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The 2009 Summer Theatre Festival

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday
in July and August

All Shows Begin at 7:30 pm (Unless otherwise noted)

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TOWL logo Indicates Provider of Intermission Refreshments          Cash Bar logo  Indicates Cash Bar Available for This Event

The Summer Theatre Festival Cast 

The Summer Theatre Festival is brought to you in part by     

All in the Timing 

by David Ives
directed by Jeff Sanders

July 2-4

A series of six one act plays:

Sure Thing A man and a woman meet for the first time in a cafe, where they have an awkward meeting continually reset each time they say the wrong thing, until, finally, they connect.

Words, Words, Words Three chimpanzees attempt to write Hamlet.

The Universal Language A man and a woman fall in love while communicating in the invented language Unamunda.

The Philadelphia A man in a strange state where he must ask for the opposite of what he wants in a restaurant.

Variations on the Death of Trotsky Leon Trotsky dies several times from a mountain-climber's ax wound received 36 hours prior.

English Made Simple The story of a couple named Jack and Jill who meet at a party. As the night progresses it becomes apparent that the two knew each other, and were even involved romantically, before this night at the party. Meanwhile a college English professor, who's name is never announced but written as the "Loudspeaker Voice" in the script, explains what the couple is really thinking as they talk to each other. It is an extremely wordy romantic comedy full of twists and turns. Well written, it is one of David Ives better known plays.

TOWL logo Intermission refreshments provided by Harbor View Grille for all performances.                Read Bill iddings review.


The Woman in Black 

by Susan Hill
adapted by Stephen Malatratt,
directed by Jeff Sanders

July 9-11

Eel Marsh House stands tall, gaunt and isolated, surveying the endless flat salt marshes beyond the Nine Lives Causeway, somewhere on England's bleak East Coast. Here Mrs. Alice Drablow lived — and died — alone. Young Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is ordered by his firm's senior partner to travel up from London to attend her funeral and then sort out all her papers. His task is a lonely one, and at first Kipps is quite unaware of the tragic secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows. He only has a terrible sense of unease. And then, he glimpses a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, at the back of the church during Mrs Drablow's funeral, and later, in the graveyard to one side of Eel Marsh House. Who is she? Why is she there? He asks questions, but the locals not only cannot or will not give him answers — they refuse to talk about the woman in black, or even to acknowledge her existence, at all. So, Arthur Kipps has to wait until he sees her again, and she slowly reveals her identity to him — and her terrible purpose. The Woman In Black treads in the footsteps of the classic ghost story, following the tradition of Charles Dickens and M.R James, of Henry James and Edith Wharton. It is not a horror story or a tale of terror, yet the events build up to a horrifying climax and instills a sense of horror. It relies on atmosphere, a vivid sense of place, on hints and glimpses and suggestions, on what is shadowy, heard and sometimes only half-seen, to chill the reader's blood to the marrow and make reading the book alone at night inadvisable for the faint-hearted. Come see this chilling ghost play, if you dare, starring Tom Harryman and Jeremy Meier.

TOWL logo Intermission refreshments provided by Sam's Bistro for all performances.                Read Bill iddings review.


Driving Miss Daisy

presented by the Grand Rapids Master Arts Theatre

July 16-18

The film classic arrives on the stage of the Howmet Playhouse courtesy of the Grand Rapids Master Arts Theatre! This play is about the relationship of an elderly Southern Jewish woman, Daisy Werthan, and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, from 1948 to 1973. The original off Broadway production starred Dana Ivey and Morgan Freeman.

TOWL logo Intermission refreshments provided by the Lakeside Inn for all performances.                Cash Bar logo  For the July 17 performance.


The Underpants

by Carl Sternheim
adapted by Steve Martin
directed by Jeff Sanders

July 23-25

A hilarious Steve Martin Comedy. The renowned comic actor and author of Picasso at the Lapin Agile provides a wild satire adapted from the classic German play about Louise and Theo Markes, a couple whose conservative existence is shattered when Louise's bloomers fall down in public. Though she pulls them up quickly, he thinks the incident will cost him his job as a government clerk. Louise's momentary display does not result in the feared scandal but it does attract two infatuated men, each of whom wants to rent the spare room in the Markes' home. Oblivious of their amorous objectives, Theo splits the room between them, happy to collect rent from both the foppish poet and the whiny hypochondriac.

TOWL logo Baklava from Sam's Bistro, Coffee provided by the Book Nook & Java Shop                Cash Bar logo  For the July 24 performance.


White Lake Youth Theatre Presents

The Legend of Scarface and Bluewater

by Blanche Marvin
directed by Cindy Beth Davis

July 30-31, August 1

A Shawnee tribal tale of American Indian folklore and history, this story tells how the first Medicine Man came to be. This workshop has combined the talents of several local artists and educators. Our actors have gained experience in the following areas: drumming with Barb Pitcher, of Common Unity in Rhythm, props creation with Missy Morrow of Dune Grass Studios, costume design with Alice Gambel and Lynn Whalen, and, of course, drama and improv throughout the rehearsal process.

TOWL logo Snacks provided by the Book Nook & Java Shop


Almost, Maine

by John Cariani
directed by Jeremy Meier

August 6-8 

Almost, Maine was hailed as “Love in the time of frostbite” by the New York Sun, and fittingly so: Magical realism abounds in this delightful new comedy. On a cold, clear, moonless Friday night in deepest winter, the Northern lights hover over the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. All is not quite what it seems as Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected, unusual and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. And ache is all around as love is—literally—lost, found and realized. An enchanting midwinter’s nights dream, Almost, Maine inventively explores the mysteries of the human heart, touching audiences with laughter, heart break and hope. We know that you will enjoy this charming midwinter's comedy starring Michael Bradley and Jeff Sanders.

Cash Bar logo  For the August 6performance.                Read Bill iddings review.


Educating Rita   

by Willy Russell
directed by Mike Vogas

August 13-15  

Frank is a tutor of English in his fifties whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to drink and bury himself in his books. Enter Rita, a forthright 30 year-old hairdresser who is hungry for education. After weeks of cajoling, Rita slowly wins over the very hesitant Frank with her innate insight and refusal to accept no for an answer. Their relationship as teacher and student blossoms, ultimately giving Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves. The play became a hit film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters; we hope to make it a Playhouse hit featuring local performers Joe Carmolli and Kim Harsch, and artistic direction from Muskegon’s own Mike Vogas! The London Sunday Telegraph reviewed this play as "Warmly written … It is the interchange of feeling and realization of new approaches to life on both sides that make this play of particular interest"; the London Sunday Times wrote "A marvelous play, painfully funny and passionately serious; a hilarious social documentary; a fairy tale with a quizzical, half happy ending."

TOWL logo Snacks provided by Pekadills


Pretend Soup

Chicago-based Improvisation and Comedy Group
featuring Cate Freedman, Kimber Hall, Brandon Ogborn, and Adam Schwartz

August 20-22

Pretend Soup is a four-person sketch comedy group with experience and training at The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, Second City Chicago's Donny's Skybox Theatre, Annoyance Theatre, IO (formerly Improv Olympics), and The Playground. Featuring some of the brightest talents in the Chicago comedy theatre scene, Pretend Soup brings you an evening's worth of laughs in the world premiere of their comedy revue. Following the show will be a half-hour improvised set based on audience suggestion. If this was a movie, it'd be about PG-13. Pretend Soup will be offering an Improv Workshop for actors 16 and older August 22nd.


The Comedy of Errors & Julius Caesar

by William Shakespeare
presented by the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company

August 27: The Comedy of Errors

August 28: Julius Caesar (the all female version)

August 29: The Comedy of Errors

The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company returns to the playhouse with one weekend of two shows presented in repertory. See one cast tackle two of Shakespeare’s great plays in one weekend. Follow the link to learn much more about the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, its performance philosophy, and these two plays.

Read Fran Schattenberg's review of Julius Caesar.


The Howmet Playhouse is a year-round venue. Be sure to visit the EVENTS menu for our complete schedule of plays, music, movies, and more.