MICHIGAN TRAVEL TIPS
THE HOLOGLOBE PRESS
(The 34th Edition)
Victor Edward Swanson,
RULES OF USE
The reports and stories contained on this Web page have been put together with information taken from "The Victor Swanson Fabulous Files of Places to See in Michigan and Wisconsin" and with information obtained from operators and staffers of tourist attractions and from press releases, Web sites, and other sources. The reports and stories are provided as a public service by Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press. Almost all persons and entities, such as staffers of radio stations, may freely use the materials; neither AAA Michigan nor any employee of AAA Michigan may use, distribute, download, transmit, copy, or duplicate any of the material presented on this page in any way or through any means.
- - - Travel Thoughts for Everyone - - -
I am well informed about the world of television, as can be seen by your reading the thirty-four editions of T.H.A.T. (which stands for "Television History And Trivia") that also exist as parts of the main Web site for The Hologlobe Press, but I am not well informed about the world of "the theatre," though, in the past, I have done a bit of acting on stage in high school and had courses related to "the theatre" at Wayne State University (such as acting classes, a lighting class, and a makeup class). Yet, through editions of Michigan Travel Tips, I have presented information about "the theatre" in Michigan, such as in one of the PSAs of the previous edition of Michigan Travel Tips, and I focus on "the theatre" in this edition of Michigan Travel Tips. While you read this edition of Michigan Travel Tips, I do hope you can keep your seat till either the intermission or the end so that you do not interrupt the performance and other members of the audience.
On January 29, 2007, I visited two friends of mine--Sue and Bill--and we got talking about the topic of "the theatre," unbeknownst to them I was already working on this edition of Michigan Travel Tips and the topic of "the theatre." They told me how they once went to see Buddy Ebsen (the actor who had become well known for playing, for instance, Jed Clampett in the television entitled The Beverly Hillbillies, which had run on the CBS-TV network from the 1962-1963 season through the 1970-1971 season), and they noted how after the performance, which was some type of three-act play given at a theatre called the "Vest Pocket," which existed in Detroit from about 1968 to 1972, Buddy Ebsen spent time talking with the audience and doing some song-and-dance routines (Buddy Ebsen can certainly be called a "song-and-dance man," because of the work he did in, for instance, the 1920s and 1930s on the stage, such as on the vaudeville circuit). Sue and Bill's story about Buddy Ebsen reminded me of what better performers can do and what many performers of today do not do--give the audience a show and really entertain the audience.
In addition, several times in the past, another friend has told me a story about Tony Bennett (the singer), which was a story related to something that took place somewhat recently. My friend noted how he appeared at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, and at one point during this show, he had the sound crew shut down his microphone, and he sang without using a microphone. My friend said the he knew how to project, and he could, and he could be heard by everyone.
Even in the world of "the theatre," there are standards--good standards and bad standards.
In the 33rd edition of T.H.A.T., which was published through the main Web site of The Hologlobe Press on January 10, 2007, I mentioned the "Northland Players," which was a theatre group associated with the Northland Mall (in Southfield, Michigan) in, for example, the 1960s, and since T.H.A.T. #33 was published, I came across two persons who are associated with Northland Players, Inc., which in no way has ties to the Northland Players associated with the Northland Mall. (Incidentally, to see T.H.A.T. #33, you may hit this link: T.H.A.T. #33.) On Wednesday, January 17, 2006, I spent a short amount of time talking with Jim Masters and Donna Masters (who are a husband-and-wife couple) at Topinabee (of Cheboygan County in the Lower Peninsula), and with me was a friend of mine. My friend and I went to see Donna and Jim so that my friend could donate items to the wardrobe department of Northland Players, Inc., which is based at Cheboygan (in Cheboygan County). Northland Players, Inc., is a theatre company that has existed since 1971 and is based at a place called "Northland Players' Theater Center," which is at 229 Backus Street and is a very short distance from the Cheboygan Opera House (in Cheboygan). Both Jim and Donna are members of Northland Players, Inc.; he is currently the treasurer, and, for instance, in the past, he has done acting and has made sets for the theatre company, and Donna is involved with the wardrobe department, and, for example, in the past, she was once a president for the theater company. Jim and Donna talked about a number of things related to what can informally called the "Northland Players." One thing that Jim said is that the theater was founded by people who wanted to get a local theatre company started, and he said that two persons who were instrumental in creating the Northland Players were Jeanette Bronson and Joyce Leslie. Through the Masters, I learned much about the theatre group; I had had no information about the theatre group before meeting the Masters. Generally speaking, the theatre company is involved in presenting some type of stage work--often a musical--at the Cheboygan Opera House in November, presenting two dinner-theater productions at Audie's Restaurant (in Mackinaw City) at some time during the year, and helping children associated with grades five through twelve of Presque Isle County, Emmet County, or Cheboygan County present a production at the Cheboygan Opera House in June. I learned that the theatre company also has a singing group known as "The Noteables," a group that, for example, does Christmas-holiday-themed singing late in the year. On the day that I talked with Jim and Donna, Jim said that February 10 would be the first performance for a production called "Broadway is My Beat" at Audie's Restaurant. "Broadway is My Beat" was conceived and directed by Jack Barber, as is noted on a poster that I received from Jim, and the poster noted that the show was going to be at Audie's Restaurant on February 9, 10, 16, and 17. By the way, Audie's Restaurant is located at 314 North Nicolet Street in Mackinaw City, and the place has seating for about one-hundred persons, and when the Northland Players do productions at Audie's Restaurant, the theatre company takes a percentage of the "take." When the Northland Players, which has about one-hundred-ten members, wish to present a production at the Cheboygan Opera House, the group rents the Cheboygan Opera House on what is referred to as group rate, and the theater makes money through ticket sales. The Northland Players is not officially associated with the Cheboygan Opera House--the company has its own building, which was once used by the Salvation Army and which was acquired by the theatre company in about 1992. The building, which is called "Northland Players' Theater Center," as I have already noted, is used for holding rehearsals, building sets, and storing "costumes," and when the sets are made and have to be set up at the Cheboygan Opera House, staffers of the theatre company simply--or, maybe not really "simply"--carry or move the sets down the short street to the Cheboygan Opera House, and the costumes for the company are kept in the basement of building owned by the theatre company. And while talking with the Masters, I discovered, before Jim and Donna moved to Topinabee, they had lived in Westland and Birmingham (both of which are in the Detroit area of Michigan), and they had been associated with a local theater company of Birmingham (in Oakland County of the Lower Peninsula) known as the "Village Players." In the end, my friend gave the Masters--really the Northland Players--women's coats, women's dresses, and women's hats, which were in hat boxes, and if you see a production associated with the Northland Players, you might see--unbeknownst to you--costumes that I helped take to the Northland Players.
By the way, the trip to Topinabee to see the Masters was the second of two trips to Topinabee for me in January 2007. The first trip was a drive-through trip to get to Indian River, and on the first drive through Topinabee, I noticed that Topinabee has a place to see called the "Topinabee Historical Museum." For now, I have no information about the place in my files, but when I drove by the place, it looked to me as if the museum was a small local museum and was based in a building with the Topinabee Library, which is in a small building along US-27.
Now, keep in mind: There is good community theatre and bad community theatre, as there is good professional theatre and bad professional theatre, and a person should not attempt to compare community theatre with professional theatre, since each type of theatre should not be judged using the same standards.
Within the last month, I saw one professional theatre production and one community theatre production. The community theatre production took place at the Baldwin Theatre, which is located in Royal Oak (in Oakland County of the Lower Peninsula), and the production was called "Once on This Island," which was a musical production, and the professional theatre production took place at the Fisher Theatre, which is located in Detroit (in Wayne County of the Lower Peninsula), and the production that I saw was called "Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy," which was a musical containing gymnastics. I judged each production on different criteria, one of which was for what type of players were involved and what each production had for a possible goal, but, really, I am not going give you a review of either here.
Yet, let me pass along one thought related to a performance of one of the two productions talked about in the previous paragraph, and the thought is a thought that I related to a couple--a man and a woman--in an elevator upon leaving the Fisher Theatre. I told the couple that one way in which I judged the production--"Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy"--was as if I were judging gymnastic events at the Olympics. I looked for how long the gymnasts held positions and how straight the gymnasts were, and I looked for, for example, if both legs of a performer (gymnast) were parallel to the stage floor when a performer (gymnast), who was up in the air, was attempting to put the legs out to the side and parallel to the stage floor, and I looked to see if the body of a performer (gymnast) was straight up and down when a performer (gymnast) was attempting to something like a hand stand.
In the near future, you may not get to see a live presentation of "Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy" and judge it the way that I have, since the production is no longer at the Fisher Theatre, ending the stay on February 4, and since you may not get to a place where it is being presented in the near future, so if you were to go to the Fisher Theatre to see some type of production, you will have to judge that performance on different standards. "Can't Stop Loving You" is scheduled to be at the Fisher Theatre from February 13 through March 4, and it is a production that is a salute to Ray Charles, and it will feature an on-stage orchestra and on-stage dancers. From April 11 through April 29, the Fisher Theatre will be the site for Michael York to be the lead performer in a production of "Camelot."
It is too late to catch a presentation of "Once on this Island" at the Baldwin Theatre, since the last production for this year was given on February 4, but you can see other productions in the near future at the Baldwin Theatre. The "second stage" of the Baldwin Theatre will be used to present "Fat Pig" from March 2 through March 11, and the Stagecrafters group will use the main stage of the Baldwin Theatre to present "The Miracle Worker" from March 30 through April 15. A little later--from April 27 through May 13, the Stagecrafters group will present "Signature Broadway," which is defined as an "original" musical revue, which will contain songs written by well-known composers, some of whom are Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim.
When I attended the presentation of "Once on This Island" at the Baldwin Theatre, I noticed several times that there were troubles with the sound system, and I will say that the problem was a " break-up" problem, maybe caused by a loose connection or a dirty connection in the sound system. I had the urge, during to the intermission, to track down the problem, using skills that I had gained by working at a radio station in the 1970s, where from time to time I had to repair wiring, such as headphone wiring, and during the intermission, I was wondering if someone were crawling around or running around under the stage, behind the sets on stage, or elsewhere in theatre to find the problem, as I would have liked to do, if given the opportunity. If I had the opportunity, I would have at least attempted to repair the sound problem, using previously knowledge about, for instance, where every audio line ran and where every microphone was. (The "break-up" problem was not solved during the intermission.)
Here are a couple suggestions for the members of the Stagecrafters group. I have used dielectric grease on the ends of spark plugs and spark-plug wires to hinder corrosion, but I have not used dielectric grease on contacts of microphones and microphone cables in the past, so I cannot say that such grease could make a sound system more resistant to "break up," but it is worth trying on the sound system of the Baldwin Theatre. It is time to get someone with an ohm meter to check the microphone cables or sound cables at the Baldwin Theatre.
I am well aware community-theatre groups have tight budgets or limited budgets, which is one reason it is taking a lot of time to restore the Historic Wayne Theatre, which is located along Michigan Avenue in Wayne (which is in Wayne County). It was on August 27, 1927, when the Wayne Theatre was opened up to moviegoers; generally speaking, in the early years, the movie house was part of a complex that also had stores, a hotel, and a bowling alley. It was about two years after an April 1985 fire destroyed the front of the Wayne Theatre that a group bent on restoring the Wayne Theatre was organized, and that group was and is the Wayne Theatre Corporation. Today, the Wayne Theater Corporation is yet looking for help to restore the Wayne Theatre, which was one of the first movie houses in Michigan to present "talkies," and one way in which to reach the Wayne Theatre Corporation is to call 1-734-728-7469 (the address is the Wayne Theatre Corporation, 35164 Michigan Avenue, Wayne, Michigan 48184).
If you drive through Wayne on Michigan Avenue, watch for the Historic Wayne Theatre--it will be on the north side of the road.
In fact, when you drive in Michigan, look for theatres or theaters that have shows that you can see in the evenings, maybe after running on cross-country ski trails or on snowmobile trails for several hours, such as those of the Ottawa National Forest, which covers portions of the western third or so of the Upper Peninsula, a region where you can find such theatres at the Rozsa Center (at Michigan Technological University at Houghton), the Ironwood Theatre (at Ironwood), and the Calumet Theatre (at Calumet). Whatever theatre you end up in--to see some type of live production and not a movie--examine the theatre production for whether or not it achieved what standard it should be expected to achieve. And when you see a live theatre production, try to look beyond what the actors and musicians present to what other people, such as painters, have contributed to the presentation, but, of course, do not forget to analyze the actors and musicians, such as for how well the actors/singers project.
Let me make an aside here, as if I were on stage--in the middle of a play. The "Village Players" mentioned in this document so far should not be confused with the "Clarkston Village Players" and the "Paw Paw Village Players." The Clarkston Village Players was created in March 1961 (in essence, starting out at Clarkston High School) and is located at Clarkston (in Oakland County of the Lower Peninsula) in a building that was once a train depot; this group will present "Seven Rabbits" in March 2007, "The Last of Jane Austen" in May 2007, and "Like Mother, Like Hell" in June 2007. The "Village Players" of Birmingham (of Oakland County of the Lower Peninsula) is in the middle of its 84th season (it was founded in 1923), and in March, this group will present "W;T," and in May, it will present "Wait Until Dark." The Paw Paw Village Players was founded in 1969 in Paw Paw (which is in Van Buren County of the Lower Peninsula); this group will present "Love, Sex and the IRS" in April, "Raise a Buck Review" in May, and "Kiss Me, Kate" in July.
Incidentally, some community theater groups or community theatre groups are members of The Community Theatre Association of Michigan, which was founded in 1951 and is based in Alma (of Gratiot County in the Lower Peninsula).
And now I present the final act. On February 7, 2007, I helped my friend who had recently donated clothing to Northland Players Inc. make a trip to donate clothing to the Rogers City Theatre (which, unlike Northland Players Inc., is not a nonprofit group or a 501(c)(3) group). But stage productions are presented at the Rogers City Theater by community groups, such as high-school students. (To see more information about the Rogers City Theatre, see Michigan Travel Tips #29, which can reached by hitting this link: Michigan Travel Tips #29.)
Your travel tips of Michigan in this edition of Michigan Travel Tips are:
The Clarkston Village Players, Clarkston, Oakland County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Fisher Theatre, Detroit, Wayne County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Historic Wayne Theatre, Wayne, Wayne County, the Lower Peninsula.
Northland Players Inc., Cheboygan, Cheboygan County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Paw Paw Village Players, Paw Paw, Van Buren County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Rogers City Theatre, Rogers City, Presque Isle County, the Lower Peninsula.
Stagecrafters, the Baldwin Theatre, Royal Oak, Oakland County, the Lower Peninsula.
Topinabee Historical Museum, Topinabee, Cheboygan County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Village Players, Birmingham, Oakland County, the Lower Peninsula.
- - - Public Service Copy for Broadcasters (four pieces) - - -
Many people who go to the Upper Peninsula in winter go to
ride snowmobiles, and, certainly, some of the most-used
snowmobile trails are in the counties near Lake Superior. A
person's going snowmobiling has a disadvantage over a person's
cross-country skiing or hiking in the Upper Peninsula. When a
person zips along on a snowmobile, the person can miss seeing
things. For example, on US-2 in Mackinac County is a bridge
called the Cut River Bridge, and near the bridge is the marked
Cut River Nature Trail--not a place for snowmobiles. If you
were to hike this trail at this time of the year, you might come
across "tracks" made by deer, rabbit, or other animals, maybe
something to follow. There are hiking trails and cross-country
ski trails all over the Upper Peninsula, such as the Escanaba
Cross Country Ski Pathway at Escanaba. To have a different
type of fun, put on the hiking boots or the skis and head to the
In February and March, snow is very likely to fall regularly
in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and in the northern half of
the Lower Peninsula, and because snow can fall regularly, people
have to regularly clean out their driveways, lanes, or little roads.
When people have to shovel out or plow out or use a snow
thrower or snow blower to clear out their driveways, lanes, or
little roads, they can end up--at least for a short while--on a main
road being used by traffic. Drivers, when winter is here, you have
to not only watch out for slippery road conditions but also the guys
and gals clearing away snow along the road--that is, you have to
be more alert for pedestrians along all the roads. And to help
pedestrians in the rural areas, you should drive with those headlights
on so that pedestrians can more easily see you when down the
roadway and plan ahead to get out of the way of traffic. If you do
that, you should enjoy your safe traveling in Michigan.
Scattered throughout Michigan are numerous community theatre
companies. For example, the Northland Players are based at the
Cheboygan Opera House at Cheboygan, and the Stagecrafters
group is based at the Baldwin Theatre of Royal Oak. Such groups
can be active throughout the year; for instance, the Northland
Players are involved with a "Youth Theatre" production in June
each year as a rule. Such groups can put together original
productions, an example of which is a production called "Signature
Broadway" that the Stagecrafters group will have on stage in late
April and early May this year. Community theatre companies are
volunteer groups, and such groups give people something to do
and give people a way to get out of the house. If you looking for
something to do, think about helping out with sound, costumes,
construction, or whatever for a local community theatre group.
In the first couple decades of 1900s, a particular movie house--
also called a "theater"--could be used for more than the showing
of movies, such a D.W.Griffith-directed blockbuster. Think about
what is referred to today as the Historic Wayne Theatre, which is
located along Michigan Avenue in Wayne, which is in Wayne
County of the Lower Peninsula. On the day that that theatre was
opened on August 27, 1927, the audience saw, for example, a
movie entitled Tillie the Toiler, which featured Marion Davies, an
"Our Gang" comedy short, and five vaudeville acts. Incidentally, the
Wayne Theatre was originally part of the "Wayne Theatre" complex,
which also had a hotel and a bowling alley. Today, people are
trying to restore the "Historic Wayne Theatre," and the people
make up the Wayne Theatre Corporation, a nonprofit entity. To
learn more about the Wayne Theatre, contact the Wayne Theatre
- - - Contact Information - - -
The Hologlobe Press
Postal Box 20551
Ferndale, Michigan 48220-0551
The United States of America
copyright c. 2007
File date: 10 February 2007
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