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Our 2015 Summer Season Awaits

Screen Shot of 2015 Shows

This summer, our dream of Summer Repertory Theatre in the Park becomes a little bit more like reality.  Two shows in the park, running back-to-back throughout July and August.  First, the beloved and hilarious, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and then, the beloved and hilariously named, Urinetown: The Musical (which won Tonys for its book and score)!  We’ll be at West Park from July 9th through August 15th, Thursday through Saturday nights at 7pm.  And as always, tickets to these professional shows will be only $10, due entirely to our donors’ generosity.  This year, we again owe great thanks to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, administered here in AA by the Arts Alliance, for a mini grant to support our season.  See you at the park!
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Please Support Us


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Click Here to Donate:    Donate Button with Credit Cards

(remember- a $100 donation gets you two free tickets to every show!)

Thanks, all, for joining us this season.  This is is the most important, most exciting time in our history.  After five years of steady growth and our 2014 season ending with a tremendous sold-out run of Tomfoolery, we ask for your help as we finally achieve a long-awaited dream:  in Summer 2015, our fifth year at Ann Arbor’s West Park, The Penny Seats will present two full-scale, professional shows, for nine performances each, over six weeks. This will double our summer residency, and at last build us into the summer repertory company we set out to be.


In five years we have enjoyed enthusiastic and growing support from the community.  We’re proud and excited, and we have many to thank.  Since day one, our funding model has been simple:  raise every season’s funds in advance, and don’t spend what you can’t raise.  We rely on donations and grants for 100% of our season budget.  We don’t count on ticket sales, so we can keep ticket prices very low.  We want to be the best theatrical value in town, delivering top-quality theatre at bargain prices.  That’s where you come in.


Our goal is ambitious:  to achieve our dream this year, we need to pay two sets of royalties, two times the rent for West Park and rehearsal space, and, most importantly, we need the proper funds to pay the dedicated Michigan artists at the center of it all.  Can you help us?

Helping out is easy, and it comes with some great perks, including free tickets to all our shows!  So please, Click Here, and this year, help us achieve what we set out to do.  Let’s give Ann Arbor a fabulous, top-quality summer theatre festival in the park.


Tomfoolery Sells Out Every Show. Encore Date Added!

Guys. Can you believe it?  Our little show, Tomfoolery, sold out Every Single Performance at Conor O’Neill’s this month. Every single one!  How thrilling!  We filled the restaurant.  We sang our hearts out.  We even got to talk about it on the radio.  The phone rang off the hook all month, and we’ve been overwhelmed with support and warm fuzzy goodness.

Which brings us to this:  Due to high demand, we added one additional performance: Sunday, November 9th. Same time, same place, same everything.  Just on a Sunday.  Audience members can purchase tickets for the dinner-and-show package for just $20, or for the show only, for $10. Click here to buy tickets, or just call us at (734) 926-5346.

Brent, Roy, and Matt sing a Southern Song.

Brent, Roy, and Matt sing a little Southern Song.

We were thrilled at the reception this got, from patrons and critics alike. See this awesome review for Encore Michigan by Martin F. Kohn!  And Ann Arbor Observer columnist Davi Napoleon honored us with this tidbit: “I suppose it’s kind of mean to tell you how much fun Tomfoolery is – they keep adding chairs to accommodate the crowds, but I doubt the room at Connor O’Neill’s will even have SRO for the next show. But really, it’s that much fun. … Maybe The Penny Seats can be talked into extending the run. … In fact, they should ‘be prepared’ to spend every week at Conor O’Nell’s. I’m expecting a long, long run …”

As Director Lauren London put it, “This is one of those lightening-in-a-bottle moments for us.”  Come see what all the fuss is about!  Grab one of those last tickets, before they’re gone.

Featured performers are Ann Arborites Matt Cameron, Laura Sagolla and R. Brent Stansfield, and Roy Sexton of Saline.  Lauren London (of Ann Arbor) directed the show, with musical direction and accompaniment by Rebecca Biber (also of Ann Arbor). Victoria Gilbert (of Ypsilanti) choreographed, and Stephen Hankes (of Ann Arbor) designed the set and stage managed.

Tomfoolery Opens Thursday, October 2!

Hi all,

It’s time for our next offering of the 2014 Season!  Get your tickets HERE for Tomfoolery, a musical revue celebrating the off-kilter world of Tom Lehrer.

We open at Conor O’Neill’s on Thursday, October 2nd.  Yes, we said Conor O’Neill’s, that Irish Pub and Restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor!   We’re thrilled to offer this show in partnership with Conor’s, to take full advantage of the fabulous food and space available in their beautiful Celtic Room. We think it’s a match made in heaven.  Come for dinner and pay a flat fee of just $20 per ticket for both dinner and the show (what a deal)!  Or, join us for the performance only, which begins at 8pm, for a mere $10.  Get your tickets by clicking HERE or call (734) 926-5346.

After you order (using the link or phone number), your name will go on our door list for the night. Just show up, give your name, and you’re in.  We will not send you physical tickets.  Folks coming for dinner should arrive before 7:00pm (we suggest 6:30ish), to make sure they’ve eaten before showtime.  Doors to the Celtic Room, where the performance happens, will open at 7:40pm, for general seating.  Enjoy!

Tomfoolery Poster

“I act because it compels…” The Penny Seats’ upcoming production of Elektra

Thank you to local arts journalist and (Penny Seats co-founder) Roy Sexton for voicing his impressions of Elektra. Read on for some additional thoughts from our cast and crew on the production!

Reel Roy Reviews

“…The audience is being given the gift of live theater. Films do not ask from us in their enacting, a film can merrily play out to an empty room, but the very beauty of live theater is the human exchange. Without that sense, it is dead.”

– Emily Miller Mlcak

(Mlcak is a beloved professor from my undergraduate days at Wabash College, and she wrote this in response to “scha·den·freu·de.”)

Elektra cast photo by Dawn Marie Kaczmar Elektra cast photo by Dawn Marie Kaczmar

These words rang in my ears the other week when I crashed a rehearsal of The Penny Seats’ summer production Elektra (as adapted by Ann Arbor’s own Anne Carson) for a sneak peek of the glorious mayhem that is sure to delight audiences at the West Park Band Shell July 10 – 26.

In the spirit of transparency (oh, how I do hate that overused expression), I am one of the…

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Site – Specific Rehearsal

PS LogoThanks to Dawn Kaczmar for taking these photographs of our recent site – specific rehearsal at West Park. Additional photographs are viewable here.

Tickets are now available for Elektra, opening on July 10!


Director Russ Schwartz, at right, speaks with cast members gathered in our performance space. We will be using this area for the performance (for the first time!) rather than the band shell stage.


Clytemnestra (DeAnnah Kleitz-Singleton) speaks with Elektra (Emily Caffery)


Orestes (Scott Wilding) expresses his wishes while Pylades (Sarah Lovy) looks on.


Clytemnestra (Sonja Marquis) enters from the house as a chorus member (Kez Settle) reacts.


Elektra (Emily Caffery) has a pensive moment.

Meet the Cast of Elektra

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We are delighted to welcome the cast of Elektra. Here they are!


Samer Ajluni is excited to be working with Penny Seats Theatre for the first time.  His most recent stage work includes “Emma”, a staged reading at the Matrix Theatre, Matt Friedman in “Talley’s Folly” with Puzzle Piece Theatre, and Louie in “Lost in Yonkers” at the Dio Theatre. He also appears in a short film called “Open House” that was shot in Ann Arbor, currently in development. He received his formal training in acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Arts Management.

emily caffery Headshots color-1Emily Caffery is originally from Leyden, Massachusetts, but has been privileged to call Ann Arbor home for the past four years. Local productions include The Glass Menagerie at the Performance Network and Steel Magnolias with Two Muses Theatre. She is newly returned from the East Coast where she was traveling with the nomadic street theater troupe The Vagari Project and training at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute. She could not be more thrilled to be back and working with this fantastic team on Elektra! A heartfelt thanks to Russ and Penny Seats for this opportunity and, as always, her family for their support.

DeAnnahDeAnnah Kleitz – Singleton is so excited to be a part of this production! Hailing from Biloxi, MS, she is beyond ready to make her dreams come true in her new home, Detroit. Having worked with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre as the 2012-2013 intern, she has since performed with the JET, Water Works, Kitchen Plays, Planet Ant, and now Penny Seats. Her favorite play is A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill. She is a scasion fiend, and linguistics nut; DeAnnah is also a working dialect coach. DeAnnah likes tacos, craft beer, and vintage dresses. She is very thankful for the sunshine and heat after this, her first real winter.

Sarah HeadshotSarah Lovy is thrilled to be in her first show at the Penny Seats Theater! She was last seen as Daisy in Rhinoceros at the Abreact Theater. Sarah has been trained in musical theater, contemporary, and Shakespearean acting. She is also a member of the Murder Mystery improv company and a student at the Michigan Acting Studio of Ferndale. She would like to thank her friends, family, and dog, Sassy, for all their support and love.

SonjaSonja Marquis is happy to make her Penny Seats Theatre debut! Other credits include: Tipping Point Theatre, Purple Rose Theatre Company, The Dio Theatre, Detroit Ensemble, Planet Ant, Encore Musical Theatre, Two Muses, The Ringwald and Detroit’s Music Hall. Sonja is a momma of three who lives in Brighton. When not performing, she teaches theater camp, mentors at Mosaic Youth Theatre, and sings for her supper. Smooches to Mike!

Kate NelsonKatherine Nelson is excited to be making her Penny Seats debut! Originally from Maryland, she attended Cedarville University. She is a proud graduate of the Purple Rose Theatre Company apprenticeship program and is now a PRTC Resident Artist. She performed most recently with the AKT Theatre Project. Katherine is also a costume designer, with her recent credits including productions with the Purple Rose, Performance Network, Waterworks Theatre Company, Flint Youth Theatre, and Wild Swan Theatre. She is so grateful to her castmates and the rest of this production team!

KezKez Settle is an actress of both film and stage. She has appeared in several stage productions around Southeast Michigan most recently in Two Muses Theatre production of ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore.‘ She is also part of the resident cast of improvisers with Comdeysportz Detroit. She is excited to make her debut with Penny Seats in ‘Elektra’ – See you at the park!

Scott WildingScott Wilding hails from Dearborn Heights, MI. He has recently completed his training at Wayne State University’s theater department, and after finishing one math class, will earn his BA in Theater Arts from Wayne State. Recent credits include Horace in The Doctor In Spite of Himself at the Hillberry Theater and Jean in The Abreact Performance Space’s performance of Rhinoceros. This is his first play with the Penny Seats. He would like to thank his friends and family, his amazing girlfriend, and not least of all you, the audience.


Cast members pose at the end of a recent rehearsal along with stage manager Steve Hankes, director Russ Schwartz and assistant director JP Hitesman.