Thanks to an anonymous donor, tickets for the "Something Wonderful: Richard Rodgers' Centennial of Song" concert on Saturday, June 8, are now free.
Saturday has been designated as the official 100th birthday party for Fort Hays State University, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout the year 2002. Tickets for the concert had originally been announced at $6 each, but Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, announced today that the unexpected donation means the tickets can be given away for free.
"Something Wonderful: Richard Rodgers' Centennial of Song" will be presented at 8 p.m. in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the FHSU campus. Rodgers, an American composer, is best known for his collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein II on several musicals in the 1940s and '50s, including Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. Earlier in his career he collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart on several other well-known musicals, including The Girl Friend, A Connecticut Yankee, Babes in Arms and Pal Joey.
The "Centennial of Song" production will include selections from these musicals, as well as a few other songs for which Rodgers wrote the lyrics as well as the music. The songs will be performed by four New York cabaret stars: Heather MacRae, who most recently appeared in the award-winning "Songs for My Father"; Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan, who co-wrote and starred in the off-Broadway Gershwin revue American Rhapsody; and Craig Rubano, best known for his starring role in the Broadway production of Les Miserables.
The concert is a particularly appropriate choice for FHSU's Centennial birthday celebration because 2002 would mark Rodgers' own 100th birthday if he was still alive.
The free tickets are available at both Dillons locations in Hays, as well as at the Memorial Union office on the FHSU campus. The Memorial Union office, located on the second floor, is open from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30-11:30 a.m. Friday. The tickets are all general admission and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The concert will wrap up a day of festivities commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first classes held on the FHSU campus, which convened on June 23, 1902.
The festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with the dedication of a new sign at the Highway 183 by-pass entrance to the campus, next to Gross Memorial Coliseum. A time capsule to be opened in 25 years will be buried at this site after a brief informational ceremony describing its contents. One item in the capsule will be a scroll signed by members of the university and the local community at previous Centennial events. Those who still wish to sign the scroll may do so between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m. on Saturday.
From 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the campus quad, friends from near and far are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to join in this celebration. The Blue Healers, a local band specializing in classic rock and blues, will be the featured musical entertainment. Free Tiger balloons will be distributed to all children. Thanks to generous donations from local businesses, free refreshments will be served. Local Dillons stores will provide cake and ice cream, and the Pepsi Bottling Group will distribute soft drinks.
FHSU President Dr. Edward H. Hammond will make a few brief remarks, and university historian Dr. James Forsythe will be present to sign copies of his new book, Lighthouse on the Plains: Fort Hays State University, 1902-2002.
At 7:15 p.m., an assortment of FHSU merchandise will be given away in a drawing for door prizes. Everyone present will be eligible to win. The concert will follow at 8 p.m.