Traverse City is now home to a state-of-the-art, outdoor performance venue showcasing Northwest Michigan’s only professional summer repertory theatre. The collaboration between Parallel 45 Theatre, Grand Traverse County Parks & Recreation and Cornerstone Architects will create a permanent home for Parallel 45’s summer programming in Civic Center Park.

The professional theatre company will produce a four-week season (July 11–August 4) featuring three wildly different shows that alternate daily. Audiences can see a brand-new musical one day then return the next to see an entirely different play.

The 2019 season will generate innovative theatre giving three familiar stories the signature Parallel 45 twist. The season opens with Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, featuring era-defining rock anthems and pointed comparisons to modern times. Following is an imaginative new play by Anne Washburn, Little Bunny Foo Foo, based on the classic children’s song. Finally, Stupid F**king Bird, an uber-contemporary remix of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, offers a hilarious take on the Russian classic.

Read this Traverse Magazine feature about Parallel 45 Theatre.

“After eight years growing this organization, we are thrilled to open an outdoor performance venue in this beautiful public space,” says Parallel 45 Artistic Director Kit McKay. “We believe this new theatre signifies great things for our area. Traverse City isn’t just a top-ranking recreational and culinary spot, but a cultural destination as rich and diverse as any major metropolitan area.

“I get a lot of quizzical looks when I tell people in other cities there’s a company bringing professional talent from around the country, and the world, to Traverse City, Michigan. One of my favorite parts of my job is introducing artists from New York, Chicago, LA and Europe to Northern Michigan. Once these exemplary actors, directors, designers and technicians get their first taste of our region, they are enchanted for life. And I get to be the messenger!”

Purchase tickets at, by calling 1-800-836-0717, or at the MyNorth Box Office at 125 Park St., Traverse City.

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

This beloved musical, directed by Kit McKay, joyfully dissects an era when the thrill of rebellion became a powerful force against intolerance, subjugation and war. One of the most popular shows around the globe, Hair brought the 1960’s counterculture revolution to a mass audience. This production will draw a pointed comparison to our current socio-political atmosphere set to the beloved soundtrack of a generation. Music direction by Joanna Li (PlayMakers Repertory Company). Choreographed by Jennifer Lott and Brent Whitney of the Traverse City Dance Project.

Little Bunny Foo Foo

A brand-new play with music based on the classic children’s song “Little Bunny Foo Foo hoppin’ through the forest…” Written by Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play) and featuring the music of Tony-nominated composer Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812). This playful production showcases “a saucy bunny who just can’t stop boppin’ all the field mice on the head” to the delight of children (ages 4+) and adults. Directed by Katherine M. Carter (Westport Country Playhouse, Houston Grand Opera) with Music Direction by Joanna Li (PlayMakers Repertory Company).

Stupid F**king Bird

In this ferociously funny Twitter-age remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, author Aaron Posner stages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, tradition and revolution. Torrid love triangles, philosophical war-waging and foot-stomping hilarity will inspire raucous delight. This production features Wilde award-winner David Montee (The Purple Rose Theatre) appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association. Directed by Matthew Gutschick (The Rose Theater, Omaha).

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