OK, I'll admit it: I've been a Star Trek fan since Leonard Nimoy put on his pointed ears. But my favorite character over the years has been Capt. Jean-Luc Picard as portrayed by British actor PATRICK STEWART. So it was a harmonic convergence of my passions to travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., recently for something that had nothing to do with football: Stewart was the featured performer in two of three theatrical productions presented in repertory during a three-week residency by England's Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) at the University of Michigan by the University Musical Society.
He played an angsty and vacillating Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra in addition to the sorcerer Prospero in a production of The Tempest that was like an Enterprise holodeck program with a computer glitch: rather than a typical setting on a tropical island, this tempest played out on an arctic island with the characters stranded after the sinking of a Titanic-like ocean liner. It might sound odd, but with RSC's company of accomplished actors, the concept was fascinating; it was clearly the favorite of audiences in Ann Arbor. For reviews of these productions -- the third was a compelling staging of Julius Caesar that made a familiar tale riveting and fresh -- go to CityBeat's arts blog. ... No jokes, please, about the theater going to the dogs: But if you have a dog that wants to go to the theater, an opportunity is pending. Jersey Productions is seeking a mutt to play the role of Sandy in its upcoming production of ANNIE at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington. The dog can be male or female but should have a sandy-colored coat and a friendly disposition. Auditions will be Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. at The Carnegie (1028 Scott Blvd.). Aspiring canines will participate in a dog parade, then demonstrate their ability to run to Annie when summoned by the name "Sandy." Rehearsals will happen during the first two weeks of December; performances are Dec. 15-17 and 22-23. Annie is the fifth show of Jersey Production's debut season at the Carnegie. Info: www.jerseyproductions.org
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