Children’s productions take center stage

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published April 15, 2015

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Children who enjoy live theater are invited to check out two productions coming to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts this month.

“My Heart in a Suitcase” is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. April 21.

The ArtsPower National Touring Theatre’s adaptation of Anne Lehmann Fox’s autobiographical account of her 1938 journey out of Germany is recommended for children in grades four through eight. Fox was among 10,000 Jewish children who fled their homes without their parents in the Kindertransport rescue program to England prior to the start of World War II.

A question-and-answer period will follow the performances featuring Edith Maniker, a docent at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills who also fled to England in the Kindertransport. Tickets for “My Heart in a Suitcase” cost $15 for adults and $5 for students.

According to a Macomb Center for the Performing Arts press release, in 2005, ArtsPower decided to produce Fox’s story as a one-hour professional touring production for young people and family audiences. The show has presented more than 1,000 performances in theaters, cultural centers, university auditoriums and schools for almost 1 million people in 45 states.

“We wanted to create a production that portrays the strength of the human spirit, because in order for Anne Lehmann Fox to forge a productive and fulfilling life, she had to survive the unthinkable tragedy of leaving her parents — who were eventually captured and killed in concentration camps — when she was only 12 years old,” founding ArtsPower Co-Director Mark Blackman said in a prepared statement.

On April 18, All the World’s a Stage will open the curtain on the Disney favorite “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” Showtimes are 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The production features 33 youth members from Macomb County, including L’Anse Creuse North High School junior Marisa Nahas, of Macomb Township, as Belle. Romeo High School senior Adam Kristcih, of Romeo, portrays the Beast in his first production with All the World’s a Stage.

“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” tells the story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self.

All the World’s a Stage is an award-winning theater arts education organization established in 1986.

“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door. 

For tickets and additional information, visit www.macombcenter.com or call the Macomb Center box office from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays or from noon-6 p.m. Fridays at (586) 286-2222.

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is located on Macomb Community College’s Center Campus, at 44575 Garfield Road.