The Seagull takes flight at the Hilberry Theatre TONIGHT, Dec. 4!

The Seagull takes flight at the Hilberry Theatre TONIGHT, Dec. 4!

December 4, 2009 – February 11, 2010
Performance Times:
Wednesday 2 p.m. Dec. 9
Thursday 8 p.m. Dec. 10, Feb. 4, 11
Friday 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 11, Jan. 22, Feb. 5
Saturday 2 p.m. Dec. 5, Jan. 23
Saturday 8 p.m. Dec. 5, Jan. 23, 30, Feb. 6

On Friday, December 4, at 8:00 pm, The Hilberry Theatre will open Anton Chekhov’s first great play, The Seagull (Russian: Чайка, Chayka). The performance is a culmination of the Moscow Art Theatre School training that several members of the cast received over the summer of 2009.

The Seagull is directed by Dr. James Thomas, Professor of Theatre and head of the Wayne State University Theatre’s PhD and Month in Moscow (MIM) programs. MIM participants have access to classes in acting, directing, design, theatre management, and theatre history at the Moscow Art Theatre School.

The Seagull opened in October of 1896 in St. Petersburg, Russia to a reception that prompted Chekhov to announce an end to his playwriting. The announcement was short lived, as The Seagull impressed the playwright and friend of Chekhov, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Nemirovich overcame Chekhov’s refusal to allow the play to appear in Moscow and convinced Russian actor and theatre director Stanislavski to direct the play for their innovative and newly founded Moscow Art Theatre in 1898.

The Seagull soon took on a life of its own at the Moscow Art Theatre and earned rave reviews. Due to the success of the play, the Moscow Art Theatre to this day bears the seagull as its emblem to commemorate the historic production that gave it its identity. Stanislavski and Chekhov collaborated to publish The Seagull with Stanislavski’s stage directions. Dr. Thomas created the Hilberry’s upcoming production by adapting much of the original staging from the Moscow Art Theatre’s original performance. This adaptation showcases the ways modern characters come to terms with the same issues experienced by the characters in the play.

As Dr. Thomas explains, “it’s not an exaggeration to draw a connection between [Anton] Chekhov and Woody Allen. Both have objective/subjective views of the world. There are no villains. Characters are happy and sad, silly and serious at the same time and represent a humanistic viewpoint.”

The cast of The Seagull includes:
Samantha L. Rosentrater, Jason Cabral, Alan Ball*, Carollette Phillips,
Erman Jones, Safiya Johnson, Christina Flynn, Dave Toomey, Brian P. Sage, Rob Pantano, Andrew Papa, Sara Hymes, Lorelei Sturm

*Appears by special permission of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

The creative team includes:
Austin Gresham (Production Stage Manager), John D. Woodland (Costume Designer), Jeffrey Strange (Scenic and Properties Designer), Tim Sutton (Lighting Designer), Cara Tougas (Technical Director), and Jason Pratt (Sound Designer).

About the Hilberry Theatre Company:
The Hilberry is the nation’s only graduate theatre company that is staffed by young up-and-coming professionals and runs on a rotating repertory schedule. There are about 40 graduate students selected in national competition to receive fellowships to work in this theatre and study for advanced degrees. The company performs an annual season of six plays, including high school matinees for nearly 10,000 students. Through the years, four Hilberry productions have been selected to appear at the American College Theatre Festival.

Group discounts and corporate packages are available. For ticket information, please call (313) 577-2972 or visit the Wayne State University Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Cass Avenue and Hancock. Performance information and tickets may also be obtained by visiting the Theatre’s websites at and

Season sponsored by CBS Outdoor, Between the Lines, Encore Michigan and the Times Herald newspapers.