Parallel 45 Theatre’s 2021 season starts today! Learn more about what to expect and explore four new Northern Michigan special events that P45 has just announced.

The professional company of more than 50 performers, designers and technicians, presents an annual summer repertory of productions that reinvent and reimagine classic stories, presenting them with fresh perspectives and ideas.

“We’re so excited to have this new safe summer to gather together and experience the performing arts again as a community,” says Joseph Beyer, Parallel 45’s new executive director. “We’re always looking for ways to keep conversations going and to enhance the experience people have when they come out. This summer, we need to celebrate more than ever so we’re trying some fun things too to keep reinventing what it can be like to enjoy live theatre and theatre culture.”

Main stage shows rotate daily and tickets can be reserved at—advance reservations are always recommended. P45 audiences will experience live performances from a comfortable distance on the lawn where small groups can be seated as voluntary pods. Guests can also pre-order picnic foods from Oryana Market to be delivered each night to the theatre for audiences, and enjoy local beers, wines and nonalcoholic drinks on Friday and Saturday nights.

What’s it feel like to be returning to the stage?

The excitement of being together again and back on stage is immense! For most of our actors and company members, this is the first time back in a production in over a year and a half. You can tell that they’ve been itching to get back into it. Watching them have a great time makes it all the more enjoyable. This summer’s theatre artists are unbelievably talented, and it’s a pleasure to get to experience what they’re building together.

Tell us about some special effects and costumes you’re especially excited about this season.

For “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” they are building a special costume for one of Snoopy’s numbers—I won’t spoil it. But, if you know the show, I think you’ll be a big fan of the look. As for “The Sound of Music,” you can count on a reimagining of the show, but we wouldn’t miss out on the inclusion of iconic moments—you’ll definitely see curtain outfits and a bit of yodeling. Director Kit McKay, the cast, and the entire production crew have put together a beautiful piece of theatre.

Is there a “moment” that stands out to you from this season’s shows that you think will also really connect with audiences?

The youth performers acting as the young von Trapp children in our production of “The Sound of Music” are fabulous, but you know what they say: “Nobody solves a problem like Maria.” That’s particularly true in this production. The first time I heard Maya Lagerstam, who plays our Maria, sing “I Have Confidence,” I broke into tears. The magic of performance, the magic of theater, the magic of live singing—that is a moment we’ll all feel this summer.

Photo by Harpe Star

Outdoor pod seating—love it. What else do you want to share about the venue?

Our bring-your-own-seating-or-blankets outdoor venue is focused around the beautiful P45 Amphitheatre at Civic Center Park. This space is so perfect for our first performances back after a year away from live entertainment—outdoors, fresh air, summer breezes, sunshine and space. We’ll have drinks, snacks, merchandise at all performances, a bar in coordination with Short’s Brewery on Friday and Saturday nights, and special pop-up food events throughout the season. Plus, we have an amazing partnership with Oryana for pre-order picnics delivered to our venue!

With new Executive Director Joe Beyer at the helm and Nick Viox joining as a year-round producing director, how is Parallel 45 poised to grow over the next few years?

Parallel 45 Theatre is, like everyone, excited to have live, on-stage theatre making a return this summer. We’ve all been looking forward to this so much! Our focus right now is providing the best experience to our patrons trying entertainment in public again for the first time. Our education arm is growing with camps and small group lessons, expanding in the fall to include more programming for a wider group of students. We’re so excited to see what the future brings to this nonprofit organization—and we hope that everyone will be along for the ride with us.

Parallel 45 Theater Events Calendar & Current Tickets

Ready to view the full upcoming events calendar for P45? Looking to purchase tickets for current shows? Click the button below to get started. 

4 New Special Events Just Announced!

Parallel 45 Theatre is adding several new events to its 2021 Summer Program.

Following the Thursday, July 15 performance of “The Sound of Music,” local pastor and ethics professor Anthony Weber will join director Kit McKay on stage for a conversation titled “The Role of Faith”—a non-denominational discussion about McKay’s artistic approach to the themes of faith in the iconic work, along with Weber’s interest in the portrayals of faith and ethics in pop-culture. The talk-back event will also take questions from the audience.

Local arts supporter and Traverse City’s mayor pro tem Amy Shamroe will join director Jesse Jou after the Wednesday, July 21 opening night performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in a conversation of Jou’s vision, and the themes and universe of famed children’s storyteller Charles Schulz. Originally from Houston, director Jou spent several years as a freelance theater director based in New York City before joining the faculty of Texas Tech University, where he currently serves. He was the artistic director of the 2010 Yale Summer Cabaret and served as the staff repertory director of The Acting Company. He is an alumnus of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project and the Drama League’s Directors Project. Jou received his MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama. Moderator Shamroe is the director of five international book awards, including the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and the director of the Traverse City Children’s Book Festival. She is also a member of the Read to Me collaborative and Friends of the Traverse Area District Library Board.

New York-based scenic designer Edward Morris will present a keynote on sustainability in the performing and theatre arts on Friday, July 23 at Crooked Tree Arts Center in downtown Traverse City. Morris has Michigan connections through attending Interlochen Center for the Arts, as well as being a third-generation family of cottagers in Frankfort. He is a passionate and acclaimed thinker about environmental issues in theatre, and a fierce advocate for sustainable practices in the arts. After designing the scenery for “The Sound of Music” at Parallel 45 Theatre, Morris will be the special guest of the Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Coffee@Ten Series, and this free presentation is co-hosted by Groundworks Center for Resilient Communities.

After all that they’ve given us during the pandemic, Parallel 45 is proud to present the first-ever “Dog’s Night Out” at the theatre on Tuesday, July 27 when dogs will be allowed to attend the theatre with their owners for one night only. Working with local dog behavioral specialist and trainer Jennifer Loup, the performance will feature special doggy snacks at the concession stand, a Dog Red Carpet for arrivals, and other surprises. Only socialized and well-behaved dogs and owners should attend, and dogs of similar sizes will have their own sections for guests along with special relief areas.

Photo(s) by Harpe Star