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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Jeff Daniels comes to Marquette

Those looking to enjoy a night of down home music, stories and fun with a star of both the stage and screen will soon be able to do so. Jeff Daniels, famous actor of films like “Dumb & Dumber” and Woody Allen’s “The Purple Rose of Cairo” will be performing Dec. 11 at the Kaufman Auditorium.

While many may know him from his film and TV appearances, Daniels has been performing music both in public and in private for several years. The decision to go on tour was made when the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Mich., which Daniels founded and named after the film, was in need of money.

“[Members of] the theatre said, ‘why don’t you get your guitar and go up and play your songs and we’ll charge money,'” Daniels said. “After a couple of years of doing that, an agent saw me and said ‘you could do this around the country if you wanted.'”

Initially concerned the music wouldn’t play well outside of Michigan, Daniels wrote songs that were not necessarily Michigan based. He was soon playing in Boston, New York, Chicago and Houston, to name a few.

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“What I really enjoy, to be honest, is going to some of the more off-markets,” Daniels said. “Not Chicago or Boston so much as the U.P. tour I’m going to do.”

Daniels has recently spent the last several months in New York City performing in the Tony-nominated “God of Carnage,” for which he also received a Tony nomination. He considers stepping down from the stage as “reentering the atmosphere,” which touring around the U.P. will surely help him do.

“There’s a peacefulness up there [in the U.P.], there’s a simplicity,” Daniels said. “Every time I go up there I love what it does to me and love how it feels. Every time I cross the [Mackinac] Bridge and hit the U.P. something happens and I lose track of time. “According to Daniels, there’s not necessarily an underlying theme or message to his music and considers his performances to be more like storytelling.

“I just want people to come and hear some things that most of them have never heard before,” Daniels said. “I’ll make them laugh harder than they have in a long time, occasionally I’ll make them think, maybe even make them cry and then I’ll send them home. That’s kind of the mission I set out for.”

When it comes to his acting and music career, Daniels plans to stick with the former for the time being, but would not have a problem focusing on music.

“I don’t think I’ll be done [with acting] anytime soon, but if it ended, I would be very happy to pick up a guitar and just do that full-time because creatively I’m in control,” Daniels said. “There’s a freedom in that.”

Kaufman Auditorium director Sara Cambensy is no stranger to Jeff Daniels performing in Marquette, as he was playing during her first year at the auditorium.

“The show went over so well that the agent has been trying to bring him back ever since,” Cambensy said. “This year it just worked where he was on tour and we could get him in here.”

Daniels last played at the Kaufman Auditorium in November 2006. Cambensy said that in her opinion the audience couldn’t get enough of his whimsical songs and his humor.

“The stories he told were absolutely hilarious and many of them pertained to experiences he had here in the Upper Peninsula,” Cambensy said. “He has a way of reaching out to everyone who was born and raised here and making light of the culture we create for ourselves. He doesn’t offend anyone, he does it so well.”

Daniels doesn’t just offer humorous songs. According to Cambensy, the last time he was here he engaged the audience by having them act out of one of his songs, which included dancing with one another and pretending to drink a beer while doing so.

“It was great. The audience just wants more and they didn’t want the show to end,” Cambensy said. “From my perspective it’s worth every penny of the ticket price because people don’t leave disappointed.”

Cambensy added that she hopes that by bringing people in and making events like this one that it creates a new experience for the audience members and creates a memory for them in the Kaufman Auditorium

The turnout for this event is expected to be just as successful as the previous one and Cambensy estimates that between 500-700 people will be in attendance.

“So far we haven’t seen a drop in his ticket sales compared to when he was here in 2006,” Cambensy said. “Compared with other shows we’ve had this year it really speaks volumes about his talent. I think a lot of them know that what they’re going to get is an amazing show.”

Jeff Daniels is scheduled to perform Friday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Kaufman Auditorium. Tickets are $27 and are available at any NMU EZ ticket outlet.

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