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My Town Holland: Theatre production at Hope College marks milestone for professor | Arts & Culture

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My Town Holland: Theatre production at Hope College marks milestone for professor
My Town Holland: Theatre production at Hope College marks milestone for professor

HOLLAND, Mich. – Hope College’s production of “Middletown” by Will Eno is a particular milestone for longtime theatre professor John Tammi.

Under Tammi's direction, Hope College Theatre is presenting “Middletown” in the DeWitt Center main theatre. It began on Friday, Feb. 14, and is continuing Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 19-22. Performances are at 8 p.m.

The production is marking the end of an era in theatre at Hope;  it is the last play Tammi will direct before retiring.   Tammi, a professor of theatre, has been a member of the faculty since 1968 and is concluding his tenure at Hope at the end of the academic year.

“One of John’s great gifts as a director is his ability to bring out the heart in a piece of theatre.  He does this without sentimentality, but by directly confronting the humanity of the piece with honesty and depth,” said colleague Michelle Bombe, director of theatre.  “It is fitting that he has selected as his last directing project with us, a Will Eno play.   Eno is a playwright with a unique voice who excels in presenting the issues of specific common lives while actually probing deeper questions of existence that are universal.”

“Middletown” was named the first recipient of the Horton Foote Prize in 2010 for Promising New American Play.  “Middletown” explores the lives of people in a small American town who search for meaning and relevance with humor and poignant telling of their stories.

In addition to director Tammi, the production team includes junior Molly McNair of Belleville, Wis., costume designer; faculty member Michelle Bombe, costume design mentor; junior Tessa Schultz of Grinnell, Iowa, scenic designer; faculty member Richard Smith, scenic design mentor; faculty member Perry Landes, lighting designer; and junior Josh McCammon of Ann Arbor, sound designer. Staff members include Paul Anderson, technical director; and Darlene Veenstra, costume shop manager. The show is stage managed by junior Alexandra Leppek of Freeland. The assistant stage manager is freshman Rebekah VanSlooten of Allendale.

The cast includes senior Joel Brogan of Holland; junior Dylan Connor of Tallahassee, Fla.; senior Molly Coyle of Holland; senior Katie Gabriel of Holland; freshman Kelsey Marie King of Traverse City; freshman Sydney Luse of Elburn, Ill.; freshman Zach Makowski of Detroit; sophomore Mandy Scott of Newberry; junior Alexander Sloan of Ann Arbor; senior Ashley Shanice Weatherspoon of Schaumburg, Ill.; and sophomore Mason Yoder of Millersburg, Ohio.

Tickets for “Middletown” are general admission, and are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens and Hope College faculty and staff, and $5 for children 18 and younger and Hope students, and are available at the ticket offices in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse, 222 Fairbanks Ave., and the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center, 100 E. Eighth St. Both offices are open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available online at hope.edu/ticketoffice/ or by calling (616) 395-7890.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.