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Ann Arbor's Penny Seats Theatre Company significantly expands summer offerings

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Ann Arbor's Penny Seats Theatre Company is set to open its fifth--and biggest--summer season at West Park, performing outdoor professional theatre for just $10 (or less) per ticket, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (and one Sunday) throughout July and August.  This year, the group takes up residence at the park for six weeks, performing two blockbuster comedies:  The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, and Urinetown: The Musical! by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis.
Board chair and co-founder Matt Cameron observes, “One of our dreams when we started this company five years ago was to eventually reach a level of technical expertise and resource expansion that we could have two shows running in repertory. We are thrilled to have accomplished this phase-one goal, and we can’t wait to share this great work with our Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit fans!”
Complete Works, originally written for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and later performed at the Criterion Theatre in London, is widely regarded as one of the funniest plays ever written. In it, three actors state their intent to perform--or at least mention--every single Shakespearean work in just 90 minutes.  It's an incredible feat of pure energy and uproarious comedy, and will star Cameron (Plymouth), Artun Kircali (Ann Arbor), and Leanne Young (South Lyon). 
Director Anne Levy says, “This show is glorious, delirious madness, and to perform this fast-paced farce in the park is going to just add to the audience's enjoyment. The show is a total crowd-pleaser, and whether you love or loathe the Bard, there is so much in this show for you and your family to enjoy.”  The show will run at 7 p.m. on July 9, 10, 11, 16, 17,  23, 24, and 25, (no show on July 18), with a special matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 19.
Next up is Urinetown: The Musical!, the Tony-award-winning smash from 2001.  Based in an admittedly absurd dystopian future where one must pay to pee, the show lampoons corporate bureaucracy, pie-in-the-sky optimism, revolution without a plan, and the musical theatre genre itself.  With a full pit orchestra (led by Richard Alder) on the band shell stage, the action takes place around the audience in the park.  Featured performers include Brendan Kelly (Ypsilanti), Roy Sexton (Saline), David Kiley (Ann Arbor), John DeMerrell (Walled Lake), Sarah Leahy (Ann Arbor), Paige Martin (Ann Arbor), Cathy McDonald (Plymouth), Christina McKim (Albion), Jenna Pittman (Royal Oak), Linda Rabin Hammell (Detroit), Jeff Stringer (Jackson), Maika Van Oosterhout (Ann Arbor), and Dave Woitulwicz (Detroit).
Director Lauren London (who also serves as The Penny Seats' President) says the piece is a natural for the group:  "Since its turn on Broadway, Urinetown has been a favorite of performers, for its snappy score and hilarious, wink-to-the-audience feeling.  It's a perfect show to place in our park, where the cast can interact up close with the audience, and take them into the show's silly world.  Our cast is filled with performers who excel at just this type of theatre, and we're thrilled to bring it to the park."
Advance tickets are available at the group's website, www.pennyseats.org.  For the first time this year, the group is also selling package tickets, where patrons can purchase tickets to both shows and save a dollar per ticket.  Although the curtain goes up at 7 p.m. each evening, pre-show picnicking is encouraged, and the group will sell water and concessions at the park as well.
 
Founded in 2010, we’re performers and players, minimalists and penny-pinchers.  We think theatre should be fun and stirring, not stuffy or repetitive.  We believe going to a show should not break the bank.  And we find Michigan summer evenings beautiful. Thus, we produce dramas and comedies, musicals and original adaptations, classics and works by up-and-coming playwrights.  We also provide cabaret shows, acting classes, and wacky improv evenings.  And you can see any of our shows for the same price as a movie ticket.
For more information about The Penny Seats, call at 734-926-5346 or visit: www.pennyseats.org.

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