Emily Diener is back in our Circle Spotlight, this time as the Director of Magic Circle: Dogs Love Cupcakes!

Emily Diener (she/her) is the Director of our 2022 Main Stage Production of Magic Circle: Dogs Love Cupcakes – along with a performer in On Golden Pond and is featured in several of our Summer Concerts (James Bond, Divine Divas, and Under Pressure). She is originally from Toledo, OH, but after graduating from college decided to stage in the Grand Rapids area, finding herself falling in love with the theatre community here. 

Her first season with Circle Theatre was in 2015. She auditioned with no expectations and was still a new face in the community. She was cast in Evita (Ensemble) and Company (Susan), and the rest is history!

Magic Circle is traditionally Circle Theatre’s annual family show that features classic children’s productions. In 2022, Magic Circle will bring storytelling to kids fingertips, taking character drawings from local children at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and creating one-of-kind productions based on their drawings. Magic Circle, where imagination takes stage.

It has been two years since Magic Circle has taken place at Circle Theatre and Emily believes that “the covid hiatus truly made us all extra appreciative of any chance we get to do theatre at all! It’s the classic adage of “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!”. This season is different for many reasons. As mentioned, Circle is presenting an original production, with character creation by patients from Helen DeVos Children’s hospital and script by Circle’s Scenic Designer, Don Wilson. 

“This season in particular is different because of our unique partnership with Helen DeVos Children’s hospital. Four of the patients there created characters for our production. They made drawings and wrote up character descriptions and everything, straight out of their imaginations! It’s been exciting and so rewarding to see their characters brought to life but such incredible performers and designers. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to present an all new, completely original story to Circle’s audiences.” – Emily Diener

So far, this has been an exciting challenge for Emily to take on. It is her first time directing a production at Circle and while she’s directed many projects in the past, this is particularly unique as she is very familiar with Circle from an actor’s perspective. She has found the entire experience to be a joy to work with Circle’s production staff on a different level and is able to collaborate with many talented performers. 

“Seeing this story and these characters brought to life has been so exciting, I can’t wait to share it with audiences!” – Emily Diener

If you are planning to see this production, Emily hopes you’ll remember that it’s okay to play! She mentions that our world can be so full of darkness and negativity, so we can all learn from the simple magic of play time – even as adults! It’s important to find small moments of joy and light throughout our day to help alleviate the heavy loads many of us carry.

One of Emily’s most memorable moments in her Circle experience is being able to work with and get to know young artists. In 2019, Emily was cast in Freaky Friday and had the opportunity to work closely with the younger cast who she grew very close to during the entire process. As the years go on, she has been able to watch them grow as not only performers, but as people. Our theatre community is truly one-of-a-kind and works in remarkable ways to bring and keep people together!

Dogs Love Cupcakes: The Incredible True Story of the Life and Times of Jeff runs at Circle Theatre from June 28-30. 

Jeff doesn’t like a lot of things, but he does like inventions.  Irritated when the townspeople are prepping for the annual bake sale fundraiser, he seeks some peace and quiet.  All he wants is to work on his newest invention. He doesn’t get along with most people, and likes even fewer.  After seeing how well others in his life treat him even though he’s a big grump, Jeff comes to learn that his old way of thinking is something to leave behind, and it costs nothing to simply be nice.

Get your tickets at! 

And if you are hoping to see more of Emily Diener this season, she will be putting her “actor” hate back on for On Golden Pond, which opens this August at Circle Theatre!