A Michigan Hit by Jeff Daniels Gets a Sequel Sept. 28-Dec. 23 With Escanaba in Love

News   A Michigan Hit by Jeff Daniels Gets a Sequel Sept. 28-Dec. 23 With Escanaba in Love
Jeff Daniels' Michigan-set comedy, Escanaba in da Moonlight, a regional hit seen in extended and revived stagings by the author's Purple Rose Theatre Company in the Wolverine State, gets a sequel there, starting previews Sept. 28.

The world premiere of Escanaba in Love plays a limited engagement to Dec. 23 at Purple Rose in Chelsea, MI. A benefit gala opening will be Oct. 6.

According to PRTC, "Jeff Daniels' 11th new play, Escanaba in Love, is a hilarious prequel to the legendary Escanaba in da Moonlight, set in the Soady deer camp during World War II and outfitted with a whole new cast of Wacky Yoopers. Eighteen-year-old Albert Soady, Jr. is celebrating his final hunting season before he becomes a sharpshooter for the U.S. Army when he falls head-over-heels for the legendary Big Betty Balou — the woman destined to become Reuben and Remnar's mother. The question is, does she have what it takes to become part of Escanaba's 'royal' family?"

The first play had audiences howling at Daniels' depiction of addled, superstitious Michigan Upper Peninsula folks drinking, hunting and (violently) passing gas.

Daniels said in production notes, "Writing the prequel was like putting on a pair of your old, favorite shoes. For years, I wasn't interested. Never even thought about it. Once I started writing it, though, it was just a matter of going back into that world, hearing their voices. I never intended to write a companion piece to Escanaba in da Moonlight. It wasn't until about three years ago that I got the idea to write a prequel. What's big with me, too, is wanting to spend time with the characters I'm writing. I need to stay interested in them, otherwise, forget it. I mean, if you’re going to be in my head for many, many months, I have to want to be with you. The thing is, with the Soadys, I never wanted to leave."

Directed by PRTC artistic director Guy Sanville, the cast of Escanaba in Love includes Paul Hopper, Wayne David Parker (local star of the first Escanaba play), Inga R. Wilson, Will David Young and the professional acting debut of former PRTC apprentice Jake Christensen as Albert Soady, Jr. The creative team includes set designer Daniel C. Walker, lighting designer Reid G. Johnson, costume designer Ivan Ingermann, prop designer Danna Segrest and sound designer Quintessa Gallinat. Katie M. Doral stage manages with Stefanie Din and Alexis S. Cain (assistant stage managers).

For more information, call (734) 433-ROSE or visit www.purplerosetheatre.org.

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