Category: Theatre

A Haunted Drive Thru at the Quincy Mine Ruins!

A Haunted Drive Thru

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association announce a spooky Halloween collaboration, “A Haunted Drive-Thru at the Mine”. It’s taking place Thursday, October 29 through Saturday October 31 at the Quincy Mine Ruins.

Scheduled times are 7 to 10 p.m. each evening. The cost is a donation that can be made at the entrance to the drive-through at the mine.

According to Kent Cyr (VPA), “We’ve got a multi-layered project in the works, with built and lit scenic elements out in the mine ruins, and original scary podcast/stories produced by the Tech Theatre Company. The sounds will play on a long loop broadcast over a low-power FM transmitter. As people drive the ruins along the path marked out, they can tune their radios to the ‘Haunted Mine Drive-Thru’ Halloween broadcast.”

 Proceeds benefit the Quincy Mine Hoist Association.


Call for Actors: Auditions for Play Miasma

Auditions for Tech Theatre’s Eric Samuelsen’s play Miasma, a story of enduring love’s struggle with selfish desire, will be held by appointment on the following dates and times:

September 20, 2-5pm and 7-10pm – Rozsa Stage
September 21 and 22 , 7-10pm – Rozsa 120 (Choir Room)

Please enter through the Rozsa Stage door next to the loading doors. Email amsouthg@mtu.edu for rehearsal appointment.

Auditions will be by “cold” readings. Callbacks are planned.

When you come to audition, please wear a closed-tight mask, and use hand sanitizer when you come in and when you leave. Observe social distancing within the audition space.

This first round of auditions will last about 30 minutes. The cast consists of Claire, who wrangles her feisty and stubborn father, Ben. Ben holds the power of the family purse over his wife and children. His sons abandoned him and depend on Claire to speak for them. His other daughter, Beth, is his favorite; she follows his pursuit of wealth. Ben has left his wife, Liz, who weeps for the old west, in favor of Liza, a strong woman, who knows what she wants. Jorge, the ranch manager, is trapped between the family and the illegal aliens who work in Ben’s enterprises.

The play calls for 4 women and 2 men.

The production will be streamed from the Rozsa Center facilities at 7:30pm, December 10-12, 2020. The play will be captured on video in Covid-19-compliant recording studios and spaces.


Isolation, Collaboration and All That Jazz

Despite the challenges of social distancing and virtual instruction, the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired some creative collaborations that span not only academic disciplines, but hundreds of miles. Adam Meckler (VPA), Michigan Tech’s director of jazz studies, recently connected with a former college classmate and both brought along students for the collaboration.

Adam Meckler

The project is a video/audio exchange between Meckler’s jazz students at Michigan Tech and students from the Department of Dance at the State University of New York-Brockport. Meckler’s partner at SUNY-Brockport is Greg Woodsbie, lead professional staff accompanist and music instructor. Meckler said the idea of a jazz/dance collaboration began to take shape when he and Woodsbie were undergraduates at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, nearly 15 years ago.

“We played in many bands together over the years, but the first was a 12-piece salsa band when we were students at Lawrence,” Meckler said. While the salsa band spent many hours rehearsing, they didn’t “get it” until their first gig. “There were dancers there. It was then that we recognized how the dancers elevated the music and likewise how the music elevated the dancers.”

It is this mutual elevation that Meckler and Woodsbie’s students are exploring, even though they are more than 800 miles apart. “Each Tech student is paired with a dancer,” Meckler explained. “Our jazz students will send over 30 seconds of recorded music and the dancers will send over 30 seconds of dance.”

The guidelines are simple — there aren’t any. “The music can be anything the students can dream up and execute,” he said. “Some will improvise on a trumpet, trombone or saxophone while some might record multiple layers and instruments.” The same goes for the dancers — their contribution can be virtually anything.

Once the students exchange material, the fun begins. “The musician will record music over the dance video and the dancer will do some kind of choreography to the music sent in the exchange,” Meckler said. Following a dialogue to discuss what worked and what didn’t, the students will vote on their favorite collaborations, with the winners forming a single video to be released on social media.

Meckler said he and Woodsbie feel the collaboration goes to the heart of the two art forms. “Historically, music and dance are not two separate art forms, but one. We are well-served to explore these folkloric roots, in turn integrating art into our lives and culture.”

At the same time, it’s also a fun and healthy form of symbiosis — musicians and dancers complementing each other. “The dialogue between music and dance elevates both parties,” he said. “Dancers deepen the practice that is crucial to artists — developing an intimate relationship with your materials. Musicians are reminded of the body and that music ultimately comes from movement.”

Meckler, Woodsbie and their students are proving that creativity and art can flourish, even in the time of social distancing. As Meckler puts it, “The dialogue between the dancer and the musician will teach both parties the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration. The participants will observe these benefits and challenges and will discuss perceived successes and failures in dialogue throughout this process.”


Public Performances and Receptions at the Rozsa and McArdle Cancelled

As you are likely aware, Michigan Tech is carefully following guidance from the recent Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order issued by Governor Whitmer.  Campus is closed to the public, except for critical services, and faculty and staff are working from home.  We were sad that the current COVID-19 situation necessitated cancelling or postponing the rest of our arts season at Michigan Tech, but we are hopeful that measures that we are taking now will make a big difference in keeping our community safe and healthy.
With the cancellation of the remainder of the season we will provide three options for all single tickets and pro-rated package tickets purchased to the following Rozsa/VPA events that were cancelled or postponed.  These include:

Option #1 Contact the SDC Ticket Office at tickets@mtu.edu for a refund of your concert tickets.  Season Subscriptions, Pick-6, and Pick-3 packages will be pro-rated.

Option #2 Tickets may be traded for an equivalent performance in the 2020-21 Season.  Some Presenting Series Events have already been rescheduled for next season, including:  Manual Cinema (Sept. 4, 2020), Audiopharmacy (March 19, 2021), and Vieux Farka Touré (March 20, 2021).  Tickets Visual and Performing Arts Department student concerts (Tech Theatre, KSO, Choirs, Bands, Jazz) can be redeemed for a performance in the 2020-21 season by contacting tickets@mtu.edu.

Option #3 Unrefunded or untraded tickets refunds may be donated to the Friends of the Rozsa Fund.  This gift will be tax-deductible and will be acknowledged by the Michigan Tech Fund.  This can also be done by contacting tickets@mtu.edu.

We appreciate your patronage over this past season and look forward to announcing our 2020-21 season.  Details about next season will come soon.  Please visit the Rozsa website for more information, www.mtu.edu/rozsa


‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!’ Tonight and Tomorrow

silhouette of two persons kissing

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company’s production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” continues tonight and tomorrow (Feb. 28/29). Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call 7-2073, visit mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office, or at the McArdle Theatre the night of the show. 

Note: This show contains adult language and situations.


Tech Theatre Company Presents “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!”

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company will perform the longest-running cabaret musical in history, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” for seven performances. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 20-22) and Wednesday through Saturday, (Feb. 26-29) in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center.

Based on the book by Joe DiPietro, with music by Jimmy Roberts, the musical takes on the comedic side of love and marriage, painting a series of vignettes about relationships through the tumultuous dating scene, road trips, marriage, kids, and all the other troubles couples face.

 “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” has been making auiences around the world laugh and cry for twenty-four years. It tackles the goofy, embarrassing, unspoken truths of relationships with a collection of short stories that span as many different lives. The musical has been translated into 17 languages and performed in over 34 countries. Act one shows the panic, disappointment and excitement of the search for the right someone. Act two reveals the stress of in-law visits, kids, car trips, and all the other adventures couples thought would be different for them. Upbeat from the beginning, the show builds laugh upon laugh until the bittersweet moments before the final curtain.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call 906-487-2073, visit mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office, or at the McArdle Theatre the night of the show. 

Note: This show contains adult language and situations.


Rozsa Receives Grant

Surround Sound Music Festival to Receive $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant

Libby Meyer (VPA), Director of Music Composition Program, and Mary Jennings, Rozsa Programming and Development Director, were awarded a $10,000 Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Surround Sound Music Festival.

The Surround Sound Music Festival is a two-day event that encourages audiences to listen differently. The festival will feature Audio Pharmacy, a Native American Hip Hop band, Evelyn Glennie, a world-class percussionist who has been deaf since the age of 12 and Vieux Farka Touré, a Malian blues guitarist. The Surround Sound Music Festival will take place April 3-4.

The purpose of the Challenge America grant is to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. NEA has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects across the country. The Sound of Music Festival is one of 145 Challenge America grants included in this announcement. The Challenge America funding category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Each grant is for a fixed amount of $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression, The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like the Surround Sound Music Festival.”

—Mary Anne Carter, Arts Endowment Chairman

Puppet Workshops and Performance Open to Ages 6 and Up

A puppetry workshop will be held from 3 – 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 25) in Walker 208. We will be creating puppets for a performance with the Superior Wind Symphony at 7:30 p.m. February 15.

Puppeteers should be available to rehearse at the following times:

  • 3 – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1
  • 3 – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12

Contact Trish Helsel to reserve a spot, or for further information.


Famed Radio Show “Selected Shorts” Comes to the Rozsa Stage Saturday

The Rozsa Center is pleased to present an evening of warmth, holiday cheer, and storytelling by the tour of Public Radio International’s hit radio show “Selected Shorts” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 7).

Selected Shorts, a weekly public radio broadcast, has a simple approach: great actors read great fiction in front of a live audience. The acclaimed national radio program airs on 150 public radio stations in 29 states, attracting over 300,000 listeners each week through the live show and podcast. Featured actors include Mike Doyle, Boyd Gaines, and Kirsten Vangsness. Part of this special evening of storytelling will include a showcase reading on stage by one of the featured actors of a local writer’s “UP Winter Story” who is the winner of the “Selected Shorts Story Contest.”

Mike Doyle has appeared on screen in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Green Lantern, A Gifted Man, Jersey Boys, The Invitation, Conviction, Odd Mom Out, The Accidental Wolf, The Romanoffs, Narcos: Mexico, City on a Hill, and New Amsterdam. Recent stage credits include The New Century at Lincoln Center and Betrayed with the Culture Project. Doyle wrote and directed the forthcoming romantic comedy Sell By, starring Kate Walsh, Patricia Clarkson, and Scott Evans.

Boyd Gaines is a four-time Tony Award-winning actor for his roles in The Heidi Chronicles, She Loves Me, Contact, and the 2008 revival of Gypsy. Additional Broadway credits include Cabaret, Twelve Angry Men, Journey’s End (Tony nomination), Pygmalion, Driving Miss Daisy, and An Enemy of the People. He has also appeared in numerous films, including Fame; Porky’s; The Sure Thing; I’m Not Rappaport; Lovely By Surprise; No Pay, Nudity; and The Independents. His television credits include One Day at a Time, L.A. Law, Fraser, The Good Wife, and American Odyssey. Gaines can currently be seen in the film The Goldfinch.

Kirsten Vangsness is best-known as Penelope Garcia on the CBS drama Criminal Minds; however, she can be found in other places, including a few podcasts (Selected Shorts and Voyage to the Stars), the film noir spoof Kill Me Deadly, and Curtains, the animated short she created, which will be released in 2020. She was nominated for Playwright of the Year by LA Weekly and is a company member of Hollywood’s Theater of NOTE. Vangsness recently returned from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where two of her plays, Mess and Cleo, Theo and Wu, were performed at Assembly Rooms. In her spare time, Vangsness buses tables at the Blinking Owl Distillery, which she co-owns, in Santa Ana.

To enhance the holiday mood of the evening, a handbell choir will play in the Rozsa lobby prior to the show. Tickets to Selected Shorts are on sale now: Adult: $22.00, Youth: $10.00, and Michigan Tech Students at no charge with Experience Tech Fee. Tickets are available by phone, (906) 487-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa Box office the night of the show. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours before performances.

This event is made possible with funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.


Tech Theatre and Sound Students Present “A Haunted Mine: The Lost Labs of Dr. Z”

Quincy Mine at nightThe Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association present their spooky Halloween collaboration “A Haunted Mine: The Lost Labs of Dr. Z”

Tours will run from 6 to 10 p.m. today and tomorrow (Oct. 24/25) and from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 26) in the Quincy Mine on U.S. 41 north of Hancock. Ages 13 and up are $12 per person, 12 and under are $6.

Tours after 6 p.m. are not recommended for small children. All children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult. Footwear for muddy, snow and bloody conditions is advised.

Students are the performers in the mine and have designed sound, lighting, props, scenery and costumes for this one-of-a-kind Halloween scare. All proceeds will benefit the Quincy Mine Hoist Association.

For more on how we haunt a mine read our article in Michigan Tech News.