Holiday tunes and popular songs from stage and screen will be performed by Grosse Pointe Theatre actors during the fundraiser “A Golden Age Holiday.”

Holiday tunes and popular songs from stage and screen will be performed by Grosse Pointe Theatre actors during the fundraiser “A Golden Age Holiday.”

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Grosse Pointe Theatre’s period holiday show fundraiser makes for a merry time

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 4, 2018

GROSSE POINTE PARK — Grosse Pointe Theatre officials are hoping a festive holiday performance and auction will raise needed funds for the nonprofit while entertaining and engaging local audiences.

GPT will present “A Golden Age Holiday” Dec. 16 at The ARK at St. Ambrose in Grosse Pointe Park. The event will start with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction at 4:30 p.m., followed by a musical revue at 5:30 p.m. featuring show tunes and holiday classics from the golden age of Hollywood. Coffee and pastries will be served during intermission.

“It’s lots of favorite tunes from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, lots to hum along with and even sing along with, lots of tap-dancing,” said music director Stan Harr, of Grosse Pointe Shores. “I have a stellar cast. Most are veterans of Grosse Pointe Theatre shows and are having a good time putting together this show.”

The auction will include a pair of tickets to a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in Los Angeles, including airfare and hotel; a girls night out for 10 at Duffey & Co. in Grosse Pointe Park; an Estee Lauder gift basket valued at $1,000; two tickets to “Hamilton” in 2019 at the Fisher Theatre, including dinner; a sunset cruise from the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club on Lake St. Clair; and a baseball bat signed by recently retired Detroit Tiger Victor Martinez.

“The items are exciting,” said GPT Board President Danielle Caralis, of Birmingham, who is also in the show.

Don Bischoff, of Macomb Township, is directing and choreographing this show, as well as appearing in it. He said this production is an offshoot of the “Golden Age” show he staged for GPT roughly three years ago.

Like that earlier version, this one includes show-stopping numbers from stage and film and pays homage to stars like Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, he said. Bischoff said there are 34 numbers that include more than 40 songs, including “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “That’s Entertainment,” “Happy Holidays” and “We Need a Little Christmas.”

“We do a whole Cole Porter section,” Bischoff said.

There’s a nine-member cast, and “we all get to sing a Judy (Garland) song,” he said. “Even the guys get to be Judy.”

Everyone in the cast has solo opportunities, and there are also plenty of duets and trios, Bischoff said.

“Certainly there’s lots of beautiful music coming out even today, but there’s a real pizzazz to the music of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,” Harr said. “It just brings a smile to your face.”

Bischoff said the cast will be backed by a five-piece band.

“We have a few comical bits that are paying homage to the period,” he said. “There’s some audience participation (as well).”

Besides Caralis and Bischoff, the cast includes Stephanie Butler, of Grosse Pointe Park; Christine Campbell-Cormier, of Columbus, Ohio; Catie Hauff, of Richmond; Lindsey Tycholiz-McKiddy, of Warren; Robby Mullinger, of Grosse Pointe City; Tom Pagano, of Clinton Township; and Tom Woodman, of Grosse Pointe Park.

The fundraiser is vital for GPT because it has “under financial stress since the relocation of our performances” from The War Memorial, Harr said. He said show organizers are hoping to raise $50,000 from this event.

“In our challenging situation, it’s very important,” Caralis said of the fundraiser. “We also know that we have a unique gift in this group, and we can share that gift with the community.”

Show organizers hope the event — which promises a dazzling, fully costumed show, along with food, beverages and the auction — will draw big crowds. Caralis said they understand this is a “busy time” of year for people, and donations are welcome from anyone who can’t attend but would still like to support GPT. She said the event is a “nice way to bring in the holidays.”

The cast members have all been leads in other shows, and Bischoff said they’re bringing their singing and dancing talents to this production.

“I think anyone who comes to see the show will be blown away by the quality of the performance,” Harr said.

Tickets cost $75 per person or $125 per person at the Star Supporter level; the $125 tickets include a pair of tickets to see an upcoming GPT show in the 2018-19 season. Cocktail or holiday attire is suggested.

Advance reservations are recommended, as there may not be tickets available at the door. The ARK is located at St. Ambrose Catholic Church at 15020 Hampton Road, north of Jefferson Avenue, in Grosse Pointe Park; the building is handicapped-accessible. Free valet parking will be offered. For tickets or more information, call GPT at (313) 881-4004 or visit www.gpt.org.