News & Notes - 9/7/23 Grosse Pointe Times

Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 8, 2023

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

‘Welcome aboard’
New Grosse Pointe City Manager Joseph Valentine — with Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak — was officially named the successor to former City Manager Pete Dame when the Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously in favor of an employment agreement with Valentine Aug. 21. “Welcome aboard, Mr. Valentine,” Tomkowiak said after the vote.


‘They’re creepy and they’re kooky …’
If you started to snap your fingers after reading the headline, then you’re already familiar with the popular classic television show “The Addams Family.” Or, perhaps you’ve seen the Netflix series, “Wednesday.”

Grosse Pointe Theatre is bringing these beloved characters to life as it opens its 76th season with “The Addams Family: A New Musical,” which runs Sept. 8 to 17 at the Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center at Grosse Pointe North High School, 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods.

“It has all the same wacky characters we all grew to love and grew up with and has the same brand of humor as the iconic television show and subsequent movies, cartoons and series, but has added some different elements and characters into the mix as well,” director Michael Gravame, of Detroit, said in a press release. “I think the biggest difference is that Wednesday is college age and there is a different relationship dynamic between her and her parents.”

The cast — many of whom are GPT newcomers — consists of: Julia Bayer, of St. Clair Shores; Soula Burns, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Elliott Cox, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Ryan Holub-Ward, of Ferndale; Jennifer “Jen” Horne, of Detroit; Maria LaRose, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Sophie Leszczynski, of Grosse Pointe Woods; George Liebau, of Sterling Heights; Andrew “Drew” McComas, of Auburn Hills; Megan Nash, of Hazel Park; Sterling Orlowski, of Hamtramck; PJ Roberts, of Southfield; Ryan Roetker, of Royal Oak; Raven Ross, of Sterling Heights; LeRoy Russ, of Pontiac; Tim Schoenherr, of Farmington Hills; Erin Steinhauser, of Grosse Pointe City; Tania Velinsky, of Royal Oak; Jim Wolbrink, of Detroit; and Dominic Aldini, of Sterling Heights.

“The cast has captured the wackiness of these beloved characters perfectly, but has the freedom to not just be an imitation of them,” Gravame said in a press release.

Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. For tickets or more information, visit or call (313) 881-4004.


Enjoy an evening of roots music
Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church, 17150 Maumee Ave. in Grosse Pointe City, will host the fundraiser “All Roots Music Night” from 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 15. The event will feature a variety of roots music, including jazz, Americana, blues and folk. Award-winning musician Sean Blackman and his band will perform. Tickets cost $20 in advance or $30 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which a press release states “works to build food security, food justice and food sovereignty for Detroit’s African American residents.” For advance tickets or more information, visit or call (313) 881-0420.


Be prepared for upcoming elections
The League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe will hold candidate forums for people running in contested local offices this November. Anyone wishing to submit questions for a forum must do so in advance, as questions won’t be accepted during the forums.

A forum for the Harper Woods City Council will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Wayne County Community College District’s Mary Ellen Stempfle University Center, 19305 Vernier Road in Harper Woods. Candidates running for council include Curtis Brown, Cheryl Costantino, Teresa Foster, Gerianne LaPratt and Regina Williams. The deadline for candidate questions is Sept. 7.

A forum for Grosse Pointe Park mayor and council will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 12 at Pierce Middle School, 15430 Kercheval Ave. in the Park. Mayoral candidates are Michele Hodges and Christine M. Gallagher. Council candidates are Brent Deaver, Jay A. Kennedy, Tim Kolar, Marty McMillan, Elvis Torres and Heather Ulku. The deadline to submit questions is Sept. 8.

For Grosse Pointe City Municipal Court judge, a forum will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 20 at Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church, 17150 Maumee Ave. in the City. Incumbent Judge Russell Etheridge isn’t running for reelection this year. Candidates are Sarah W. Colegrove, David Draper, Thomas Gregory Krall and Bryan A. Sunisloe. The deadline to submit questions is Sept. 18.

A virtual candidate forum for Grosse Pointe City Council will be conducted at 7 p.m. Sept. 26. Candidates include Seth S. Krupp, Christopher Moyer, Donald J. Parthum Jr. and Terence A. Thomas. The deadline to submit questions is Sept. 18.

Questions can be submitted to the LOWVGP website at


Singers sought
The Grosse Pointe Community Chorus will start its fall session Sept. 12. Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the choir room at Grosse Pointe North High School, 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods.

The GPCC has a new music director this year, Kayvon Kashani-Gharavi, an adjunct professor at Madonna University who has a master’s degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College. The cost for the season to join the choir is $60, or $30 for those ages 30 and younger. The GPCC will hold its holiday concert Dec. 3 at St. Clare of Montefalco Church in Grosse Pointe Park. To register or for more information, visit or call (313) 580-5965.


War Memorial to hold 9/11 remembrance ceremony
The War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, will mark the anniversary of 9/11 with a service of remembrance at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11. This event is free, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, visit


State official to address students
State Sen. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores — whose district includes the Grosse Pointes — will take part in University Liggett School’s Middle School Leadership Days by addressing students Sept. 8.

According to a press release, Leadership Days “are an integral part of University Liggett School’s commitment to nurturing leadership qualities among its eighth-grade students. The multi-day event encompasses a series of activities that focus on leadership and service-oriented learning. These activities are crafted to equip students with essential skills and insights as they transition into leadership roles within the middle school environment.”