Riverwalk Theatre invites audiences to travel back in time in romantic comedy

Act I: Romance and witchcraft cast a spell at Riverwalk’s Black Box

Riverwalk Theatre invites audiences to step back in time now through Oct. 2 as it rings in the season of spookswith the play that inspired the “Bewitched” television series.

Set in the late 1950s, “Bell, Book and Candle” is a romantic comedy in which a Greenwich Valley witchcasts a love spell on an unwitting publisher who is engaged to her former college rival.

Director Amy Rickett said she watched the Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak movie and discovered it was based onthe play. Gillian Holroyd (Calia Conklin) is the modern-day witch living in New York and ShepherdHenderson (Lewis C. Elson) is the charming publisher. In the play, Gillian starts to fall in love,which is a problem because if she does, she’ll lose her powers.

Others in the show are her Aunt Queenie (Margo Guillory), cousin Nick (Nick Lemmer) and eccentric author Sidney Redlitch (Jeff Magnuson).

Rickett expects the audience to be spellbound.

“The cast is top shelf,” Rickett said. “The actors came to work every night to find ways of making thisshow authentic and fun.”

Staged in Riverwalk’s Black Box, the show welcomes two newcomers. Elson is a classically trained Britishactor and Guillory has come to Lansing after graduating from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in acting. Bothhave high praise for Rickett and Riverwalk.

“As someone not from these shores, I’ve always been curious about how Americans adapt theirtheater,” Elson said. “I have to say this has easily been my favorite to be involved in due to Amy’sdirectorial style.”

“’Bell, Book and Candle’ has been unlike any other show I’ve worked on,” Guillory said. “Everythingabout putting together this show has been pure magic.”

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are availableat riverwalktheatre.com.

Act II: Stars and students collaborate to create new musical

For the ninth straight year, Michigan State University’s Wharton Center and Department of Theatre iscollaborating with Broadway stars and local high school actors to be part of creating a new musical.

The ĭmáGen program invites the public to a staged performance of the new musical, “In Emily’sWords.” It will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.

The musical is written by Jessy Tomsko, a folk singer-songwriter. It is guest directed by Susanna Wolk, aNew York theater and film director who was recently the tour director for “Waitress.” The guest musicdirector is Keiji Ishiguri, a New York pianist, musical director, orchestrator and teacher.

“In Emily’s Words” is the story of English novelist Emily Bronte as she writes “Wuthering Heights.” It tellsof the challenges she faced as a female writer in the 1840s, battling illness and adversity.

This production features Jonathan Christopher, a Broadway baritone who understudied Aaron Burr andGeorge Washington in “Hamilton.” He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in voiceand opera. In 2013, he was in two operas at the Michigan Opera Theatre, “La Traviata” and “The FlyingDutchman.”

He’ll be joined by other Broadway talent along with MSU musical theater students and local high schoolactors.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and youth.


Lansing’s Refugee Development Center will be hosting a concert from 4-6p.m. Sept. 25 at the University United Methodist Church, 1120 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing. It is a freeconcert, but donations will be accepted to help area refugees. Musicians include Judy Kabodian,Rich Illman and Sally Potter. Poets include Laura Apol, Ana Cardona, Ulyana Maystrenko andRuelaine Stokes. Erika Brown Binion, the director of the Refugee Development Center, will speakand “Refuge Lansing,” a photo exhibit featuring the stories of refugees who are now at home inLansing, will be on display in the lobby.

Musique 21 will perform “Musical Structures” at the Fairchild Theatre on MSU’s campus at 7:30p.m., Monday, Sept. 26. The concert features compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Riverwalk Theatre invites audiences to travel back in time