DESIRES & DISASTERS • Pit & Balcony Revisits Their Roots

Ambitious 92nd Season Filled with Drama, Farce, and Memorable Musicals

    icon Aug 31, 2023
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“Acting is in everything but the words.”

― Stella Adler, The Art of Acting

As Pit & Balcony Community Theatre embarks upon its 2023-24  season of presenting top-notch theatrical entertainment to the Great Lakes Bay Region, Managing Director Amy Spadafore is busily preparing for one of the most ambitious, divergent, and blended seasons in the 92-year history of this pivotal community resource.

Featuring a mix of the traditional & experimental including a dramatic classic, updated masterpieces, an energetic farce, a racy contemporary musical, and a pair of adults-only After Dark offerings, while this upcoming season of ‘Desires & Disasters’ may seem familiar, if character is indeed defined by action this upcoming season is anything but ‘typical’.

“This is without doubt the biggest season at Pit & Balcony I’ve ever produced,” reflects Spadafore. “It’s big in terms of the number of plays we’re staging, which is the most productions since our inaugural season in 1932, big in the size of the casts, and will showcase big characters, big sets, big elaborate costumes, big intricate musical scores, and quite frankly is something I hadn’t really considered until I had to present each of these productions to our potential directors.”

“While we’re happy to be the theatre that isn’t afraid to push the envelope and stage more critically applauded but less familiar experimental productions and regional premiers, I think in many ways this season turned out to an effort to go back to our roots,” she continues.

“Certainly when I started here at Pit & Balcony it’s primary bread-and-butter was staging big well-known musicals, which we have this year with our production of Cinderella; actor driven dramas, which we open with this year in A Streetcar Named Desire; and one smash-hit farce comedy, which we’re providing with the regional premier of The Play That Goes Wrong

“Over the last several years we had to do so much reacting and adjusting to expand our engagement to younger audiences and more divergent cultural segments populating our community, that it’s nice to be able to sink into this and open our audience base up even more.”

Kicking the season off is Tennessee Williams ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, which will run from Sept. 15-17 & 22-24th. “It’s been awhile since we’ve featured an actor-driven piece, and that’s what drew us to staging Streetcar,” explains Amy. “The only time Pit featured Streetcar was back in 1962 and the roles are so meaty that actors love to chew on them and dig deep into the script.”

Next on the agenda is the regional premier of Rogers & Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’, which will run from Nov. 10-12 & 17-19th, and is the new Broadway adaptation of this classic musical, with a fresh book by Douglas Carter Beane, which features all the beloved songs alongside an up-to-date, hilarious, and  romantic libretto.

The new year of 2024 will kick off with another regional premier of a new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, which is set for January 12-13 & 19-21, and is easily one of the most romantic, perfectly written, and devastating love stories in the history of the theatrical canon, which will be followed by another regional premier of The Play That Goes Wrong from March 15-17 & 22-24. “This show recently came off Broadway and we knew we wanted to tackle this production,” notes Amy. “It’s a smash hit farce that’s an Oliver Award-winning comedy and is part Monty Python, part Sherlock Holmes, and a global phenomenon. We haven’t done a straight farce in a long time, so this play is thoroughly in the P&B wheelhouse.”

One of the centerpiece productions that the entire 92nd season was built around is the regional premier of Wild Party, which is a darkly brilliant musical featuring one of the most exciting pulse-racing scores ever written. “There were two versions of this play that opened in New York City at the same time,” notes Amy. “One was on Broadway and the one we’re showcasing is the Off-Broadway production, which when it debuted actually featured Saginaw’s Brian d-Arcy James in one of the roles. To me it’s like if The Great Gatsby were a musical about poor vaudeville performers instead of bored rich people, and the narrative all takes place in real time over one night and involves a love triangle.”

This year’s After Dark productions also include a pair of regional premiers - The Eight: Reindeer Monologues on December 8-9th and Milk Milk Lemonade that will run June 27-29th. Banking off the success of last year’s After Dark Christmas production Who’s Holiday, The Eight is a play about Santa’s reindeer dishing about the ‘real’ Santa, Rudolph’s ‘little secret’, and Vixen’s story that was leaked to the press; while Milk Milk Lemonade is - as Amy puts it -  “the theatrical definition of the word absurd.”

And last but certainly not least will be an 8th production one-night only show titled ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf’, which will be staged on International Women’s Day.

Amy and the entire Board of Directors at Pit & Balcony are certainly to be praised for assembling not only such an ambitious 92nd season, but for expanding the reach of the theater through the varied and dynamic nature of productions they’ve brought to audiences following the difficult years of the Covid Pandemic. 

When asked about her impressions of last year’s previous season, Amy is optimistic. “As with many arts organizations, it’s been a struggle to get back to pre-Covid numbers, and the responsibility lies in the producer to present shows people are excited to see and become involved with; but I think the biggest change is how people have adjusted the view of their ‘free time’.  Community theatre exists as a ‘third space’ - a place that’s neither home nor work that people go to feel a different sense of community, or pursue as a hobby, if you will.” 

“I think that kind of went away during the pandemic because people were not allowed to have a ‘third place’ and they relied so much on that idea that human’s adjusted, so now we need to remind people that third places are still here and they are important because they offer things you cannot do at home. I think people have gotten so accustomed to being at home and with so many different options available now, they tend to evaluate what they want to do with their free time differently.”

Actor William Dafoe said that great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to, and certainly Pit & Balcony is to be commended for assembling such an amazing smorgasbord of regional entertainment while remaining true to their mission statement of providing theatrical experiences that enlighten, challenge, inspire, and delight everyone involved.

To purchase season or individual tickets and affordable Flex Pass options please visit or phone 989-754-6587.





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