Tucked away in the historic district of downtown Chelsea (Mich) is The Purple Rose Theatre Company. The Purple Rose has greatly evolved from the used car garage that occupied the location in the early 1900’s. Chelsea native and acclaimed actor Jeff Daniels founded the theatre, and purchased and renovated the space in 1989 before donating it to the Purple Rose. The building is now commonly referred to as the “Garage Theatre.”
Though the theater was later expanded in the 1990’s, the Purple Rose has made an effort to preserve the authentic décor from the 1930s. The lobby features the same marbled glass chandelier and intimate seating arrangements allow guests to experience live theatre up-close and personal. Spectators can expect to see new talent, possibly on their way to Broadway, and experienced professional actors who passionately share their craft.
The Purple Rose has succeeded in creating original productions that encourage discussion among audience members. Smart Love, a recent production written by Brian Letscher, made its world premiere at the Purple Rose on January 27, 2017. Smart Love explores the consequences and potential complications of artificial intelligence with comedy and grief. Letscher used his curiosity and interest in artificial intelligence to create a unique theatrical production with a futuristic feel.
While working with the theatre, Letscher expressed the importance of respecting the vision of the playwright. Rather than morphing the play into what they thought it should be, the theatre worked to help make his vision a reality. At the Purple Rose, the main goal is to assist artists in achieving their “professional and creative potential”. The authenticity of the staff help to create an environment where inclusion and respect are essential to the success of a production.
The world premiere of Smart Love by Brian Letscher will run at the Purple Rose until March 4, 2017. While you’re in Chelsea, also consider dining at the renowned Common Grill, or grabbing a coffee in the historic building that now houses Zou Zou’s.