If you are a fan of the performing arts, then this is a great time to consider coming out to see a show at Ann Arbor’s Performance Network Theater – the area’s only professional theatre, formed in 1981, which continues to provide uncompromising artistic leadership in the region by producing both established and challenging new works that engage, challenge, and inspire audiences. There are still a few days left to catch Conor McPherson’s play THE SEAFARER, which was extended through July 25th due to its popularity, positive reception by audiences, and huge acclaims — you don’t want to miss your chance to see this show if you’ll be in the area! And, in just two more weeks, Laine Robertson’s WOMAN BEFORE A GLASS, another one sure to wow audiences, is set to begin.

seafarer1“Seafarer”, directed by Malcolm Tulip, is about four Irish men who, on Christmas Eve, gather in a sloppy house in a Dublin suburb for an all-night bender of drinking and poker. But the stakes of their card game rise exponentially and the night takes a dark turn when a mysterious stranger arrives and wants a piece of the action. This rich, earthly tall tale – filled with colorful characters and steeped in Irish myth – is darkly funny and surprisingly inspiring. Nominated for the 2008 Tony Award for best play, the show has been described by New York Times critic Ben Brantley as “a thinking person’s alternative to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ as a flagon of Christmas cheer.” Other critics say of the performance: “Seafarer is devilish fun”…“It’s such a well-developed, character-driven dramatic comedy. That was the initial appeal. It’s just great storytelling and it really pulled me in.”… “My only complaint is that I couldn’t stay longer!”… “The Seafarer may be seen as a tale of man’s redemption, or merely an example of the power of myth. But whichever way one chooses to view it, it is definitely what good theater is about.”

wb4g1“Woman Before a Glass”, also directed by Tulip and set to run from August 5-September 5, is a show which depicts life as a work of art — it describes the life happenings of outspoken, convention-flaunting heiress, Peggy Guggenheim, who collected modern art…and modern artists. In this Obie-winner, Guggenheim (played by Naz Edwards) tells it all: from her father’s death on the Titanic, to saving art from the Nazi invasion of Paris, to her history of famous lovers, including Miro, Dali, and Picasso.

If you plan to come out to see either of these fabulous shows, you may want to consider spending a night or two in Ann Arbor, for the theater is just one of the many cultural opportunities offered to you in the area. After all, Ann Arbor’s charm lies in the fact that it possesses the best features of a large city, offering various entertainment, dining, shopping, and cultural options, yet still retains the intimacy of a smaller town — and a night out at the Performance Network Theater is just one such example of a way to take advantage of all that the area has to offer. A great option for your overnight staying needs is the local, family-run Lamp Post Inn, an Ann Arbor hotel located less than three miles from the Performance Network Theater. Simply go to http://www.lamppostinn.com to make reservations or check for availabilities.