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Art & Soul: The Performing Arts - Meet A Local Performance Group Focused On Original Works

Sun Chao

This week, "Art and Soul" focuses on the local performance arts scene.  WEMU's Lisa Barry and Wendy Wright talk with the artistic director of the "Neighborhood Theatre Group," Kristin Anne Danko.

Credit Sun Chao
2018 NTG Performance of "Black Cat Cabaret"

Founded in 2015, the Neighborhood Theatre Group in Ypsilanti considers itself "theatre from scratch," according to the group's artistic director, Kristin Anne Danko.  That means all of its performances are original works, ranging from plays to musicals to sketch comedies.  Its first show was performed at Ypsilanti's recently-renovated Back Office Studio.

Credit Sun Chao
2018 NTG Performance of "Black Cat Cabaret"

The group's upcoming events include:

  • Season 5 Kickoff Fundraiser on Saturday, September 14 at the Riverside Arts Center Art Gallery.
  • 5th Annual Monologue Competition on Friday, October 4 at the Back Office Studio (It's free!).
  • "Black Cat Cabaret" - The group's annual Halloween celebration on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19.
  • "A Man for Christmas: A Made-for-TV Musical" on December 13-15.
  • "Thoughts and Prayers" - a new play by resident playwright A.M. Dean on February 28-March 1 and March 6-8 2020.
Credit Neighborhood Theatre Group / ntgypsi.org
NTG Season 5 Kickoff Fundraiser ad

For more information on the Neighborhood Theatre Group, check out its official website and its business site.  You can also follow the group on Facebook and Instagram.




Adapted by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron
The Encore Musical Theatre Company – Dexter

Directed by Vincent J. Cardinal (U of M Musical Theatre Chair)

Opens Thursday, September 12th
Fun Home is based on the Alison Bechdel graphic novel memoir won 5 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) in 2016.  The story concerns Bechdel's discovery of her own sexuality, her relationship with her gay father, and her attempts to unlock the mysteries surrounding his life.


Amadeus - Live

UMS – Hill Auditorium

Sunday, September 15th 2PM

Mozart’s celebrated works performed live by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the UMS Choral Union.  Experience the multi-Academy Award® winning 1984 motion picture, Amadeus on a vast HD screen performed in-sync by the full orchestra and choir.


Mr. Tasty Presents: Sept Flavor of the Month -Live Sketch Comedy

Riverside Arts Center – Ypsilanti

Saturday, September 7th 8 & 10PM

Late-night sketch comedy show written and performed by some of Michigan's most talented comedians.


Keb Mo’ Solo

Michigan Theater

Saturday, September 14th – 7:30PM

Over the past two decades, Keb’ has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through the understated excellence of his live and studio performances.


Kerrytown Concert House

Wednesday, September 4th – 8PM

One of the finest exponents of swing tenor alive today. A master interpreter of standards

A2 Jazz Fest 2019

The Blue Llama Jazz Club

Thurs – Sat, September 19-21 – 5:30-11PM

The A2 Jazz Fest mission is to showcase and promote jazz by presenting live performances of original compositions and jazz standards by Michigan-based artists.  All events are free and open to the public! 

The Blue Llama Jazz Club

Kevin Eubanks Quartet

Fri & Sat, September 6-7, 7 & 9:30 P.M.

His laid-back style and affability seems to belie the concentration and focus that have made him successful both as a consummate musician and a household name for late-night TV viewers.

Chico Freeman Quartet

Wednesday, September 25th, 7 & 9:30 P.M

Chico Freeman is a modern jazz tenor saxophonist and son of jazz saxophonist Von Freeman.

The Ark

George Bedard: From the Windy City to New Orleans

Saturday, August 24th – 8:00 PM

The 7th concert in his popular series exploring the history of American roots music. Tonight they honor the musical heritage of New Orleans

Sonny Landreth

Sunday, September 8th – 8:00 PM

The King of slydeco!

Justin Townes Earle

Monday, September 23rd – 8:00 PM

Much-awaited new music from the son of Steve Earle

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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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