A tribute to Cole Porter, a Motown-themed concert featuring singer Tatiana Owens, and several children’s events will be included in the Croswell Opera House’s 2015-16 Special Event Season, which begins in September.
Artistic director Jere Righter said the Special Event Season gives the Croswell a chance to put on a diverse mix of shows.
“People know us for our musicals, but we’re also starting to build a real following for our one-night concerts, our children’s events, and of course our plays,” Righter said. “I’m excited about the shows we’re planning. We have shows for all ages and tastes, and that’s a great way to let people know that the Croswell really has something for everyone.”
The Spectacular Saturday Series will return with several daytime events for children and families. Spectacular Saturday events will take place at 11 a.m. Oct. 17, Nov. 7, Dec. 5, Feb. 27 and April 9, with each show preceded by a craft or other activity starting at 10 a.m.
New additions this year will include three staged readings in the Croswell art gallery and a series of casual events, called Croswell After Hours, every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., starting Sept. 10.
“The Drawer Boy”: The Special Event Season will kick off with a staged reading of this play by Canadian writer Michael Healey. Set on a farm in Ontario, “The Drawer Boy” tells of the lives of two bachelor farmers from the viewpoint of a young actor from Toronto who visits their farm to interview them. The reading will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in the Croswell gallery. Tickets are not required, but donations will be accepted.
“The Velveteen Rabbit”: The first installment in the Spectacular Saturday Series, this retelling of the classic children’s story about a toy who wants to be real is presented by Bright Star Touring Theatre. The show is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, with a craft activity starting at 10 a.m.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”: The 1975 cult film will be screened at midnight Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31, with a preshow, including costume contest, starting at 11 p.m.
Aysenur Kolivar: The first artist-in-residence for the Arts Midwest World Fest, Turkish folksinger Aysenur Kolivar, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, following a week of workshops and other cultural events throughout Lenawee County.
Disney’s “Frozen”: Back by popular demand, the Croswell will screen the animated hit “Frozen” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7. Last year’s showing included a photo opportunity with a real live Elsa, and this year her sister Anna will be joining in the fun.
Dueling Pianos: 176 Keys, which last performed at the Croswell in April 2014, will return for a special engagement at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20. A limited number of on-stage seats are available in addition to main floor seating.
“Handel’s Messiah Rocks”: The Croswell’s 2015 Christmas show will be a high-energy, rock-style adaptation of George Frideric Handel’s “The Messiah,” with school and church choirs from around the area being invited to take part in the production. The show will open the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and run for two weekends.
“The Story of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King”: Specially adapted for younger audiences, this reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet will include lyrics and scenes acted out between musical numbers to allow young children to more easily follow the story. Performances will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5; 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11; 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.
“Red, Hot and Cole”: A tribute to the music of Cole Porter, “Red, Hot and Cole” will be the Croswell’s seventh annual all-area high school production. Featuring a talented cast of young people from Lenawee and surrounding counties and with new orchestrations by the Croswell’s Dave Rains, this musical traces Porter’s career from his roots in Indiana to the music halls and soundstages of Broadway and Hollywood. The show will run Jan. 23-24 and Jan. 29-31, with Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows at 2:30 p.m.
“Shrinking Violets and Towering Tiger Lilies”: A staged reading in the Croswell gallery, this show is a collection of seven short plays by Tina Howe about women navigating an array of distressing situations: a doctor’s appointment, a photo shoot, a water aerobics class. The reading will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, in the Croswell gallery. Tickets are not required, but donations will be accepted.
“Spirit of Motown: Tatiana Owens in Concert”: Toledo-born singer-songwriter Tatiana Owens, who starred in this summer’s production of “Memphis,” returns from New York for a special one-weekend engagement, performing Motown and R&B hits from the ’50s, ’60s and beyond, plus a few of her own original songs. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.
“Jackie Robinson”: Presented by Bright Star Touring Theatre, this show is part of the Spectacular Saturday Series and tells about the life of Jackie Robinson, one of the pioneering athletes who helped integrate professional sports. The show is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.
“How I Became a Pirate”: This musical for young audiences, based on the book by Melinda Long, features a band of comical pirates enlisting a boy named Jeremy Jacob to join their crew. Songs include “Green Teeth,” “I’m Really Just a Sensitive Guy” and “Talk Like a Pirate.” Performances will run March 4-6 and March 11-13. The first weekend will have a 6:30 p.m. Friday show and 2:30 shows on Saturday and Sunday, with Saturday’s show being a sensory-friendly production for children with autism or sensory processing issues. The second weekend will have 6:30 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. show Sunday. Additional performances for school groups will take place during the school day March 8 and 9.
Backstage Brews: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with unique beer, cider and wines from Michigan and beyond at the Croswell’s second annual craft beer festival, starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18.
“The Imaginary Invalid”: This three-act comedy by the 17th-century French playwright Molière will be the third installment in the Croswell’s series of staged readings. It will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, in the Croswell gallery. Tickets are not required, but donations will be accepted.
“The Lego Movie”: This 2014 animated adventure will be the final installment in this year’s Spectacular Saturday Series. The movie will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 9, with activities before the movie starting at 10 a.m.
Baladino: The 2015-16 Special Event Series will wrap up with the second of four Arts Midwest World Fest performances. The spring 2016 artists-in-residence will be the Israeli ensemble Baladino. The group will present several workshops and other cultural activities throughout the county, followed by a public performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16.
End-of-season concert: A rock concert on Saturday, April 23, will close out the season and celebrate the upcoming 2016 Summer Broadway Season, with details to be announced.
The schedule for Croswell After Hours events, which will include trivia nights, singalongs and various types of light entertainment, will be posted at croswell.org/afterhours.
Tickets for the Special Event Season will go on sale Sept. 16, except for “Handel’s Messiah Rocks,” which is already on sale.