When he’s not off making movies, actor Jeff Daniels eschews the Tinseltown glitz for his hometown of Chelsea . Despite a crammed film schedule, Daniels keeps busy running the Purple Rose Theatre Company (137 Park St., 734/433-7673, www.purplerosetheatre.org , box office 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., show days noon–10 p.m. Sat., noon–4 p.m. Sun., $13–38), which he founded in 1991, naming it after the Woody Allen film The Purple Rose of Cairo, in which he’d starred six years prior.
This critically acclaimed regional playhouse features classic plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire as well as modern works, even plays written by Daniels himself.
After catching a show at this landmark theater, head to the town’s other big-name attraction: The Common Grill (112 S. Main St., 734/475-0470, www.commongrill.com , 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., $10–30), a superb restaurant founded in 1991 by former employees of Detroit’s Chuck Muer restaurant chain.
The Grill helped put sleepy Chelsea on the map, and waits easily reach two hours on weekends. Folks come for the signature fish dishes and the chic yet comfortable atmosphere, which includes painted Hopperesque scenes of old Chelsea (including the Jiffy Baking Company’s tower) on the exposed brick walls.