The Rapidian Home

Civic Theatre stages new play, hosts ArtPrize artist

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

This fall, Civic Theatre is showcasing innovative works both on the stage and throughout the building to help get people talking about ART
Good People Rehearsal

Good People Rehearsal /Courtesy of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Underwriting support from:

Be A Part of the Conversation

For Good People tickets and information visit

For Artprize information visit


Rockford Elementary Recycled Art Project

Rockford Elementary Recycled Art Project /Leta Holloway

Artist Cynthia Len's Mixed Media

Artist Cynthia Len's Mixed Media /Cynthia Len

For the past three years, the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre has been thrilled to host one of the most anticipated art events of the year, ArtPrize Awards. The collaboration between these two entities makes perfect sense: a three week global community art event concluding on the stage of one of the oldest and largest community theaters in the nation. Both groups sharing the same vision: get people talking about art!

This fall, Civic Theatre is showcasing innovative works both on the stage and throughout the building. Beginning September 9, 2016, the Civic Theatre introduces West Michigan to the two-time Tony® Award nominated debut of "Good People." Darkly funny and powerfully emotional, "Good People" is recognized as the most produced play in America over the past year. West Michigan audiences will have their chance it on the Civic Theatre stage for a limited time only.

The story centers on Margie, a single mother taking care of her handicapped adult daughter, Joyce, by any means necessary. On Broadway, Frances McDormand brought home a Tony®Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, for playing Margie. In her acceptance speech, Ms. McDormand acknowledged what Civic Theatre audiences will soon realize - "Good People" is an American Classic and story generations of young actors will be vying to do for decades.   

"Good People" dives into Mike and Margie’s paradoxical lives, two people who came from the same neighborhood but ended up leading very different adult lives.  It addresses social class in America: from class perception, stereotyping and the divisions created as it permeates every scene and almost every moment. Audiences can expect to feel during the performance, feel laughter, grief and frustration while connecting with their personal perspectives on these topics. Like it, love it, or walk away thinking about it, "Good People" will have the community talking, and that is just what Civic Theatre hopes to accomplish.  

As the production’s run is winding down, the works of area artists will spring up to illuminate the windows of the historical Civic Theatre. As a theatre focused on teaching, Civic Theatre is delighted for the opportunity to feature the Rockford Public School Elementary Art teacher’s entry into ArtPrize. The inspiration for this creation began in spring 2016, as a third grade art class assignment to bring awareness to the environment and recycling. The efforts of the young artists will be realized as they, now in fourth grade, see their creation on the windows of the Theatre during field trips. As these students take in all of the creativity blooming in downtown for those special three weeks, they will know a sense of pride in bringing their art to life for others. 

Complimenting the environmental piece is artist Cynthia Len’s work. The mixed media creation is more than an expression to show case, it is a regeneration of her spirit and has created discussion among her Rockford High School students. Cynthia, a teacher for 39 years, has spent a life-time experiencing art by bringing the creativity and expression out of her students. Extremely rewarding work, but in doing so, she has put her own expression aside. Her entry brings her full circle and back to her beginnings. Her first degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, was a concentration in fiber designs and incorporation into raw canvas painting. The realization that Cynthia not only taught but actually is an artist has opened some eyes and serves a validation of the craft for both Cynthia and her students.

And with that, the formal celebration of art will conclude on Civic Theatre’s Meijer Majestic Stage as the top ArtPrize awards are announced. But as we all know, this ending is the beginning of opinions, ideas, and conversation centered on art – and that is just fine by us.  

For "Good People" tickets and information visit

For ArtPrize information visit

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.