When Jeff Daniels clinched an Emmy award earlier this week, it triggered a series of reflections having to do with the diverse, robust theatrical experiences available to people living within a 50-mile radius of Detroit. That left us feeling pretty darn grateful. And with apologies to Jimmy Fallon, a few fall thank-you notes are in order.
Jeff Daniels at the Emmy Awards
Thank you, Emmy Award people, for recognizing Michigan native son and Purple Rose Theatre Founder Jeff Daniels as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for “The Newsroom.” In his acceptance speech, Jeff Daniels noted that “I don’t win these things…” referencing typical Midwestern stupefaction at being recognized as “special” in any way. Well played.
Purple Rose Theatre marquee
Thank you, Purple Rose Theatre Company, for consistently giving us first-rate theatre that reflects true integrity without a whiff of pretentiousness. This weekend marks the revival of an old Jeff Daniels play, “The Vast Difference.” It’s about a Midwestern guy having a mid-life crisis, triggered by his reluctance to go through with a scheduled vasectomy. It’s the real deal. In a recent press release, Guy Sanville, Artistic Director of The Purple Rose, commented, “All of us in the Purple Rose family simply could not be more thrilled or happy for our founder and mentor Jeff Daniels, for taking home this year’s Outstanding Actor in a Drama Emmy award. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Jeff, his family and everyone associated with The Newsroom.” Ditto that.
Jeff Daniels 2013
Thank you, Jeff Daniels, for never turning into a self-absorbed yahoo – something that seems to blight successful actors the way the Mummy’s Curse follows unsuspecting archeologists… at least, the ones we saw in Bill Kennedy at the Movies. Thanks for writing plays and songs that remind us that what makes us important is not the awards we’ve won, but the people who have loved us. And thanks for doing what it takes to keep the Purple Rose Theatre in top form.
Hardworking theatre company
Thank you, Michigan’s hard-working theatre companies – professional, community and college – for your unflagging dedication. Thank you for understanding that the live, shared experience of telling stories through words, music and dance is and as old as campfires, as real as heartache and as essentially human as the belly button.
Note, this photo is from The Hinterlands touring production of “The Circuit” will preview at Play House, 12657 Moran St., Detroit, and premiere at Trinosophes, 1464 Gratiot Ave., in Detroit. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling 313.454.1756 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. “The Circuit” will be performed Thursday and Friday September 26-27 and October 3-4 at 8:00 PM.
Thank you, theatre patrons
Thank you, Michigan theatre patrons. Thank you to the rent angels, show sponsors, and anonymous donors who keep the doors open. Thank you season subscribers, whose faith in the Artistic Director authorizes him or her to bring us plays we haven’t seen yet and to encourage young playwrights. Thank you to the casual theatre goer who elects to catch a show at The Ringwald or The Hilberry instead of going to a Hollywood blockbuster that night.
Note: This photo is from a past Ringwald production — “Thank You For Being a Friend.” If you’ve never been to this Ferndale treasure, check it out!