‘Shipwrecked!’ to entertain families in South Haven

Published 9:00 am Monday, July 30, 2012

Wild Swan Theater, Ann Arbor’s award-winning professional theater, premieres a new and original play, “Shipwrecked!” for elementary- and middle school-age youth and their families at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.

“Shipwrecked!” is a sailing story set in 1893 that follows the travails of 12-year-old Aaron Buchanan when his family’s schooner is caught in a fierce storm while he is at the helm.

Young as he is, Buchanan has sailed with his parents for years ferrying cargo from their home port of Detroit to ports through the Great Lakes. As the family is returning from Sault St. Marie on Lake Huron in November with a huge load of Christmas trees, they are caught in a ferocious gale that sweeps through Thunder Bay — infamously known as Shipwreck Alley. With assistance from the lighthouse keepers on Thunder Bay Island, a crew of surfmen from the lifesaving station brave 40-knot winds and 16-foot waves to affect a daring rescue.

This historically based, original drama has been written by longtime Wild Swan playwright Jeff Duncan.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for Wild Swan to learn about the history of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes from an incredible group of experts,” Hilary Cohen, director, said. “They are helping make the show really authentic. We think this will be a great way for upper elementary and middle school students to become excited about learning about our lakes.”

The cast includes Wild Swan favorites Sandy Ryder, Michelle Trame Lanzi, Jeremy Salvatori and ASL interpreter Jamie Fidler and newcomer to the Wild Swan stage,  Brett Radke. Award-winning musician David Mosher has composed original music as well as a soundscape of authentic sounds — timbers creaking, waves crashing, winds howling.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. For tickets to “Shipwrecked!” call (269) 637-8078.