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.
As part of Meadow Brook Theatre's fourth annual children's series, the World Music Tour with Guy Louis embarks on a high-energy waltz around the globe. Without leaving the intimate, 500-seat theater, music fans journey from continent to continent alongside riff guru Guy Louis, whose instrumental prowess and vast knowledge of foreign tax codes help celebrate a variety of worldly cultures. Fast fretting draws out the differences and shared traits between European lutes, Indian sitars and tambouras, and modern electric guitars, and infectious beats take over in explorations of Native American and African percussion. Louis' animated performing style pulls young audiences into the action and motivates even the most bashful shadows to twist and shout.
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.
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.
Those who love fall know that full immersion is the best way to get into the spirit of the season. The Pumpkin Factory just happens to be the perfect place to plunge into all things autumnal, welcoming visitors with an array of fall-themed activities including a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay rides and a haunted house. Once twisting stalk has been traversed and every pumpkin has been inspected and assessed for its potential carvability, kids can expel excess energy by jumping in a giant inflated spider house or by exchanging tin can recipes with the resident goats in the nearby petting farm. And, if all that activity works up an appetite, the farm's country store sells a number of delectable, seasonal treats, including pumpkin pie, donuts, caramel apples and apple cider.
Thomas and Friends Live! stars the beloved characters of Thomas, Percy, Diesel, and all their friends in a fun-filled theatrical extravaganza. The latest production, Thomas Saves the Day, follows the gaggle of anthropomorphic trains as they prepare for the annual Magic Lantern Festival on the island of Sodor. As the engines work together to repair the lighthouse that guides visitors to the island, children will learn important lessons in discovery, friendship, cooperation, and how to slip loose from a giant octopus while scuba diving. The 90-minute musical's brand-new songs will have tots clamoring in adulation for an encore and throwing gummy bears onto the stage, the highest form of pre-K praise.