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Downriver Actors Guild gets a new home (and puts on a great Superstar) June 14, 2014

Posted by ronannarbor in Community Theater, Theatre.
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Downriver Actors Guild in Wyandotte (that’s 38 minutes away to the southeast for you Ann Arbor folks) have much to celebrate in their new home — The Theater on Avenue at 2656 Biddle Avenue.

Born in only 6 months in an abandoned warehouse (about 4 times the size of the Encore in Dexter), the theater has come to life these past two weekends with a great production of John Sartor’s directed Jesus Christ Superstar, a show he knows well. This isn’t so much a review of the show (except to say its terrific and go see it if you can get a ticket), but a kudos to the new theater building itself. Paid for by donations and in-kind services, the theater was clearly a labor of love for the good folks involved.

Raked seating for 208 in comfortable theatre seats donated by the Dearborn Players Guild provides good views of the moderately sized stage. The 50 member cast easily fit on the stage and its multi-tiered set designed by Leo Babcock. The orchestra had its own area on stage right, and while sound issues are still being worked out is a good solution for fitting musicians into a limited theater space.

Lighting is superb — Dave Reynolds puts on a show with the new equipment, and it is colorful and lights the space well. He’s even brought in a couple moving units for this production, which allows not only movement of light and color on stage, but occasional splashes of light in the audience as well, in keeping with the show’s rock-opera look and feel.

The lobby is spacious and the bathrooms are gorgeous — thanks to Sartor Tile. And it is abuzz with life — there’s a bake sale preshow and during intermission, and a 50/50 raffle going strong. There are also photos of the entire cast and people were busy circulating throughout the area. Its a great space, and it will be comfortable and out of the elements on cold winter nights.

And finally, there is plentiful parking in the lots behind and around the theater, and how great is it to have a theater literally across the street from a Tim Hortons/Cold Stone Creamery. Arrive an hour early and go grab a sweet cream cone.

Congratulations on the launch of a beautiful civic theater space – one that many other community theaters (and some professional ones) will be envious of.  It wouldn’t be fair to end this without listing the people and affiliations involved in making this happen, so to the best of my knowledge they are:

Many many donors at all levels of giving…Dearborn Players Guild, Dearborn…Daly-Merritt Properties, Wyandotte…the Babcock Design Studios, Saline…Wagner Structural Solutions, Howell…McDowell & Associates, Ferndale…Sartor Tile, Dearborn Hts…Denken Engineered Electric, Madison Hts…Murrell Plumbing, Canton…Temperature Control, Wyandotte…Gandol Door, Romulus…Advance Plumbing, Detroit…Virginia Tile, Troy…Total Facility Storage, Wyandotte…Wyandotte Mini Storage, Wyandotte…Ryan Building Materials, Southfield.

 

 

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