Avon Players: 70 years of Local Theater

by REVANTH MANAM

If you are a longtime resident of Rochester Hills, chances are you’ve heard of the Avon Players. From Escanaba in da Moonlight and The Mousetrap to Assassins, Forever Christmas, and The Addams Family – the group’s current season may seem demanding, but the challenge is met with intense energy and a true passion for the arts.

Currently, the group is in the midst of The Addams Family, the last play of the 2016-2017 season. This musical comedy “will be something a little different for the patrons,” said Susan Alexander, box office clerk at Avon Players.   

Founded in 1947, Avon Players is a nonprofit community theater group located just outside the heart of downtown Rochester. During a typical season, the Avon Players, along with a handful of dedicated volunteers, puts together five full-scale productions, including a computerized lighting system, sound effects, costumes, live orchestra, and scenic backgrounds.     

Since its founding, Avon Players has performed award-winning dramas, Broadway musicals, and high-strung mysteries, with ticket prices kept low compared to those at professional theaters.

The group also gives back to the community and continues to support it. “We are very community oriented. The things we do we normally keep close to home,” explained Alexander.

The Avon Players has performed at the annual Art & Apples weekend event, at Rochester Hills Public Library events such as “Spread the Cheer-Volunteer,” and has sung during Christmas events such as “Langiappe Night” for the Downtown Development Authority.

In addition to community service, the Avon Players puts on a Youth Theatre production for students in sixth through twelfth grades. Under the group’s guidance, students have the opportunity to learn theatre; they get to build scenery, help with lighting and sound, as well as develop their skills as actors and directors. This year’s play for the Youth Theatre production is Lion King Junior. Auditions for those interested are June 19th.

The Avon Players has grown with and has become an increasingly important part of the Rochester community. Learn more about them at avonplayers.org and be sure to catch The Addams Family, with performances May 19-21, 26-28, June 2-3.