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Tony Targan

Bloomfield Hills-based Tony Targan seems to have found his calling as a writer, actor and director later in life. “I was always interested in theater and did a couple of plays in high school, but I pursued being a lawyer, a father and a soccer coach when my kids were young,” he said. “I jumped back into the creative side within the past 10 to 12 years.”

Writing has been an ongoing interest for the now retired attorney, who is married with two grown daughters and two grandchildren, and another on the way.

While Targan has only written short plays, he is collaborating on a full-length play with another writer. “They are mostly comedic, but sometimes a little of both. Dramas usually take a little more time to develop,” said Targan, whose shows have been produced around the country as well as closer to home at local venues like Rosedale Community Players and Farmington Players.

One called “Turbulence” won some awards at the Michigan AACTFest. As a final wish for a charity auction, the play features a character named after the winner’s sister-in-law, Georgia Graham, who was terminally ill.

“That led to some great Georgia jokes,” said Targan. “She was able to hear the play before she passed and her loved ones came to see it.”

Targan lets his writing lead the way.

“It’s about being open to the process of creating interesting characters and letting them talk instead of forcing the action,” he said. “It’s better to let it come to you than having a certain defined agenda.”

You also have to be ruthless with revisions, said Targan, who reads his work to a playwrighting group. “Part of the process is to get some feedback,” he explained.

His plays feature relatable topics, like “A Near Life Experience,” that came to him when he held his granddaughter for the first time. “It was like a near death experience, but it was a near life experience that changed my whole perspective on things,” Targan described. The story features a woman who gives birth in a cab, which transforms the driver who delivers the baby.

Other catchy titles include, “I’m Not Wearing Any Pants,” that highlights a blind date with a twist. As Targan knows, “You gotta have a good title.”

Performing is another passion. “As an actor, there is nothing like getting the immediate gratification of an audience laughing at your character,” he said. “It’s even more impactful to make people cry in a drama when all goes silent and you can feel the energy of the audience hanging on every word and feel that connection.”

Targan will perform in “Something Rotten,” with the Farmington Players from April 26 – May 18.

He also enjoys audio plays that became prominent during COVID, when Targan wrote two episodes for a series called “He Shed, She Shed” for the Farmington Players. “It gave us a creative outlet during the pandemic,” he said.

In addition, Targan does voice acting for short audio plays. “They let you use your own imagination,” he explained. “It’s really a fun outlet and I get to play older and younger characters.”

Running is another outlet for him. “It is an essential part of my life,” said Targan, who has participated in 18 marathons and other races.

Targan has also directed five community theater productions.

“To me, directing ties together all aspects of theater,” he said. “I can take the words on the page and help actors bring them to life. By acting and directing, it makes me a better director.”

Story: Jeanine Matlow

Photo: Laurie Tennent


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