Winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Book, Urinetown is a tale of greed, corruption, love, and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold." Admission is $8 for students and staff and $12 for everyone else. More information is here.

Veronica Mars on the Big Screen

A long time ago, we used to be friends…

And it’s time to think about old friends again, because your favorite teenage detective is back! Yes, she happens to be a marshmallow.

After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the sassy Veronica Mars heads to the big screen on March 14 with The Veronica Mars Movie. The Kickstarter raised a million dollars in the first four hours it was open, and reached the $2 million goal in less than ten hours, leading to funding for the film’s production.

The film centers around Neptune Highs’ ten year reunion, and of course there’s a mystery to be solved. The day it comes out, the film will also be available to rent and buy through video-on-demand and online platforms. The Veronica Mars Movie will be the first film distributed in theaters and for home viewing at the same time in the United States by one of Hollywood's six major studios.

The Veronica Mars TV show, starring the adorable Kristin Bell, ran for three seasons. The show was set in the wealthy town of Neptune where the rich kids (AKA the 09-ers) rule the school. But the fearless and smart Veronica is always there to outwit them and even date them. The teen private eye is always into everyone’s business solving the town’s mysteries. Each season had a mystery that lasted the season, while at the same time featured additional weekly mysteries that needed solving. It’s such a fun show and I can’t wait to see the film!

Oscar Winners on DVD & Blu-ray

Last night was the 86th Academy Awards and Hollywood put on a big show as usual. Ellen DeGeneres hosted and ordered pizza while Brad Pitt passed out plates, Benedict Cumberbatch photobomed U2, Jennifer Lawrence tripped again, and Lupita Nyong'o was simply adorable as she danced to Pharrell William’s song Happy.

Top honor went to Twelve Years a Slave for Best Picture, which was one of three awards for the film, including best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay. Gravity won seven awards, the most of any film, including a Best Director win for Alfonso Cuarón.

Frozen won for Animated Feature, Twenty Feet From Stardom won Documentary Feature, The Great Beauty won Foreign Language Film.

Here’s a list of Best Picture Winners from over the years, as well as a list of 2014 nominees for Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, and Foreign Language Film that AADL has in the catalog.

Get on the hold lists and prepare for happy watching!

BBC Detectives on TV

Luther. Sherlock. Wallander.

One-named television shows, one-named detectives. BBC knows how to do it. And they pack the adventure into longer episodes and shorter seasons. These shows are suspenseful, entertaining, well acted and well written. I cruised through Wallander and Luther a while ago and am now addicted to Sherlock. If you’re looking for a non-committing (totally amazing) show to get you through the rest of February, give one of these detectives a chance.

Sherlock, Season 1, 2, 3:
A contemporary take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock is a thrilling, funny, fast-paced adventure series set in present-day London. The iconic details from Conan Doyle's original books remain: they live at the same address, have the same names, and, somewhere out there, Moriarty is waiting for them. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch. There are plans for a fourth season, but nothing has been set.

Wallander, Season 1, 2, 3:
The crime dramas based on the best selling books by Henning Mankell follow Inspector Kurt Wallander, a disillusioned everyman, as he struggles against a rising tide of violence in southern Sweden. Starring Kenneth Branagh. The fourth and final season will be filmed later in 2014 and will consist of three more episodes.

Luther, Season 1, 2, 3:
Self-destructive near-genius, Luther might just be as dangerous as the depraved criminals he hunts. Luther follows his own moral code as much as the rules of criminal law. But he quickly becomes locked in a lethal battle of wits with Alice, a beautiful, highly intelligent mass murderer, and his decision-making process becomes increasingly murky. Starring Idris Elba. The series has concluded.

Performance Network: Venus in Fur

Performance Netowrk Theatre -- in downtown Ann Arbor at 120 E. Huron -- will show Venus in Fur, a sex comedy by David Ives Feb. 27 - April 6. The Performance Network website describes the play as "A Sexy New Play from Broadway . . . Thomas, a beleaguered playwright/director, is desperate to find an actress to play Vanda, the female lead in his adaptation of the classic sadomasochist tale Venus in Fur. Into the audition room walks a vulgar and distraught actress—oddly enough, named Vanda. Though utterly wrong for the part, Vanda exhibits a strange command of the material. As the two work through the script, the lines between play and reality blur, entering into an increasingly serious battle of submission and domination that only one of them can win." Previews are February 27 – March 6. Opening Night: is March 7. Ticket information is here.

Frances Ha on DVD & Blu-Ray

Directed by Noah Baumbach, and written and Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha follows the story of a twenty something New York woman, portrayed by Gerwig, who is a bit lost in life. Her best friend and roommate Sophie is moving on with her fella, leaving Frances to find an alternative. While working at a local dance company, she finds a new apartment with some friends, has money trouble, visits her parents, and heads back to New York. She continues to have fun while not quite accept the reality that is around her. In this Criterion Collection indie film Frances is a lively character and you can’t help but root for her as she fumbles through life decisions.

Wild Swan Theater: Under the African Sky

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 1 pm, when Wild Swan Theater presents Under the African Sky in Towsley Auditorium. The other three performances already are sold out. The play is a humorous collection of well- known African tales including Why the Sky is Far Away, The Talking Vegetables and Tug-of-Vine. Performers will use acting, storytelling, and drumming, with instruments including a balaphone, a djembe, and a talking drum. The show is for children age 4 to third grade and there will be plenty of chances for audience participation.

Oscar nods to films based on books


This year's Academy Award nominations include 5 out of 9 best pictures that are based on books, all of them non-fiction.

Have a read while you await the award show on March 2 (and don't miss AADL's Academy Awards Preview on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 pm at the Downtown Library).

12 years a slave based on the book by Solomon Northrup
American Hustle based on the book, the Sting Man: inside Abscam
Captain Phillips based on the book, A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips
Wolf of Wall Street based on the book of the same name by Jordan Belfort
Philomena based on the book Philomena : a mother, her son, and a fifty-year search by Martin Sixsmith

Other award nominated movies based on books include:
Inside Llewelyn Davis based on the book Mayor of Macdougal Street : a memoir (nominated for cinematography & sound mixing)
Lone Survivor based on the book Lone survivor : the eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heroes of SEAL Team 10 (nominated for sound mixing)
Dirty Wars based on the book Dirty wars : the world is a battlefield (nominated for best documentary feature)

Lastly one play to film was nominated:
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Meryl Streep is nominated for best actress & Julia Roberts for best supporting actress)

Performance Network: County Line

Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor is showing County Line, by David Wells, January 16 through February 16. Wells also wrote Brill, a recent hit at the theatre. His current play is described on the theatre website as "the whimsical and profound story of 17-year-old Lois’ journey after the arrest of her father. Lois is sentenced to the strict confines of a foster home run by Tanya – a woman who is not your typical guardian and owns the County Line Truck Stop & Travel Center. In this coming of age story, Lois encounters both her first look at the subtle terrors one human can inflict upon another and a lifeline to humanity that will ultimately save her." Click here for ticket information.

Purple Rose: Redwood Curtain

Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea is showing Redwood Curtain, a play by Lanford Wilson January 16 through March 15. From the Purple Rose website: "Geri is a young prodigy searching for her birth father. While visiting her aunt in northern California, Geri meets a homeless veteran, Lyman, who has chosen to hide behind the curtain of the Redwood Forest. Discovering startling similarities between Lyman and her natural father, she decides he is the key to her true heritage. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Talley’s Folly, Book of Days and Rain Dance comes a magical story of family and self-discovery. *Contains mild adult language." Ticket information is here.

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