Popular shows find their way to Macomb Center stage

By: Maria Allard | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published December 31, 2015

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Improv, cooking and bears ... oh my.

Shows based on these three topics and more will take center stage this month at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

If you’re hungry, join the Emmy Award-winning host of Public Television’s “Lidia’s Kitchen” and “Lidia’s Italy,” Lidia Bastianich, for an evening of conversation and storytelling celebrating Italian food at 7 p.m. Jan. 14. Ann Delisi, host of WDET’s “Essential Cooking” and “Essential Music,” will moderate the event.

For anyone who has Berenstain Bears fans in their family, here is their chance to see them perform live.

Brother Bear, Sister Bear, Papa Bear and Mama Bear will sing and dance in the new stage production “The Berenstain Bears Live! in Family Matters, the Musical” at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Jan. 24. According to show organizers, the event promises to be fun for the entire family.

Stan and Jan Berenstain originally published “The Berenstain Bears” in 1974. The family of bears proved so popular that the Berenstains have published more than 300 books, created three animated television series, made an upcoming feature-length movie, and now have the new musical coming out.

“The Berenstain Bears Live! in Family Matters, the Musical” is an adaptation of the Berenstain Bears books. The show, which runs 55 minutes, is recommended for kids ages 2-7.

Things will turn blue Jan. 26-28 with the return of the Blue Man Group to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. The Blue Man Group is best known for multimedia performances that feature three bald and blue characters who take the audience on a journey that is funny, intelligent and visually stunning.

The theatrical tour features new content highlighted by classic Blue Man favorites. The new sound, set and video design are centered around a proscenium-sized LED curtain and a high-resolution screen to create an entirely new, high-impact visual experience. The trio is accompanied by a live band.

“Our theatrical productions take a humorous look at what we like to call 2.5-D space,” Blue Man Group co-founder Philip Stanton said. “An example of what we mean by this would be emailing or texting the person in the next office, rather than walking over to talk to them face to face.”

“Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30. The improvisation show is family friendly. In the show, the audience votes for its favorite song and watches as the cast turns it into a full-blown improvised musical with characters, dialogue and plot twists.

When audiences arrive at the theater, they will find slips of paper and a giant fishbowl. They will be asked to think up the title of a song, write it down and put it in the bowl — not a song that actually exists, but a fictional song, like “My Cat Ate My Shoelaces.” If picked, it might inspire the musical for the night.

The month finishes out with “A Tribute to Benny Goodman” with the Julian Bliss Septet at 3 p.m. Jan. 31. The septet features Bliss on clarinet, Neal Thornton on piano, Martin Shaw on trumpet, Colin Oxley on guitar, Tim Thornton on bass, Ed Richardson on drums and Lewis Wright on vibraphone.

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is located at 44575 Garfield Road, at Hall Road, in Clinton Township. For tickets or more information, call (586) 286-2222 or visit www.MacombCenter.com.

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