I'm very excited to be posting my first official blog post on Brighton Patch!
Please allow me to introduce myself! My name is Steve DeBruyne and along with my business partners, I am hoping to open Brighton's very first professional theatre company, The Dionysus Theatre and Performing Arts Academy!
The Dionysus Theatre (pronounced Die-oh-nice-us), or The Dio for short, will be Livingston County's only professional theatre, featuring pro actors from Michigan, New York and Chicago in six full productions a year! We will also offer private and group acting, voice, and dance coaching for those who would like to improve their performing skills! Classes will be available to performers of all ages and experience levels.
We are in the process of working with the City of Brighton to open The Dio at 301 Appian Way in Brighton, formerly the home of Bounce U.
In order to open, we must first get permission from The Zoning Board of Appeals at a public meeting coming up on Thursday, June 14 at 7:30pm. We would love it if you could attend the meeting to let the Zoning Board know that you support our efforts!
We also have a really fantastic summer theatre program, Camp Dio, planned for students from Kindergarten through 12th grade beginning on June 18! The program will focus on games and techniques to help teach acting, singing and dancing, and will culminate in a short "Performance Experience" for friends and family members! The program is designed and taught by professional actors and certified educators to ensure each child has the finest experience possible.
The camp will also feature some special guests including Broadway Actress, Barb Scanlon. Barb will work with our High School students for one afternoon only! Also, Stage Combat instructor Phill Harmer will teach the basics in stage fighting and weapons to our Middle School and High School students! And, our younger students will enjoy a day of face painting fun, to help tap in to our inner characters!
And last but not least, I wouldn't be a true performer if I didn't take some time to talk about myself!
I was born in Tillsonburg, Ontario and moved to Michigan at the age of 14. I attended Howell High School and discovered my love of the stage during our production of West Side Story. I continued to perform with The Livingston Players, The Community Theatre of Howell, and The Pinckney Players before being accepted to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.
Upon graduation, I began working regionally and was cast in the National Broadway Tour of The Full Monty in one of the lead roles, Malcolm. I toured for two years, and 433 performances. If you happened to catch the show at The Wharton Center or The Fisher, then you saw my performance!
I returned to Michigan and was lucky to assist in opening The Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter where I served as Associate Artistic Director and performer for 4 years. If you've ever seen a show there, chances are, you've seen me on stage!
I've been very lucky to work with a lot of fantastic performers in my short career, most notably The Today Show's Kathie Lee Gifford, and The Rosie O'Donnell Show's John McDaniel. Over the past two years, I've worked with Kathie and John on their original musical version of It's a Wonderful Life as Clarence, the bumbling Guardian Angel, and was even invited to Kathie Lee's home to record the concept cast recording!
In addition, I've worked with many Broadway actors who I'm very lucky to count as some of my closest friends including Dan Cooney (currently playing Bill in Broadway's Mamma Mia), and Sarah Litzsinger (Broadway's longest running Belle in Beauty and the Beast).
My personal goal with The Dio is to bring my years of experience and personal relationships, home to Livingston County! I'm hopeful that, together with Brighton City Officials and citizens alike, we will be bringing quality theatre performances and education to Brighton very soon!
Thanks for reading, and see you soon!!!