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Wednesday, March 16,2011

Curtain Call

On stage this weekend: Golden Tickets, gold records — and black eyes

by Christopher Horb

You don’t need a golden ticket and you certainly don’t need to be an Oompa Loompa to sample the many flavors of the strange and musical world of Willy Wonka. East Lansing High School offers everyone a chance to meet the Candy Man when the curtain rises on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” Friday.


For director Mark Shaheen, staging a musical that includes such wonders as a chocolate river and characters soaring above the stage has been a challenge.


“There’s so much going on, it’s really fascinating,” Shaheen said. “Between the effects and the choreography and the singing, it’s really a huge effort on all levels.”


Technical director Paul Bourne is overseeing the ambitious visuals, which include video projections created by students. East Lansing High School is located at 509 Burcham Drive. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesday through March 27. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students; all seats are $5 on Wednesday. Call (517) 333-7490.


The musical “Dreamgirls” depicts a 1960s-era group but, according to director Daryl Thompson, it’s a story that never goes out of style.


“It’s timeless. It’s about young friends getting together to pursue their dreams,” he said.


Thompson is at the helm of the Everett High School Visual & Performing Arts Magnet Academy’s production, opening tonight. “Dreamgirls” was inspired by the real-life saga of the Supremes and Motown Records. Thompson credits his “fantastic cast” with injecting life into the story.


“They’re awesome — excellent singers and actors,” he said. “They’re really pouring their hearts into it.”


"Dreamgirls" is performed at Everett High School, 3900 Stabler St., in Lansing. Showtimes are 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday and Friday. All seats are $5. Call (517) 755- 4444.


It’s two for the price of one at the Mid Michigan Famiy Theatre, 440 Frandor Avenue, as it offers up a pair of one-act plays, “Once Upon America” and “The Boy Who Cried Bully."


“America” follows a trio of immigrants at early 20th-century Ellis Island, while “Bully” depicts a couple of modern-day kids dealing with bullies on their school playground. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through March 27. Tickets are $6 for adults and students; $4 for pre-schoolers. Call (517) 339- 2145.

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