Croswell Opera House To Stage Tony-Nominated VIOLET

Croswell Opera House To Stage Tony-Nominated VIOLET

A Tony Award-nominated musical with folk, bluegrass and gospel influences will come to the southeast Michigan for two weekends when the Croswell Opera House presents VIOLET.

The show opens Friday, July 12, and runs for two weekends.

VIOLET is set in 1964 and tells the story of a young woman from North Carolina whose face bears the scar of a childhood accident. She travels across the country to seek healing from a television preacher, and the musical tells the story of her journey and the people she meets along the way.

"As soon as you watch the opening number, you get so invested in these characters," said Jen Letherer, who directs the show. "You'll laugh a little bit, you'll cry a little bit, but more than that, you'll really feel something."

The title role is played by Jamie Lynn Buechele of Ottawa Lake, who said she has loved the show ever since she first saw it in a production at Oakland University 10 years ago.

"Violet's journey allows me the opportunity to feel diverse ranging emotions and vulnerability on stage, which makes her relatable for an audience member, but even more than that, she makes me question parts of me and my past that I thought I knew," Buechele said. "I learn more from her every day."

The music takes its cues from the locations in the show, drawing on folk, bluegrass, gospel and blues styles as the show moves toward its conclusion.

"There's an intensity that builds throughout the show as she gets close to her destination," Buechele said.

Through much of her journey, Violet is joined by two soldiers who she meets on the bus: Flick, played by Drew Nauden of Toledo, and Monty, played by Brendan Coulter of Sylvania. Flick is African-American and Monty is white, and they provide a lens through which to view America in 1964.

The 1964 action is interspersed with flashbacks to Violet's childhood, in which Lillian Buck of Toledo plays 13-year-old Violet and D. Ward Ensign of Toledo plays her father.

Rounding out the cast and playing a variety of roles throughout the show are Meg Grzeszczak, Emily Hribar, Taieshia Tindall and Ja'Vaughn White, all of Adrian; Karl Kasischke of Ann Arbor; Mitchell LaRoy of Blissfield; Matthew Neuvirth and Debra Nichols of Milan; Angel Dorris of Sylvania; Sarah Nowak Rolko of Tecumseh; and Ashley Fox of Ypsilanti.

Domonique Glover is assistant director and choreographer for the show, and Leah Fox is the music director.

VIOLET opens July 12, with opening weekend performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. performance on Sunday. Performances the second weekend are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The show contains some mature subject matter and is recommended for adults and teens.

Tickets range from $20 to $40 for adults, $15 for students, and may be ordered by calling 517-264-7469 or online at croswell.org.



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