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Detroit Public Theatre and Chautauqua Theater Company Bring Solo Theatre Productions to Public TV This Fall


Tune in October 26, 2020 at 8 p.m. EST.

Detroit Public Theatre and Chautauqua Theater Company Bring Solo Theatre Productions to Public TV This Fall

A groundbreaking collaboration created between two Great Lakes regional theatres, Detroit Public Theatre (DPT) and Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC) and PBS stations, Detroit Public TV (DPTV) and WNED PBS in Buffalo, is bringing two acclaimed solo plays to the small screen on October 26, 2020 at 8 p.m. EST.

Eric Gutman's heart-warming and hilarious solo concert, From Broadway to Obscurity, and Nilaja Sun's stunning exploration of the New York public school system, No Child..., will be simulcast on PBS affiliates in Detroit, Buffalo and Toronto. Audiences will be able to enjoy great theatre once again with the back-to-back broadcast of both productions from the comfort of their own homes.

Recordings for each were completed on August 28 and the filming process followed the strictest safety measures. Information on opportunities to view the plays on various streaming platforms will be forthcoming.

"At a time when gathering in a theater is not possible, we are honored to be collaborating on a unique project which demonstrates that even in these trying times, even in isolation, we can find ways to work together to create and share relevant and beautiful art," said Sarah Clare Corporandy, Producing Artistic Director at DPT and Managing Director at CTC. "While we know that there is no substitute to gathering together in a dark room and sharing stories, Detroit Public Theatre and Chautauqua Theater Company are grateful for the partnerships that made it possible to share these stories during this time of great pause in the performing arts industry."

Detroit audiences will recognize both productions from past DPT seasons. From Broadway to Obscurity graced DPT's stage in January 2016 as a part of its inaugural season, while No Child... made its DPT debut during season three in November 2017. No Child... was scheduled as part of CTC's 2020 Summer season, but due to Covid-19, the company's artistic leadership decided to present the production digitally, prompting the collaboration.

Eric Gutman's From Broadway to Obscurity, which was recorded at Detroit's Marygrove Theatre by Detroit Public TV, is a musical love letter to both Broadway and Michigan. At the peak of his career playing several roles in the Tony and Grammy award-winning smash hit Jersey Boys on Broadway, Eric Gutman made the decision to return to his hometown in Metro Detroit so he could raise his two young daughters close to family. Weaving together beloved songs from musical theatre and popular music, dead-on celebrity impressions, and sneak peeks at what goes on backstage at one of the biggest hits in Broadway history, Gutman, who made the transition from Broadway star to suburban Michigan Dad, will share his extraordinary gifts with audiences in this thrilling concert experience.

"This project shows the power of partnership in the arts," said Rich Homberg, president and CEO of Detroit Public TV. "We need theatre now more than ever. As these two plays demonstrate, it has the ability to speak to our souls, bravely and with compassion. During this pandemic, public television stations like DPTV have provided a platform for artists and arts organizations to reach audiences, allowing us to fill our screens with their wonderful performances and hopefully to fill their seats when it is safe to do so."

Written and performed by Nilaja Sun and taped in the studios at the WNED PBS in Buffalo with the support of the Chautauqua Theater Company, No Child... is a breathtaking solo show exploring the New York City public school system. Sun fearlessly transforms herself with rapid-fire precision into the teachers, students, parents, janitors, security guards, and administrators of a New York City public high school. Sun demonstrates how one determined woman can change the lives of countless others in this tour de force, crackling with wit and wisdom and showing us the transformative power of art.

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill says this partnership stands as a model for all times. "Nonprofit organizations best achieve impact through partnerships, and we could not imagine a collective of more inspirational and innovative partners than those that have assembled to bring this important work to a digital stage - and at a time when the world desperately needs reasons for hope and sources of enrichment," Hill said. "Before I even see the results I say 'Bravo!' to all involved."

These two works are vastly different in theme and form and will give audiences a taste of just how varied and transporting the work of solo performers can be. Detroit Public Theatre, Chautauqua Theater Company, DPTV, and WNED PBS are proud to share this celebration of solo work and display of extraordinary talent with our collective audience.

This program is funded in part by Cindy and Francis Letro, proud supporters of Buffalo Toronto Public Media and Chautauqua Institution and through the support of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan dedicated to supporting opportunities for arts organizations to find new ways to innovate.

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