Whether you're looking for your big break, want to perfect your live performance skills, or just want to perform live for the sheer fun of it, Open Stage nights offer supportive audiences and a terrific space.
Shows & Events
One of America’s great songwriters, Michigan legend Dick Siegel teams up with longtime compadre guitarist Dave Roof, and upright bassist Charlie Reischl to bring his irresistible and exuberant music to life. Strains of American folk, blues, jazz and r&b weave through Dick’s songs in classics like “Angelo’s” (and since Angelo’s restaurant is closing, you really have to come to this show!) and “What Would Brando Do?” Sometimes there’s a hint of Hank Williams … a bit of Louis Jordan, Bob Dylan … the zaniness of Spike Jones… even a little T.S. Eliot meets the Beatles. It’s all Dick Siegel music – served up hot and fresh.
The Ark's annual Crossroads Ceili is a great way to mark the turning of the year. It's a gathering of local Celtic-oriented singers, instrumentalists, and dancers, all sharing the stage to get your Celtic music year off to a good start. If you'd like to get an idea of the depth of southeastern Michigan's Celtic music scene, the Ceili is a great place to do it. Fiddler Mick Gavin, the organizer of the Ceili and a frequent performer there, was recently inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame.
The tradition that started more than a decade ago at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York, and now is a much-anticipated event also in Los Angeles and other cities, is coming back to Ann Arbor! Fifty of the area's up-and-coming and veteran comics come together to tell the first jokes they've written for the new year, kicking off the 2024 comedy scene in the most righteous way possible! It's fast, it's fresh, and above all it's funny. It's also not going to break the bank, so why not check out some Michigan comic voices you may not have known about?
You read that right! Gemini, the Michigan duo of San and Laz Slomovits, consists of a pair of twin brothers, and they’re celebrating their 75th birthdays. Gemini is well known and loved for their shows for families. But lately, thanks in part to the budding folk career of San’s daughter Emily —who will be joining them for this show — they’ve reinvigorated their career singing music for adults. They'll also be joined by their longtime Good Mischief Band, Mike Morrison on drums and Eric Fithian on bass. The brothers play songs by many of the artists who’ve inspired them, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, and the Beatles. They also sing their own songs, as well as poetry they’ve set to music. Leave the kids at home with their favorite babysitter and come celebrate and sing with two beloved Michigan musicians!
The Yellow Room is the "brilliantly yellow" living room of Tamulevich's house on Ann Arbor's Old West Side, where gang members meet monthly for musical brainstorming and mutual critique. There are eight members of the gang, most or all of whom are on hand for any given show: Annie Capps, Kitty Donohoe, Jan Krist, Michael Hough, David Tamulevich, David Barrett, Jim Bizer, and Matt Watroba. Each an accomplished songwriter and performer in their own right, they create a unique atmosphere of respect and support, friendship and generosity finding new and unexpected ways to explore beyond their previous personal boundaries.
Neil Woodward's musical performances bring to life the Michigan Experience for Great Lakes audiences and visitors from around the world. Neil's first time to play at The Ark was 1975. He is recipient of Michigan State University's Michigan Traditional Arts 2018 Heritage Award for leadership and artistry in folk music. In 2003 the State of Michigan Legislature officially designated Neil "Michigan's Troubadour" in recognition of his life-long commitment to preservation of Great Lakes folk music and culture.
British guitar legend Albert Lee, regarded by many as one of the world's finest guitar players, with a career spanning more than 50 years, needs no introduction for country, blues and rock fans. Widely hailed for his fingerstyle and hybrid picking technique, Albert Lee helped to redefine country guitar for a whole generation of players with his song "Country Boy." Albert's many career highlights include two Grammy wins, five years in the Eric Clapton band (at Clapton's request Albert played the Crossroads Festival with Eric at Madison Square Garden) and stints with the Rolling Stones' Bill Wyman, The Crickets, the Everly Brothers, Joe Cocker, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and many more.
In 2022, Johnny Williams' home -- above his well-known and highly regarded house concert venue, Johnny's Speakeasy -- suffered a devastating fire. Johnny paid for a premium homeowner's replacement policy for nearly 30 years, but after 18+ months his insurance company continues to delay fair payment on his claim. This benefit concert features a lineup of some of the finest artists from across Michigan performing in support and solidarity with the grassroots, community driven campaign to Save the Speakeasy and Bring Johnny Home!
Whether you're looking for your big break, want to perfect your live performance skills, or just want to perform live for the sheer fun of it, Open Stage nights offer supportive audiences and a terrific space. Twelve performers have eight minutes (or two songs) each to do their thing. Sign-up: doors open at 7:30 p.m. At 7:55 we randomly select the names for the first half, and at 8:30 we draw names for the second half. If your name isn't chosen, bring your raffle ticket with you to the next Open Stage (often the first and third Wednesdays of the month--check our calendar or website, theark.org), and you'll double your chances.
Featuring two of the most fascinating voices in modern Delta blues,—Corey Harris and Cedric Watson—”True Blues” is a very special show. Corey is a MacArthur Grant recipient, and Cedric is one of Louisiana’s foremost purveyors of Creole music and culture. True Blues chronicles the extraordinary living culture of the blues in an evening of music and conversation. Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, and MacArthur fellow Corey Harris has carved out his own niche in the blues tradition. He has performed, recorded, and toured with many of the top names in music such as B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, R.L.Burnside, The Dave Matthews Band, Tracy Chapman, and Wilco, among others, and was a featured artist and narrator of the Martin Scorcese 2003 film “Feel Like Going Home,” which traced the evolution of blues from West Africa to the southern U.S. Corey shares the stage with one of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, creole and zydeco (Louisiana French) music over the last decade, Cedric Watson—a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter with seemingly unlimited potential.