MSU Presents Play About Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Feb 5, 2013

The Michigan State University Department of Theatre will stage eight performances of a new play called "U.P." starting tonight.

Adam Sutherland (center) stars in "U.P." Also pictured: Michelle Serje and Andrew Buck.
Credit Courtesy: MSU Department of Theatre

"U.P." was written by Michigan natives Mark Colson and Peter Mervis.

It's the story of a man who's disillusioned with his life in Los Angeles who sets off on a road trip to get his head together. The trip ultimately leads him to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the roots he never knew he had.

Charlotte native Colson and collaborator Peter Mervis, who grew up in Howell, wrote the story as a screenplay ten years ago, but Hollywood types didn’t get the whole Upper Peninsula thing.

Colson has converted "U.P." for the stage, and MSU encouraged him to put the show on this season. He says its cinematic origins are reflected in this multi-media presentation with film shot across the country.

Colson spent 20 years acting in Los Angeles, with credits on shows like "Mad Men", "Bones", and "Parks and Recreation". He’s been on the MSU Theatre Department faculty for about a year and a half.

A play about the Upper Peninsula is bound to be compared to "Escanaba in da Moonlight", arguably the most popular Michigan-based play in the last few decades. Writer and director Mark Colson says his show isn’t a broad comedy like the Jeff Daniels play.

Though it started as a screenplay and has been adapted for the stage, Colson is still harboring hopes of putting "U.P." on film.

The MSU Department of Theatre production of "U.P." has performances tonight through Sunday in the RCAH Auditorium inside Snyder-Phillips Hall on the MSU campus. Showtime this evening is 7:30. There’s some adult language in the play, so parents should consider whether or not to bring children.