Higher and Higher:
The Incredible Automotive Balloon Spectacular of 1910
March 15 – 17, 2018
It’s the year 1910. The car industry is burgeoning—but rumor has it a certain Thurston Motor Company isn’t doing so well. Fortunately, Mr. Thurston has a plan: his daughter, Clara, will marry a wealthy investor. Things take a turn, however, when Clara runs away to the vaudeville theater! There, she meets Joe, the factory foreman, who is moonlighting at the theater to raise money for orphans. With the help of some factory workers and a group of suffragettes, Joe and Clara will have to put on a fantastic show—while avoiding Mr. Thurston and his goons. Can they do it?
March 23 – 25, 2017
Everyone wishes their favorite fictional characters could come to life. When the thesis project of a group of computer programming grad students develops a mysterious bug, gamers everywhere get their wish-and then some. Video game characters from every known game are suddenly running rampant around Ann Arbor!
Some are friendly, but others have malicious plans in store for the town – even taking over Michigan Stadium! A group of video game enthusiasts must team up with some of their favorite characters to fight a boss battle of the ages and get everything back to normal.
Can they beat the game?
I Need Some Space
March 17-19, 2016
The truth is out there . . . and it’s coming to Earth!
Things take a turn for the paranormal at this year’s Thurston Science Fair. Six earthling teenagers find themselves taken hostage by a group of troublemaking Martians, and it’s up to intergalactic investigators, the Women in Blue, to bring them back. The Planetary Eight (P8) council will lend their support—if they can focus on one issue long enough to take a vote. Meanwhile, a Plutonian bounty hunter and his ragtag crew are tracking down a stolen warship in hopes that it will bring glory to their tiny ex-planet—and, of course, a bounty. The team from a popular YouTube channel is there to catch it all on film… or not.
Can the Women in Blue rescue the missing earthlings? Will the bounty hunters find the stolen ship before its experimental black hole generator is activated? Will Pluto ever be taken seriously by the “”real”” planets? Find out in the 2016 Thurston Play, I Need Some Space.
Oh, What A Knight!
March 26 – 28, 2015
Aiden wants to be a musician. His sister Sophia wants to be a knight. But they live in the medieval kingdom of Midwesteros, where men become knights but women do not. So when Faug the dragon reappears after 100 years and captures Aiden, can Sophia and her motley crew of friends prove they are the true knights when they try to rescue him? Is Faug really an evil dragon, or just misunderstood? What is the group of thieves led by Robin Hat up to? And why are there alligators here?
Thru the Fairy Door!
March 27 – 29, 2014
It’s the end of summer, and the Ann Arbor Art Fair is in full swing. When some teenagers lose an important ring through a fairy door, they enlist the help of fairy Mariposa, shrink to the size of bugs, and travel to Fairyland to get it back. But it won’t be so easy. Mariposa’s sister, Spiderella, has evil plans in store for Fairyland. With a little help from The Beetles, Katydid Perry, and other six-legged friends, the kids must adventure through Fairyland to retrieve the ring and save the day
Don’t Hold Your Breath: A Tail of Two Cities
March 23 – 25, 2013
Travel back to ancient Roman times. See the regal city of Pompus and the wondrous undersea kingdom of Ypsilantis, and meet the young woman who learns she can claim both as her rightful homes. But the volcano of Mt. Frighton looms near, and its volatile and ill-tempered Lord Vulcan wants what was promised to him years before: the hand of our heroine in marriage.
Now, the two cities–led by the Fintastic Four, a brave young fisherman, and some well–intentioned but misguided scientists–must work together to stop Vulcan before Mt. Frighton erupts. Will our heroes win the day and leave Lord Vulcan all wet?
March 22 – March 24, 2012
The U.S. National 2012 Halloween Costume Contest is being held at the Mayan Prophecy Hotel in sunny Acapulco, Mexico. Each night a full moon will light the night sky as teams from Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts, and more gather to compete in a spectacular costume pageant. Just beware of the haunted wall mural, the blood drive, the missing Egg Cup of Dracula, and the creaky old elevator with access to Nether Nether Land where denizens of the dark dwell. If the real vampires and werewolves discover the elevator and press “Ballroom”, it will be a strange, spooky pageant indeed!
The Candy Dancer
March 25 – 27, 2010
This year’s production takes the audience back to the 1920’s in Ann Arbor, when prohibition was in place—prohibition of candy, that is. Ann Arbor’s one–time favorite Drake’s Sandwich Shop, owned by pro-candy presidential candidate Dexter Drake, doubles as a nighttime speakeasy, The Candy Dancer. Here candy mobsters such as Mr. Goodbar, Jawbreaker, Snickers, and the Sour Patch Kids provide Skittles and chocolate bars to jazz–dancing flappers and sugar–craving townspeople. But their adventures may be thwarted by the Counter Candy Corps, a group of anti–candy activists who want Drake’s shut down. Join the adventure as members of the Dandy Detective agency help to find Drake’s missing daughters, Good and Plenty, and pro–candy and anti–candy forces face off in familiar locales ranging from Mackinac Island to The Chelsea Milling Company.
The Bride of Thurstonstein
March 26 – March 28, 2009
This production tells the story of the cheese–making kingdom of Thurstonstein. There is great rejoicing in the land when Queen Brie gives birth to a baby girl who will one day ascend to the throne. On that same day, a palace servant and the lead actress of a traveling theater group each give birth to a girl. When the three babies are switched, no one notices at first.
Eighteen years later, Princess Camembert of Thurstonstein prepares to unite the lands of cheese and crackers by marrying Prince Triscuit of Dickenstein. The wedding is postponed, and chaos ensues, when the evil Duchess of Limberger announces that Camembert is not the real princess. Will the real princess be found?
Champions of the West
March 29 – March 31, 2007
The story takes place in the 1800’s, in the brand new prairie town of Bestwesternville. As the newly arrived tradespeople build the town, their children revolt, saying they want more than to just learn their parent’s trades. The parents decide they need a school to educate their children, but George Burns, the richest man in town, is afraid a school will drive up his property taxes. Aided by two bumbling train robbers, he thwarts the school as it moves from a wetland to a saloon to a cornfield portable. Will the town’s children succeed in getting an education?
This family–friendly production featured cowgirls and robbers, prairie dogs and buffalo, can can girls and a traveling circus! This cast and crew of 200 includes Thurston Elementary School students, alumni, staff, parents, neighbors and friends.
March 17 – March 19, 2005
A group of passengers taking an algae tour on a cut–rate cruise line land on a magic island with a fountain of youth. This play featured a shipboard wedding between the sleazy cruise director (Hector Cruz) and a dorky Start Trek fan (Deb Wood) and the first appearance of that loveable trio of archeologists Indiana, Dakota, and Virginia Jones.
The Fellowship of Bing
March 25 – March 27, 2004
When young troll Bing leaves his cave beneath Thurston school, he inadvertently cracks a wall which drains Thurston Pond and OHAC and floods the homes of the cave sprites, bats, and glowworms. A brave fellowship of species saves the caves and returns the water to the Thurston neighborhood. The troll family (Eric Nordby, Kami Meader, Janet Heaton, Laura Hannaford, and Tom Balinski as Bing) were loved by the audience and had more fun than any adults should have in an elementary school play!
March 27 – March 29, 2003
When their money for video games runs out, a group of Thurston kids rediscovers the fun of board games. The play included giant games of Candyland, Operation, Chess, and Clue with live pieces (including Doug Wood in a star turn as Plumpy), and a train that really moved characters across the stage.
A Glitch in Time
March 21 – March 23, 2002
A science fair experiment gone wrong sends a group of Thurston students, parents, and teachers back in time through a time warp in a port–o–potty. The group wanders from Ancient Egypt ot the Middle Ages to Woodstock before making it home. This play featured the famous Creedence Clearwater Revival Song, “There’s a Bathroom on the Right.”
Back to the Books
March 29 – March 31, 2001
A sleazy TV show host lures the characters out of the books in the Thurston Library so they can perform on his show. The Thurston students, with the help of the infamous “Men in Plaid” (Doug Cox and Steve Geiringer in kilts) work to get the characters back to their books so that book reports can be finished. This play featured many local landmarks, including the Flim Flam Restaurant as the location of Alice’s mad tea party, and Briarwood overrun by 101 kindergarten and first grade Dalmations.
Every Witch Way
March 30 – April 1, 2000
Distressed by their loss of yet another spelling bee to the fairies, a group of gnomes trade a magic feather to the evil Witch Hazel (an unforgettably creepy Mary Kay Barkley) in exchange for a school. The Witch doesn’t give them just any school – she steals Thurston school and transforms all the teachers into animals. A group of Thurston students, with the help of the fairies, get the school back and undo the spell on their teachers. This play was memorable for the (ahem!) brevity of the fairy costumes and the unpronounceable line “impenetrable vines.”
On Thurston Pond
March 25 – March 27, 1999
Thurston students join forces with a group of environmentalists and a group of treasure–seeking pirates to stop a ruthless businessman’s plan to pave over Thurston pond and put up condos. To do this they invent a rare species – the famous plaid turtles of Thurston Pond. This play featured the famous musical number “King of the Boat” which featured Pete Collins dancing in a lifeboat in his boxer shorts after the sinking of the Titanic.
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
March 26 – March 28, 1998
Four alien teenagers leave the planet Dullzonia on a flying couch to seek adventure. They land on Earth, where they escape evil alien hunters by disguising themselves as clowns and joining a circus. This play was notable for a real trapeze and trapeze artist (Kathy Rye), the shooting out of a cannon of principal Ron Collins, and Kris Smith’s famous behind–the–elephant song, “Scoopin’ Poopie.” It was also the first play where Thurston students had lines.
Phantom of the Forest
March 19 – March 21, 1992
In a far–away land, a dragon is besieging the kingdom by breathing fire and working magic, including turning people into frogs. Furthermore, a mysterious phantom is stalking the woods. A young woman and man embark on a quest to defeat the dragon. They finally succeed and then discover the identity of the phantom, who was trying to help them after all. As the spells are undone, two frogs turn back into people – Mrs. ??? and Mrs. Jackson of Thurston!
The Jewel of the Isle
March 14 – March 16, 1991
Some tourists are shipwrecked on an island after a tempest. They discover a group of people from the undersea continent of Atlantis – complete with webbed feet – including an autocratic leader and his beautiful daughter, who has never seen humans before. A jewel is stolen, and one of the tourists – a detective – eventually solves the mystery and finds the thief. We can’t reveal the ending, but the motive of the theft turns out to be connected with the Atlantis discovery!
The Secret of the Desert Ship
February 21 – February 23, 1980
“The Secret of the Desert Ship” is based on two historical realities; one, a man who once lived in Ann Arbor, and the other, a legend of the West which still exists today.
In 1849 a man named Caleb Ormsby left Ann Arbor to seek his fortune in the gold mines of California. The play opens with young Caleb bidding farewell to his family and friends in Ann Arbor in 1849. However, Caleb is not heading for gold mines but is pursuing the legend of the “Ship in the Desert” and its treasure.
The “Ship in the Desert” legend is a most unusual story of treasure from the West. The ship, a Spanish Galleon, is supposably loaded with pearls and has been missing for more than three centuries. The ship has been seen several times, only to be covered, time and time again, by the desert’s shifting sands. Many believe the ship is still there, waiting to be found.
Combining these bits of history with a large dose of fiction, the play follows Caleb’s descendent, Curly Ormsby, Vern LaTrek, and other students and teachers from Thirsty Elementary School to the desert, a ghost town, a real old time saloon, even a sand storm, and then back to Ann Arbor for a rather surprising conclusion.
Angels at Bat
February 23 – February 25, 1978
Take me out to the ball park,
Take me out to the game,
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never come back.
For it’s root, root, root for the
Angels…. or Pythons…?
Things are looking very grim for women’s baseball at Praire State until their fairy godfather arrives and puts the Angels in contention for the championship against their arch rivals – the Pythons (the men’s team)! There’s magic and mystery, excitement and lots of singing and dancing. It’s wholesome fun for the entire family!
Red Smoke at Thirst Hill
February 24 – February 26, 1977
A 1930’s “Revenoo-er” is sent to Thirst Hill, Tennessee to catch the culprit operating a still which spews very telltale red smoke! He wins his way into the hearts of the townsfolk….but will he succeed in finding that evasive still? What a fuss the “Revenoo-er” causes in the little town of Thirst Hill as he loses his heart amid fun and frolic, singin’ and dancin’.
The Great Cat-B
March 20 – March 22, 1975
An excerpt from a letter from the Thurston PTO on March 14th, 1975…
…our setting takes place in the 1940’s or early ’50s when hemlines were between the knee and the ankle, men wore narrow lapels and narrow ties – policemen were policemen. We poke fun at a lot of things – we laugh a lot, our major character is a Detective Sergeant in the police department who has a mystery to solve, his teen age daughter has a crush on a high school football hero who hasn’t yet asked her to the prom – a teen age son who fights with his sister, and a 12 year old boy who lives in his baseball uniform. “Mother” keeps a firm hand at home, Gram and Gramps do a fantastic soft shoe to an oldie “Let’s Put Out the Lights and Go To Sleep”. We even have a family pet – a beagle who looks strangely like Snoopy – whose antics will bring you a chuckle.