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Art & Soul: The Performing Arts - Meet The Writer And Lead Actor From 'Mazel Tov, John Lennon'

Theatre Nova
Theatre Nova

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the local performing arts scene.  89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry and Wendy Wright talk to playwright David Wells about his latest local theatre production, “Mazel Tov, John Lennon,” along with the man playing John Lennon, actor Forrest Hejkal. 



by David Wells

Public preview March 21

Opening night March 22, running through April 24, 2019

January 1972: Vietnam war protests are at their peak, and newly ex-Beatled John Lennon walks into the office of Leon Wildes, an eminent immigration lawyer.  As ultra-laid-back Lennon and straight-laced Wildes navigate Lennon’s stormy immigration case, an unlikely and comical kinship unfolds, and both men gain a greater understanding of friendship, personal values, and patriotism. Based on the true story of the Nixon administration's attempt to deport John Lennon.

About The Guests

David Wells

Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
(From L to R) David Wells and Forrest Hejkal

David Wells is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, a National New Play Network Showcase Selection, a Wilde Award for Best New Script, a Motion Picture Academy Nicholl Fellowship In Screenwriting Finalist, a National New Play Network Finalist, and a Wilde Award for Best Original Production.  He is an NNPN Affiliated Artist and a member of the Writers Guild of America. 

Forrest Hejkal

Forrest Hejkal (pronounced Hi-cull) plays John Lennon.  I'm a theatre artist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I recently graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, studying drama, primarily directing.  I am also a recent graduate of the National Theater Institute's Advanced Directing Semester.  In 2011, I founded the Carriage House Theatre of Ann Arbor, a small community theatre in Ann Arbor which operates during the summer.  I have directed many productions there and with other companies in the area.  In 2013, I created and directed the Vagari Project, a traveling street theater troupe that performed on the road for two months.  I am also a designer, actor, producer, carpenter and musician. 

Upcoming Performances



Kickshaw Theatre presents The Ding Dongs, or What Is The Penalty In Portugal?, a comedy thriller by Brenda Withers, March 28 through April 14, 2019, at trustArt Studios in Ann Arbor.  "The Ding Dongs is about a hilariously fast-talking couple engaged in a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse.  Are they con artists  Clowns?  Or are they just well-meaning folks, like any of us, who want a simple and safe life with their three lovely children?" says Kickshaw found and Artistic Director Lynn Lammers.  "The way this play drives toward its conclusion keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Roustabout will present its first 2019 production, Mad as a Hatter, in April.  Written by Michigan playwright Michael Alan Herman, the characters of Wonderland are introduced in a real-world scenario, as everyday people serve as Lewis Carroll's inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Mad as a Hatter: April 4-20, YES (Ypsi Experimental Space) 8 N Washington St, Ypsilanti

All My Sonsby Arthur Miller, at the Purple Rose Theatre, opens April 4th

Brigadoonby Lerner & Loewe, at the Encore, opens April 18th


Valerie JarrettMonday, April 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM, Michigan Theater and Nicola’s Books will host a conversation with Valerie Jarrett, the longest serving senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett.  Valerie shares her journey as a daughter, mother, lawyer, business leader, public servant, and leader in government at a historic moment in American history.  Jarrett received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.  This is a ticketed event and each ticket will include a signed copy of Jarrett’s memoir, Finding My Voice.


Wednesday April 17th 5:30 p.m.  UM Hatcher Grad Library Free! 

"Let Me Sing and I'm Happy": U-M Author's Forum.

Local mezzo-soprano Joan Morris  discusses her new memoir-cum-handbook that combines a short autobiography with advice on different aspects of performance.


Lisa Hilton

Saturday, March 30th 8PM – Kerrytown Concert House

Jeff Tweedy: Spring 2019 Warm Tour /wsg Buck Meek

Monday, 7:30 p.m., April 1st, Michigan Theater – Presented by The Ark

Amos Lee

Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., April 2nd, Michigan Theater – Presented by The Ark

Peter Madcat Ruth 70th Birthday Bash

Thursday, April 4th, 8PM - The Ark

Ellis Marsalis Quintet

Fri & Sat April 5 & 6, 7 & 9:30 p.m. – Blue Llama

Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra: 20th Anniversary Season "Local Treasures"- Featuring local Jazz legend Paul Keller and the At Sundown Quintet

Sunday, April 14, 3:30PM, Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College

Cécile McLorin Salvant & Christian Sands

April 14 at 4:00 PM. Michigan Theater Presented by UMS. Tickets available at UMS.org.

Crystal Bowersox

Monday, April 22nd 8PM – The Ark


Gabriel Iglesias: Beyond the Fluffy World Tour

Thursday, March 28thEMU Convocation Center

Jimmy Pardo

Friday & Saturday, April 12th & 13th , 7:30 & 10PM – Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Wendy Wright has been on the radio at WEMU since April 2000. She served as host of 89.1 Jazz, Sunday mornings from 5-8 a.m. for seven years, when she was asked to host From Memphis to Motown. She was then asked to create the Soul Break which airs Wednesday afternoons.
Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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