Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) announced its grant
awards for 2021-2022 and they included two for the Tibbits Opera Foundation and
Arts Council, Inc. – an Operational Support Grant and a Capital Improvement
This year’s Operational Support Grant award of
$19,500 represents a $4500 increase from last year. The grant includes funding
from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Capital Improvement Grant of $68,080
will fund the addition of a fire alarm system and additional egress lighting
for the historic theatre as well as continued investment in the theatrical and
lighting equipment. The Capital Improvement Grant requires a dollar-for-dollar
According to Tibbits Executive Director
Christine Delaney, “These awards provide an important boost to our annual
budget as well as our continued investment in the building. We are grateful for
both of the grants. The process is very competitive and it is always nice to
have affirmation of the work we are doing for our community.”
Both MCACA grants were awarded through the
peer review process and were among 594 applications competing for fiscal year
2022 funding. Through the review process grant applications were evaluated and
recommendations made to the MCACA Governor’s Council. The two grants to Tibbits
represent the only funding from MCACA for Branch County this year.
According to Alison Watson, Director of MCACA,
“It is really wonderful to see so many great grant applications. Especially
during these times, it is a strong affirmation that the field is still vibrant
and the value of our programs is appreciated.”
The Michigan Council for Arts and
Cultural Affairs is dedicated to ensuring that every citizen and community in
Michigan enjoys the civic, economic and educational benefits of arts and
Tibbits Opera House built in 1882 is owned and
operated by the Tibbits Opera Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
founded in 1962. Its mission is “to engage all in arts, culture, education and
the preservation of the historic Opera House.” To support the theatre’s general
operations or specifically the sound and theatrical equipment project go on
line to Tibbits.org, stop at the Tibbits offices at 93 W. Chicago St.,
Coldwater 9-5 Mon. through Fri., or call 517.278.6029.
Coldwater, MI – Tibbits Summer Theatre will open
its 58th consecutive season of professional performances on June 16
with a fun and elegant musical theatre revue, “The Best of Broadway” at The
Ponds of Coldwater.
Last summer while the historic opera house
remained shut down due to the pandemic, Tibbits became one of the few theatres in
the country to produce a summer theatre season. This year, amid continued
uncertainty, presenting outdoors at The Ponds became a certainty from which the
theatre could guarantee the best possible season.
In this opening show, professional actors will
showcase the greatest hits from Broadway—melodies that are guaranteed to have
audiences humming and tapping their toes to the most memorable moments in
musicals throughout the ages! With a variety of solos, duets, and ensemble
pieces, the performance will showcase selections from classic favorites like “Showboat,”
“Hair,” and “Phantom of the Opera,” along with new pieces from “Hamilton,”
“Waitress” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”
This original show is conceived by Tibbits
Artistic Director Peter Riopelle and written and compiled by director Charles Burr and musical director Matthew
Everingham. Burr and Everingham also collaborated last year to create “Sing
Happy,” “A Popped Potpourri,” and “When Radio Was King.”
While Burr has a long list of revues and
collaboration on his resume, the process for “The Best of Broadway” was his
first long distance creation. Burr explained, “It began in March with weekly
phone meetings to Matthew in New York to create a balanced show that flows
seamlessly in (mostly) chronological order. The difference in our ages [40
years] helps create a more comprehensive show. The songs we’ve chosen are great
for the performers we have as well as for honoring the best of Broadway.”
Theatre will feature a core group of professional company members from across
the United States. “The Best of Broadway” will include veteran Tibbits actors Stephanie
Burdick, Liz Davis, Max Gonzalez, Brooke Jackson, and Michael Motkowski along
with newcomer Nile Birch. The production will be directed by Charles Burr with music direction and music arrangement by Matthew
Everingham. It will feature lighting design by Catie Bencowe, set design by Stephanie
Burdick and Peter Riopelle, costume design by Dusti Donbrock, and sound design
by Henry Sendek. Lexa Walker leads the technicians as technical director with
Rachel Marengere as stage manager, and Josh Rockwell, Scott Pauley, and Leon
Kriser rounding out the technical staff.
“The Best of Broadway,” along with the rest of
the 2021 TST Season, is presented through the generous sponsorship support of
Coldwater Board of Public Utilities, Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C.; Parrish
Excavating, Inc.; and Frederick Family Dental. Additional sponsors include
Coldwater Orthodontics & Aligner Center; Dr. Jon & Seibra Herbener; The
Bushouse Family; ASAMA Coldwater
Manufacturing; Coldwater Exchange Club; Matthew C. Christopher, DDS; Great
Lakes Chiropractic; Honor Credit Union; and Vested Risk Strategies. Additional
funding is provided by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs
and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets for “The Best of Broadway” are $28
(including fees) for all seats, with discounts available to Tibbits members.
Performances will run June 16, 18, 22, 24 and 25 at 7:30pm and June 17 and 23
at 2pm. Tickets are
available online at Tibbits.org, at the Tibbits admin office at 93 W. Chicago
St. in Coldwater 9 am to 5 pm weekdays or by calling 517-278-6029.
All summer theatre performances
will be held at the beautiful outdoor event pavilion nestled among 30 acres of
lush landscaping at The Ponds of Coldwater, just minutes from the historic Tibbits
Opera House in downtown Coldwater. Golf carts are provided to transport guests
who need assistance from the parking lot to the pavilion. Please note that
Tibbits will follow COVID guidelines at the time performances take place. This
may still include universal masking while entering and moving throughout the
venue as well as social distancing. For more information call or visit
COLDWATER – Tibbits Opera House this
month began a much-needed upgrade to its electric service thanks in part to a
grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and support from
donors to the theatre’s ongoing restoration effort.
Tibbits Opera House was built in 1882
and was originally lit by gas lights. Electricity was added a few years later
and it has evolved and adapted over the next 138 years. The main electric box
is more than 80 years old and most of the system is more than 60 years old and
runs on single-phase power. The
electrical system feeds all of the theatrical needs for the theatre.
According to Mike Beckwith, Chair of Tibbits Building Committee, “Electricity represents the
heart of a system and its health is critical to meet any future plans. Simply,
the theatre’s electrical service
is at capacity; any future plans require the upgraded service.”
In 2013, Tibbits achieved a major
part of its restoration objective by fully restoring the theatre’s exquisite
original façade. While further restoration is planned, the upgrade of electric
is an important first step that can be completed now. It is essential to
upgrade to 3-phase power in
order to meet modern demands. Many of the theatre’s current lighting
instruments can adapt to a new electric system, however any new investment
necessitates the upgrade. As a more economical source, the upgrade will
immediately improve the efficiency of current boilers, air conditioning system
and the elevator.
Jepson Electric the project
contractor has already installed new panels on the back exterior wall of the
building. They are working on bringing service into the building at the
basement level. The transition from the old service to the new will be done in
steps so as not to interfere with the busy performance schedule. The project
will be completed this spring before Tibbits’ summer theatre season.
According to Tibbits Executive
Director Christine Delaney, “This is such an important and desperately needed
step. All of the infrastructure of the theatre is antiquated. People may not
understand or care what we’re doing but this work makes the building safer and
more efficient and allows us to look at other improvements.”
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) awarded Tibbits
Opera Foundation and Arts Council, Inc. two grants for the 2019-2020 funding
cycle. In addition to the Capital Improvement Grant the theatre received an
$18,000 Operational Support Grant. The latter includes funding from the
National Endowment for the Arts.
The Capital Improvement grant of $70,000 represents nearly half of the
total project cost.
Both MCACA grants were awarded through the peer review process which
allows each grant application to be competitively considered by a panel of
in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. The process ensures widespread
access across the state to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences.
Tibbits Opera House is located
at 14 South Hanchett Street in Coldwater, Michigan. It is owned and operated by the Tibbits Opera Foundation, a 501(c)3
nonprofit organization whose mission is “to engage all in arts, culture,
education and the preservation of the historic Opera House.” To support the
electric project or theatre’s general operations go on line to Tibbits.org,
stop at the Tibbits offices at 93 W. Chicago St., 9-5 Mon. through Fri., or
COLDWATER – Area
students will experience live theatre and storytelling as Tibbits presents its school
programming series this spring with four different shows at the historic
Coldwater Manufacturing has teamed with Tibbits to help the theatre present this
series, which will begin with “Life and Times of Harriet Tubman and the Underground
Railroad” on April 29 at 9:30am and 12:45pm. Storyteller Rosie Chapman brings
Harriet Tubman to life as she tells the life of the famous conductor on the
Underground Railroad. She involves the audience in an unforgettable experience
as she traces Mrs. Tubman’s life from childhood through adulthood.
12 and 13, Wild Swan Theater will delight elementary school audiences with “Frog
& Toad,” a play featuring two of Arnold Lobel’s most beloved characters,
Frog and Toad. This tale of friendship will take place at 9:30am and 12:30pm
Michigan Shakespeare Festival presents “Romeo and Juliet” on May 19 at 9am and
12pm. This Shakespearean tragedy of feuding families and forbidden love is the
perfect compliment to any high school curriculum.
to Tibbits Director of Operations Stephanie Burdick, “The arts have always been
a great way to compliment the lessons of the classroom—and this play was meant
to be seen, not just read. It’s perfect for students.”
Swan Theatre will conclude the series with their gripping drama of the Apollo
space mission, “Coding to the Moon” on May 21 at 9:30am and 12:30pm. This
production for middle and junior high students celebrates the life and work of
mathematician and computer scientist Margaret Hamilton whose brilliant work as
a young scientist broke new ground as she led the team that navigated the
Apollo missions to the moon.
program is also funded in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural
Affairs and the Michigan Humanities Council. The cost is $2 per person for all
performances except “Romeo & Juliet”, with $5 per person for that
information can be found at Tibbits.org.
To make a reservation for your school or homeschool group, please call
Tibbits at 517.278.6029. Arrangements should be made in advance as some
performances fill up. All performances will be held at the historic Tibbits
Opera House at 14 S. Hanchett St. in Coldwater, MI.
COLDWATER – With a gripping story and a surging contemporary
rock score, ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital, Pines Behavioral Health, and
Tibbits Summer Theatre present the dramatic rock musical “Next to Normal” on
the Tibbits stage for six performances, September 6-8 and 12-14, 2019.
on the book by Brian Yorkey, with lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt,
“Next to Normal” won the 2010 Pulitzer
Prize for drama and three 2009 Tony awards, including Best Musical Score. “Next to Normal” is a very real depiction of a
family in crisis trying to overcome the past. The story centers on a mother who
struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the
effects that managing her illness has on her family. The musical addresses grief, depression, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry, and suburban life through humor and tears.
Director Charles Burr says, “I find ‘Next to Normal’
exciting and rather daunting. It won every award possible for its
writing. That makes me excited to get my hands on it and determined to get it
right,” adding, “I love the music, a combo of rock and contemporary Broadway.
But it is not an easy score to sing. Fortunately, we have 6 wonderful
Along with Tibbits Artistic Director Charles Burr, Matthew Everingham joins “Next to Normal” as musical director. The cast, with returning professional summer theatre company members, is comprised of Stephanie Burdick as Diana, Taylor Joseph Rivera as Gabe, Matthew C. Scott as Dan, Jennifer Barnaba as Natalie, Michael Motkowski as Henry, and Sean Noonan as Doctor Madden/Doctor Fine. The technical staff includes set design by Aaron Bell and Rachel Lucas, lighting design by Catie Blencow, costume design by Marie Green, sound design by Ken Delaney, and props by Rachel Marengere.
Burr added, “I love how the story is told, but it is
told in a very non-linear, almost dream like sequence of short scenes. I
think we have designed a set that will help clarify the action. It has
been a long time since I have been able to work on show that is highly
dramatic, but has wonderfully humorous moments…you know–just like life.”
Pines and ProMedica have teamed with Tibbits to
present the show as a means of opening the dialogue on the very real issues of
mental health. ProMedica is
a mission-based, not-for-profit integrated healthcare organization
headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. Driven by its mission to improve health and
well-being, ProMedica has been nationally recognized for its advocacy programs
and efforts to address social determinants of health. Pines,
as the Community Mental Health Authority for Branch County, specializes in assisting
those with serious mental illness such as Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder,
Schizophrenia, Severe Anxiety and other brain conditions that impair functional
abilities due to the severity of symptoms. Tibbits has been producing
professional theatre for 55 years and has established its reputation for
This collaborative activity is sponsored by ProMedica
with additional support from Pines. The performance also received support from
the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Minigrant Program
administered by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.
“Next to Normal” will be presented September 6, 7, 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 pm and September 8 at 2 pm.
The show does include mature content and
some explicit language. The goal of the production is to bring
attention to mental health issues, dispel stigmas, and open up dialogues
through the art of live theatre. To encourage the open dialogue, each
performance will include informal discussions and Talkbacks to engage audience
members in the conversation with the performers and others involved.
Discussions will include health care professionals available for questions,
information, and assistance.
Burr says, “I know our sponsors are looking for this show to spark
a discussion about mental health, a topic that even in 2019 is still a really
taboo subject. The arts, and theatre in particular, have a long history
of shining a light on issues and helping to get that conversation going.”
Tickets for “Next to Normal” range from $10-$27 (including fees) with student and Tibbits member pricing. Tickets are currently available online at Tibbits.org, through the Tibbits Box Office at the theatre, or by calling 517-278-6029. To add to the Tibbits experience, Tibbits Ghost Light Bar in the theatre’s elevator lobby is open before the show and at intermission. All performances are held at the beautiful historic Tibbits Opera House, 14 S. Hanchett Street, in Coldwater. For more information, call or visit Tibbits.org.