Three Oaks Theater Festival announces its 2014 season The expanded season includes Exit Strategy, Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie, The Normal Heart (Staged Reading) and others to be performed in multiple venues throughout Harbor Country, MI

Co-founders John Stoops, Tim Evans, and Marc Grapey proudly announce the second season of Three Oaks Theater Festival, a summer theater festival that brings limited-engagement runs of highly-acclaimed, professional productions to audiences in Harbor Country, Michigan. This expanded season is being performed in creative venues throughout Harbor Country, including the Acorn Theater, Vickers Theatre, and the historic Lakeside Inn. Three Oaks Theater Festival is presented with major support by The Pokagon Fund.

The 2014 Three Oaks Theater Festival will present the family-friendly Blair Thomas & Co.’s A Piano with Three Tales;Dennis Watkins’ The Magic Parlour; a staged reading of TimeLine Theatre’s The Normal Heart; David Lutken inWoody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie; Jackalope Theatre’s Exit Strategy; and Seanachaí Theatre Company’s Hughie.

Information and tickets are available at or call 866-811-4111.

“Last summer’s inaugural season of the Three Oaks Theater Festival was an unequivocal success. This summer, we are bringing even more productions to unique venues throughout the area. We couldn’t be more thrilled with this season and we can’t wait to share it with visitors and residents of beautiful Harbor Country,” says John Stoops.

Co-founders Tim Evans and Marc Grapey comment, “We are so pleased to present some of the finest theatrical productions from Chicago. Also, this summer’s festival will be produced in multiple venues— including the beloved Acorn Theater, the Vickers Theatre and the historic Lakeside Inn—to create a unique theater experience for the entire community. This festival marks a not-to-be-missed season filled with music, magic, drama and comedy.”

Three Oaks Theater Festival is presented with major support by The Pokagon Fund.

The 2014 Three Oaks Theater Festival Season is:


Presented by Blair Thomas & Co.

Saturday, July 5, 11:00am ET (10:00am CT) and 2:00pm ET (1:00pm CT)

Free puppet workshop for families on Friday, July 4 at 2:00pm ET (1:00pm CT)

Performed at Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks, MI

Ticket prices: $15

Ages: All Ages

In this production – a classical piano recital masquerading as puppet show – young audiences experience masterworks by monumental composers, not to mention an enthralling tune for toy piano (yes, toy piano!). Three pieces for piano are collected in this hour-long spectacle for children and children-at-heart, all performed in their entirety, live, by acclaimed pianist Mary Rose Norell. Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Frederic Chopin’s Scherzo in b flat minor, and Stephen Montague’s Mirabella a Tarantella (for toy piano) are each realized by a cast of Blair Thomas’s handmade puppets of all kinds, from bunraku dolls to larger-than-life human-sized costumes. Featuring brand-new characters and narratives, this delightful family show exercises the imagination and reveals the magical power of wordless music.

Free Workshop – The Puppet Tells The Story (Friday, July 4 at 2:00pm ET – Acorn Theater)

This workshop introduces children to the art of storytelling with puppets. Participants write a short story that is translated into 2 dimensional rod puppets and performed as a puppet skit. Working in small groups, participants use paper, cardboard, ink markers, sticks and hot glue to create the puppets and scenery.


Featuring Dennis Watkins

Saturday, July 5, 5:00pm ET (4:00pm CT) and 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)

Performed at Lakeside Inn, 15251 Lakeshore Rd, Lakeside, MI

Ticket prices: $25

Ages: The Magic Parlour is best enjoyed by adults and children age 10 and older.

Direct from the Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago, award-winning, third-generation magician Dennis Watkins delivers an evening of sophisticated tom-foolery in a truly unique entertainment experience. The Magic Parlour is replete with mind-blowing magic and mind reading in an intimate setting at the historic Lakeside Inn.

Special Benefit Performance

A staged reading of


By Larry Kramer

To benefit the Three Oaks Theater Festival

Directed by Nick Bowling

Featuring the original TimeLine Theatre cast including David Cromer, Mary Beth Fisher and Marc Grapey

Saturday, July 12, 7:00pm ET (6:00pm CT)

Performed at Vickers Theater, 6 N. Elm St. Three Oaks, MI

Ticket prices: $50 (wine and beer included with pre-show comments from the Director and a post-show reception with the cast)

Ages: 18+

Special, one-night-only reunion of the original TimeLine Theatre cast including MacArthur Fellow David Cromer and Jeff Award Winners Marc Grapey and Mary Beth Fisher. Wine and beer included with pre-show comments from the Director and a post-show reception with the cast.

TimeLine’s production in 2013 was the first Chicago staging of this landmark play since its Tony-Award winning Broadway run in 2011. Set at the height of the public and private indifference to the AIDS plague in the early 1980s, this staged reading will feature acclaimed actor/director David Cromer as a passionate activist leading the fight to awaken the world to the crisis. Along the way he, and the community he leads into the battle, must face the deeply held fears that led so many to remain silent for too long.


Devised by David M. Lutken with Nick Corley and Darcie Deauville, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein

Directed by Nick Corley

Featuring Jeff Award Winner David M. Lutken

Friday, July 18, 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)

Saturday July 19, 4:00pm ET (3:00pm CT) and 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)

Performed at Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks, MI

Ticket prices: $30-$35

Ages: 12+

Woody Sez is a joyous, toe-tapping, and moving theatrical concert event that uses Woody’s words, and over twenty-five of Woody’s songs to transport the audience through the fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes tragic life of Woody Guthrie. Performed by a talented group of four versatile actor/musicians who play 15 instruments ranging from guitar and fiddle to jaw harp and dulcimer and also bring to life the many people who are the fabric of Woody Guthrie’s amazing story. The combination of the cast’s infectious enjoyment, Woody’s incredible journey, and a stirring mix of moving ballads and energetic foot-stompers make this a must see. Woody Guthrie gave voice to the beauty and struggles of the common man and Woody Sez gives the same to the spirit of the man himself.


By Ike Holter

Presented by Jackalope Theatre

Directed by Gus Menary

Featuring the original Jackalope Theatre cast

Saturday July 26, 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)

Sunday, July 27, 1:00pm ET (12:00pm CT)

Performed at Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks, MI

Ticket prices: $30-$35

Ages: 16+

From the acclaimed writer of Hit the Wall and Loom, comes the story of a Chicago public high school slated for closure at the end of the year. The impending shut-down causes tensions in the school’s already volcanic neighborhood to rise to the breaking point, but a small group of teachers launch a last minute battle to save the school. Over the course of the year, they put their careers, their future and their safety in the hands of a fast talking administrator who comes on strong but might actually have no clue what he’s doing.


By Eugene O’Neill

Presented by Seanachaí Theatre Company

Directed by Kevin Fox

Featuring Brad Armacost

Friday, August 1, 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)

Saturday, August 2, 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)

Performed at Lakeside Inn, 15251 Lakeshore Rd, Lakeside, MI

Ticket prices: $25

Ages: 16+

Eugene O’Neill’s classic two-character play is set in the lobby of a hotel early one morning in the late 1920s. Its characters are the hotel’s gray and withdrawn night clerk, and “Erie” Smith, a penny-ante gambler who has spent most of his last 15 years at the hotel between periods of drunkenness. His most recent bender was prompted by the death of the title character, who was the night clerk’s predecessor. Erie babbles through tales of his life’s imaginary successes, as well as his panicky optimism for the future. The night clerk can only listen to this study in fraudulent glibness, which is touching, revealing and a telling measure of what is behind this man’s delusions. O’Neill renders a palpable journey into Erie’s soul that both invites and compels us to join Erie in supportive community along his path of mourning to ultimate redemption.

About the Co-Founders

John Stoops performed, directed and produced countless shows in Chicago. Soon after, he joined the cast of Boom, a European-based comedy ensemble and toured internationally. John’s business experience includes many years with Chicago advertising giant Leo Burnett where he served as Vice President-Account Director and led the development of world class brands for several Fortune 500 companies. John is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He received a Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Tim Evans is the Executive Director of the award-winning Northlight Theatre in Skokie. Since his arrival in 2007, Evans has overseen the Theatre’s new branding campaign, Leadership fundraising campaign, new board development, revamped arts education initiatives and a five year strategic plan. Prior to his arrival at Northlight, Tim spent a 20-plus year career at Steppenwolf Theatre where he served in management and producing positions. He created, curated and produced Steppenwolf’s acclaimed TRAFFIC Series which included a partnership with Chicago Public Radio for subsequent broadcasts. Tim founded Steppenwolf Films, of which he is still a partner with Gary Sinise, Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry, to develop film and television projects. He produced the feature films Diminished Capacity with Matthew Broderick (premiered 2008 Sundance Film Festival) and The Last Rites of Joe May with Dennis Farina (premiered 2011 Tribeca Film Festival). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the League of Chicago Theatres, previously served on the board of the Independent Film Project (IFP) and was a charter member of the Governor’s Task Force for Media Development.

Marc Grapey is a Chicago-based actor and director. He was co-Founder and three-time Artistic Director of Famous Door. Marc can regularly be seen at the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakespeare Theatres. He made his Broadway debut in 2005 opposite Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in the hit revival of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and will return to New York in 2015 to reprise the role of Chuck Morello in Goodman Theatre’s The Iceman Cometh. Film credits include: At Any Price, Superbad, Adventureland, Ali, While You Were Sleeping, A Piece of Eden and The Daytrippers. Television credits include: The West Wing, Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and most notably as publicist J.J. Mitchell on HBO‘s Sex and the City.

About Three Oaks, Michigan

Three Oaks, Michigan, located about 70 miles from Chicago, has approximately 1,600 residents. Despite its size, the quaint Village is remarkably well-developed in the arts with a live performance venue, art house movie theater and galleries featuring the work of established and emerging artists. Chamberlain Path, located steps from the main street, has been turned into a sculpture garden featuring monumental sculptures by local and national artists. The town also hosts two annual art festivals; the Art Attack weekend and Art in the Park. Meanwhile, Dewey Cannon Park is home to Music in the Park, a free concert series held every Saturday during the summer. Perhaps most indicative of the town’s quirky, artistic spirit, Three Oaks is one of the few villages in the country with the official position of Village Poet Laureate.

For more information about Three Oaks Theater Festival visit