Contemporary human existence is explored and celebrated when Detroit Theatre Collective presents the Midwestern premier of Timothy McNeil’s “Anything.” Performances are on select dates this week and next at the Light Box Detroit.
The performance features Samantha Rogers, Mary Elizabeth Byrnes, Phillip J. Hughes, Mason Modzelewski, Tim Pollack, Justin Alesna, Gavin Welcher and Chris Berryman. Scenic design is by Laura King-Pazuchowski. The production is directed by T.M. Rawlins.
Details from the producers:
The Detroit Theatre Collective is proud to collaborate in the March staging of the Timothy McNeil’s 2007 play “Anything” at the Light Box in Detroit. This will be the Midwestern premier of the award-winning work.
The plot revolves around Early Landry, a recent widower from Mississippi, who is re-located to Los Angeles after a suicide attempt, to remain under the watchful eye of his sister. When Early chooses to move to his own apartment in a rough part of Hollywood, his stability is tested against his need to find independence. Soon he becomes charmed by his neighbors, one of whom is Freda Von Rhenburg, a transgender sex worker who is equally lonely. Friends first, their unlikely bond is the centerpiece of the play, and eventually matures into a tentative romance.
In another first, the Detroit premiere will feature a transgender actress, Samantha Rogers, playing the role of Freda. Rogers, who now resides in Redford, a Detroit suburb, has performed in film and theater across the United States for more than 30 years, and says she is thrilled to play this role. “Freda is a role that represents, on many levels, the experiences, struggles and pain that transgender women experience daily. I am deeply humbled to be given the chance to represent the transgender community in such a beautifully written role.”
“On a personal level it means so much more. I spent most of my life as a professional actor. But always in the wrong gender, pretending to be something I was not before I even set foot on stage. After so many years, to now have the chance to once again practice my craft, only now, finally, in the correct gender, is very simply a joy beyond words,” Rogers said.
The play’s director, T.M. Rawlins, lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, but met McNeil in Los Angeles while working there. Their friendship enabled the Detroit Theatre Collective to stage the show. “I’m so excited to bring this play to Detroit. Tim’s message of love, loss, and re-defining self after tragedy is timeless. The beauty of this work is watching these characters inspire one another to reach beyond the limits of how the world defines them,” Rawlins said.
Established in 2013, Detroit Theatre Collective’s mission is to “bend the rules and let in new realism,” according to its founder, Chris Berryman. Like Rawlins and Rogers, he thinks the play is both pertinent and accessible because it tells a very human story about love and loss. Actors in the play come from many local Metropolitan communities, including Dearborn, Detroit, Redford, and Troy. The play runs for two weekends, Thursday, March 5 to Sunday, March 8 and Thursday, March 12 to Saturday, March 14. Tickets are $20 and available in advance on Eventbrite, and at the door.
Light Box Detroit is located at 8641 Linwood, Detroit, MI 48206.