Eastpointe to revive local variety show

Proceeds to go toward local scholarships

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 10, 2016

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EASTPOINTE — After being dormant since 2012, the local variety show “Eastpointe Puts on the Ritz” will return March 12 at East Detroit High School.

“It’s composed of adults and kids,” said Suzanne Pixley, co-chairwoman and Eastpointe mayor. said. “It’s put on by the Eastpointe Community Chest Networking Forum, and (the majority) of the money raised is for scholarships for Eastpointe residents.”

Co-chairman and event host Dan Hogan said they currently have 12 acts lined up that feature local people ranging from 7 years old to those in their 60s. Auditions were first held in late January, though a second session is scheduled to take place at the Halfway Schoolhouse on Nine Mile Road at 2 p.m. Feb. 20. He said that ideally, they will have 15 acts for the show.

“We have to fill up an hour and a half — two hours with an intermission,” Hogan said. “We’ve got some real amateurs and some real pros, but everyone — it’s about community, and it’s about people getting up on stage who have never been up there and getting a little experience too.”

Besides the auditions Feb. 20, Hogan said he is hoping to gather at the schoolhouse as many people as possible who have signed up for the show so that they can practice their acts and time everything.

Acts so far include singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, dramatic readings and skits. Pixley said the classic Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on First?” is scheduled for the show thanks to former members of the defunct Eastpointe Community Players. The players disbanded in 2011 due to the economic downturn. The downturn led to the loss of the community center on Eight Mile and people losing their jobs, she said.

Eastside Teen Outreach’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in December on the center’s new stage, and the play’s success — more than 200 people showed up, she said — helped spark the variety show’s return.

“I think this is a really good opportunity to start rebuilding the community theater,” Pixley said.

The Eastpointe Community Chest Networking Forum also was starting to run low on money to give out for scholarships and charity, Pixley said. The forum gives out three $500 scholarships to Eastpointe teens, as well as funds to St. Vincent de Paul and local charities like the Eastpointe Lions Club.

The show also will feature a 50-50 raffle and concessions. Hogan said he still has to meet with the East Detroit High School drama director to discuss the technical side of the production, such as lighting and sound. The school is in charge of that part of the show, he said.

“You can be sure the school wants to protect their equipment,” Hogan said. “They’re very excited that we’re doing something in the high school.”

Tickets for the show cost $5 and are available at Clovers Collision at 17285 Stephens Road and through East Detroit Public Schools administrators; the administration building is located at 24685 Kelly Road. Tickets will also be sold at the door prior to the show.

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