Meet the Rogue

Live theater. Unsolicited commentary.
From Detroit to Lansing.

Carolyn Hayes is the Rogue Critic, est. late 2009.

In 2011, the Rogue attended 155 plays, readings, and festivals (about 3 per week) and penned 115 reviews (about 2.2 per week).

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Theaters and Companies

The Abreact (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2011 SIR

The AKT Theatre Project (Wyandotte)
website | reviews

Blackbird Theatre (Ann Arbor)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Detroit Repertory Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews

The Encore Musical Theatre Co. (Dexter)
website | reviews

Go Comedy! (Ferndale)
website | reviews

Hilberry Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Jewish Ensemble Theatre (West Bloomfield)
website | reviews

Magenta Giraffe Theatre Co. (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Matrix Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Meadow Brook Theatre (Rochester)
website | reviews

Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor)
website | reviews

Planet Ant Theatre (Hamtramck)
website | reviews

Plowshares Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews

Purple Rose Theatre Co. (Chelsea)
website | reviews

The Ringwald Theatre (Ferndale)
website | reviews

Tipping Point Theatre (Northville)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Threefold Productions (Ypsilanti)
website | reviews

Two Muses Theatre (West Bloomfield Township)
website | reviews

Williamston Theatre (Williamston)
website | reviews







Entries in Two Muses Theatre (3)


Next to Normal

Two Muses ups the ante with taboo issues, contemporary melodies, reproduced with permission from

In terms of both subject matter and medium, the rock musical "Next to Normal" (music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey) easily ranks as Two Muses Theatre's most raw offering to date. The company's first-ever musical examines the tribulations of a woman whose chronic mental illness threatens her own well-being as well as that of her family with nonlinear flair and savage candor. Under the leadership of co-directors and producers Diane Hill and Barbie Weisserman, this production reins in the explosive sounds and pulsing sentiments of an often unrestrained genre, instead letting the Pulitzer Prize-winning words and story take the fore.

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Same Time, Next Year

The compressed journey of Same Time, Next Year invites the viewer to fall in love with illicit love, in the most benign way. The second and final production of Two Muses Theatre’s inaugural season, playwright Bernard Slade’s excursion into a committed extramarital relationship — rationed out in annual portions — delights in the escapist pleasures of two people who keep their romance unassailable by the rigors and changes of normal life. As directed by Nancy Kammer, this production (again staged in a space off the West Bloomfield Township Barnes & Noble) pairs an unconventional love story with the warm security of staying power, and the cast of two sweetly delivers on its promise.

After a brief time capsule of images establishing the year as 1951, morning-after light streams into a cozy little inn in northern California. That the man and woman waking up together are strangers to each other is as plain as their disbelieving faces; that this was infidelity on both their parts is discovered just as quickly. Gently naive housewife Doris (Diane Hill) and routinely flustered accountant George (Aaron H. Alpern) make no pretenses to each other: each is married — happily so — with children. However, because each takes the same annual trip, the captivated George and Doris realize they can carry on a relationship this way, meeting just one weekend per year. The clunky business of arriving at this incredible pact between a pair with who-knows-what in common is handled smoothly by Kammer and company; the earned closeness that grows between Hill and Alpern from the outset provides sufficient buy-in.

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The Odd Couple

Not long ago, two women mused that if they wanted more and better opportunities for women in theater, they should create some. The newly formed Two Muses Theatre now presents its inaugural production, one of Neil Simon’s best-known comedies. The Odd Couple was adapted by Simon a quarter century ago to envision a pair of women in the mismatched lead roles, here played by the company’s founders. As directed by Diane Hill and Terie Spencer (and staged in a sizable space tucked in a West Bloomfield Township Barnes & Noble bookstore), this production struggles for a foothold in its iconic, traditionally male scenario, but is boosted by comprehensive design that adds confident flair to its first step onto the Southeast Michigan scene.

The setting is the disheveled apartment of Olive Madison (Barbie Amann Weisserman), a divorcee with a high threshold for grime and little patience for anything outside of her most basic needs. When the weekly ladies' Trivial Pursuit game is upended by late-arriving Florence Unger (Hill), freshly devastated by her husband’s sudden decision to divorce her, Olive finds herself saddled with the unlikeliest of mismatched roommates. Because appearances and upkeep become the hotly contested center of the conflict, the entire design team pours meticulous energy into establishing the Olive/Florence dichotomy. Set design by Bill Mandt provides a livable space, with both potential for numerous upgrades and a sense of flow into the unseen rooms; added to this are Weisserman’s properties, whose entirely modest disorder is all the more astonishing in its transition to tasteful elegance. Weisserman is also credited with the pitch-perfect costume design, which is admirably as dedicated to developing secondary characters as it is evident in every stitch of Florence’s pristinely ordered and flawlessly appropriate attire. Lighting by Lucy Meyo features lovely focal points, and themes of friendship, heartbreak, and woman power cycle through the upbeat selections of Hill’s sound design.

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