Avon Players has been a cultural and civic mainstay of the City of Rochester Hills before it was even known as City of Rochester Hills. Founded in what was then known as the Avon Township, the non-profit theater group has spread its contagious "Let's put on a show!" spirit throughout Southeast Michigan since 1947. With a wealth of local talent onstage and behind the scenes, Avon Players mount an average of five elaborately produced shows a year, all featuring special effects, live orchestras, lavish sets, and dazzling lighting. In addition to entertaining the community with a variety of Broadway musicals, British comedies, and award-winning dramas, the Players also mount youth theater productions, which teach budding thespians the craft and how to cook thrown tomatoes into a mean marinara sauce.
Music director Dr. Gregory Cunningham brings his agile baton-wielding skills to the podium of the Warren Symphony Orchestra for a second year. Teaming up with the Oakland Chorale—Oakland University's elite, competitive touring choral ensemble—the orchestra will usher in the holiday season with a program that awakens cheer in Yuletide lovers and Grinch collaborators alike. Selections from Handel's Messiah send the spirit soaring on famous choruses, and a slew of popular wintery tunes keeps the auditorium cozy as hot cocoa drunk from a hand-knit mitten.
Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak bills itself as Michigan's only professional outdoor Shakespeare event, and for two remaining weekends this summer, the professional players will take to the open-air stage in a re-imagined version of the Bard's classic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The 1960s-styled production features a cast of actors that bring the 16th-century play to life through vibrant, sleek, Mod-motifs. The lawn-style seating of the outdoor theater allows visitors to bring blankets or lawn-chairs to enjoy the arts in casual, summer style, with free parking nearby. Water Works is offering a special August 6 performance of the production, specifically designed for the hearing-impaired, in which costumed members of TerpTheatre's shadow actors interpret the lines onstage while the action plays out.
What was once the meeting spot for the Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit now hosts the hottest live acts and dance parties, including performances by Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Iggy Pop. The Main Ballroom sports a tricked-out sound-and-lighting system, a VIP balcony, a hardwood dance floor, and a bar more than 35 feet long. The lower level of The Shelter lives up to its name, as red curtains and a cabaret offer an escape to mellower pastures. Upstairs at The Burns Room, patrons chill out on lounge furniture under chandeliers while savoring views of Congress and the RenCen.
Fox Theatre, originally opened in 1929, has long been established as a venue for legendary performances, earning induction into the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Domed entryways, walls lined with pastoral murals, intricate chandeliers, and a palette of brilliant gold and crimson hint at the venue's Moorish influences, which eclectically clash with the ordered lines of its Gothic exterior.
Keyshia Cole's soaring vocals and raw, emotion-laden R & B have netted her a platinum album and four Grammy nominations. Channeling experiences of passion and heartbreak into her powerful voice, Keyshia lets loose with cannonades of soulful singing, tugging on heartstrings and teaching even the most logical robot what it means to love. Coming off her recent album Calling All Hearts, Keyshia will draw on hits from her four studio records, including such chart-toppers as "Let It Go," "Heaven Sent," and "I Remember." Up-and-coming R & B wunderkind Miguel complements Keyshia's set with his own dulcet tones, rounding out the evening with melodious aplomb. Rhythms and blues swirl together at Chene Park on the banks of the Detroit River, which fills the open-air venue with cool watery breezes and the bubbly murmurs of ticket-scalping merfolk.