In October 2020 two performers and over 40 shadow puppets told spooky stories in our lobby windows, delighting audiences of all ages who watched from our parking lot. Director Sarah Hawkins Rusk adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Dracula.
Watch the trailer with video clips HERE, backstage footage HERE, and news coverage HERE.
all stories have been adapted for the stage by Sarah Hawkins Rusk
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving
The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe
*includes the stories above as well as…
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
Detroit Public Theatre, The Theatre Company at UD Mercy, Bradly Byrne, Jeremy Rusk, and our neighbors at Slick Disc and The Lighthouse who are understanding about our use of the parking lot for this endeavor!
Meet the Team
Eric Niece (Performer) feels great about making his Open Book onstage (well in window) debut. Regular patrons may recognize his name as one of Open Book’s regular scenic designers, most notably for his Wilde Award nominated Ada and the Engine set. When he is not performing or designing, Eric works as the owner of Niece Carpentry & Woodworking and as the father to Daphne. Big thank you to Krista and Sarah for putting this performance together and to his favorite scene partner on and off stage, Hannah, for being his rock and support system.
Hannah Niece (Performer) is a local actor, director, and teaching artist with a degree from Wayne State University and is thrilled to be making her Open Book Theatre debut. She enjoys sharing the gift of drama with her students at Open Spot Theatre, spending time with her sweet daughter Daphne and wonderful husband Eric, and playing with her Shakespearean cats, Rosalind and Mercutio. Past works include Murder On the Orient Express (Mary Debenham) at Meadow Brook Theater, Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) with UnCovered Theatre, and Twelfth Night (Olivia) with Shakespeare Royal Oak.
Elise Panneman (Puppeteer) is working with Open Book Theater for the first time. She was so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with such a wonderful cast and crew. Elise is also a third-year Theater Major at the University of Detroit Mercy where she has performed in shows like War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast, Young Frankenstein, Silent Sky, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She would like to thank her parents as well as the cast and crew for being so supportive!
Sarah Hawkins Rusk (Director) is a native of Indiana and has been working as an actress, director, and educator across the country for the last twelve years. Sarah received her MFA from Wayne State University and BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. At Open Book, Sarah has directed Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Wonder of the World, and Emilie, and performed as Ada Lovelace in Ada and the Engine. Sarah is a certified teacher in the Michael Chekhov technique and teaches theatre at University of Detroit-Mercy. “Much love to JR, who taught me to embrace the spooky . . . Enjoy the show!”
Harley Miah (Lighting Designer) is a professional in the entertainment technology industry. He is a freelance lighting designer/programmer for nightclubs, concerts and festivals across the country, and the chief lighting designer for IKO Global Productions. Harley has designed the lights for all of Open Book’s productions thus far, and designed sound for Boy Gets Girl in 2017. In 2015, he earned a Wilde Award for Best Design – Lights for his design of Open Book’s production of Red. In addition, he has recently designed lights for productions for Northville High School, Mosaic Youththeater in Detroit, and the Grosse Isle Boars Head Festival. He also designs sound and lights for St George’s Academy in NYC. When not working in the theater, Harley spends his time seeing as many shows as he can in this great theatre community we have in Southeast Michigan. He hopes you do the same.
Sarah Drum (Stage Manager) is excited to stage manage her first production at Open Book Theatre Company. She is a professional stage manager in Metro Detroit. Sarah has worked at University of Detroit Mercy, Assembly Line Theatre Company, BoxFest Detroit, Matrix Theatre Company, UnTheatre Company, the Hilberry Theatre, Water Works Theatre Company, and Two Muses Theatre. Her regional credits include McLeod Summer Playhouse and New Harmony Theatre. She has an MFA in Stage Management from Wayne State University. Sarah enjoys spooky things year round: Stephen King, horror movies, and true crime podcasts. Have a spooky Halloween!
Maria Tejada (Production Manager) is a professional stage manager who has worked with several Michigan theatres including Water Works Theatre, Planet Ant and six years at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC even traveling to Macao, China with the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Maria graduated from Grand Valley State University with degrees in Theater and Spanish. She is a facilitator with Detroit Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in Prison program, the Company Manager for Roustabout Theatre Troupe and she is so excited to now be a part of Open Book Theatre Company!
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Puppets) is the founding Artistic Director of Open Book. Krista received the Wilde Award for her performance in Emilie, and was previously nominated for her performance in Boy Gets Girl as well as for her direction of Peter and the Starcatcher. A native Michigander, Krista holds a degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has worked in theatres across the country acting, teaching, and directing. She recently directed for Grosse Ile High School and the Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival.
Check out our other theatre projects
– click on the graphic to learn more
One to One Virtual Theatre – 10 minute plays with one performer and one audience member. Intimate theatre in a virtual setting.
Double Feature Driveway Theatre Public Performance, Oct 17th at 1pm