Fratellanza Debuts at Frohlich Amphitheater

SUTM Photo 1(1)The Detroit-based theater company Fratellanza will perform a new production at the Jessie Frohlich Amphitheater on Saturday, September 14 at 6:00 pm. String Up the Moon looks into the human heart and finds two men wrought by desire. A lowly government clerk lusts up the ladder of the Russian civil service. A brilliant musician murders his friend and idol, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and justifies his act on cosmic grounds. These tales meet to form a theatrical sonata of dreams and madness. Fratellanza’s ensemble from across the arts adapts two Russian tales, The Diary of a Madman by Nikolai Gogol and Aleksandr Pushkin’s Mozart and Salieri. Three performers translate the poetry and movement of Gogol and Pushkin. Jazz musician Michael Malis composes an original score. All performed in a playground world created by visual artist Reed Esslinger.

Admission is a suggested donation of $15.00 per adult and $5.00 per student. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets, low chairs, picnic dinners, and appropriate outdoor clothing. For patrons who need assistance, transportation up the pathway to the performance venue is available. In the case of rain, the performance will be held in the Hudson Bay room, upstairs in the Crystal Center – signs will be posted.



Fratellanza believes that theater is a leap away from the everyday. With each show, imagination as our guide, we create a world apart from our own. We invite our audience to explore this uncharted land. Fratellanza’s artistic directors, Jim and Paul Manganello, are graduates of University of Michigan and natives of Southeastern Michigan. As nephews of Art Park founder David Barr, they recall their hand in the construction of the amphitheater while they were in elementary school. States Jim, “I remember nailing those boards down when I was in elementary school — it’d be a full circle to play on them today!” Currently residing in Belgium, they are thrilled to return to Michigan for their recent show. Their last production, The Mute Quire, was awarded Best Original Production by Detroit’s Rogue Critic.

Jim Manganello worked in Chicago as an actor, director, and dramaturg before moving to Brussels, Belgium to train at Lassaâd International School of Theater. Jim has created productions in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Dublin, and Brussels, including his adaptation of War and Peace.

Paul Manganello has trained with Malcolm Tulip at University of Michigan and Philippe Gaulier in Paris, as well as at Switzerland’s Scuola Teatro Dimitri, where he practiced theater on a Fulbright scholarship. He created the original one-man show, Zealous Whig, in 2011.

Michael Malis is a pianist and composer from the Detroit area. Since attending the University of Michigan, Malis has shared the stage with a diverse array of musicians, including Marion Hayden, Andrew Bishop, Vincent York, Vincent Chandler, and Dennis Coffey. He also leads his own projects; among them, the Michael Malis Trio and the Malis Syropolous Duo, which connects jazz and traditional Greek folk music. In September, Malis will take over the position of Musical Director at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor.

Reed Esslinger is an artist whose work takes many forms, (sculpture, installation, video, writing, etc.) but almost always involves fibers and theatre. Reed spent three years living on Réunion Island, and her work is often influenced by the island’s linguistic and cultural creolization. Having recently received her MFA from the University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design, Reed continues to teach and work in southeast Michigan.

Sango Tajima graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Acting. She has spent the past year working as the Artistic Direction Apprentice at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco and plans to return to the Bay Area after the summer. Her travels have taken her to many countries including Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tanzania, and Japan.

Samuel Blake has lived in Chicago for the past four years and is delighted to be making theater back in his home state of Michigan again. Previous directing credits include: Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Family Voices, A Man For All Seasons, The Laramie Project, and The Mousetrap.

Press links for String Up The Moon:


Sincere thanks to Wonet Kulwicki and these business sponsors:

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