When Stormfield Theatre artistic director Kristine Thatcher returns from her summer job at Wisconsin's Dorr County Playhouse, she'll have a new theater waiting for her. It may be a temporary space - the building was previously a car wash, a  sporting goods store and a judo studio - but this facility in the Frandor Shopping Center will host the first staged production from Stormfield, which had previously performed a series of staged readings at various locations. 

    Last week, Stormfield lighting designer Tim Fox, administrative assistant CJ Ludwick and associate director Katie Doyle could be found cleaning up and refurbishing the location, near Tripper’s. No stage was set up yet, no curtains were hung, but it was beginning to take shape.

    “You have to use your imagination,” said Doyle, with a laugh.

    But not for too much longer: By the time “Among Friends” (which Thatcher is directing) opens Oct. 7, the space will be transformed into a cozy, 130-seat theater, complete with a box office, lobby area, green room, administrative office and a handicapped-accessible bathroom.

    “It’s just amazing,” Doyle said, showing off the building. “We’re really happy to be here.”

    Because of logistical and scheduling complications, many companies have to rehearse in locations outside the theater, which means actors don’t get to actually work on the
    stage until days before performances start. But there’s even enough room
    for a rehearsal area here. “That’s another golden thing: that we have
    rehearsal and performance space in the same place,” Doyle said.

    top of everything else, the Stormfield crew has even been able to
    utilize some remnants from the previous occupants: Foam rubber judo mats
    that were left behind were used to cover the building’s windows, so
    outside light won’t distract patrons from the onstage action. “We’re
    even being ‘green’ about this,” Doyle joked.

    Friends,” written by Thatcher, is a story of three longtime buddies who
    discover some underlying tensions and dark emotions in their
    relationships during a weekly poker game. The show is included in this
    year’s Stages of the Law series, and is scheduled to run Thursdays,
    Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31.

    of now, “Friends” is the only show scheduled for the new venue,
    according to Doyle, but she’s hoping Stormfield can stick around.
    “Kristine tied up this deal with Patrick Corr (of Corr Commercial Real
    Estate) because she thought this was the place for us to be,” she said.
    “It should be beneficial for the Frandor community, as well as for us.”

    start of Stormfield is only one of the events of the fall theater
    season. Here are the other productions scheduled through mid-December. Keep
    in mind all information is subject to change. Please contact theaters
    by phone or visit their websites to get the latest updates.

    “Caroline, or Change”

    Creek/Riverwalk): The civil rights movement and domestic upheavals
    change the life of an African-American maid in 1963 Louisiana. Sept.
    9-12, 16-19. Performed at Riverwalk Theatre, 228 Museum Drive, Lansing.
    (517) 482- 5700; www.riverwalktheatre.com

    “The Taming of the Shrew”

    (Bach Dor Shakespeare Co.): Temperamental
    Katharina battles her wily new husband Petruchio in Shakespeare’s
    raucous comedy. Sept. 17-19, 25-27. Albert White Theatre, Hannah

    “The American Clock”

    (Michigan State University): Williamston Theatre artistic director Tony Caselli directs Arthur Miller’s wideranging examination of American society — from hobos riding the rails to the Park Avenue penthouse set — during the Great Depression. Sept. 22-26, Sept. 29-Oct. 3. Auditorium Arena Theatre, MSU. (517) 432-2000 or (800) 942-7866; theatre. msu.com

    “Blue Door”

    (Williamston Theatre): An African- American math professor faces up to his heritage, with a little help from the ghosts of his ancestors. Sept. 23-26, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, Oct. 7-10, 14-17. 112 S. Putnam St., Williamston. (517) 655-7469; www.williamstontheatre.org

    “Noonies Masterpiece in Purple”

    (Mid-Michigan Family
    Theater): A budding abstract artist gets no rave reviews from her
    small-minded relatives, so she turns to the spirits of Georgia O’Keeffe,
    Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh for a little inspiration. Sept.
    24-26, Oct. 1-3. 440 Frandor Ave,. Lansing. (517) 339- 2145; www.freewebs.com/midmichfamilytheatre

    “Aesop Bops”

    (Wharton Center): Famous
    fables, such as “The Lion and the Mouse” and “The Turtle’s Shell,” are
    incorporated into a family-oriented musical from performer David
    Gonzalez. Sept. 26. Wharton Center, MSU. (517) 432-2000 or (800)
    942-7866; www. whartoncenter.com

    “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”

    (Lansing Community College): Everything you always
    wanted to see from Shakespeare but didn’t have time to watch is
    compressed into one frantic evening. Oct. 1-2, 8-9. LCC Black Box
    Theatre, Room 168 Gannon Building. (517) 483- 1488; www.lansingcommunitycollege.com


    (Riverwalk Theatre):
    With Hamlet, Gertrude, Ophelia and company now dead, Prince Fortinbras
    takes a stab at doing a little damage control; unfortunately, the ghosts
    have other plans. Oct. 1-3, 8-10. 228 Museum Drive, Lansing. (517) 482-
    5700; www.riverwalktheatre.com

    “Starry Night”

    (Starlight Dinner
    Theatre): A musical revue featuring local performers — including Mycah
    Artis, Cameron Bethea, Colleen Bethea, Chris Bethea, Danny Bethea,
    Joseph Baumann, Emily English Clark, Gordon Clark, Larry Clark, LeAnn
    Dethlefsen, Ben English, Abigail English, Emily Hadick, Bill Henson, Jim
    Noble, Joe Quick, Theresa Spisak, Barb Stauffer and Marty Underhill —
    kicks off the theater’s sixth season. Oct. 1-2, 8-9. Waverly East
    Intermediate School, 3131 W. Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 243- 6040;
    www.starlightdinnertheatre. info


    (Lansing Civic Players):
    An injured author of romance novels is nursed by a devoted fan with
    some unsettling ideas about life and literature. Oct. 14-17, 21-24. 2300
    E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 484- 9114, www.lansingcivicplayers.org.

    “Evil Dead: The Musical”

    (Michigan State
    University): Young people looking for a wild weekend in the woods get
    more excitement than they anticipate when they accidentally summon an
    army of bloodthirsty Candarian demons; based on director Sam Raimi’s
    cult horror films. Oct. 15-17, 20-24. Pasant Theatre, MSU. (517)
    432-2000 or (800) 942-7866; theatre.msu.com

    “The Farnsworth Invention”

    (Riverwalk Theatre):
    Writer Adam Sorkin (“A Few Good Men”) reveals the roots of television
    through the stories of scientist Philo T. Farnsworth and broadcasting
    kingpin David Sarnoff. Oct. 21-24, 28-31. 228 Museum Drive, Lansing.
    (517) 482- 5700; www.riverwalktheatre.com

    “Reasons to Be Pretty”

    (Peppermint Creek):
    Psst: If you want to end a relationship quickly, tell your partner that
    he or she has a “regular” face. That’s what happens to a seemingly happy
    couple in Neil LaBute’s dark comedy. Oct. 28-31, Nov. 4-6. Location to
    be announced. (517) 927-3016; www.peppermintcreek.org

    “Mary Poppins: The Musical”

    (Wharton Center): More
    than just a stage version of the classic 1964 Julie Andrews film, this
    adaptation also weaves in quite a bit of material from the original P.L.
    Travers books about the “practically perfect” nanny and her magical
    management skills. Nov. 4-21. Wharton Center, MSU. (517) 432-2000 or
    (800) 942-7866; www.whartoncenter.com

    “A View From the Bridge”

    (Lansing Community
    College): A Brooklyn longshoreman’s protective attitude toward his
    17-year-old niece leads to domestic discord and tragic consequences in
    Arthur Miller’s drama. Nov. 5-7, Nov. 12-13. Dart Auditorium, 500 N.
    Capitol Ave., Lansing. (517) 483-1488; www.lansingcommunitycollege.com

    “Time Machine”

    (All-of-us Express
    Children’s Theatre): An inventor and his cook are propelled into the far
    future, where they encounter two races: the passive Eloi and the greedy
    Morlocks. Nov. 5-6, 12-13. East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819
    Abbot Rd., East Lansing. (517) 333-2580 ext. 0; www.allofusexpress.org

    “The Trial of Tom Sawyer”

    (Mid-Michigan Family
    Theater): A fresh take on the timeless tale of a boy growing up and
    getting in trouble in the pre-Civil War South. Nov. 5-7,12-14. 440
    Frandor Ave,. Lansing. (517) 339-2145. www.freewebs.com/midmichfamilytheatre

    “Greater Tuna”

    (Williamston Theatre):
    Perhaps it takes a village to raise a child, but it only takes two
    actors to portray an entire Texas hamlet in this comic look at
    small-town life. Nov. 11-14, 18-21, 26-28, Dec. 2-5, 9-12, 16-19. 112 S. Putnam, St., Williamston. (517) 655-7469; www.williamstontheatre. org

    “A Shot in the Dark”

    (Lansing Civic Players):
    Nude cutie found unconscious with a gun in her hand and a dead lover
    nearby! No, it’s not the latest installment of the Paris Hilton saga —
    it’s a comedy that inspired the 1964 Peter Sellers film of the same
    name. Nov. 11-14, 18-21. 2300 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 484-9114,

    “As You Like It”

    (Michigan State
    University): All the world’s a stage — and the Forest of Arden is the
    next best thing to Lover’s Lane — in Shakespeare’s comedy about a
    noblewoman in disguise. Nov. 16-21. Pasant Theatre, MSU. (517) 432-2000
    or (800) 942- 7866; theatre.msu.com

    “A Tuna Christmas”

    (Starlight Dinner
    Theatre): Christmas, Texas-style, featuring the further hijinks of the
    residents of the hectic hamlet of Tuna. Dec. 3-4, 10-11. Waverly East
    Intermediate School, 3131 W. Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 243-6040;
    www. starlightdinnertheatre.info

    “Duck for President”

    (Wharton Center): From
    farmyard leader to state governor to … the White House? Such are the
    dreams of a plucky presidential candidate in this kid-oriented musical
    based on Doreen Cronin’s stories. Dec. 5. Wharton Center, MSU. (517)
    432-2000 or (800) 942-7866; www. whartoncenter.com

    "Northstar, May I Help You?: Santas Call Center”

    (Lansing Civic Players):
    A new musical by Oralya Garza, Chuck Dimick and Tony Sump. Dec. 9-12,
    16-19. 2300 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 484-9114, www.lansingcivicplayers.org.