No matter where he goes in the country, Jeff Daniels still considers Mount Pleasant home. He fondly remembers his theater classmates as a student at Central Michigan University, many of which are still his friends.
“I miss the theater. There was a good group of people there,” Daniels said. “I still keep in contact with some of them. There were maybe 15 of us.”
Daniels is returning to Mount Pleasant for a show in Plachta Auditorium on Central Michigan University’s campus. The Jan. 28 show is squeezed between filming “Dumb and Dumber To” and starting a new season of “The Newsroom,” Daniels said. He’s also been writing his own music for more than 25 years and is sharing some of it with the state he loves.
“When I’m doing ‘The Newsroom,’ that’s all I’m doing,” Daniels said. “It takes damn near 100 percent of yourself to make that and (Dumb and Dumber To) as good as you can. That’s what you’re doing.”
During a month-long break from filming, Daniels came back to Michigan, starting his tour with 10 shows at The Purple Rose Theater, which he started in his hometown of Chelsea. He said he does these shows every year as a fundraiser for the theater.
“It’s a good group,” Daniels said. “The crowds turn out and I’m there to entertain them.”
Daniels said he was also looking forward to sharing music with his college town.
“It’s a good town,” he said. “It’ll be a good time.”
Chris “Elmo” Walton, general manager at Max & Emily’s Eatery and organizer for the event, said he expects Plachta Auditorium to be packed.
“We’ve given out 95 percent of our tickets already,” Walton said. “That’s one of the reasons we needed this to be a ticketed event.”
Expanding concert series
Walton said he and Tim Brockman, owner of Max & Emily’s, have been throwing around the idea of a winter concert to help continue their already very popular summer concert series.
“We like to keep things exciting and fresh for the community,” he said.
Walton said the free series has remained popular amongst the locals.
“It was important to me and Tim that the show was free to the community,” Walton said. “That falls under the Max & Emily’s philosophy.”
Because the weather will not always cooperate, the business had to look for a different venue than their typical street set-up. Walton made some calls to his contacts at CMU and arranged to use an intimate venue on campus.
“Who doesn’t want to think about the summer when it’s five degrees out, and who better to help you with that than a Yooper?” Walton asked.
The Jan. 28 show is sponsored by not only Max and Emily’s and CMU, but also by downtown Mount Pleasant and Isabella Bank.
Max and Emily’s is continuing with the tradition of collecting donations for the Red Cross Infant Pantry at the door.
“It can be monetary, or it can be formula, wipes, diapers, anything a newborn or parent would need,” Walton said.
The next set of tickets are set to be released sometime in the next two weeks. Walton encourages people to get them early because they will go fast. He also said there is a block of tickets going up sometime soon specifically for CMU students.
Walton expects the auditorium to be packed. He said if people have tickets and they know they won’t be able to attend, pass them along to a friend.
“If there’s a ticket not being used, give it to someone else,” Walton said. “We want to keep that tradition of pay it forward alive. This is the largest show on (Daniels’) tour, and it’s his only free show on the tour.”
As for Daniels, he wants people to go home feeling refreshed.
“I hope they’re tired from laughing and that they heard some music they like,” he said. “(I hope) that they lose themselves for a little bit. I really enjoy that.”