Lawrence University Theatre Arts department

Tag: Lawrence University Theatre Arts department

Theatre Arts Department Presents the Musical “Godspell”

A contemporary twist on the popular Broadway musical “Godspell” comes to the stage of Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theatre Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

Godspell_newsblogPerformances of the musical by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak are at 8 p.m. each night with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 1. Tickets, at $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

The two-act production presents the Gospel of Matthew in musical parables. It follows the last days in the life of Jesus Christ and culminates in the second act with his betrayal by Judas and his crucifixion.

Originally inspired by theologian Harvey Cox’s 1968 Playboy Magazine article that featured an image of a laughing Jesus, “Godspell” has enjoyed numerous interpretations and treatments since its Broadway premiere in 1971.

Lawrence’s production will feature a contemporary setting and include “a larger exploration of art around religious subjects and stories through the centuries using a wide variety of artistic expression, including music, dance, storytelling, costumes and visual art,” said director Timothy Troy, professor of pheatre arts and the J. Thomas and Julie Esch Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama.

“Throughout Western history, the best musicians, visual artists, dancers, poets and dramatists addressed our collective relationship with our faith traditions through the arts,” said Troy. “All art making, whether sacred or secular, is an act of faith.”

This production will feature the 2012 revision of the score, which according to Troy, “explores a much wider variety of musical styles than the original, and features far more ensemble singing than the 1971 Broadway production and the 1973 film adaptation.”

Maggie Ward, a senior from Wausau, calls the show’s music “stunning.”

“A lot of it was rewritten for the 2012 Broadway revival and some of the songs have had a drastic tone change compared to the original show,” said Ward.  “One of the biggest changes is ‘Beautiful City,’ which has been altered into an absolutely gorgeous ballad.”

Ward has the honor of singing the show’s best-known song, “Day by Day.”

“It’s a little daunting to be performing a song that is so popular and that has a lot of meaning for people, but I’m also very excited,” said Ward.

Monica Rodero, associate artistic director of the Milwaukee-based Wild Space Dance Company, choreographed the production.

“Monica’s deep background in collaborative production and modern dance brings a wide range of movement and gestural style seldom seen in traditional production of ‘Godspell,’” said Troy.

Phillip Swan, associate professor of music and co-director of choral studies, is the show’s musical director. Theatre arts department members Keith Pitts, Karin Kopischke and Aaron Sherkow designed the set, costumes and lightening, respectively, for the production.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

New Student Musical “Hope/Who’s Waldo” Premieres in Cloak Theatre

Lawrence University Musical Production, in conjunction with the Lawrence Theatre Arts department, presents “Hope/Who’s Waldo,” two one-act musicals presented within a single show.

The musical will be performed Friday, April 16 at 8 p.m. and Saturday April 17 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Lawrence’s Cloak Theatre in the Music-Drama Center, 420 E. College Ave., Appleton. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

The new work written by senior Nikko Benson with stage direction by junior Andi Rudd, explores opposite ends of the musical theatre spectrum.

“Hope,” the first half of the show, follows the struggles of a group of refugees as they attempt to escape a genocidal government. Removed from any specific historical or cultural context, the story explores the darkness of the human experience, calling into question the purpose of hope itself.

“Who’s Waldo,” is a contrastingly lighthearted story about the title character. An amnesiac, Waldo embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he travels the world of classic literature, meeting other characters along the way.

As the second half of the musical, “Who’s Waldo” raises the question of comedy’s role and placement in a production. The story wants the audience to wonder whether comedy exists to help us forget tragedy or to give us the hope we need in order to face it.

Lawrence University Theatre Dept. Presents Wilder’s Pulitzer-Winning Play “The Skin of Our Teeth”

APPLETON, WIS. — Thornton Wilder’s 1942 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Skin of Our Teeth” comes to Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theatre May 14-15 at 8 p.m. and May 16 at 3 and 8 p.m.

Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

The comically anachronistic tale focuses on the trials and misadventures of the nuclear American family. With biting wit, Wilder examines the perseverance of the human race through all of life’s disasters and the lessons of history to provide answers for the future.

“Wilder’s deft juxtaposition of the familiar with the unlikely takes us on a wild romp through history and humanity,” said Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, who will direct the production.

Wilder creates archetypal characters like the protective mother, the prodigal son, and the seductive maid to tell the story of the Antrobus family in this universal drama. Wilder’s loose conception of time and non-continuous plot bring the characters into extreme situations during each act.

The family travels from the dawning of the Ice Age to the moments before the Great Flood (of Noah). Written in 1942, Wilder anticipates the eventual end of World War II: the final scene takes place in the aftermath of a great world war that even included animals.

“Choosing to direct this play was giving myself permission to spend artistic energy on a favorite script,” said Privatt. “World events in the last year have made it a tremendously topical play, including its underlying message of hope.”

Seniors Eric Ohlrogge and Nora Taylor play Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus while sophomores Jeff Rudisill and Erika Thiede play the Antrobuses’ children, Henry and Gladys, respectively. Sophomore Katie Cravens portrays Sabina, the family’s maid.

“Language of Angels” Production Selected for Regional Theatre Competition

With a stage production, five individual actors and two designers, the Lawrence University theatre arts department will be exceptionally well represented at the upcoming regional competition of the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival Jan. 10-15, 2006 at Illinois State University in Bloomington, Ill.

Lawrence’s Term I production of Naomi Iizuka’s “Language of Angels,” under the direction of Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts, was one of 12 plays selected for performances from among 58 entries in the five-state Region III, which includes colleges and universities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

“Language of Angels” is the second Lawrence production in six years to be selected for a ACTF regional performance, joining “Translations” in 2000. The eight member cast will perform the play three times at the festival — all on the same day: Friday, Jan. 13 at 12 noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Nearly 75 productions from colleges and universities nationwide will participate as finalists in eight regional competitions in January. Four regional competition winners will be invited to the national finals in April and perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“This invitation to perform at the festival is really an honor, particularly since I chose this show as an artistic stretch with opportunities for collaboration,” said Privatt. “It’s the first production I’ve directed that could be chosen for the festival, so to receive an invitation the first time around is certainly gratifying.”

The ACTF program was founded in 1969 to encourage, recognize and celebrate the finest and most exciting work produced in college and university theatre programs and provide opportunities for participants to develop their theatre skills.

Nearly 1,000 productions and 20,000 students nationwide annually participate in the competition, which doesn’t differentiate by school size or institutional type, which means Lawrence’s production was selected over some from much larger universities, including some with graduate theatre departments.

“Competing successfully against schools with MFA’s certainly gives credit to the training and artistic work we undertake here at Lawrence,” said Privatt. “Honors like this one also suggest that we have a solid sense of who we are and what we do well as artists. An invitation to perform at the festival is certainly an affirmation of the truly magical theatre that happens when Lawrence faculty, staff and students work together.”

Last year’s ACTF Region III competition attracted a record crowd of 1,646, the most of any region in the 38-year history of the festival. That record could be eclipsed this year, with attendance projected to top 1,700.
In addition to the production as a whole, seven Lawrence students have been invited to participate in individual categories at the ACTF regional competition.

Three members of the “Language of Angels” cast — seniors Zach Johnson (Racine) and Julie Silver (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and sophomore Asher Perlman (Madison) — along with seniors Siri Hellerman and Melissa Law, who performed in last spring’s production of “First Lady,” were selected for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition.

They will be among more than 300 student actors who will perform individual scenes of their choosing before a panel of judges. Two regional winners each will receive $500 scholarships and advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C. where two national winners will be chosen and awarded $2,500 scholarships. The Irene Ryan Scholarship was established in the will of the late actor, best known for her role as Granny on the TV hit show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Also from the “Language of Angels” production, senior Brian Teoh (Katy, Texas) was one of 19 students chosen for the sound design competition while sophomore Jes Vittitoe (Missouri Valley, Iowa) will be among 13 students participating in the make-up design competition.

“The whole festival is an educational candy store for faculty and students alike,” Privatt said. “It offers opportunities to connect with other colleagues, see their best performances and learn from them in workshops in a focused setting. It’s truly an exceptional experience.”

First performed in 2000 in San Francisco, “Language of Angels” follows a group of working-class friends who are haunted by the disappearance of a young girl in a backwoods cave in North Carolina. The small-town tragedy provides a vehicle for a chilling mystery of fate and redemption.

Other productions invited to the regional competition include: “Side by Side by Sondheim,” Valparaiso University; “Homebody/Kabul,” University of Toledo; “Phenomenon of Decline,”Kalamazoo College; “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” Central Michigan University; “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” University of Wisconsin – Madison; “Red Herring,” University of Wisconsin – Green Bay; “Leavesakes,” Indiana State University; “Urinetown,” Oakland University; “Life Sentence,” University of Wisconsin – Whitewater; “Anatomy of Gray,” University of Evansville; “Proof,” Ashland University.