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Where to Go in Royal Oak Michigan for Music, Art and Culture

where to go in royal oak for music art and culture

Michigan has experienced some ups and downs for the past few years, but the arts have stayed alive. Here’s a quick run-down of the venue and places in town where you can experience the best of performance, music, and history in a suburb buzzing with culture and life.

Entertainers Up Close and Personal 

Social Distortion performs on their 25th Anniversary of Self-Titled Album Tour at The Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, MI on August 15th 2015 Photo by Marc Nader

Experiencing performers in person is nothing like watching it on television. The artist works with the vibes of the audience, and you become an integral part of the energy. It also exposes you to different bands and talent you might never have known through opening acts or surprise guests. Supporting the local people of Royal Oak and the nearby towns is a vital way of keeping dreams alive and encouraging the natural gifts of the artists on stage. It doesn’t mean you’ll love every form of art, but it does mean you gain a richer perspective of the kinds of art that speak to you. You can find a variety of local bands at bars like The Town Tavern.

If you love jazz then you can check out Goodnight Gracie’s on a Saturday night for a swinging good time. The big venue in town though is The Royal Oak Music Theatre in this city. It draws the big names so you can see your favorites without having to go to Detroit. It doesn’t just have concerts, but also stand-up comedians, magicians and even burlesque shows. And only eight minutes away, you can check out the Magic Bag in Ferndale for tribute bands, nostalgia shows and eclectic movie nights.

Acting Out

baldwin theatre

Spending a night on the couch often involves mindlessly flipping through channels, but going out to see a play actually wakes your brain up so you can pay attention to what’s on stage. For those who love the theater, Royal Oak has both the Stagecrafters Baldwin Theatre and Water Works Theatre Co. Watching Shakespeare outdoors at Water Works while you snack on popcorn is the perfect alternative to seeing another summer movie flop. This company puts on the largest festival in Michigan, and they’ve inspired other Shakespeare groups throughout the state. Watching the passion of the Bard come alive through classics like Hamlet and Twelfth Night reminds us why the words spoken centuries ago are just as relevant today. Catch a show in the park and see for yourself.

While Water Works embraces the past, Stagecrafters brings you the more contemporary versions of performance today. They have two stages to bring you hits like Avenue Q and Dreamgirls, as well as lesser known works on their second stage. Both theaters have youth programs to encourage acting amongst the next generation of the theater. High school students learn the process of how to put on a play from start to finish at Water Works while Stagecrafters offers classes in Improv for kids as young as 8. You can also see youth plays at Stagecrafters during the spring and summer. Or audition for a play yourself, and see if the acting bug is in you!

Secret Societies 

Well, maybe not secret, but maybe not very well known either. Michigan has played a large role in the forming of our nation as we know it today, and the Historical Society wants to keep those memories alive. See key documents and learn about the folklore connected with Royal Oak. Understanding the past is a very real way to understanding the future and visiting this museum can bring the culture of yesterday alive. This is not about painting a rosy picture either. Just like art imitates life, there are two sides of the story to tell.

Cultural Experiences for Everyone 

Tourists and residents alike can find an activity in Royal Oak that doesn’t involve a screen. Getting out into town gives you a chance to sample the local flavor and get a taste for what’s out there. It may just open up a new avenue for you to enjoy your leisure time and the wealth of different performances out there. The arts is not an antiquated form of entertainment that has been replaced by Netflix, but rather a medium of expression kept alive by the people of this incredible suburb.

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