Surprise, ‘Seussical’ preview highlight Friday arts awards ceremony

After a gala Friday night reception, which included a surprise presentation and preview of the latest Farmington Hills Youth Theatre production, Festival of the Arts continues today at the Costick Center in Farmington Hills, with free activities and entertainment.

The Farmington Area Arts Commission presented its annual Artist in Residence award to musician Matt Watroba, and honored potter John Glick as its 2016 Distinguished Services to the Arts Award. Commission chair Cindy Carleton delivered a surprise announcement before Glick’s presentation, that the latter award had been named in honor of former Farmington Hills Cultural Arts Supervisor Nancy Coumoundouros.

In the position almost 15 years, Coumoundouros among other accomplishments, oversaw creation of the Farmington Hills Youth Theatre and the nationally renowned Art on the Grand, a juried fine art show held in downtown Farmington during the first weekend in June. The announcement came as a complete surprise, even after her husband, John, and daughter, Janna, unexpectedly showed up at the event.

“It’s an amazing honor, especially considering how highly I regard this community, and all of the artists in it, and especially all of the award winners,” she said.

“Seussical”

The cast of Farmington Hills Youth Theatre’s production of “Seussical” performed two songs from the show, including “Alone in the Universe,” a musical conversation between Horton the Elephant, played by 13-year-old Novi Middle School student Sarah Griffiths, and JoJo, the young boy whose “thinks” wreak havoc in Whoville, played by 9-year-old Kenbrook Elementary student Jonas Polter. Both are experienced performers; the show marks Polter’s third stage appearance, and Griffith’s fourteenth.

“I think JoJo is just like me,” Polter said. “I get into trouble for my thinks.”

Griffith said she loves “Seussical” because “the young minds in the show can really express themselves through the characters.”

With a cast of 145 young performers, “Seussical” opens next month, with performances on May 5 and 6 at 7 p.m., May 7 and 8 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at recreg.fhgov.com, at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile, or charged by calling 248-473-1848. Tickets may also be available at the door.

Family Festival

Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday’s free festival offers art experiences for all ages, including community cultural displays by area organizations, entertainment, and over 200 pieces of art to see and purchase. Artwork on display will include exhibits by Farmington Art Foundation members, Farmington Public Schools, Farmington PTA Reflections Art Competition, the Farmington Area Arts Commission Student Art Awards, and past and present Artists in Residence.

The free entertainment schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m. – Farmington High School Theatre
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Megan Cromwell (Reflections)
  • 11 a.m. – Mid American – Dance & Pom
  • 11:30 a.m. – Dancing Feats
  • 12 p.m. – Farmington Community Chorus
  • 12:30 p.m. – Farmington Community Library
  • 1 p.m. – Farmington Community Band – Clarinet Choir
  • 1:30 p.m. – Farmington Community Band – Flute Ensemble
  • 2 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.– Dixie Land Band
  • 3 p.m. – School of Rock
  • 3:30 p.m. – Horns of the Hills

For detailed information, visit farmingtonarts.org or call the Cultural Arts Division at 248-473-1859.

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