Just outside of Ann Arbor is the quaint town of Chelsea that is the home to actor Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre, which is one of the finest regional theaters in the nation.
Daniels, who is very involved in the productions, founded the theater in 1991. Daniels got his start in the business in off-Broadway productions and was inspired by that and wanted a similar theater experience in Chelsea, where he grew up and was raising his family.
“He’s like the godfather,” said Guy Sanville, artistic director of the theater. “He’s very involved. He’s working on a new play right now.”
The theater offers four shows a year, running 8 to 14 weeks each. The productions include new plays, American classics, Michigan premieres and playwrights with roots in the Midwest.
“We use work that uses humor as a window into the human heart; whether it’s a new play or an American classic,” Sanville said. “We want people to feel something. We create a one-of-a-kind experience. We do plays with a lot of heart and soul.”
A recent production was "Annapurna" by Sharr White. It’s a bittersweet, funny story about forgiveness. It evokes a range of emotions that will leave theater-goers laughing and crying. As in most great plays, it makes you examine your own life and you will long be remembering the characters and the struggles they dealt with.
The theater also offers an apprentice program with seven full-time apprentices who stay for one year. It’s great training for them as they are involved in all aspects of the theater and productions.
Upcoming productions at the Purple Rose Theatre include: Steel Magnolias, Jan. 15-March 14; Talley’s Folly, April 2-May 23; and 2AZ, June 11-Aug. 29.
For more information, check out the website at www.purplerosetheatre.org.
ALSO IN CHELSEA
Chelsea is home to the Waterloo Recreation Area, a large state park that also has a Discovery Center; tours of the Chelsea Milling Company’s Jiffy Mix plant; and the Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory.
For more information, check out www.chelseamich.com.