A nonprofit movie house, The Harbor Theater offers cinefiles a welcome reprieve from stale screen fillers by stocking its theater with rich, artistic, and fresh independent and foreign films. Sharpen subtitle-reading skills by catching an upcoming screening of The Illusionist (coming soon), an animated feature from the French filmmakers behind The Triplets of Belleville. Or brush up on American history with Made in Dageham, a period drama exploring sexual discrimination during a 1968 walkout at the Ford Dageham plant.
Since 1938, the West Michigan Symphony (formerly the West Shore Symphony) has brought together the region's most talented professional musicians, entertaining audiences by playing a stirring mix of timeless classics and contemporary favorites. With this deal, you get the best available seat for the upcoming Salute to John Williams concert, paying tribute to the iconic music of John Williams, a prolific movie soundtrack composer, rousing conductor, and wrangler of unchained and dangerous melodies. The West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Scott Speck, will perform some of Williams' most recognizable music, including excerpts from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, the Harry Potter films, Jurassic Park, and Superman. Instinctually scan the seats for roaming shark fins as the orchestra plays menacing music from Jaws, or look back on fun fishing trips to Tatooine and Endor with renditions of tunes from the Star Wars films.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks continue to mow down their United States Hockey League competition with a brand of fast and physical hockey that draws on their student athletes’ strengths and prepares them for the breakneck speeds of college or the NHL. Head Coach Kevin Patrick draws on his experience as an assistant with the University of Wisconsin’s 2006 NCAA championship team to ensure that the squad stays one skate ahead of its opponents, forcing his players to practice with their skates covered in half-dried maple syrup. The Jacks will certainly have a leg up on defense, as Minnesota Wild draftee Nick Seeler freezes oncoming forwards with frequent stick slaps and Army recruit Christian Pomarico awaits enemies in his snow-camouflage coveralls.
Scores of dedicated volunteers fuel the nonprofit community Muskegon Civic Theatre, which has entertained western Michigan audiences with classic and contemporary shows since 1985. The catchy melodies, energetic cast, and colorful sets of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat resuscitate the Old Testament in the historic Frauenthal Center. Musical styles ranging from country-western to calypso drive the biblical story that follows Joseph and his kaleidoscopic coat from his enslavement to his eventual inception as the dream interpreter of the Pharaoh and number-one active-wear model in Egypt.
The festival gifts theatergoers a diverse slate of award-winning plays that feature performers from across the country. Winner of a 1998 Tony Award for Best New Play, Art (August 4–6) documents the disintegration of a friendship among three men played by two professional actors from Chicago and San Francisco and Laurence Olivier's ghost. Alternately, take in the Central Michigan University Summer Theater Company's three nights of provocative performances (July 14–16), or opt for more farcy fare with Boeing-Boeing, about a French lothario juggling three stewardess fiancees (August 18–20).
GFour Productions' theatrical achievements are in its numbers: 37 Tony Awards glistening in their trophy cases, 46 Drama Desk Awards, and more than 200 cities visited. Yet what allowed those numbers to reach such staggering heights is far from formulaic and much more complex than ballot-stuffing. Since the company burst onto the theatre scene in 1981, it has produced Broadway masterpieces starring Liza Minelli, Anthony Quinn, and Twiggy, as well as shows written by David Mamet, Arthur Miller, and Dolly Parton. Recently it has continued its trend-setting ways by staging the Tony-winning The Book of Mormon and the Off-West End I Love You Because.