89.1 WEMU

creative:impact - U-M Students Create Ann Arbor's Newest Theater Company

Oct 16, 2018

(From L to R) Arts Alliance CEO Deb Polich with Runyonland Productions president/producer Thomas Laub and Runyonland Productions associate producer Emma Ashford
Credit David Fair / 89.1 WEMU

The performing arts have always been a part of Washtenaw County's culture, and two University of Michigan students are expanding that tradition.  Thomas Laub and Emma Ashford talk about their new, Ann Arbor-based theater company, Runyonland Productions, with WEMU's David Fair and Arts Alliance CEO Deb Polich in this week's "creative:impact."

Deb Polich, President and CEO of the Arts Alliance

Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.  In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.

About Thomas Laub

Runyonland Productions President/Producer Thomas Laub
Credit Thomas Laub / Facebook

Thomas Laub (President/Producer) is an Ann Arbor and New York based producer.  Thomas is entering his final year as a musical theatre major at the University of Michigan and has worked on Broadway with producers Disney Theatrical Group and Jujamcyn on Tony-winning shows from The Lion King and Frozen, to Book of Mormon, Mean Girls, and Angels in America.  Lead producer credits include SHEL: A Historically Fictionalized Musical and For The Record. 

About Emma Ashford

Emma Ashford, associate producer at Runyonland Productions
Credit Emma Ashford / Instagram

Emma Ashford (Associate Producer), a Los Angeles native, is entering her junior year as a B.F.A. Musical Theatre major at the University of Michigan.  This is her first year producing with Runyonland.  In addition to producing, Emma will be performing in Sweet Charity this October 11-21 at the Mendelssohn Theatre, as well as Assistant Directing Runyonland's first production of its season, For The Record.

Runyonland Productions Logo
Credit Runyonland Productions / runyonlandprods.com

Runyonland's Upcoming Productions:

  • For the Record by Geoff Packard– December 6–7, 7:30 pm at the Duderstadt Video Studio.  For the Record is an original work written by Broadway performer and University of Michigan faculty member Geoff Packard. Runyonland Productions has been workshopping the show with theplaywright, and this production will be the piece’s world premiere.  For the Record explores theworld of a young man trying to escape the history of his family, haunted by the genetic disposition of Huntington’s disease. He learns no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape what’s written inyour DNA.
  • Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth, February 28–March 1, 7:30pm at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.  The iconic 1981 musical by legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is being boldly brought to life through a staged concertproduction.  Merrily We Roll Along moves backwards in time, exploring the life of three friends fromtheir disenchanted adulthood to the bright-eyed optimism of their youth, exploring all the choices they made along the way.  The production will feature a full 15-piece orchestra sharing the stage with the actors.  It will be directed by Megumi Nakamura, a senior in U of M’s Musical Theatre Department.
  • Myths and Hymns by Adam Guettel, March 30th, 6:30pm and 8:30pm at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.  Myths and Hymns is a series of musical pieces that explorethe world of Greek mythology and Runyonland is bringing a unique lens to this production by incorporating area religious leaders and art history scholars to connect to the story in a new, immersive medium.  This non-traditional piece of theater will be performed in the beautiful gallery and is helmed by both a Broadway director and music director in Geoff Packard and Jason DeBord respectively.  Presented in partnership with the UMMA as a part of their SMTD@UMMA program, the performance space will create an intersection of artistic styles, resulting in a unique and non-traditional experience for the audience.

Resources:

Runyonland Productions

Runyonland Ticket Info

"New Ann Arbor Theater Company Runyonland Productions launches debut season" (Concentrate Media)

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu