Varner Theatre 09-10 season begins

Filled with musicals, comedies and classics that aimed to appeal to a wide audience, the 2009-10 Varner Theatre season began this month.  

“Violet” started off the year with eleven nearly sold-out performances in mid-October. Based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, it tells the story of an isolated young woman who travels by bus during the civil rights era in search of a televangelist she believes can heal her scarred face.

It was directed by Fred Love, assistant professor of theatre.  

Starting Nov. 12, theater professor Karen Sheriden directs “The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue.”  

Set in 1936 New York, the performance is a comedy riff on Molière’s “Learned Ladies.”  

After a winter hiatus, the theater department returns in February with “The Good Doctor.”

Based on the stories of Anton Chekhov and set in the 19th century Russia, this comedy presents a series of scenes whose only common thread is a strangely familiar character.

Thomas M. Suda, special instructor of theater, directs the show, which runs from Feb. 4-14.  

Michael Gillespie, associate professor of theatre, directs “Little Women.” Gillespie said it’s a musical version of Lousia May Alcott’s classic novel about four sisters and their mother as they deal with the absence of their male family members during the Civil War.  

“It tells the story pretty much as written, but there’s a contemporary thrust to it,” Gillespie said. The performance runs March 18-28.  

Closing the season is “Dear Edwina,” which follows Edwina Spoonapple as she gets ready for her musical advice-giving show that she performs live from her garage every Sunday morning. It runs June 4-6 and is directed by Suda.  

To find out more about performance times and tickets, call the Varner Box Office at 248-370-3013 or visit the Theatre section of