Emmy-winning animator to head up Dram Tree Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’

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Michael Granberry, seen here with his award-winning creation for 'Tumble Leaf,' will return to Wilmington next year to head up a production of 'The Tempest.' Courtesy photo.
Michael Granberry, seen here with his award-winning creation for ‘Tumble Leaf,’ will return to Wilmington next year to head up a production of ‘The Tempest.’ Courtesy photo.

An award-winning animator is returning to his local roots to take the helm of Dram Tree Shakespeare’s next production.

The newly formed avant garde Wilmington theater company has pegged Michael Granberry to direct “The Tempest,” slated to open in April 2016.

Established last year, Dram Tree aims to pair tradition and innovation, incorporating industrial and modern elements in its set design and execution of the Bard’s works at its upcycled McEachern’s warehouse along Front Street in downtown Wilmington. Its debut earlier this year, “Macbeth,” garnered eight Wilmington Theater Awards nominations, including one for “Best Play.”

Granberry, a former resident of the Port City, now lives and works in Los Angeles as a stop-motion animator. He is most known for his work on Charlie Kaufman’s adult animated comedy, “Anomalisa,” as well as “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas” and “Zombies VS. Ninjas: The Web Series.”

In 2006, Granberry directed “From Beyond,” a short film adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name. And this year, he won a Daytime Emmy for his work on Amazon’s “Tumble Leaf,” a series for preschool-age children.

“I am beyond excited to have Michael back in Wilmington and working with Dram Tree,” said the production company’s vice chairwoman, Alisa Harris. “His creative flair is the perfect fit for Dram Tree’s innovative spirit and for this production of ‘The Tempest.’”

Granberry is no stranger to the Wilmington Shakespeare scene. While living here, he was the artistic director of Cape Fear Shakespeare. Before leaving for L.A. nearly 15 years ago, he was the creative force behind a 1920s-inspired production of “Julius Caesar” and the fantastical puppetry in his interpretation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” both staged at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.

An accomplished actor and voice actor, Granberry also performed as the inaugural “Crumpet” in City Stage’s Santaland Diaries, based on the David Sedaris book.

Dram Tree Shakespeare will hold auditions for “The Tempest” early next year and is now accepting applications for technical positions. The dramatic comedy will run in mid-April 2016 at the McEachern’s Warehouse space, 121 S. Front St.