FHSU Theatre Season kicks off in October

All the world may be a stage, but Fort Hays State University has its own theatrics to offer for the 2004-2005 academic year. Curtains for FHSU Theatre productions will rise Oct. 1.

Events sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies were determined by a combined effort between Bruce Bardwell and Michael Hogwood, Communication Studies Department instructors; Dr. Stephen Shapiro, professor of communication studies and theatre director, and by Dr. James Brown, assistant professor of music.

"Our campus-theatre organization radically changed from last year," said Hogwood. "This year we will be organizing a parade, poker tournament, film festivals and a comedy troupe. We hope to have more involved this year."

Like past seasons, productions this year will include two theatrical shows in each of the fall and spring semesters. For the fall, Gypsy, a musical adaptation of Arthur Laurents' novel, will run from Oct. 1-2 and 8-10. The musical is a story of how no-talent Louise Hovick rises from behind the shadow of her sister and vaudeville to become the 1930's burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee. Brenda Maeder is director. Musical direction is by Brown,

Rocket Man, written by Steven Dietz and directed by Hogwood, will run from Nov. 18-21. The production is a serious comedy about the road not taken and explores scientific possibilities of mortality, humanity and spirituality. Rocket Man is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc.

In the spring, the musical Bat Boy will run from March 4-6 and 11-13. Directed by Hogwood, with musical direction by Brown, the play is based on the story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming. Bat Boy is both a comedy and horror show about a half-boy, half-bat discovered in a cave who attempts to live life as an outcast in civilized society. Conceived in the late 1990s, Bat Boy gained popularity in Los Angeles, CA, and was later produced in New York. The production is also presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc.

To Kill a Mockingbird, a dramatized adaptation of Harper Lee's novel, will run from April 28-30 and again on May 1. Directed by Shapiro, the play is set in 1935 and dramatizes racial tensions in context of a trial when a white lawyer defends a black man. The legal battle's result is part defeat and part triumph.

All productions will take place in Felten Start Theatre in Malloy Hall. One-act plays, which have been performed in the past during the spring semesters, will be contingent on student interest. Currently, there are no one-act plays scheduled, but Hogwood said that could change depending on the number of students interested in directing. Hogwood said one act-plays are normally selected as students become involved in the fall. He said there is plenty of room for student involvement and the benefits are great.

"If you will be in any field requiring communication, involvement in campus productions can build on those communication skills," he said. "You come out a more confident person than when you first came in."

Auditioning for anyone interested in cast or crew positions for Gypsy and Rocket Man will begin Aug. 25 with an informational theatre rally on stage in Malloy Hall. Official auditions for Gypsy begin Aug. 26 and Rocket Man auditions will be held Aug. 27. Callbacks for both productions will be Friday, Aug. 28, and Monday, Aug. 30.

Bat Boy auditions will not begin until the end of the fall 2004 semester. Dates for To Kill a Mockingbird are yet to be determined.

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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu