Purple Rose Theatre celebrates 25th with documentary and anniversary book
Purple Rose documentary airing on PBS and available on DVD
The Purple Rose Theatre Company’s 25th anniversary documentary, Purple Rose 25 Years, was recently broadcast on Detroit Public Television (PBS) station. The 25th Anniversary special is an hour-long TV documentary produced by Jeff Daniels’ company, 2188 Studio, and was first broadcast in October and will air in PBS markets on a rolling basis throughout 2016.
The PRTC truly is a home for Midwestern talent, providing encouragement, training, and development of artists—from apprentice to professional artist. The celebratory film and book also draw attention to the valuable contribution Purple Rose Theatre Founder, the accomplished actor/playwright and musician Jeff Daniels, has made to the world of the arts.
The Purple Rose of Chelsea hardcover book available Dec. 15
In addition to the documentary, The Purple Rose of Chelsea, a book celebrating 25 years of Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre Company (PRTC), will be released Tuesday, Dec. 15 and is available for presale with delivery before Christmas. Written by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, the 160-page hardcover book is a collection of photographs, anecdotes and facts about Daniels and his determination to open a professional theatre in Chelsea, Michigan. It captures the people, the passion and the plays that have powered the Purple Rose for 25 years.
We launched this theater on blind faith. I thought I had enough fame to get audiences to come once. Then we’d get ’em with the quality of what we were doing. – Jeff Daniels
“We were flying by the seat of our pants,” says Daniels describing the early days of the PRTC. “This crazy idea didn’t make any business sense whatsoever, but I wouldn’t do it anywhere else. We launched this theater on blind faith. I thought I had enough fame to get audiences to come once. Then we’d get ’em with the quality of what we were doing.”
Over 25 years, the PRTC has staged 97 productions, including 55 world premieres and 19 Midwest or Michigan premieres.
The Purple Rose of Chelsea chronicles the productions and the people and shares the dream that began in 1989 when Daniels left New York City and moved his family back to their Michigan hometown. He commuted for projects, but soon felt creatively bored.
I want live theater to continue to have a place at the table many, many years from now. — Jeff Daniels
He and his wife, Kathleen, discussed the possibility of starting a local theater company modeled after the acclaimed Circle Repertory Company of New York where Daniels had trained.
While scouting locations in Chelsea, Daniels walked into a dilapidated bus repair garage, formerly used by his grandfather, a Buick dealer, to store cars, and bought it.
The first Purple Rose Theatre Board of Directors convened on the construction site around a door plopped on two sawhorses to form a makeshift table. Neither the location nor the finances seemed auspicious to anyone but the actor turned dreamer.
“I want live theater to continue to have a place at the table many, many years from now,” says Daniels. The Purple Rose of Chelsea reminds us why.
Buy the Book
Presale of “The Purple Rose of Chelsea” began Nov. 30 through www.PurpleRoseTheatre.org and will be available for delivery before the holidays. It goes on sale Dec. 15 at Amazon.com, Serendipity Books in Chelsea, Just Imagine Bookstore in Chelsea, the Purple Rose Theatre lobby and by calling 433-7673. The book is $35.
Book Signing: Dec. 19
On Saturday, Dec. 19, a book signing with author Cynthia Furlong Reynolds and various Purple Rose Theatre actors and staff will take place from 2-4 p.m. at Serendipity Books, 113 W Middle St. Then, from 4:30-8 p.m., there will be a signing in the Purple Rose Theatre lobby at 137 Park St.
For more information, visit www.purplerosetheatre.org.