Cole Carrico as the Nutcracker and Halle Horwath as Clara are pictured in the Croswell's "The Story of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King."

Children’s adaptation of ‘The Nutcracker’ staged at the Croswell

 

The Croswell Opera House in Adrian is presenting an adapted version of “The Nutcracker,” aimed at introducing younger audiences to the Christmas classic. The production, titled “The Story of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” will not be the traditional ballet, director Julianne Dolan said. Instead, lyrics have been added to the traditional melodies and dialogue between the songs will help children follow the story more easily. The dances have also been adapted for a young cast. “It’s under an hour and it has all the elements of theater, so it’s a great way to introduce your child to ‘The Nutcracker,’” Dolan said. Continue Reading

"Handel's Messiah Rocks" opens Saturday at the Croswell.

Croswell Opera House to stage ‘Handel’s Messiah Rocks’

A modern treatment of a Christmas classic will hit the stage this season when the Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian stages “Handel’s Messiah Rocks.”

“Handel’s Messiah Rocks” is a rock ’n’ roll adaptation of “Messiah,” the sacred 18th-century oratorio by George Frideric Handel. “Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is one of the greatest pieces of sacred music ever written,” said Jere Righter, the Croswell’s artistic director. “Even though it’s been updated in a modern style, the core message is the same as it’s always been. It’s an incredibly joyful celebration of the Christmas season, and I think Handel would be pleased to know that his music continues to speak to people all these centuries later.”

“Messiah” was originally written in 1741 with text drawn from the King James Bible. Its first performances included a series of charity benefit concerts that raised money for hospitals and to free people from debtors’ prison. Continue Reading

columbia

Croswell celebrates 40th anniversary of ‘Rocky Horror’ with two midnight showings

Break out the fishnets and the rubber gloves — but no toast, please. The Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian will celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” this weekend with two midnight showings of the classic movie. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” starring Tim Curry and based on the stage musical by Richard O’Brien, was released in 1975 and became a cult sensation. The Croswell will offer two Halloween weekend showings on the big screen, on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31. Continue Reading

Summer Sendoff

Croswell Opera House to host end-of-summer rock show this weekend

The Croswell Opera House will mark the end of summer with a rock concert featuring the Croswell All-Star Band. The Summer Sendoff concert, which is at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, will feature hits from the ’70s, ’80s and beyond, including the music of Kiss, Heart, Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar. The band includes Keith Holloway on guitar and vocals, Dave Rains on keyboard, John Rosas on lead guitar, Dan Kesterke on drums and Garrett Holloway on bass. They will be joined by two special guests: Kyrie Bristle, most recently seen on the Croswell stage as Sandra Bloom in “Big Fish,” and Dan Clair, who just wrapped up a two-weekend run as Huey Calhoun in “Memphis.”

“Anyone who’s seen them in a show knows what fantastic performers Kyrie and Dan are, but when you see them really rock out, it’s a whole different experience,” said Jere Righter, artistic director of the Croswell. Continue Reading

Memphis

Tony Award-winning musical “Memphis” opens at the Croswell

The musical “Memphis,” a rock ’n’ roll love story set in 1950s Tennessee, will hit the stage at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian starting tonight. “It’s high-powered from the first note,” director Deb Calabrese said of the show, which won four Tony Awards when it opened on Broadway in 2009 and was nominated for four more. Memphis tells the story of a Huey Calhoun, a white radio DJ in the segregation era, who falls in love with a talented young black singer named Felicia Farrell. “It’s a love story,” Calabrese said, “but it’s not only a love story between a man and a woman, it’s a love story between a person and their love for music.”

The character of Huey Calhoun is loosely based on the real-life radio personality Dewey Phillips, who was one of the first DJs to play African-American rhythm and blues for white audiences. In the Croswell’s production, Huey is played by Dan Clair of Canton. Continue Reading

The Croswell's crowdfunding project on patronicity.com.

Croswell launches crowdfunding effort to win $50,000 matching grant from state

A crowdfunding campaign launched today will give the Croswell Opera House a chance to win $50,000 in matching funds from the state of Michigan — if the theater can raise an equal amount from supporters by Aug. 29. The campaign will support the transformation of the Croswell’s Heritage Room into a new community gathering space. The campaign, which can be found at patronicity.com/Croswell, is an all-or-nothing challenge, meaning that no money at all will be collected unless the effort reaches its $50,000 goal. “We are pleased to partner in this effort to refurbish the Croswell and help create a new destination in downtown Adrian,” said Katherine Czarnecki, community development director for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Continue Reading

Edward Bloom (Eric Parker) and the Giant (Ben Rosebrock) appear in a scene from "Big Fish" at the Croswell Opera House.

New Broadway musical “Big Fish” hits the stage in Adrian

The Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian will present “Big Fish,” a new musical based on the Daniel Wallace novel and the 2003 Tim Burton film of the same name, starting July 17. “Big Fish” follows the life of Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman from Alabama, through the lens of the fantastical stories he always told his son. Now grown and expecting a child of his own, the son is struggling to come to terms with his father’s tall tales — before Edward’s cancer takes him away. The result is a story that’s full of both on-stage spectacle and emotional resonance, according to director Betsy Lackey. Lackey describes the show as “extremely well-written, heart-warming and poignant.”

It includes a great deal of theatrical spectacle — everything from a circus with dancing elephants to a man being shot out of a cannon — but Lackey said it’s also “a story about family reconciliation and loving each other.”

Eric Parker, whom audiences may remember as Jean Valjean in last summer’s production of “Les Miserables,” plays Edward Bloom. Continue Reading

Eric Parker

5 questions for Eric Parker about “Big Fish” at the Croswell

Most recently seen as Jean Valjean in last summer’s hit production of “Les Miserables,” Eric Parker is returning to the Croswell Opera House stage as Edward Bloom, the lead character in the new musical “Big Fish,” which opens July 17. “Big Fish” follows the life of Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman from Alabama, through the lens of the fantastical stories he always told his son. Now grown and expecting a child of his own, the son is struggling to come to terms with his father’s tall tales — before Edward’s cancer takes him away. The result is a story that’s full of both on-stage spectacle and emotional resonance. In this interview, Parker talks about “Big Fish” and playing this larger-than-life character. Continue Reading

Mary Poppins arrives at the Banks household.

Mary Poppins flies into Adrian for three weekends at the Croswell

The Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian is presenting “Mary Poppins,” the musical based on the classic books and the 1964 Walt Disney film, for the next three weekends. The whimsical story features a “practically perfect” nanny who enchants a London family at the turn of the 20th century. The Croswell’s production opened last night and runs through June 28, with shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. “This is a truly magical story that generations of children have fallen in love with,” said Jere Righter, artistic director of the Croswell. “And it’s also the kind of show where everyone in the family can find something that speaks to them, some lesson to appreciate.”

Director Julianne Dolan said the show tells a story about a troubled family learning to embrace life and open themselves up to wonder. Continue Reading

Joe Dennehy and Erin Wiley perform a scene from "Into the Woods" at the Croswell.

Croswell opens summer season with Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’

The Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian will open its Summer Broadway Season on May 8 with “Into the Woods,” the three-time Tony Award-winning musical that inspired last winter’s hit movie of the same name. “Into the Woods” takes several classic Brothers Grimm fairytale characters like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood and weaves them into a single story. “It’s all of your favorite fairy tales combined together,” said Lisa Schrock of Adrian, who plays Rapunzel in the Croswell’s production. “The first act ends the way you’d think of it ending, happily ever after, but this is a more realistic version where not everything ends up that way.”

Director Eric Parker said “Into the Woods” has long been one of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musicals, but the movie that came out on Christmas 2014 has introduced it to a whole new generation of people. The original musical is darker than the movie — the Disney adaptation toned down some of the innuendo and the “death and mayhem and destruction,” Parker said — but it’s still a fun, fast-paced story. Continue Reading