WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
PHOTOS | MEADOW BROOK THEATRE
Inconspicuously flourishing among the historic, beautiful Oakland University campus is a “hidden treasure” – the Meadow Brook Theatre.
Featuring performances comparable in every way to New York’s Broadway, the Meadow Brook Theatre is Michigan’s largest producing professional theatre, which is to say that every theatrical element -including performers – is garnered locally.
The nonprofit has a shop that takes ideas from imagination, to blueprint, to set. In many cases, the costumes are created by hand, from shoes to wigs. One recent production required 88 meticulously crafted period pieces!
This nonprofit theatre has been producing Broadway-quality shows in Metro Detroit for over 50 years. The venue averages 27 performances per show, reaching roughly 75,000 to 100,000 viewers per year.
Stellar entertainment is not the only reason that Meadow Brook is celebrating its 52nd season. Ticket prices are reasonable, from $28 to $43. Convenient perks include free parking and a location just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Rochester’s shops and restaurants. The opportunity to contribute directly to the local economy by employing Michigan artists and designers makes the venue even more delightful.
“The theatre is a little-known gem,” according to managing director Cheryl Marshall. “The quality of the work is exceptional, and every aspect of that is reflected on stage. The experience is even more priceless because once a performance is gone, it is gone. That’s Meadow Brook’s unique stamp.”
One exception to this tradition may be this fall’s production of Johnny Manhattan. The theatre hopes to birth a world premiere on Broadway with this presentation of an exciting new musical set in a New York City nightclub in the early 1960s.
The Meadow Brook Theatre also presents a Children’s Series, sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. Shows are performed once a month for all ages or grades 2 and up. For 2018, shows will include the Theaterworks USA production of Patrick Garner’s History’s Alive, The Cat in the Hat, and many more. Another favorite of children of all ages is Meadow Brook’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, which will be in its 36th year this holiday season.
The nonprofit organization receives support from its guild, donors, subscribers, and grants, such as funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Annual fundraisers also help to sustain “Michigan’s Answer to Broadway.”
Attesting to the quality of the organization, the Grass Roots performed at last summer’s fundraiser, “Concert and Cuisine.” The Grass Roots have 29 chart singles, including their classic hit ‘Temptation Eyes’; 13 of which went gold.
This fall’s fundraiser, “Bewitched Bedazzled,” invites supporters to The Palazzo Grande for an enchanting experience on October 19. The event includes the opportunity to creatively and extravagantly dress like a witch and enjoy live music, shopping with local vendors, and live and silent auctions. Call the box office for tickets, 248-377-3300.
About Meadow Brook Theatre
“Our Mission is to provide a season of innovative, Broadway-quality theatre productions that make audiences smile, laugh, and cry, enriching the cultural experience of the community in southeast Michigan.”
Meadow Brook Theatre l 378 Meadow Brook Road, Rochester, 48309 l (248) 377-3300 | MBTheatre.com