Greg Crawford Detroit Free Press
Published 9:00 AM EDT Apr 17, 2019
Tyler Perry is casting aside his silver wig and frumpy housedresses and bidding adieu to Madea, the comic character who has brought him fame and riches via a series of plays and movies that date to the late 1990s. But his mouthy, pot-smoking, gun-toting Madea isn’t about to go gentle into that good night. Instead, she’s taking a victory lap around the U.S. on MADEA’S FAREWELL PLAY TOUR, which lands at the Fox this weekend. Perry and a cast of veterans from his Madea projects (Cassie Davis, Tamela Mann, David Mann) will take the stage to act out a laugh-fest that’s reminiscent of Perry’s old TBS sitcom “Meet the Browns.” Set at a young man’s graduation party, it includes rapid-fire comic putdowns, family bickering and, of course, a shocking revelation. (And yes, Madea ultimately finds it necessary to pull out her gun to maintain order.) Mixed in with the humor is lots of music: pop, soul and – because Perry productions typically include a spiritual element – gospel.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 & 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 & 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox Theatre, Detroit. 313-471-3200. 313presents.com. $50 and up.
The stormtroopers wiggle and strut their stuff, the androids are scantily clad, and Darth Vader is a fierce dominatrix in “THE EMPIRE STRIPS BACK,” a burlesque parody of the sci-fi movie franchise that has been toying with adolescent hormones for more than four decades. The unauthorized “Star Wars”-inspired production was originally booked for a short run in a 150-seat room in Sydney, Australia, back in 2011, but it became an unexpected hit and played seven sold-out tours in its homeland before arriving in the U.S. last year. The action is set to an all-genre soundtrack that includes Run DMC, Nine Inch Nails, Nicki Minaj and Christina Aguilera. And yes, just in case you were wondering, there are some sexed-up moments involving Luke Skywalker, who has morphed from male to female for purposes of this production, and Princess Leia and her infamous slave bikini.
8 p.m. Friday (doors at 7 p.m.), Fillmore Detroit. 313-961-5451. thefillmoredetroit.com. $35 and up. Ages 18 and older.
You can go hunting for golden eggs on Friday and Saturday during BUNNYVILLE at the Detroit Zoo. The annual celebration of all things spring returns this Easter weekend with games and whisker painting for the kiddie, photo ops with the Easter Bunny and, of course, those coveted golden eggs, which can be redeemed for lucrative prizes. (More than 100 will be hidden each day.) Michigan magician and all-around funny guy the Amazing Clark will be performing, and Mullin Entertainment will be staging strolling puppet shows. Guests are encouraged to bring a canned or nonperishable food item to donate to Gleaners Community Food Bank. Last year, Bunnyville visitors donated more than 8,000 pounds of food.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak. 248-541-5717. detroitzoo.org. $14-$18, free to children 2 and younger.
Get ready for some sweat, body slams and spandex at Fraser Hockeyland Arena, where the LEGENDS OF WRESTLING lineup will enter the ring Saturday for an evening of live matches. If the names Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Booker T and the Nasty Boys rev up your killer instincts, you’ll want to be there. Also in the mix: Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rikishi, Tito Santana, Mr. Anderson and Al Snow. Special guests are Cowboy James Strom and actor David Arquette, who has been in and out of the world of professional wrestling since his 12-day reign as World Championship Wrestling’s heavyweight champ back in 2000.
7:30 p.m. Saturday (doors at 6 p.m.), Fraser Hockeyland Arena, Fraser. lowdetroit.com. $25, $80 for family four-packs. A limited number of $295 VIP tickets are available. They include a pre-show meet-and-greet with the stars, autograph sessions, photo ops and a catered ringside Q&A.
Lanky and perpetually grinning funny guy RYAN HAMILTON is bringing his clean-cut observational humor to Pontiac’s Flagstar Strand Theatre for a Saturday-night evening of laughs. The Idaho native and current NYC resident delivers mostly self-deprecating comedy that draws on his small-town roots and wholesome, Boy Scout-like appearance. (“I could be a sign in 1953,” he quips. “I could sell ice cream in the ’50s.”) He also makes himself the butt of jokes about being single, riding hot air balloons and going skydiving. Hamilton cites Jerry Seinfeld and Drew Carey as comic influences, and though his humor refrains from being mean-spirited or raunchy, he has managed to win praise from critics. He regularly makes the round of late-night talk shows and starred in a Netflix special, “Happy Face,” in 2017.
8 p.m. Saturday, Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts, Pontiac.
Friday’s forecast? Temps in the 60s with a 100% chance of MARSHMALLOW SHOWERS. That’s right, kiddies and parents. Helicopters will be zooming over metro Detroit parks Friday morning and dropping loads of the sweet confections for eager youngsters to collect. Don’t eat them, though! Just grab as many as you can — even it it’s just one — and turn your haul in for a prize. Here’s where you need to be to get in on the fun: Elizabeth Park in Trenton (9 a.m.), Attwood Park in Wayne ( 10 a.m.), Worden Park in Royal Oak (10 a.m.) and Nankin Mills Park in Westland (11 a.m.).
The Renaissance Choir from the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit heads to the Wright Museum on Friday for its annual Good Friday performance of sacred choral work “THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST” by 19th-century French composer Theodore Dubois. The choir will be joined by actor, singer and Detroit native Jonathan Kirkland, seen recently as George Washington in the Chicago cast of “Hamilton”; Marion Hayden, co-founder of local vocal group Straight Ahead, and Detroit pianist-singer-composer Alvin Waddles. The group regularly performs oratorios, cantatas and spirituals at Plymouth United Church of Christ, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year.
6 p.m. Friday, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit. eventbrite.com. $25.
Earth Day will be officially observed Monday, but the Belle Isle Nature Center is getting a jump on the celebration by hosting its third annual GREEN DAY on Saturday. The free event features indoor and outdoor activities, including nature hikes and zookeeper talks. The day’s focus will be teaching members of the community how they can take small steps to sustain a clean and green environment. Visitors will learn how to turn old T-shirts into no-sew tote bags, create cleaning products from biodegradable and natural sources, and form seed balls from soil, clay and seeds. (The throw-and-grow seed balls, in turn, produce plants friendly to bees and other vital pollinators.) Presentation by conservationists will address how to save energy at home, how to create a bee-friendly habitat in your backyard and why native plants are vital to beneficial insects.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Belle Isle Nature Center, Belle Isle, east of downtown Detroit. belleislenaturecenter.org. Free.
— Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press
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