Diane Baribeau: Spring comes early at the City Opera House | News
Spring is one of our favorite times of year at City Opera House. Soon the snow will melt, the spring bulbs will begin to bloom, and the yards will require the first of many mowings of the season.
Just like when spring arrives here in this large part of Michigan, it is a time of growth.
At the City Opera House, with spring comes the finale of the majority of our 2021-2022 event season, as we work hard to finalize bookings for next season.
We plan to announce upcoming lineup in May, but before that we have shows to complete and remain focused on getting back on track, and fingers crossed, on a return to normal life, after two years of performance disruptions and lower than normal ticket sales due to the pandemic.
Throughout March, we’ll be performing Live @ City Opera House performances, like singer-songwriter-storyteller Todd Snider with Aaron Lee Tasjan on March 25, and will continue to host a number of great events, including the 2022 Fly Fishing Film Tour on March 5, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra’s Animal Antics program on March 6, and a free National Writer’s Series event for families with author Jack Cheng on March 13.
You can get tickets and learn more about these upcoming shows at cityoperahouse.org.
Also on the immediate horizon is the annual Young Playwrights Festival. After making adjustments to the program over the past two years, he is expected to return in person this spring. This program is in collaboration with the National Writers Series and Old Town Playhouse, and we welcome it with open arms.
The festival is free to the public and is a wonderful opportunity to see local high school students compete in a juried playwriting competition.
Students write and submit one-act plays in mid-December, then in early January, those plays are reviewed by a local group of committed educators and ultimately narrowed down to 12 semi-finalists.
Once the semi-finalists are determined, their pieces are reviewed by another panel and narrowed down to six finalists. In mid-February, the six finalists are assigned a professional playwright mentor who will work with the students until the end of March.
The six plays are then shared with a team of skilled and dedicated volunteers who become the directors and actors of the plays.
On Saturday, April 23, the mentors and playwrights will meet in person for the first time to attend the dress rehearsal and continue their dialogue.
Then on Sunday, April 24, the plays will come to life on stage. At the end of the plays, the students, mentors and their sponsoring teacher are called on stage for an award ceremony.
After the presentation of the plays, the mentors, playwrights, actors and directors meet for a lively and critical discussion of each play.
They also enjoy a pizza dinner together.
Now in its 11th year, the plays are at times very humorous, even a little dark, but they are all an expression of what’s on the playwright’s mind as he sorts through life’s challenges.
Speaking as someone passionate about arts education, watching these young playwrights see their writing performed live on stage and witnessing their individual growth is an experience not to be missed.
Join us for a free public performance on April 24, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. and watch arts education come to life at the Opera.
Or join us for another of our exciting upcoming events and bring the humanizing power and incredible storytelling and artistry of performing arts into your life.