News Column

Ann Arbor's Performance Network Theatre says it's back in business

July 16, 2014

By Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press

July 16--The show will go on at Performance Network Theatre.

The popular Ann Arbor venue, which suspended operations in May as a result of financial difficulties, announced today that it has a new business plan in place and will be sharing details with the public at open houses at 2 and 6 p.m.July 27.

Few details about the plan were announced, but it calls for eventually turning Performance Network into a multi-use facility that will be open 16 hours a day with more than 300 active dates every year. Co-productions with other theater groups and partnerships with businesses and other organizations reportedly figure prominently in the reorganization.

"We believe we have found a way to keep the theatre open," the theater board said in a news release today. "A new team of theatre and business professionals has agreed to take on the challenge of getting PNT back into shape."

Longtime southeast Michigan actor, director and producer John Manfredi will take over as executive director, and actress-director Suzi Regan, a veteran of numerous Performance Network productions, will become artistic director. For the time being, the theater office will be staffed by part-time employees, volunteers and interns.

The theater board expects to announce a new subscription series by Aug. 1 and said: "All season subscriptions will be honored and arrangements are being made to accommodate those who have missed shows due to the suspension of operations."

Performance Network expects to return to action in August, when it will bring "The Big Bang," the musical currently running at Williamston Theatre, to the stage in Ann Arbor.

"We are asking our patrons and donors to be patient," Regan said. "We will be announcing an entire 2014-15 subscription series soon." She said the new season already includes productions of "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Salvage," a play by Michigan playwright Joe Zettelmaier, as well as a holiday staging of "This Wonderful Life."

Performance Network was launched 33 years ago and has been praised as one of southeast Michigan's most significant Equity theaters. Among its successes this season were stagings of "Venus in Fur" and the one-man show "An Illiad" starring Manfredi.


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Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)

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