Stryker Theater

stryker theatre performance
Friday Night Highlights

Friday Night Highlight Series

This fall, we’re mixing it up in our Friday Night Highlights Series. The Mary Jane Stryker Theater is the location for live music, comedy, improv, magic, theatrical performances, films, and more (even zombies!). Plus, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is back for our laser light show in the planetarium every Friday night.

Art Hop events begin at 6 pm
Live events and movies begin at 7 pm
Laser Light shows begin at 8 pm

Advance purchase of tickets for fee-based events can be made in person at the Museum or by phone with a credit/debit card. Call 269/373-7990 or 800/772-3370.

NOTE: The museum will be closing at 5 p.m. on December 26, 2014 and on January 2, 2015.

No refunds will be made on advance tickets.

  • Image of the bands Chuck Whiting and The Tip Rail Ramblers and Moxieville
    Chuck Whiting and The Tip Rail Ramblers
    and Moxieville
    January 30, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Chuck Whiting and The Tip Rail Ramblers and Moxieville come together in this amazing concert doubleheader of Western swing, R&B, and blues-rock.

    Moxieville is a torch-swing duo hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Formed in early 2014 by musical veterans Megan Dooley and Andrew Whiting, Moxieville combines prohibition-era swing and torch style music with early rock and R&B influences.

    When people see Chuck Whiting, the first thing that stands out about him is his height. But as soon as the Kalamazoo-born singer/songwriter opens his mouth, his stature is the last thing on people's minds. Steeped in the great vocal tradition of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Wayne Hancock, Chuck hollers, moans, and yodels his way through witty originals and carefully-chosen covers.

    Chuck Whiting & His Rowdy Friends - Sunflower - Buttermilk Jamboree 2013
    on YouTube.

  • Photos of BenJammin and Karen Libman
    Storytelling Festival Kick Off Concert featuring Karen Libman and Benjammin Educational Music

    February 6, 2015
    6 - 8 p.m.
    The Storytelling Festival kicks off with a concert by Karen Libman (Story Teller) and Benjammin Educational Music. Karen Libman is a theatre professor, director, actress, wife and mother, and a storyteller. Karen has lived in 17 places since 1980 and told stories at festivals, museums, and schools from the Kansas City Storytelling Festival to The Nebraska Storytelling Festival to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Michigan StoryFest. BenJammin Educational Music, with BenJammin & Analisa, teaches kids concepts such as health/hygiene, conflict resolution, and core subjects through interactive music. They use hand drums, guitar, ukulele, drum sticks, stories, and a few puppets to teach children life skills through audience participation and song.

  • Image of Chris Vallillo playing a guitar.
    Chris Vallillo's Abraham Lincoln in Song
    February 13, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Chris Vallillo combines Lincoln’s own words and stories with contemporary folk music and period folk songs to shed light on one of our nation’s most beloved historical figures -- not only as a remarkable leader, but as a man who knew and loved this very music himself. Skillfully presenting both well-known and obscure songs from Lincoln’s time, Vallillo tells Lincoln’s story -- from his birth 200 years ago on the Big South Fork of Nolan’s Creek in Kentucky through his death in 1865 at the hand of John Wilkes Booth.

    We Are Coming Father Abra'm, Chris Vallillo Live at the Grand Theater
    on YouTube.

  • Image of the dances from Kuungana
    Kevin Collins and Kuungana
    February 20, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Kevin Collins is a respected percussionist who shares his love of African music through lively, participatory performances. He brings with him an impressive collection of traditional percussion instruments from Africa. Children and adults will find his performances entertaining and educational as they learn what a “deJembe” is and get the chance to play! In addition to his professional work performing with big bands, he directs an ongoing African Drum and Dance Troupe in Flint.

  • Images of the bands The Hired Hands and The Moody Coyotes
    The Hired Hands and The Moody Coyotes
    February 27, 2015
    7 p.m.
    The Hired Hands and The Moody Coyotes come together in this amazing Americana concert double-header. The Moody Coyotes are a Kalamazoo-based acoustic band. The range and scope of their music is as wide as the open prairie and as big as the sky. Their music mixes bluegrass, country, rock, gospel, and folk. The best one-word description would be "Americousticana." The Hired Hands Band is an acoustic quintet from the Kalamazoo area. From the beginning, the idea was to combine the members’ collective interests in the jazz, blues, folk, country, and rock genres to craft an eclectic blend of truly American music.
  • Images of the bands Peat in the Creel and Belfast Gin
    St. Patrick's Day Celebration with Peat in the Creel and Belfast Gin
    March 13, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum with two amazing Celtic bands, Belfast Gin and Peat in the Creel.

    Belfast Gin, a Kalamazoo Celtic rock band, is a conglomeration of friends from three separate Celtic bands: Laurie's Fault, Fonnmhor, and Celtic Roots.

    Peat in the Creel (est. July 2011) is high-energy, traditional Celtic with worldly flavors from Spain, Scotland, Ireland, England, and early Americana.

    Peat in the Creel at Fretboard Finals 2013
    on YouTube.

  • Image of the 10th anniversary logo for the Fretboard Festival and The Real Fantastics
    2015 Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival Kick Off Concert: The Real Fantastics

    March 20, 2015
    7 p.m.
    The Real Fantastics! is a Motown/Stax revival group specializing in soul, blues, funk, and pop. The band plays a diverse repertoire of standards, personal favorites, and originals. They have been performing for half a decade, making a substantial impact on the music scenes of Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan.

  • Image of the actress protraying Loreta Velazquez
    REBEL: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War
    March 27, 2015
    7 p.m.
    In 1861, at the outbreak of the American Civil War, a teenager from New Orleans headed to the front lines. Under the alias Harry T. Buford, he fought at First Bull Run, was wounded at Shiloh, and served as a Confederate spy. By 1863, Buford was working for the Union. But Buford harbored a secret... he was really Loreta Velazquez, a Cuban immigrant from New Orleans. Velazquez scandalized America when she revealed her story in her 1876 memoir, The Woman in Battle. Attacked not only for her criticism of war, but her sexuality and social rule-breaking, Velazquez was dismissed as a hoax for 150 years. But evidence confirms she existed, one of over 1,000 women soldiers who served in the Civil War. What made her so dangerous that she was erased from history? Actors and historians bring Velazquez's story to life in this documentary, weaving drama and animation with historical and archival material to unravel the mystery of this secret soldier.
  • Image of The Erlkings
    The Erlkings and Groove Platter

    April 3, 2015
    7 p.m.
    The Erlkings perform with Groove Platter in this doubleheader concert mixed with pop, rock, and blues.

    The Erlkings are a pop/singer-songwriter group from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their signature brand of pop songwriting and harmony weaves between the upbeat and the moody while giving the listener an abundance of melodies and hooks.

    Groove Platter is a high-energy, funky blues rock group from Southwest Michigan offering up a heaping helping of blues, funk, and classic rock covers in an original style aimed at helping you get your GROOVE ON!

  • Art Hop: Zeemo the Yo-Yo Man - The Story of the Yo-Yo

    April 10, 2015
    6-8 p.m.
    Over 20 years ago, Paul Kyprie started Zeemo Productions to develop a variety of shows, which he has been performing ever since throughout Michigan and Ohio. He uses several stage names for the shows, including Zeemo The Magnificent, Yo-Master Zeemo, Dr. Zeemo, and Zeemo The Yo-Yo Man. He will be demonstrating a wide variety of yo-yos and spinning tops, including some high-tech modern era toys.

  • Logo for the Black Arts and Cultural Center
    Black Arts & Cultural Center Presents: Campus to Community: College Arts & Cultural Organizations Showcase
    April 17, 2015
    7 p.m.
    The Black Arts & Cultural Center will be showcasing visual and performing arts from several arts and cultural organizations at WMU, KVCC, and K College. Included in the showcase will be genre poetry, monologues, dance, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, soul, alternative instrumental and vocal music, and visual art. The mission of the Black Arts & Cultural Center is to develop potential and creativity in blacks in the Kalamazoo area, advance the awareness of black artistic ability, preserve black cultural heritage, and enhance interactions among diverse groups in the community.

  • Boheme Tribal Belly Dance and Wisaal

    April 24, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Music and dance come together in this wonderful doubleheader featuring Boheme Tribal Belly Dance and Wisaal.

    Boheme Tribal is known for their acts of joie de vivre! This nationally-recognized performance troupe features husband and wife duo Erik and Sarah Koning as well as students from the Boheme School of Belly Dance.

    Joining Boheme on stage will be Wisaal! Wisaal is a Mediterranean fusion group based in Lansing, MI. The Arabic word wisaal means links, connections, or unities. This reflects an attempt to fuse elements of the Mediterranean musical heritage with Klezmer, Indian, and American influences.

    on YouTube.

  • Images of the band Double Strung and the soloist Steve Pesch
    Art Hop: Double Strung and Steve Pesch
    May 1, 2015
    6-8 p.m.
    Double-Strung is an acoustic duo featuring Matt Schwartz on vocals and guitar, and Roxanne Artis on vocals and banjo. The duo features tight vocal harmonies and an all-acoustic mix of country and gospel covers and originals, and they even put their own spin on songs from the alternative rock scene.

    Steve Pesch is a high-octane rock and country musician fueled by the influences of everything from 50's rockabilly, 60's jam bands, 70's classic rock, 80's metal, and blues and soul grooves. Pesch's live shows are always memorable for their twist on the classics and for bringing the crowd on board for the ride. Steve Pesch provides a variety of music that is hard to match and even harder to forget.
  • A collage of speakers
    "Spoken Murals" Poetry Showcase
    May 8, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Marcel "Fable the Poet" Price will host a showcase of spoken word poets from around the state of Michigan. Marcel is the host of two weekly shows in Kalamazoo, uniting the Michigan performing arts scene as a teacher and touring spoken word artist. Spoken word artists Darius Gardner of Kalamazoo, Shawn Moore of Rockford, Azizi Jasper of Detroit, and DC of Kalamazoo will round out the cast for this amazing spoken word showcase.

  • Image of the band Skinny Hodges
    Blues Night with Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association

    May 15, 2015
    7 p.m.
    In collaboration with the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, enjoy a night of blues featuring Big Trouble and Skinny Hodge at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Big Trouble is made up of experienced and diverse musicians. Their members have played in venues from coast to coast, bringing with them a variety of sounds that will please the most discriminating musical ear. Skinny Hodge is a blues band based out of Kalamazoo, MI. Skinny Hodge consists of their frontman, rockin' both solos on guitar and heart thumping vocals, John Hodgkinson. Steph Slice makes loud, rhythmic noises with sticks on drums. And on the bass is Graham Pretzer, slappin' and slidin' and doin' his thing.

  • Image of Captain Guy D Gruters
    Memorial Day Observance: Capt. Guy D. Gruters, Fighter Pilot, P.O.W. 5 Yrs
    May 22, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Guy D. Gruters, Captain, USAF, a POW in North Vietnam from December 1967 to March 1973, teaches people how to establish outstanding forgiveness, leadership, teamwork, and success in any organization using proven techniques and principles that worked in the toughest conditions imaginable. Guy Gruters was raised in New Jersey, where he spent his childhood trapping muskrat, camping, hunting, and becoming an Eagle Scout. He accepted a bid to the Air Force Academy and graduated with a BS in Engineering Science (summa cum laude). He then went on to Purdue University and completed a Masters Degree in Astronautical Engineering. After Pilot Training and fighter gunnery school, he volunteered for Vietnam and served six years in there, more than five as a POW.
  • Title graphic for the presentation of Ninja Farts: Silent But Deadly
    Fancy Pants Theater Presents! Ninja Farts: Silent But Deadly
    May 29, 2015
    7 p.m.
    Milo Snotrocket was just an ordinary, fart-loving boy, until he got wind of the school bully, Bobby Buttzcratcher's, evil scheme: to use deadly, stinky farts for evil! Now Milo must become the Fart Ninja to stop bad Buttzscratcher. The laughs come as fast as ninja stars...

    Fancy Pants Theater is an independent organization on a mission to provide the Kalamazoo Community with accessible and inexpensive contemporary live entertainment.

    We value an all-inclusive, collaborative approach to theatrical storytelling and artistic expression that will provoke discussion about the human condition and therefore support cultural growth in the Kalamazoo Community.