Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Brass!!

The Motor City Brass Quintet

David Ammer, Jacob Cameron

Dave Everson, Derek Lockhart

John Rutherford

Provided a fabulous kick-off to the holiday season. The music was enhanced by a beautiful video presentation by Liz Larin (

The concert video can be seen here.(

For more of their music or to purchase their Christmas Vespers CD, visit

or contact them directly at

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods

Another successful production!!

Thanks to cast and crew for a wonderful weekend at The Playhouse.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Amabile Chamber Trio

Amabile [ah MAH bee lay] means "loveable" or "sweet" in Italian. Music can lovable to everyone.

"Music is a universal language of Mankind."

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Amabile Chamber Trio, with Michael J. McGillivray (violin and viola), Sonia Lee (violin) and Catherine Sherwin (flute) took us on a wonderful ride through four centuries of music, including selections for flute and violin by Morley and Telemann, the Duo for Violin and Viola in G Major by Mozart, Six Duets for Two Violins by Bartok and finally Beethoven's Serenade in D Major for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op. 25.

The evening was enjoyed by all who attended, as we kicked off the fourth season of Chamber Music at The Playhouse.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jazz Experience with Marcus, Charlie and Joan

To cap off yet another great season of Chamber Music at The Playhouse, we heard some fabulous New Orleans jazz from trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and saxophonist/flutist Charlie Gabriel, with some smooth vocals by Joan Belgrave.

They were joined on stage by
Marion Hayden on bass,
Gayelynn McKinney on drums,
Tad Weed on piano and
Chris Smith on trombone.

Announcing the release of their new CD Excitable, we heard several selections from that recording as well as their other two CDs, some being original compositions by Joan Belgrave.

We helped Marcus celebrate his 73rd birthday when members Joann Castle and Yolanda Turner presented him with a cake.
The Playhouse hasn't heard that much great music in a long, long time!!!!!

The Vast Difference

Fine Arts finished its 103rd season with a production of this Jeff Daniel's comedy. The mile-a-minute entrance-exits and madcap surrealism failed to obscure this comedy's deeply serious undertone.
George Noonan, played by member Charly Davis, was tossed to and fro in his deliberations about having a vasectomy.

He turns a routine visit to his urologist, played by member Anne Maters, into a psychotherapy session about life, the insignificance of the modern-day man and the vast difference between stewards and stewardesses.

His wife Rita, played by guest Amy Secor, doesn't want to chance adding another daughter to a family that already includes five girls.

And his deceased father Earl, played by guest Bruce Maters, still holds great sway over George.

Twenty nine other characters enter into George's decision-making process, all played by Bill McCarthy, Rob Green, Greg Ridella and Mark Wiacek. While some helped, most just added to the confusion his life was becoming. All were hilariously funny.

And although we never saw her on stage, Pat Vintevoghel provided an authentic stewardess' voice.

Thanks to all who helped make this another GREAT FINE ARTS SEASON!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vignettes for Valentine's

Valentine's Day brought FASD audiences together to see five vignettes dealing with various relationships in our daily lives.

Sure Thing
with George Abud and Alyssa Clark, depended on quick dialogue and a mysterious bell. Before the play moved from a beginning to an end, there were several false starts and false endings as the characters explored various responses to each other, even becoming different personalities in the process.


The Conversation
with Rob Green and Joseph Ewald, and written by FASD member Terry Davis, invloved a discussion between George a ventriloquist and his alter-ego Milton (his dummy), who was able to vocalize things George was unable to say himself.

A Little Something for the Ducks
with Kim CZasnojc and Steve Shrader, was the tale of a lonely afternoon at the pond where two elderly strangers met. Samuel, who had been feeding the ducks for seven years (or is it six?), was a thorn in the side of Irma, who pointed out the sign that said "Don't Feed the Ducks".

The Game
with Lisa Lechniak and Matt Becker, poked fun at a couple in the midst of a 'conversation' regarding the impending visit of the husband's mother, while he tried to watch his football game. This is also a creation from member Terry Davis' pen.

Accused of Comedy
with James Abud, Charly Davis, Izzy Donnelly and Laurie Jamieson, was filled with hilarious one-liners when two comedians and their one-person audience were arrested at a time when comedy was outlawed. But even the stern magistrate couldn't resist the temptation to turn the corners of her mouth in the upward direction and join in the fun.

The vingettes were directed by first-timers Heidi Denler and Shaun Day, assisted by D.J. Haska and Donna Ridella. Producer Joann Castle brought everything together.


Nancy Radke connected the stories together for us.

And, of course, nothing would have gone on stage without our trusty behind-the scenes personnel.

The evening also included an afterglow of jazz, provided by students from the Grosse Pointe South High School Curtis Gough, Andrew Hintzen and Brett Beddow.

The artist for the evening was Charles Ezra Ferrell, who exhibited his photographs and pencil of African Classical Music (so-called jazz) artists, including Marcus Belgrave, who will be on the FASD stage for a concert in June.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Heavenly Breezes

The Amabile Chamber Ensemble presented this concert on Sunday afternoon, January 25 as part of the Chamber Music at The Playhouse series. Performers were
Catherine Sherwin, flute
Lynne Marie Flegg, oboe & English horn
Michael J. McGillivray, violin and viola
Colette Mataj, viola
Judith Vander Weg, cello
Maurice Draughn, harp
Muggsie Sherwin, actress

This Twentieth century concert, with music by Benjamin Britten, Jean Cras, Christopher Berg, Jacques Ibert, Isaac Albeniz and Nino Rota enthralled us all.

The Adventure Club Cello Quartet

The Theatre Arts Club of Detroit sponsored this Chamber Music at The Playhouse concert in January as their fundraiser for The Eva Woodbridge Victor scholarship.

This is The Adventure Club's third contribution to our music series.

We were treated to a variety of musical pieces, including

G. B. Pergolese's Trio Sonata I
Delibes's Polka from “Sylvia"
Bizet's Habanera from “Carmen”
Mozart's Queen of the Night from “The Magic Flute”
Ljova's Bagel on the Malecon
Haydn's “Kaiser” Quartet, Op. 76, #3
Popper's Hungarian Rhapsody
Handel's Sonata for Two Cellos
Elgar's Nimrod from “Enigma Variations”
At The Hop
Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes from “The Gondoliers”
Sommar, Sommar, Sommar
Massenet's Meditation from “Thais”
Abreu's Tico Tico
The Stars and Stripes Forever

'Tis the Season with The Motor City Brass Quintet

This Chamber Music at The Playhouse concert provided a great lead-in to the holiday season.
Scott Thornburg and Derek Lockhart on trumpets, Eric Reed on French horn, John Rutherford on trombone, and Jacob Cameron on tuba filled The Founders Room with wonderful holiday music, including
Angels We Have Heard on High
Once in Royal David's City
Carol of the Bells
Footprints in the Snow
Toy Land
Sleigh Ride
Hannukah Begins Tonight
Simoo Shemen
O Hannukah
In the Window
Mo'oz Tzur

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Miracle on 34th Street

FASD's 103rd season opened when Director Susan Davis, with Producers Donna Ridella, Geri Day and Norma Eschenburg, collected a cast of 36 to entertain our members and guests through this well-known Christmas story, brought to the public first via the movie screen. This joint production with The Theatre Arts Club of Detroit packed The Playhouse for three performances in November.
Kris Kringle (Rick Mason) with children at Macy's

When the validity of Santa Claus is put to the test we are told that faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.

Miss Adams (Izzy Donnelly) and Mr. Shelhammer (Geno Pirrami)

It was hard to tell who had more fun with this production; the children (of all ages) on stage or the audience.

And Jonathan Davis' set with the toy stand that sprang from the floor wowed everyone.

The play opens at Macy's Thanksgiving parade, with children and parents alike stretching to see Santa and the other holiday characters.



Everything is wonderful after an intoxicated Santa is replaced by Kris Kringle, who finds ways for each child to get the gift he or she has been dreaming about.

Elf (Claire Platt)

Kris becomes a celebrity, with newspapers trumpeting his (and Macy's) generosity and good will.

Newsboy (Ethan Rymiszewski)

But when that means sending parents to other stores, his troubles begin, since it is impossible to please everyone all the time. Kris is found to be mentally ill for his insistance on being the real Santa Claus. It takes thousands of letters to prove that Santa does indeed live on in the hearts and minds of children far and wide.
Dr. Sawyer (John Denler)
with reporters (Matthew Becker, Pat Vintevogel, Andrew Denler, Dan Badia, and Lisa Lechniak)