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UDM Theatre Company and Ringwald Theatre announce a new artistic collaboration with "The Whale"

October 06, 2015

The UDM Theatre Company and the Ringwald Theatre announce their first artistic collaboration with their season opening production of The Whale. Performed at The Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale, Mich., Samuel D. Hunter’s award-winning dark-comedy play The Whale will open Friday, Oct. 2 and run sixteen performances through Monday, Oct. 26.

The WhaleAccording to Director Greg Grobis, “The Theatre Company’s social justice mission aligns perfectly with The Ringwald Theater’s edgy social justice values.  Providing a voice to the oppressed and acknowledgement that every person deserves love and equality is at the heart of both our theatres.”

The Whale exposes Charlie, a man mired in grief and personal conflicts surrounding the loss of his partner, his relationship to his ex-wife and his nearly estranged daughter. Confined to his home due to a physical malady, Charlie reaches out to the people in his life using the tool he knows best; the written word.  The Whale is a powerfully emotional piece which reveals one man’s great empathy for everyone but himself, with humor, honesty, and touching glimpses of human frailty.

The 2013 winner of the Lucille Lortel Best Play Award, Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theatre, The Whale will be performed at 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays.

The Whale does contain mature content and language.

Ringwald Artistic Director Joe Bailey will be portraying Charlie, a 600 pound man drowning in sorrow and love. The production has partnered with Mary Copenhagen at Wayne State University to design and build a life size fat suit that will bring Charlie to life.

Ringwald Executive Director Jamie Warrow will be the acting coach for the production and portraying Liz, Charlie’s fiercely protective friend and caregiver.

Associate Guest Artist Linda Rabin Hammell returns to work with the Theatre Company after being nominated for a Wilde Award in last season’s production of The Best of Enemies. Linda takes on the role of Mary, Charlie’s bitter ex-wife.

UDM Theatre major Greg Ettleman begins his senior year at UDM in the role of Elder Thomas, a Mormon missionary. Rounding out the cast is Savanah Wright in her freshman Theatre Company debut as Ellie, Charlie’s estranged  ‘hell-on-wheels’ daughter.

The production team includes Managing Director Greg Grobis, Scenic and Lighting Designer Alan Devlin, Costume Designer and Production Manager Melinda Pacha, and Ringwald Marketing associates Brandy Joe Plambeck and Meredith Deighton.

We are pleased to announce new Restaurant partnerships for The Whale. Just present your ticket or program before or after the show on the day of the performance and receive up to 50% off entrees, appetizers and discounted drinks!  Discounts vary by restaurant.  Some of our restaurant partners for The Whale include The Emory, Dino’s, M-Brew, and The Woodward Avenue Brewery in Ferndale!  Visit for more information on these new exciting perks!

Our new Network Nights are also the buzz around town.  These are informal gatherings in which UDM’s colleges, programs and organizations and community organizations have arranged with the theatre.  Attend the production, followed by an informal networking session at one of our restaurant partnerships. Get connected today!  Ticket discounts are available for Network Nights.  Please see the calendar of dates on our website for the most up-to-date events.

During the run of The Whale, each Monday performance will be a special Theatre Industry Network Night. The theater community is warmly invited to attend and they will receive a special $10 ticket rate for Monday evenings.

Individual tickets are now on sale and can be purchased and printed online by visiting Patrons can also order tickets over the phone by calling 313-993-3270.  Ticket Office hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. The ticket office will open 45 minutes prior to curtain at The Ringwald Theatre.

Individual ticket price for admission to The Whale is $25 for adults. The $22 discount admission is available for seniors, UDM faculty, staff, alumni, donors and Detroit residents. Student admission is $10 with valid high school, college or university ID *Please note that a $2 service fee is included in each ticket to cover ticket and processing costs.

Group rates are available. For more information on group rates and reservations, please contact UDM Theatre Company Ticket Office Manager Lisa Rybak at 313-993-3270.

Sponsoring The Whale are media partners Between The Lines, Detroit Metro Detroit, The Monitor, C&G Newspapers and

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