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GTPulse: Parallel 45 Opens For Fall Season

If you’re burnt out on office meetings and happy hours through Zoom, I understand. Slow connections, diluted social cues, and accidentally talking over one another are almost unavoidable pitfalls when communicating through the videocalling app, however, it doesn’t have to be solely used for keeping in touch with colleagues and friends. What if you could just sit back and have a show put on for you? There are plenty of entertainers providing virtual experiences through Zoom and you’re not going to want to miss out on Parallel 45’s virtual Fall season.

Parallel 45 is one of the coolest theatre companies I’ve ever seen. The outdoor stage located in Traverse City reminds me of Shakespeare, and there’s something to be said about enjoying a summer show with a breeze rustling through the trees around you and grazing over your skin. 

Last year I wrote about the opening of their summer theatre programming where Executive Director Erin Whiting told me about the process of putting together shows for the community to enjoy. P45 puts on a series of summer shows each year filled with production, costume, directing and acting talent that comes from all over the country. Theatrical productions vary in nature, but there is something for everyone, including kids.

Last year’s production of The Alphabet Experience provided kids with a fun way to remember their ABCs. The company performed a micro play about each letter of the alphabet. Parents, don’t fret, the show was kept under an hour to be mindful of tiny attention spans. The show was held at the City Opera House and was enjoyed by all audiences.

Photo by: Michael Poehlman

This year, the magic is being recreated in a different way. The actors will still be performing micro plays on each letter, but the production will be hosted through Zoom. With Covid-19 appropriate adaptations like Y is for Youtube, the company isn’t shying away from the fact that life right now is, well, weird. The show will happen on September 24th at 7 p.m.

Later on in the beginning of the holiday season, they’re offering a play to make us reexamine our celebration of Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving Play is by Larissa Fasthorse and was one of the top 10 most produced plays last year. Native American Heritage Month is November, and until I read about this play, I did not know that. Larissa explores the question “how does one celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month at the same time?” The sharp satire of the show centers around three “woke” white thespians coordinating an elementary school play about the origins of Thanksgiving, and the show follows their steps and missteps in avoiding cultural appropriation. The show will have you laughing, wondering, and exploring questions surrounding race and equity.

The production is being hosted with the National Writers Series and will be November 17th at 7 p.m.

“Parallel 45 is thrilled to partner with the National Writers Series to bring the words of powerhouse playwright Larissa FastHorse to life and to offer the opportunity to hear directly from this fierce leader in the American theatre. The Thanksgiving Play was one of the top ten most-produced plays in America last season and she is the first and only Native American playwright ever to appear on that list. This will be a night to remember,” said Erin Whiting, Parallel 45 Theatre Executive Director.

Photo by: Michael Poehlman

“The National Writers Series celebrates both the craft of the written word and the necessity of sharing those words with one another, something that couldn’t be more essential in these times,” says Director of the National Writers Series Anne Stanton.

Our local arts have so much to offer us, and we have something to offer them; our time and our support. Art is what makes this community as beautiful and exciting as it is and with entertainment options abundant through streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, it’s important to not leave out the little guy in your community. Take a night off from your favorite series on the couch for a night out with Parallel 45. Tickets available at or by phone 800-836-0717.

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