Grosse Pointe Theatre Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Grosse Pointe Theatre performs White Christmas Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:37:21 +0000 Fox 2 News Headlines.

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Grosse Pointe Theatre in the News! Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:07:49 +0000 Community theater an outlet for local creativity.

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Grosse Pointe News Review of Les Miserables Mon, 25 Aug 2014 23:33:01 +0000 The Grosse Pointe News had some amazing things to say about the Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of Les Miserables.  Read about it here!

Grosse Pointe News Article 8.22.14

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Grosse Pointe Times Article Mon, 25 Aug 2014 23:28:36 +0000 Read the article about the Grosse Pointe Theatre published on August 22nd in the Grosse Pointe Times here!

Grosse Pointe Times Article 8.22.14

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Les Mis on WDIV Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:46:06 +0000 Grosse Pointe Theatre’s prodiction of Les Misérables was featured on WDIV. Click the link to see the full segment!

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Royal Oak Actor Stars in Les Miserables Fri, 09 May 2014 20:52:04 +0000 Royal Oak resident Doug Clark stars as Grosse Pointe Theatre celebrates the close of its 66th season with its stage production of the musical “Les Misérables.”


Doug Clark of Royal Oak plays Jean Valjean and Danielle Caralis of Birmingham plays Fantine in Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of “Les Miserables.” DALE PEGG/SUBMITTED PHOTO

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo during 19-century France, with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Alain Boublil, “Les Misérables” is a powerful story about the survival of the human spirit and the search for hope, love and kindness in a time of hardship and desperation.

Clark portrays Jean Valjean, a released prisoner who breaks parole to create a new life in post-revolutionary France.

Clark, a member of Grosse Pointe Theatre since 1990, has had numerous roles with the community theater group, including roles in productions of “Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Into the Woods,” and “Miss Saigon.” In “Les Misérables,” he performs with his daughter Paige, who is part of the children’s ensemble.

Danielle Caralis of Birmingham portrays Fantine, an orphan who is forced to become a prostitute to support her daughter.

“Les Misérables” has been seen by more than 65 million people worldwide, winning more than 100 international awards, It includes memorable songs such as “At the End of the Day,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Master of the House,” “Do You Hear the People Sing,” “On My Own,” “Bring Him Home” and “One Day More.”

Performances run through May 25 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial Fries Auditorium, 32 Lakeshore Drive in Grosse Pointe Farms. Tickets are $24. Parking is free. Call 313-881-4004 or visit for more information.

Reprinted from Royal Oak Daily Tribune

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GP Theatre brings grandeur of ‘Les Misérables’ to intimate venue Tue, 06 May 2014 11:47:34 +0000 With a 58-member cast, Grosse Pointe Theatre is going big for its season-ending production of “Les Misérables,” a sweeping tale of love, heroism and redemption set against the backdrop of revolution in 19th century France.

The show runs May 4-25 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial and includes two shows on some days to accommodate demand for tickets. The longest-running musical in theater history and one of the most popular to ever grace the stage, “Les Misérables” has been seen by more than 65 million people around the world. It’s been produced on Broadway and recently was an award-winning film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. But unlike other productions that local audiences might have seen, this one promises to be a more personal experience.

Unlike touring Broadway productions, which have played much larger venues in downtown Detroit, the Fries Auditorium only seats about 400.

Director Beverly Dickinson, of Pleasant Ridge — whose husband, John Dickinson, is the music and vocal director — noted that audiences will experience this show in a new way because of the venue.

“To see it in an audience of 400 — it is all-enveloping,” she said. “The music can embrace you. You really feel connected to it in a way you (couldn’t) in one of the bigger houses.”

Doug Clark, of Royal Oak, who stars as Jean Valjean, a French peasant in search of redemption, agreed.

“The sound is going to be enormous,” Clark said of the cast and the ensemble. “I think people are going to be taken aback. … (And) the intimacy of the setting and the enormity of ‘Les Mis’ will hit them square in the face.”

With no fly space to drop in from and lacking the turntable-type sets other productions have used to change scenes quickly, Dickinson admitted her cast and crew face some unique challenges mounting this show, but she said they’re up for these challenges, and audiences can expect “a lot of beauty” in the unique scenic design being used for this production. Sisters Jacqueline Di Sante, of Grosse Pointe City, and Paula Di Sante, of Grosse Pointe Woods, are the co-set designers. The mother-daughter team of Jeanne and Anna Chrisman, of Harper Woods, are the co-costume designers. Patricia Ellis, of Grosse Pointe City, who is handling public relations for the show, said there are about 200 costumes for this production.

“We’re definitely ready for the challenge,” Dickinson said. “Everyone has been really thinking outside of the box.”

GPT audiences will remember Clark from his many roles in productions over the years, including “Miss Saigon” and the title role in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” His daughter, Paige, is a member of the children’s ensemble.

“For any theater person, this is a bucket-list role,” Clark said. “So many of us who do theater have been dreaming of doing this show for 25 years.”

Kurt Bowen, of Monroe, who’s playing the greedy, scheming Thenardier, is thrilled to be working with longtime pal Clark for the first time. Bowen’s wife, Tracey, is in the ensemble, so they can make the commute — 55 miles each way — together.

“This is a show I’ve wanted to do since I heard the music 25 years ago as a high school senior,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun — fun, exhausting. (Thenardier) is manic, villainous and fun at the same time — he’s very cartoon-ish.”

Nancy Ingles, of Grosse Pointe Park, who plays Cosette, is a professional performer who recently returned to the metro area to be closer to family.

“This was the show that made me want to do musical theater,” she said, calling Cosette “one of the best roles ever to play.”

Brian Jones, of Harper Woods — who also recently returned to metro Detroit from Florida — plays Javert, the ruthless police inspector constantly on Valjean’s trail. Other actors in lead roles include Grosse Pointe Shores native Danielle Caralis, of Birmingham, who plays the doomed Fantine; Joshua Shea Coates, of Detroit, a GPT newcomer and jazz studies major at Wayne State University who fronts the rock band Bulletproof and is playing Marius; Clinton Township native Meagen Mazur, of Detroit, who plays Eponine in her GPT debut; Grace Knoche, of New Baltimore, an elementary schoolteacher by day and lead singer in the band Sharp City, who plays Madame Thenardier; Jude Purcell, of Troy, a member of the Twelfth Night Singers, who plays Enjolras; fifth-grader Jack Sanitate of Washington Township, who played Tiny Tim in Meadow Brook Theatre’s 2012 and 2013 productions of “A Christmas Carol,” and who plays Gavroche here; Elaina Calisi, of Grosse Pointe Park, and Hazel Ward, of West Bloomfield, who alternate as Young Cosette and members of the children’s ensemble; and Grace Davis, of Grosse Pointe City, and Remie Rivel, of Grosse Pointe Woods, who alternate as Young Eponine and members of the children’s ensemble.

Although the cast and crew will put their own stamp on this production, Dickinson said it would remain true to the show that audiences know and love.

“To make ‘Les Mis’ different just to be different is not a good thing,” she said. “You have to trust that your cast is going to be different.”

Ellis said the cast members have been helping each other rise to the occasion.

“They’re feeling it, too — you can tell it’s a very emotional connection,” she said. “(‘Les Misérables’) touches your heart, but it also touches your soul.”

Dickinson said the show’s themes of faith and redemption are universal, as are its other themes, from the love of a parent for a child to the fight for freedom and justice. She’s placing a particular emphasis on family for this production.

“It’s not just the music that’s wonderful, but you’re going to identify with someone on that stage to a great degree,” Dickinson said.

“Les Misérables” opens with a matinee at 2 p.m. May 4. Additional performances take place May 8, 11, 15-17, and 22-25, with two performances on some dates. All shows are staged in the Fries Auditorium at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore in Grosse Pointe Farms. Tickets are $24 each. For tickets or more information, call GPT at (313) 881-4004 or visit

Reprinted from Grosse Pointe Time, written by K. Michelle Moran.

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Protecting Our Streets While Patrolling the Stage Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:14:39 +0000 City of Grosse Pointe police veteran Eddie Tujaka trades uniform for stage makeup when off duty

Eddie Tujaka portrays the General. Photo by Dale Pegg.

Eddie Tujaka portrays the General. Photo by Dale Pegg.

After 28½ years Senior Lieutenant Eddie Tujaka knows the drill well. Arrive early, change out of your civilian clothes and into the required apparel. Review the marching orders with the rest of the team, make sure everything you need is in working order, and where it needs to be, before you begin your rounds. As the clock hits 8:00 it’s time to begin.

As a highly trained and decorated public defender and military veteran, this sounds like the beginning of Tujaka’s typical work day with the City of Grosse Pointe’s Police & Fire department. It’s also exactly what takes place on the night of a stage performance at Fries Auditorium as he joins his Grosse Pointe Theatre actors and crew getting ready to entertain 400 theater-goers.

Tujaka and an energetic cast and crew will be lighting up the stage in the next two weeks as GPT brings the Irving Berlin holiday classic, White Christmas, to the Grosse Pointe War Memorial for a nine-performance run, beginning on Saturday, December 14th and running through Sunday, December 22nd.

Everyone involved with this high-caliber production is a volunteer, but the only difference in ability between these talented amateurs and the professionals on Broadway is the paycheck. The desire and commitment required is the same.

So how does a local police officer get involved? Just like everyone else involved. It’s fun. It’s a challenge. It’s fulfilling. Ask any of the 400+ members at GPT why they’re involved, or how they got involved, and you’ll receive 400+ different answers. Tujaka is no different. His path to GPT is as unique as his tremendous mustache.

“About three years ago I was the lead investigator in a very high profile homicide investigation. After we ended up getting first-degree homicide convictions on the parties involved we were approached by the Discovery Channel to appear on a crime investigator show. They filmed here for 10 days and I was involved for eight of those shoot days, reenacting plain clothes surveillance scenes and being interviewed on-camera. It really sparked my interest in theater and my daughter Jessica told me about a show at Grosse Pointe Theatre, A Trip to Bountiful, that was holding auditions. There was a part for a sheriff that I figured I might have a shot at, and got it. Even though I was brand new everyone accepted me with open arms. I had a fantastic time with the show, the cast, the crew, director Ron Bernas, and from that moment I was hooked. Now, when I see a show and I think there’s a part for me I’m there.”

That’s an understatement. Since catching the bug in 2011 Eddie has been seen onstage in Jekyll & Hyde, which included an amazing death scene, Oklahoma and Big River, where he showcased his singing chops and a wonderful Southern accent, the drama Rehearsal For Murder, The Drowsy Chaperone, where he played a singing gangster, a small walk-on role in Gypsy, and this past October in the outdoor historical production, Legends of the Lake.

Coincidentally, Tujaka played a General in Jekyll & Hyde, his current role in White Christmas, and his director for that earlier show is his current love interest in this show, Beverly Dickinson. “Eddie is a curmudgeonly old General and I’m a curmudgeonly old actress and we just have a blast playing these crotchety old people,” shares Dickinson. “He may own the hotel and like to bark out the orders, but it’s quite clear who is in charge … me!”

Getting cast in this many shows in just over two years is quite impressive, but it also is a testament to Tujaka’s effervescent personality. He’s got that tough guy policeman persona, but he’s also got a soft side. This is not lost on his director in White Christmas. “He’s a character, he’s definitely a character, he can do anything we throw at him,” claims director Don Bischoff, who also plays one of the lead characters and shares a number of scenes with Eddie. “The wisdom and nice demeanor he has makes him special.”

“Theater has become my release from the stress of work,” according to Tujaka. “I don’t golf or fish, this is my hobby. And I’m around some of the most wonderful people. They’re now lifelong friends.”

If you’d like to see Eddie in White Christmas there are plenty of chances. Performance dates and times are Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 2 p.m.; Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, December 17, Wednesday, December 18 & Thursday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m.; and Sunday, December 22 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for White Christmas are $24. Group rates are available. For tickets and information call 313-881-4004, buy tickets in person from the Grosse Pointe Theatre ticket office at 315 Fisher Road, Grosse Pointe (Monday -Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.), or buy tickets on line at (There is a $3 per ticket surcharge for online ticket purchases.)

White Christmas is sponsored by John and Marlene Boll as their gift to our community, and by the Masco Corporation Foundation for recognizing our military veterans and their families for their service. During the run of the show GPT will provide an opportunity for its audiences to participate in a collection of needed items for our troops. This will not only compliment the story of White Christmas but will also support GPT’s partnership with the Grosse Pointe War Memorial where the theatre group performs its main-stage productions. GPT is collaborating with the GPWM Veterans Committee’s Soldiers’ Support Fund, chaired by businessman Ed Lazar, to collect and ship the items as a way of thanking our troops in Afghanistan for their commitment and service to our country.

Collection bins will be in the lobby of the GPWM Fries Auditorium during the run of White Christmas so anyone can participate by donating messages of cheer; wrapped hard candy, beef jerky, chewing gum, powdered drink mixes, playing cards, lip balm, black cotton athletic socks, deodorant, razors, baby wipes, foot powder, paperback books, magazines (for both male and female troops), ant traps, fly tape, new video games; Xbox, Wii or other gaming systems, new or gently used movie DVDs; Frisbees and new sports equipment for baseball, football, etc. New laptop computers are needed so troops can communicate with families. Monetary donations are tax deductible. Make checks payable to the Grosse Pointe War Memorial (Soldiers’ Support Fund in memo), 32 Lake Shore Rd., Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236. For a complete list of needed items, visit

Mike Trudel

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Learning Lines While Living Life Mon, 04 Nov 2013 20:59:31 +0000 Grosse Pointe Theatre Stage Veterans Bring Characters to Life While Balancing Challenging Careers

It’s a Sunday afternoon inside Grosse Pointe War Memorial’s Fries Auditorium and Grosse Pointe Theatre’s November production of 84 Charing Cross Road is entering tech week rehearsals in preparation for their opening matinee in seven days. Tech Director Don Corbin and Set Designer Alan LaTour are sitting in row C taking stock of their progress, putting together a prioritized to-do list of the trim and painting that remains. Stage Manager Micki Pizzimenti and a small army of props and set dressers are swarming the stage, placing furniture and loading hundreds of books onto the shelves of the faux book store. Moving carefully among the chaos, Director Ron Bernas is taking mental notes that will be passed along to cast and crew, while Producer Cyndy Nehr remains safely out of harm’s way, double-checking and updating her considerable list of responsibilities.

During the eight-show run the efforts of the hard working volunteers just mentioned will be seen by the audience, but not heard. That considerable responsibility falls on the shoulders of the actors, and in 84 Charing Cross Road the two main characters, Helene Hanff, portrayed by Elizabeth Perkin Moen and Frank Doel, played by Peter DiSante, have had to learn an incredibly daunting number of lines.

PA013239The story is based on the actual correspondence between New Yorker Hanff, a television writer and book lover, and Londoner Doel, who ran an antiquarian bookstore. Though originally focused on a mutual love of literature, their letters soon became filled with more personal details, leading to a long-distance friendship that began in 1949 and spanned nearly two decades. “This is much more than a play about books and the people who love them,” said Bernas, “it’s a story about the connections we make … sometimes halfway across the world … and the way they can change our lives.”

For Ms. Moen, who once portrayed the human personification of a dog in the play Sylvia, the portrayal of Hanff is a challenge. LaTour’s set encompasses two locations … Hanff’s residence and Doel’s bookstore … seen simultaneously by the audience. So while DiSante has conversation and interaction with other employees in the store, Moen spends the entire play alone in her room, which is fine given the equal affinity the character and the actor have towards books. “I feel that Helene is something of a long lost soul sister,” observed Moen, “because a book is so much more than a way to spend time. A book can become an actual friend. I’ve literally cried at the end of a book because I would miss the characters and who they became to me.”

Elizabeth, like a fair number of Grosse Pointe Theatre members, has a full-time day job. She’s employed as a Research Analyst and Assistant to the Dean at the Wayne State University College of Nursing. But that title will likely be changing in less than two years, as she’s two classes and a dissertation away from becoming Elizabeth Perkin Moen, PhD. Her doctorate will be in Evaluation and Research – Applied Statistics, which means much of her time will be spent analyzing and measuring numbers. Moen likes to point out, “People seem to think that there’s a dichotomy between those who love words and those who love numbers. Truth is, you can tell a story with numbers as easily as you can with words.”

“Frank is a very conservative, London gentleman who takes great pride in working in such a wonderful establishment,” is DiSante’s take on Mr. Doel, a somewhat interesting departure theatrically for Peter, one of the truly distinctive singers in the group. He was appeared in several acclaimed musicals at Grosse Pointe Theatre in recent years, including The Drowsy Chaperone, The Scarlett Pimpernel and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to name a few. Portraying a lead character in a non-musical who never looks his leading lady in the eye is unique. “I can’t ask Helene a question and have her give the answer back right away until I get her next letter, so that’s really been a challenge,” confides DiSante, “but she’s alone the whole time. I could never do that.”

DiSante’s daytime job also presents a fair amount of challenge, having been a long-time civilian employee with the United States Army in their Research and Development center in Warren, Michigan. Peter works closely with a variety of Department of Defense contractors that exchange services as opposed to receiving money and takes great pride in his work for the United States Government, at least, until he was recently furloughed for four days during the government shutdown that occurred during rehearsals. “I do take great pride, but then I get embarrassed when Congress does what they did this past year! I felt let down that fellow government workers would let us down, but I did get to use that time to study my role and I did get reimbursed for the time off.”

The charming 84 Charing Cross Road opens on Sunday, November 10 with additional performances November 14 -17 and November 21 – 23. Sunday shows are at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are at 8:00 p.m. Performances take place in the Fries Auditorium of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan48236.

Tickets $18. Group and student rates are available. For tickets and information call 313-881-4004, visit the Grosse Pointe Theatre ticket office at 315 Fisher Road, Grosse Pointe, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., visit the website at (click on tickets).

Mike Trudel

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From Footlights to Fibrillation Thu, 12 Sep 2013 13:12:24 +0000 “Beaumont on Broadway” doesn’t just have a nice ring to it … Beaumont Grosse Pointe has an employee who wowed theater audiences while she was living in NYC. Marie Boyle Reinman, Director of Heart & Vascular Services and Critical Care Nursing at Beaumont Grosse Pointe, made the big move to the Big Apple for about a year in 1993 appearing in a critically acclaimed off-Broadway production Pump Boys and Dinettes before deciding the bright lights of the big city didn’t hold a candle to friends, family and local connections.

Marie Gypsy Audition

That was then, this is now. Marie is portraying Mama Rose, leading an excellent cast of local performers

in Grosse Pointe Theatre’s season-opening production of the highly acclaimed musical, Gypsy, opening Sunday, September 15 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial’s Fries Auditorium.

Musical theater is more than just a passing hobby for Marie, it’s an after hours labor of love. She’s been an audience favorite of GPT patrons for over 30 years, with memorable leading roles in classics like, Camelot, Sweeney Todd, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Chorus Line, South Pacific, and many more.

“I’d be lying if I said that given a chance to be onstage full time, I wouldn’t consider it,” recalls Marie. “That being said, I love my job and I love the people I work with. I think Beaumont Grosse Pointe does a really good job of caring for the people of the Grosse Pointes and surrounding communities. This hospital is a jewel.”

Grosse Pointe Theatre presents the musical, Gypsy September 15 -28 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms. Based on the memoirs of famous burlesque striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, and her sister, Baby June ( June Havoc), Gypsy tells the story of the raucous and ambitious Mama Rose, the ultimate stage mother, raising her daughters to star in vaudeville and burlesque shows.

Songs include Everything’s Coming Up RosesLet Me Entertain You, etcmusic by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents. Call 313-881-4004 or go to Tickets are $24. Group and student rates are available.
Mike Trudel

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