Escanaba, Daniels' Third Comedy About U.P. Folk, Will Premiere at Purple Rose

News   Escanaba, Daniels' Third Comedy About U.P. Folk, Will Premiere at Purple Rose
The Purple Rose Theatre Company, the Michigan Equity troupe founded by Tony Award-nominated actor Jeff Daniels in his hometown, will stage the world premiere of Daniels' Escanaba, the final play in a popular comic trilogy set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Jeff Daniels
Jeff Daniels

The company announced its 2009-10 season June 30. The PRTC season in Chelsea, MI — 60 miles west of Detroit — will also offer the world premiere of Gravity by David MacGregor and Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town, plus a play to be announced.

A follow-up to the hugely popular PRTC plays Escanaba in da Moonlight and Escanaba in Love, Daniels' new Escanaba, also set in the U.P. town of the title, features "Alphonse Soady putting the finishing touches on his newly-constructed deer camp when a wild-eyed James Negamanee bursts through his door fleeing a black bear," according to PRTC. "This origin story reveals the role this strange trespasser plays in time-honored Soady Deer Camp traditions, including the saga of the Soady Ridge Buck."

Artistic director Guy Sanville will direct a cast of Wayne David Parker (Escanaba in da Moonlight, Escanaba In Love) and Tom Whalen. It will play 14 weeks, Sept. 17-Dec. 19.

Gravity by David MacGregor marks the playwright's third show with the PRTC after Vino Veritas and The Late Great Henry Boyle. According to PRTC, "Still considered by many to be one of the most influential men in human history, Isaac Newton's discoveries in science and mathematics rocked the world during the 17th century, though the man himself considered his most heralded achievements to be only fragments of the most important work of his life. In this unusual historical drama, surrounded by jealous rivals and a mysterious patroness, Newton drives himself relentlessly in pursuit of Truth, riding the delicate line between divinity and madness."

Sanville will direct Alex Leydenfrost (Wake) as Sir Isaac Newton with a supporting cast including associate artists Stacie Hadgikosti (Wake) and Nathan Mitchell, resident artists Michelle Mountain (Wake) and Rhiannon Ragland (Apartment 3A) and Will David Young (Apartment 3A). Gravity play Feb. 11-March 27, 2010. Our Town, Thornton Wilder's portrait of human experience as told through the lives of New Englanders in a small town in New Hampshire, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1938. Sanville will direct resident artists Michelle Mountain and Rhiannon Ragland; associate artists Heidi Bennett, Matthew David, Julia Garlotte, Matthew Gwynn, Stacie Hadgikosti, Nathan Mitchell and Michael Brian Ogden; as well as Blake Barsan, Andy Burt, Hugh Maguire, Angela Miller, Michael Joseph Mitchell, Bill Simmons and Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck.

Our Town will run April 15-May 29, 2010.

The PRTC summer production — running June 17-Aug. 28, 2010 — will be announced when production rights have been secured.

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