Can’t help indulging in two favorite autumn things: Williamston Theatre’s new season and Tigers Postseason fling

By Joseph Zettelmaier… directed by John Lepard

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, These are few of my favorite things… (from Maria’s song in the musical The Sound of Music)

In autumn, I don’t like to think yet of “silver white winters that melt into springs,”

but I do like to think of two of my favorite things that come in the season when wild geese fly. One: Mid-Michigan’s best kept secret – Williamston Theatre. Two: That team that wears the awesome English D – Detroit Tigers.

In recent years, they’ve become almost addictions. I think an addiction means you’re quite compelled to pay attention to something, or indulge in the experience of whatever it is.

Williamston Theatre captured my attention six autumns ago, after I interviewed one of its founders, WT Director John Lepard, for a local newspaper. My husband and I have been fans of this professional theatre company ever since. We’ve followed its trajectory – its ups and downs – enjoying productions along the way to its now well-established success.

I’ve always been a sort of baseball fan, as well, since my baby brother played throughout his school career and became one of those who’s real-life dream would’ve been to be a Detroit Tiger. He was able to indulge in his favorite fantasy somewhat once, by going to the Tiger Fantasy Camp.

Sometimes I wonder if all of us who attend theatre productions are secretly indulging in our own fantasy, wishing we were the actors on stage, or the people behind the scenes. My guess is that’s why we find so many community theatres springing up. Just a thought.

My baby brother also was a wonderful actor in high school, especially musicals; and I always thought he should have indulged that fantasy in local theatre, or trying out for bit parts in films. But, then I’ve also thought he’d be a great sports writer, or novelist. Perhaps writing about baseball. But his career in law enforcement meant many hours of night work, and so the theatre and baseball dreams remain in the background. He ran for sheriff of our hometown county once; that would’ve been cool, to be sheriff. That’s really being on stage. But, running as an Independent didn’t quite make it in that Republican community.

He’s way off in Wyoming now, but if he were home in Michigan, I’d wish to be enjoying our baseball pastime together, at one of these Detroit Tigers postseason games that are playing this week with the Baltimore Orioles… as I write this blog. In recent years, the Tigers wrapped themselves around the hearts of Michiganders, with their wins of American League Central Division and postseason flings.

I don’t know how I got off to rambling about my baby brother. Perhaps because we share these favorite things… being fond of theatre and baseball… and writing. And thinking about what might have been.

They say it’s never too late to be what you were meant to be. For being a baseball player, maybe not. But, acting… or politics… or writing could still be in the picture.

Golf somehow always wins out. My baby brother acquired a love of that sport, as many ball players do. Age isn’t a factor with golf, at least. My husband’s dad is 97 and still plays. I know, no one can believe it. But he’s an inspiration for anyone who thinks life has passed them by.

I keep that picture of being active and enjoying my favorite things for as long as I can. There are many projects to do; many things to write; many books, movies and plays to experience – and hopefully, many more ballgames to watch. My wish is to inspire others to maintain a positive outlook, stay healthy, and indulge in the activities they love for as long as they can.

We’re blessed to have such inspirational theatre in our neck of the woods. Turns out, my favorite theatre just won a wonderful award. A prestigious award in New York – a grant from National Theatre Company Grants by American Theatre Wing. Artistic Director Tony Caselli reports in his latest blog – Today….and getting here – about being amazed by this event, and by his recovery from a major illness this past winter.

It’s great to see him back. Tony’s a Tiger fan all the way. He’s directed Mitch Albom’s play Ernie 

A Play about the Baseball Legend (Ernie Harwell ) since it opened in summer 2011. John Quinn posted a nice article about it in Encore Michigan on July 11: ‘Mr. Looong Gone’ returns – in spirit – to Tiger Town

So, you see, Williamston Theatre and Detroit Tigers Baseball really do go together in my list of favorite things.

If you’re a Tigers fan, you’re probably on an emotional roller coaster this week, especially after the division opener on Thursday, Oct. 2. Sportswriter Tom Gage wrote in Detroit News article headlined Orioles buckle Tigers’ knees in opener, 12-3 : Baltimore — Caution: Birds of prey in the area, capable of taking down large mammals.

Such as Tigers — as the Orioles did 12-3 in their American League Division Series opener Thursday night.

Hmmm…. I was running possible headlines through my head, and laughed as I suggested to my husband: Birds poop on Tigers. Well, by the time the second game ended on Friday, I could imagine the word double-poop. Sounds hokey, but that’s about the way we fans felt after the go-ahead score unraveled and reversed for those Orioles to claim victory.

Here’s where you begin to test your loyalty. To watch or not to watch on Sunday. Well, if it turns out we have to give up on the Tigers for October entertainment, my suggestion is a wonderful alternative.

Joseph Zettelmaier’s original play, The Gravedigger: A Frankenstein story, runs through October at the Williamston Theatre. That’ll give you enough chills; and you’ll forget all about those boys sporting that English D.

The Gravedigger – directed by John Lepard – featuring Mark Colson (Kurt), Alysia Kolascz (Nadia), Alex Leydenfrost (Anton), and Joe Seibert (Victor) begins the ninth season of WT productions.

I have to confess that I’ve never been a Frankenstein fan, so I was curious about what my reaction to the play would be. But, I’d seen Zettelmaier’s Ebenezer last Christmas and loved the imaginative script that explored what might have been an alternative ending to the Dickens’ tale.  It was beautiful.

In The Gravedigger… Lepard explains in the program… “Joe Zettelmaier decided to fill in the blanks of Mary Shelley’s novel, and maybe, help us understand the creature a little better. What happens to him during those months when Victor Frankenstein is hunting him down? Where does he go? Who does he meet? More importantly, what does he learn, and does he have a soul?”

Tiger Baseball, Williamston Theatre… which is the best October surprise?

Still not ready to think about silver-white winters, but after the dust settles from the Tigers postseason, I’m sure I’ll look forward to baseball fever, when winter again melts into spring. By then Williamston Theatre will be halfway through this new season. I’m sure I’ll be busily, happily indulging in both of these favorite things.

The Gravedigger run is Sept. 25-Nov. 2, 2014

Upcoming Season 9 Productions:

Miracle on South Division Street by Tom Dudzik (Nov. 28-Dec. 28)

The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor (Jan 29-March 1, 2015

Sirens by Deborah Zoe Laufer (March 26-April 26, 2015)

Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley (May 21-June 21, 2015)

The Art of Murder by Joe DiPietro (July 16-August 23, 2015)

For more information:

Williamston Theatre announces 2014-2015 season Encore Michigan article with good nutshell play descriptions.

Tony Caselli’s blog

American Theatre Wing National Theatre Co Grants

Enore Michigan: Frankensten story finds hope amid despair

Williamston Today: Williamston Theatre Opening Night ‘The Gravedigger’

Frankenstein Gets New Life in Mysterious ‘Gravedigger’

 Onstage This Week in America

MSU professor hones acting skills on stage, on the small screen


Detroit News: Tigers look like anything playoff team game

Detroit News: Tigers Game 2 Loss: What they’re saying

Detroit Free Press: Tigers era not over, even if it feels like it

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Susan G Parcheta dreamed of being an inspirational writer, even as heading off after college to a teaching job. While teaching was not her passion, words were -- writing many years for Livingston newspapers, especially in the areas of education, health and wellness. The dream continues: to inspire creative, healthy living and to explore new concepts of body, mind, spirit. Her signature theme “All Things Beautiful” invites you to embrace the beauty and imagine the possibilities that life has to offer. She lives in Gregory with her husband, Jerry, and their fluffy, pointy-eared -- and always lovable -- cat, Spock.