Festival Playhouse

Celebrating the 60th Season of Festival Playhouse:

Systems as Old as Time

Fall 2023

Playhouse Creatures

Written by April De Angelis
Directed by Ren Pruis

Playhouse Creatures first premiered at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1993 and has since been revived at the Old Vic in 1997, the Dundee Rep in 2007 and the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2012.

Thurs.-Sat., Nov. 2-4 , 7:30pm
Sun., Nov. 5, 2pm.
Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St.

The year is 1669 a bawdy and troublesome time. Theaters have just reopened after seventeen years of Puritan suppression. There is a surge in dramatic writing and the first English actresses appear on stage. Playhouse Creatures focuses on five of the most famous (Nell Gwyn, Elizabeth Farley, Rebecca Marshall, Doll Common and Mary Betterton) to provide a moving and often comic account of the precarious lives of Restoration actresses.

Playhouse Creatures is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. ww.concordtheatricals.com

Winter 2024


Written by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
Directed by Anthony Hamilton

Dutchman premiered off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre on March 24, 1964. Directed by Edward Parone, the production featured Robert Hooks and Jennifer West, who won a 1964 Theatre World Award for her performance as Lula.

Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 29-Mar. 2 , 7:30pm
Sun., Mar. 3, 2pm.
Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St.

Dutchman is an emotionally charged and highly symbolic version of the Adam and Eve story, wherein a naive bourgeois Black man is murdered by an insane and calculating white seductress, who is coldly preparing for her next victim as the curtain comes down. The emotionally taut, intellectual verbal fencing between Clay (a Black Adam) and Lula (a white Eve) spirals irrevocably to the symbolic act of violence that will apparently repeat itself over and over again. Baraka’s play is one of mythical proportions, a ritual drama that has a sociological purpose: to galvanize his audience into revolutionary action.

Spring 2024

Be More Chill

Music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and book by Joe Tracz K’04

Directed by Dr. Quincy Thomas

Be More Chill premiered on May 30, 2015 at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. The show’s cast recording gained a huge following online, reaching the Top 10 of Billboard’s Cast Album chart in July 2017. On August 9, 2018, Be More Chill opened off-Broadway at the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center. On March 10, 2019, Be More Chill opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played until August 11, 2019.

Thurs.-Sat., May 16-18 , 7:30pm
Sun., May 19, 2pm.

Jeremy Heere is just an average teenager. That is, until he finds out about “The Squip,” a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most: a date with Christine, an invite to the raddest party of the year and a chance to survive life in his suburban New Jersey high school. But is being the most popular guy in school worth the risk? Be More Chill is based on the novel by Ned Vizzini.

Note: Masks are now optional for admittance. Thank you for your understanding and support in advance.

Festival Playhouse is a proud member of Theatre Kalamazoo (TK), a consortium of theatres of Kalamazoo County. TK demonstrates that collectively we can achieve much more than we can as individual theatres–and together, we promote the very things that define what is truly special about being alive in the world, interacting with one another to celebrate humanity at large.

Theatre that is always provocative. Theatre that is always thoughtful.

Festival Playhouse gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Dorothy U. Dalton Foundation.

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