GRCC’s theater, music department collaborate on The Hatpin



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


May 12, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College students and alumni are teaming up to present The Hatpin (music by Peter Rutherford, book and lyrics by James Millar), a musical inspired by an Australian trial, on May 15, 16 and 17.

This is the GRCC Players’ first collaboration with the college’s music department. Alumnus Rob Karel will direct, with retired GRCC vocal director Duane Davis providing musical direction. The cast is made up of GRCC students and alumni: Meeka Postman, Nubia Gomez, Mackenzie McElroy, Madeline Jones, Robbie Ellis, Connor Manion, Braden Bacon, Mary Kate Murnen, Avery Mills and Alex Petkus. The orchestra pit, assembled with the assistance of GRCC director of bands Michael Gillan, includes a talented combination of students, alumni and community musicians: Shiloh Baareman, David Bergsma, Alfred “Tre” Bryant, Meaghan Crabtree, Rachel Crees, Brendan Hollins, Breana McKendrick, Aaron Piskun, Jacob Schmidt, Ross VanDerHeide, Veronica Wolkow and Eric Zeigler.

“As an alumni of the music and theater programs, it has always been a wish of mine to be involved in a collaboration between the two,” Karel said. "There are over 20 students involved in this production — from cast and crew to the orchestra — and all are so dedicated and hard-working.

“Having Duane Davis come back to direct the music has been a true gift, especially since he was my voice teacher and mentor during my time as a student. The students — and myself — have grown so much from his direction on this show. It is an experience I’m sure they will not soon forget.”

The Hatpin tells the story of a single mother who advertises her baby in a newspaper trading column in the hope of saving his life — and ends up embroiled in one of the most captivating criminal trials in Australian history.

“The love for the material is evident by the performances these students are bringing to the table,” Karel said. “This is a collaboration I’m sure both the music and theater programs will be extremely proud of.”

Performances are 8 p.m. May 15, 16 and 17 at GRCC’s Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain St. NE. Tickets are $3 for GRCC students (with valid ID), $5 for GRCC employees and area students, and $10 for others. To purchase tickets, call the theater box office at (616) 234-3946 or click here.  Box office hours are 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

GRCC encourages the entire community to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate a need for an accommodation, or have questions about accessibility, please call the Spectrum Theater box office at (616) 234-3946 in advance of your visit or program participation.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.