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Planet Ant premieres 'The Big Story of Lazarus Small'

A world premiere by local playwright Linda Ramsay-Detherage opens at Planet Ant on September 5, 2014.
A world premiere by local playwright Linda Ramsay-Detherage opens at Planet Ant on September 5, 2014.
Planet Ant Theatre

When was the last time you saw something that has never been seen? For Detroit theatre patrons, eager to embrace new playwrights and the theatres that promote them, it’s not difficult at all. Case in point – Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck – which kicks off it’s 2014-15 season with a new play by local playwright Linda Ramsay-Detherage. Author of such critically acclaimed plays as “The Sunday Punch”, “Sugarhill,” and “Old Bones,” Ms. Ramsey-Detherage is back at Planet Ant with its world premiere of “The Big Story of Lazarus Small.”

Opening September 5 and running through September 27, this is the story of a guy whose appearance in a local TV commercial has kindled dreams of stardom. While Lazarus’s wife struggles to pay the bills, his father-in-law strains to protect his own sanity, and his best friend strives to help, fate has other plans. And when Lazarus getting exactly what he's always wanted... it’s not exactly how he wanted it. Directed by Dave Davies (Warren) with stage management by David Woitulewicz (Farmington Hills), “The Big Story of Lazarus Small” features Dyan Bailey (Warren), Joe Hamid (Dearborn), Dan Jaroslaw (Mt. Clemens), Lisa Melinn (Berkley) Joel Mitchell (Berkley) and Patrick O'Connor Cronin (Bloomfield Hills). Performance times are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights and at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoons September. Tickets, a bargain at $10-$20, are on sale now at the Planet Ant website.

In addition, Artistic Director Shawn Handlon is enthusiastic about the entire 2014-2015 season of shows. "As audiences have come to expect from us, our new season comes with a broad range of styles and themes," stated Handlon. "The shows we've selected draw from a well of some of the finest talents in Detroit."

October 10 - 25, 2014 – An original one-act by “We Have Your Son”

Directed by Michael Hovitch

Late Night Series -- Winners of the 2014 Planet Ant Colony Fest, “We Have Your Son,” will write and appear in an original one-act comedy under the direction of Planet Ant Home Team member Michael Hovitch.

October 31 - November 8, 2014 – An original one-act by Planet Ant improv students

Directed by Shawn Handlon

Late Night Series -- Students from Planet Ant's improv class, The Ant Process, will write and appear in their own original one-act comedy under the direction of Planet Ant Artistic Director Shawn Handlon.

November 28 - December 20, 2014 – “Invasion!” by Jonas Hassen Khemiri

Directed by Molly McMahon

Main Stage Series -- Winner of the 2014 Obie Award, “Invasion!” is a tornado of words, images and ideas, all centered around a magical name: Abulkasem. The play assaults our deepest prejudices about identity, race and language. At once hilarious, disturbing and poignant, this deeply subversive play deconstructs a threatening identity - the Arabic male - and forces us to confront our own cultural identity.

December 26, 27, 29 & 31, 2014 – Encore presentation:Bringing Up Baby New Year!”

Directed by Shawn Handlon
Late Night Series -- It's never easy to live life in the spotlight, always being fodder for the tabloids and the subject of public scrutiny. It's all the more complicated when your life is only 12 months long. “Bringing Up Baby New Year” is a one act comedy that chronicles the life and often tumultuous times of a typical Baby New Year, as he yearns to put his mark on time, all while struggling with puberty, a mid-life crisis and old age--each within months of the other. Directed by Shawn Handlon, “Bringing Up Baby New Year” was written by members of the Planet Ant Improv Colony Home Team; Dyan Bailey, Lauren Bickers, Dave Davies, Shawn Handlon and Mike McGettigan.

January 30 - February 14, 2015 – “Armchair Dating” by Margaret Edwatowski

Late Night Series -- Just in time for Valentine's Day, Planet Ant offers an original romantic comedy by award-winning playwright Margaret Edwartowski. As Peter and Liz try to maneuver through the game of love, they find they can both benefit from a little side-coaching when their best friends--Chuck and Anita--do a little Monday morning quarterbacking of the couple's recent match-up.

March 6 - 28, 2015 – “A Shakespearean Sequel” by Marty Shea and Ian Bonner
Directed by Sara Wolf Molnar
Main Stage Series -- "A Shakespearean Sequel will represent Planet Ant in the Detroit Shakespeare Festival. Based on minor characters from the plays of William Shakespeare, local filmmakers and authors, Marty Shea and Ian Bonner, explore the world beyond “Hamlet,” “Romeo & Juliet,” and others.

April 10 - May 2, 2015 -- An original comedy written by and starring Mike McGettigan & Shawn Handlon
Directed by Lauren Bickers
Main Stage Series
The Planet Ant has a rich history of hilarious original comedy plays. This year the theatre will bring some of its favorite comedic minds from the Planet Ant family together to create another surefire hit using the Ant Process.

May 15 - 30, 2015 – “Fish Dinner: Enough Already!” by Quintin Hicks

Directed by Dave Davies
Late Night Series -- The Wilde-Award winning one-man show, “Fish Dinner” returns to Planet Ant Theatre for the third and final chapter: “Fish Dinner: Enough Already!” Detroit Second City alum Quintin Hicks stretches the limits of character performance and improv to introduce you to a world of unique and unforgettable characters. Side-splittingly hysterical, with pockets of poignant tragedy, expect to see some familiar faces and perhaps a few new ones!

Ongoing Late Night Saturdays and Improv Mondays

Throughout this season on select Saturday evenings, Planet Ant will present a late night show featuring a rotating schedule of improvisation. Tickets are $5 at the door. The Planet Ant Improv Colony has generated over twenty original comedies and continues to perform every Monday night in Michigan's longest-running improv comedy show - Improv Mondays. The show kicks off at 8 p.m.with a guest improv troupe followed by a performance by Planet Ant's resident Home Team. The night closes with The Ant Jam, an opportunity for anyone to improvise on the Planet Ant stage. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Planet Ant Theatre is located at 2357 Caniff in Hamtramck.

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