April 6 2011 12:00 AM

A second harvest of ’Grapes of Wrath’


Since its publication in 1939, John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” has moved generations with its depiction of the struggles faced by Americans during the Great Depression.

According to Michigan State University Theatre Professor Ann Folino White, it’s a story with renewed relevance.

White directs the MSU Department of Theatre’s production of Frank Galati’s Tony-winning adaptation, opening tonight.

“With the economic conditions being what they are, this is the right moment for it,” she said. “This story continues to be told because it depicts a truly American tragedy.”

“Grapes” follows the Joad family on their journey from the ecological desolation of 1930s Oklahoma to California as they seek out a new home and new financial opportunities. The MSU production is presented in “storytelling mode” by a pair of troubadours that use songs from the era to illustrate the family’s struggles with poverty and displacement.

“The musicians really are the sound designers for this show,” White said.

Despite the music, White promises a different interpretation of the novel than we saw in the opera version staged recently by the MSU College of Music.

“I hope people will come away with a sense of what can be accomplished when people take responsibility for each other,” she said.

’The Grapes of Wrath’

State University 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, and Thursday, April 7; 8
p.m. Friday, April 8; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9; 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 10 MSU Auditorium Building (Concert Auditorium), MSU $15
adults; $13 seniors (over 60); $10 students (517) 355-6690

LCC spins ’Sidewalk Fairytales’

We’ve all heard that old song about making your own kind of music — but what about making your own kind of musical? That’s what director Janine Novenske Smith is planning at Lansing Community College this weekend. "Sidewalk Fairytales" combines tunes from shows such as "The Wiz," "In the Heights" and "A New Brain" with a selection of vintage Top 40 favorites to tell the story of a group of street performers dealing with city life.

The script was conceived through improv exercises conducted by Novenske Smith and her cast of 19 performers.

"Sidewalk," which raises funds for LCC music scholarships and programs, is choreographed by Karyn Perry; John Dale Smith is the music director.

’Sidewalk Fairytales’

8 p.m. Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 10. Lansing Community College. Dart Auditorium, 500 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing. $10 suggested donation. (517) 483-1488

Riverwalk sings a song of spring

The Singers on the Grand and the seven-piece Grand Band perform two shows this weekend at Riverwalk Theatre. The tentative set list for "Our American Songbook" includes selections from "Guys and Dolls" and "Mary Poppins," as well as such standards as "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Don’t Fence Me In" and more.

Singers on the Grand

p.m. Saturday, April 9, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10 Riverwalk Theatre
228 Museum Dr., Lansing $10 all seats in advance; $12 at the door (517)
482-5700 www.riverwalktheatre.com

Spring courses at Mid Michigan Family Theatre

Got the acting bug?

If so, the Mid Michigan Family Theatre offers you the chance to realize your potential with two spring acting courses.

The five-week sessions run April 13-May 11 and include “Acting Exploration” and “Scene Study.” “Exploration” will present general ideas of acting through activities such as improvisation and pantomime, while “Scene Study” is designed to strengthen acting skills through monologue and scene work.

The spring session fee is $30. Call (517) 339-2145 for more information. Mid- Michigan Family Theatre is located at 440 Frandor Avenue in Lansing.

LCC Summer Stage auditions announced

The Lansing Community College Performing Arts Department has announced audition information for its 2011 “Summer Stage Under the Stars.”

“The Ballade of Robyn Hood,” a play with music, auditions at 9 p.m. Tuesday, and at 7 p.m. April 14, in LCC’s Black Box Theatre.

The show will be performed June 15-19 and is directed by John Lennox.

“Keep On the Sunnyside: The Songs and Story of the Original Carter Family” auditions at 7 p.m. April 18, in LCC’s Black Box Theatre. Auditioners should prepare the songs “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” and “Bury Me Beneath the Willow.” Accompaniment will be provided, but the accompanist prefers not to transpose.

For those auditioning for the role of Sara, please learn both the harmony and lead of "Bury Me Beneath the Willow." For those auditioning for A.P., please learn his vocal part. These songs are available on YouTube, if you search for the Carter Family.

"Sunnyside" will be performed June 29-July 3.

“The C/d Project,” the annual dance collaboration between LCC and Happendance, has auditions for choreographers from 6-7:30 p.m. April 22; auditions for dancers are 6-7:30 p.m. April 29. Both sessions are in Room 372 of the Gannon Building.

Performances of "The C/d Project" will be July 27 and 28.

No open auditions will be held for “Metamorphoses,” which features students in the 2nd Semester Theatre Studio class. Its production dates are July 20 to 24.

Call (517) 483-1488 for more information.