ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) - "Palmer Park" was inspired by a defining moment in Detroit's history.
Just as the Trayvon Martin case in Florida has raised a range of issues -from racial profiling to definitions of self-defense - the drama, Palmer Park, paints a complex portrait of a Detroit neighborhood, and revisits the issues of that were forefront in 1968.
The show runs May 11-20, on the 2nd Stage at the Baldwin Theatre located at 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. Tickets are available at www.stagecrafters.org or at the box office: (248) 541-6430.
The play’s namesake, Detroit’s stately neighborhood, in the aftermath of the 1967 riots that devastated the city is the setting for this provocative exploration of social class, community and race. The author, Joanna McClelland Glass says, “ Palmer Park isn't so much about race as it is about the educational gulf between the haves and the have-nots.”
This moving story involves Martin and Kate Townsend (Lee Taylor of West Bloomfield and Rita E. Smith of Royal Oak) who move their family to Detroit for his job at the local university. They are pleasantly surprised to discover their dream home for less money than they ever imagined. But the home is only the beginning of their new life.
With it comes a dynamic neighborhood full of idealistic young professional families, both black and white, determined to stem the flight of white residents and maintain racial integration in their upscale neighborhood and its local elementary school, as unrest chips away at the city around them.
Kate and Martin are quickly drawn into a whirlwind of parties and school fundraisers with a diverse mix of other neighborhood parents: Fletcher and Linda Hazelton (Randy M. Stewart of Ferndale and Mycky Mylls of Detroit), Sol and Harriet Rifkin (Daniel Fuller of Ferndale and Ellie McIvor-Baker of Detroit), Ron and Alice Marshall (Drew Hall of Detroit and Sammie Edwards of Beverly Hills), and Phil and Gretta Lamont (Daniel T. Muldoon of Madison Heights and Julie Fuller of Ferndale).
Life in Palmer Park seems like paradise until parents from an adjacent working-class neighborhood look to Palmer Park’s school to relieve overcrowding, a move that the Palmer Park residents fear threatens to unravel the neighborhood’s hard-won but fragile racial balance and high quality of life.
“ Palmer Park is about Detroit, yes, but even more the play is about dreaming of the possibility of a better world," says director Tom Krell of Royal Oak. " The five couples in the play are dreamers, activists, committed parents and lovers of the city that was struggling in 1968 much the same as it is struggling today,” says Krell.
Kell adds, “Many of us of a certain age -- my wife Sandy and I included -- will see themselves and their friends in this show. We feel that many others will be enriched with a better understanding of those tumultuous years in Detroit. Ultimately a message of hope comes through in the friendships and the community spirit that are established by these five brave couples."
Palmer Park’s first presentation was at the Studio Theatre at the Stratford Festival during its 2008 season.
Post-show talkbacks are scheduled for the May 12 th and May 19 th performances. Guest speakers include John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press Business and Architecture writer (May 12 th) and Dr. Nat Pernick, Detroit College Promise CEO (May 19 th).
In honor of Mother’s Day, all women attending on Sunday, May 13 th performance will receive a fresh flower.
Advance tickets for regular performances are $14.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa and MasterCard. All seats are reserved. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket.
The 2nd Stage is a black-box theatre located in the former balcony of the Baldwin Theatre.
Show dates and time:
Friday, May 11 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 12 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 13 2:00 pm
Thursday, May 17 8:00 pm
Friday, May 18 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 19 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 20 2:00 pm
Palmer Park Cast and Staff by Community
Sammie Edwards (Alice Marshall)
Drew Hall (Ron Marshall)
Ellie McIvor-Baker (Harriet Rifkin)
Mycky Mylls (Linda Hazelton)
Daniel Fuller (Sol Rifkin)
Julie Fuller (Gretta Lamont)
Randy M. Stewart (Fletch Hazelton)
Daniel T. Muldoon (Phil Lamont)
Sandy Krell (Asst Director)
Tom Krell (Director)
Rita E. Smith (Kate Townsend)
Carol Windorf (Producer)
Lee Taylor (Martin Townsend)
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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