FLINT YOUTH THEATRE’S ‘Bud, Not Buddy’ Opens Friday

The story of Flint native Bud Caldwell will be brought to life at the Flint Youth Theatre (FYT) stage when Bud, Not Buddy opens March 6 and runs through March 15, 2014. The play is based on the book written by Flint-born author Christopher Paul Curtis, and will be directed by Alfred Bruce Bradley.

“Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things to Have a Funner Life Number 83…If an Adult Tells You Not to Worry, and You Weren’t Worried Before, You Better Hurry Up and Start ‘Cause You’re Already Running Late.”

It is 1936, and ten-year-old Bud Caldwell has been in and out of foster homes since his mother died four years ago. With nothing but a bag full of rocks and a heart full of hope, he sets out on a journey to find his true home.

“We are so proud to produce Christopher Paul Curtis’s Newbury Medal winning story for our audience, and Mr. Curtis himself will be joining us for the March 6 performance. This moving Depression-era story about an orphan in Flint is a modern classic and our exceptional cast is directed by local legend Alfred Bruce Bradley.” says Jeremy Winchester, Executive Artistic Director for Flint Youth Theatre.

Performances

Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm*
Saturday, March 7 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 8 at 2:30pm
Friday, March 13 at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 14 at 2:30pm*
Saturday, March 14 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 15 at 2:30pm
*A conversation with the creative team will follow these performances.

Advance tickets for Bud, Not Buddy, which is best suited for ages 8 and up, are $12 for children, $14 for teens, senior citizens and military veterans, and $16 for adults. Tickets are available at Flint Youth Theatre by calling 810-237-1530 or online at FlintYouthTheatre.org. Day-of-performance tickets are $14 for children, $16 for teens, senior citizens and veterans, and $18 for adults.

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FLINT YOUTH THEATRE’S ‘Bud, Not Buddy’ Postpones Opening

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the opening public performance of Flint Youth Theatre’s
Bud, Not Buddy has been rescheduled for
Friday, March 6.
If you have purchased a ticket for February 27, 28 or March 1st, please contact FYT at 810-237-1530 to exchange your ticket. Thank you.

 

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“No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs” Opens at New McCree Theatre

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

The title is patently shocking in this day and age, but in the Jim Crow South of 1949, No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs was a common sign posted near towns and on roadways. The New McCree Theatre in collaboration with The Flint Jewish Federation opened this moving and heartwarming play Thursday at their new “digs” in the former Powers High School, now New Standard Academy on Carpenter Road. Its impact may surprise you.

Director Cathy E. Johnson has mounted an impressive production with an ensemble of six actors who do very well by this John Henry Redwood script. Indeed, Friday’s audience often seemed so involved with this story there were some moments when they forgot to applaud.

The play is set in Halifax, NC at the home of the Cheeks family, Rawl (John Vincent), his wife Mattie (Elizabeth Cleveland) and their two daughters, Joyce (Mariah Brandon) and Matoka (Mariah Jones). God fearing and hard working, this is an endearing family trapped nonetheless in a testy time.

Money is tight, the available work is hard, and the pay is pitiful, so Rawl heads south to dig graves and earn enough to ensure his daughter can go to college if she wants. Vincent is feisty but loveable, always grabbing some “sugar” as he hugs his girls.

Mattie and the girls are left alone and the unthinkable happens when Mattie is accosted on her way home from town and raped by a white man. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she decides not to tell Rawls what really happened in order to save him from death when he seeks revenge. Instead she lets him believe it was a consensual act. This nearly destroys the family but confirms Mattie’s conviction to not kill her child.

Cleveland is stalwart in this role. She is incredibly strong and able to portray her amazing faith and love with a quiet and stunning strength. She is the glue that holds this family together even when things begin to look very dark.

Brandon is the older of the daughters and deftly manages the swings of mood and loyalty that emerge from her mother’s ordeal. Jones is the younger daughter and has a harder time portraying her age as she is taller than her sister. Aside from a few speedily delivered lines that were hard to understand, she did allow this spunky, somewhat contrary youngster to come through.

Yaveni Aaronsohn (played alternately by J. R. Nunley/Matt Hudson) has come to North Carolina to write a book recording similarities between the treatment of Jews and the Southern Negroes. To that end he has become friends with the Cheeks family, especially Rawl with whom he is first seen playing chess in the front yard.

Nunley was strong Friday as this outsider who cares deeply for this family but who is not entirely accepted by them for his appearance as a white man. His near soliloquy in act two reveals how closely his life has paralleled theirs.

Finally, Aunt Cora (Cassandria Harris), a wraithlike creature dressed totally in black with a black veil glides through scenes only humming. Harris has a short flashback scene where she is young and happy and where we see what drove her to her current state. Frightening to many with her ghostlike appearance, she is ultimately pivotal to the resolution of the Cheeks’ family strife.

Even though the events in this play could inspire animosity and even rage, this story is more about love than revenge. These are lovely characters that won’t be easily forgotten. It’s definitely a show worth seeing.

No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs continues through February 28 at 2040 W. Carpenter Road, Flint 48505. For tickets and more information contact the box office at 810-787-2200 or online at www.thenewmccreetheatre.com

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FLINT YOUTH THEATRE TO PRESENT “BUD, NOT BUDDY”

The story of Flint native Bud Caldwell will be brought to life at the Flint Youth Theatre (FYT) stage when Bud, Not Buddy opens February 27 and runs through March 15, 2014. The play is based on the book written by Flint-born author Christopher Paul Curtis, and will be directored by Alfred Bruce Bradley.

“Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things to Have a Funner Life Number 83…If an Adult Tells You Not to Worry, and You Weren’t Worried Before, You Better Hurry Up and Start ‘Cause You’re Already Running Late.”

It is 1936, and ten-year-old Bud Caldwell has been in and out of foster homes since his mother died four years ago. With nothing but a bag full of rocks and a heart full of hope, he sets out on a journey to find his true home.

“We are so proud to produce Christopher Paul Curtis’s Newbury Medal winning story for our audience, and Mr. Curtis himself will be joining us for the March 6 performance. This moving Depression-era story about an orphan in Flint is a modern classic and our exceptional cast is directed by local legend Alfred Bruce Bradley.” says Jeremy Winchester, Executive Artistic Director for Flint Youth Theatre.

Building Bridges Community Partner: Genesee County Department of Human Services and Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiatives Board

Performances

Friday, February 27 at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 28 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 1 at 2:30pm*
Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm*
Saturday, March 7 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 8 at 2:30pm
Friday, March 13 at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 14 at 2:30pm*
Saturday, March 14 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 15 at 2:30pm
*A conversation with the creative team will follow these performances.

Advance tickets for Bud, Not Buddy, which is best suited for ages 8 and up, are $12 for children, $14 for teens, senior citizens and military veterans, and $16 for adults. Tickets are available at Flint Youth Theatre by calling 810-237-1530 or online at FlintYouthTheatre.org. Day-of-performance tickets are $14 for children, $16 for teens, senior citizens and veterans, and $18 for adults.

Sponsored by the Nartel Foundation. Flint Youth Theatre’s 2014-2015 Signature Series is sponsored by Health Alliance Plan. FYT’s Building Bridges Community Partner for Bud, Not Buddy is Genesee County Department of Human Services and Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiatives Board. The Building Bridges Community Partner Program is made possible in part by the Ruth Mott Foundation.

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CLIO CAST & CREW WARMS UP MID-WINTER WITH “CRIMES OF THE HEART”

Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler

           Clio Cast and Crew decided to put warmth in our long winter with a production of Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley. The play was well done and very enjoyable. One of the interesting aspects of this production is that everyone including the director was making their debut at Clio. They bring a great deal of talent and energy to the stage.

Beth Henley’s play, Crimes of the Heart, won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Best American Play in 1981. Henley writes about small town values and family love. She is a playwright and screenwriter. Her family was an inspiration for the play.

Crimes of the Heart deals with three sisters in a Mississippi town trying to deal with a series of issues that all come together over a couple of days. It’s Lennie’s 30th birthday and her sisters are coming home because their grandfather is extremely ill in the hospital. Each sister has issues they are dealing with.

Those of us with siblings can relate to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of our siblings. Not everything is fun and games, and the past is never far from the surface.

Sunday’s matinee started a little slow, but picked up and remained energetic.

Taylor Ackerman plays Lenny Magrath the older sister who stayed home to keep things together. Ackerman portrayed the frumpy Lennie quite well. She could have been a little louder at different places. She was believable in the role as the oldest and the caretaker of everyone and the home. That didn’t appear to be an easy job. In the end, she found happiness.

Jenn McLincha plays Chick Boyle, a cousin, who is a pain in the butt. McLincha comes on stage and engages Lennie while removing and putting on panty hose and jabbering away. Nobody likes her because she is quite opinionated. McLincha should have slowed down just a tad especially in the beginning. She did a good job as a busybody who considered everyone to be Christmas trash. She fit right in with the craziness taking place around her.

Jessica Smith plays Meg Magrath, the middle daughter. She left home to pursue a singing career that went nowhere. She returned to several unresolved problems. She was believable as the dreamer of the family.

Smith gave a good performance with the exception of the cigarette. The cigarette wasn’t realistic and E-Cigarettes didn’t exist then. It was too long, and Smith appeared uncomfortable handling it.

Stephanie Mitch plays Babe Botrelle, the wild child. Mitch does an outstanding job with this character. Her monologues were a joy to watch. She was truly the wild child of the family. She shoots her husband because she can’t stand his voice or his looks, and now she is in trouble. Mitch moved around the stage barefoot with ease and great energy. Any male who came near her has no chance of escaping.

The women are well matched and have a lot of chemistry. Reminded me of a number of families I know. They even kept the Southern accents throughout the play.

Jacob Johnson plays Doc Porter, Meg’s former boyfriend. He carries off the limp believably. Meg is responsible for his disability. Johnson did a good job even if he was a bit quiet. Alexander Willett plays Barnette Lloyd, the attorney who is going to save Babe. He falls for Babe and he came across sincerely.

Audience etiquette was a little lacking Sunday. A group behind me talked through part of Act I. Unfortunately this distracted from the good performance on stage. People who came in quite late were noisy.   Clio Cast and Crew announced that no flash pictures were to be taken. They should have included cell phones. Throughout the last act patrons in front of me kept taking pictures, and cell phone cameras give off a light. It was distracting and quite rude.

Crimes of the Heart is a good production. The set was well done and reflected the youth of the actors in a different period. The director, Katherine Mizell, did a good job for her first play. The play flowed with energy and there was a lot of laughter throughout.

I recommend Crimes of the Heart for all audiences. Clio Cast & Crew put together a sound production. Help their cause when you are there and buy raffle tickets. I did and for the first time ever at a play, I won the raffle.

Crimes of the Heart is being performed at Clio Cast & Crew’s Home, Studio 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd., Clio MI, 48420. Remaining performances: February 13, 14 at 7:30 pm, and February 15 at 2pm. For tickets call 810-687-2588.

 

 

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In Celebration of Black History Month – WITNESS!



Featuring Sylvia Pittman, Artistic Director
Creative Expressions Dance Studio
The Flint Jubilee Chorale

WITNESS! Journey with Theodore Weld, social reformer and abolitionist as he travels through the south collecting “Eye Witness” accounts from slave owners. Watch as their own words are used to convict, convert and condemn them!

Thursday & Friday, February 26 & 27
7:30 PM – FIM, MacArthur Recital Hall

Saturday, February 28
7:30 PM – Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church

Sunday, March 1
4:00 PM – Family Worship Center Church

All performances are Free.

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Local Playwright’s New Script Performed at UM-Flint

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

The Department of Africana Studies in concert with the Office of Educational Opportunity Initiatives at the University of Michigan-Flint hosted an unusual offering Friday evening in the university’s kiva. The Marie Plays, Part I: When Marie Took the Power is a brand new script penned only this fall by former Flint resident Carolyn Nur Wistrand.

Set in the early 19th century New Orleans’ French Quarter, the story revolves around the legend of Marie Catherine Laveau, often referred to as the Voodoo Queen. She was a lovely young woman of mixed descent who influenced the many women of the time teaching and advising them with her magical abilities.

Not everyone was thrilled with her activities or believed in her powers and, if I have this correct, Wistrand’s play endeavors to set the record straight on how it all came to be. Currently based in New Orleans, Wistrand maintains ties with UM-Flint’s Department of Africana Studies as an online professor.

Her play is short, complete in one act, but its title promises a sequel that we assume will continue with more about Marie’s daughter and her continuance of her mother’s legend. For now, the show features five talented young people, most of whom hail from Savannah GA where they are affiliated with Savannah College of Art and Design or Savannah State University.

As Marie, Tracy Nicolette was strong and believable Friday as she was first painfully bestowed the power and then impressive in her usage of it. As her mentor, Teresa-Michelle Walker portrayed Sanite Dede with wide-ranging strength and authority.

Next, Joshua Brooks Cliatt was distressing and frightening as the spirit of the ancestor in the throes of death, and then swaggering and even scary as Dr. John pursuing and pandering to the ladies of the town.

As Colette Lacoure, April Hayes brought a bright and wry outrage to her session with Marie as lice was discovered in her hair. This insight into how Marie worked with and helped all who came to her was a nicely telling moment in the history of this Voodoo priestess.

Finally, Flint UM graduate Cameo Paschal-Fair handled the role of Mary Earle, a victim of Dr. John’s often evil, even magical, intent, with pathos as she engendered sympathy and understanding from the audience.

Under the direction of David I. L. Poole of Savannah, GA, some clarity was sacrificed apparently for historical accuracy. As a result we had a bit of a time understanding the Creole-like accents Friday, but the story came through fairly well anyway. Perhaps this dialect plays more clearly in New Orleans, but there were murky moments that muddled the story a bit. Still, it did intrigue us enough to send us online in search of more about Marie and the history behind her continued reverence to this day.

When Marie Took the Power returns to Georgia for two performances at Savannah State University after which we can hopefully look forward to Part II of this ongoing and legendary tale. To follow this play, future scripts and info go to www.themarieplays.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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