FHSU Theatre making changes both on and off stage this season

Fort Hays State University Theatre is taking on a lot this season with plans for two Mainstage performances, evenings to showcase student work, a free film festival and the exciting renovations to Felten-Start Theatre in Malloy Hall.

The first production will be the Tony Award winning musical comedy "Damn Yankees," based on Douglas Wallop's "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant." The play is written by George Abbot and Wallop, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.
"Damn Yankees" gives a new twist to the legend of Faust when a middle-aged baseball fan sells his soul to the devil, Mr. Applegate, for the chance to play for the Washington Senators. Transformed into a young man, this over-eager fan's dreams are soon fulfilled when he finds himself leading the team in both hitting and pitching. But there is a price to be paid, and the devil, along with his seductive assistant, Lola, are waiting to collect.

Jennifer Rajewski, this season's guest director, will direct both "Damn Yankees" and the spring drama. Musical direction will be by Terry Crull, instructor of music and director of choral activities, and set design will be by Bruce Bardwell, assistant professor of communication studies.

Rajewski is a community member of Hays and has worked in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center as assistant technical director. She received her B.S. in theatre and dance with an emphasis on technical theatre and ballet from Kansas State University in 1997. She earned her M.A. in theatre with an emphasis in stage management and technical theatre from KSU in 1999. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in dramaturgy.   

"I have so much faith in her. She has never directed a show here before, but she has a lot of experience, energy and creativity," said Erin Renard, instructor of communication studies and theatre.  

The musical will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10. The second performance is Saturday, Oct. 11, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12. All performances are in Felten-Start Theatre.  

The success of last season's Student Theatre Festival prompted the decision to again use the event as the second production. The festival will be an evening of student acted, written and directed performances.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to witness our talented theatre students as they work their craft," said Renard.

Stephanie Stevens, Hays senior, is helping to organize the festival to gain theatre management experience for her independent studies course. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in theatre.  

Fringe Theatre, sponsored by Renard, will also be heavily involved in the festival again this year. Fringe is a student-organized group for students and non-students who have an interest in theatre and want to experiment with acting and pushing the rules of performance.

FHSU Theatre will work with the Department of English to find original works, such as plays, one-acts and monologues.

"Everyone is encouraged to submit something for the festival. Any style of performance theatre is welcome," said Renard. "It could be any kind of performance art -- it could be musical, dance -- any type of interpretive theatre."

Works can be submitted to Renard by e-mail at enrenard@fhsu.edu or by calling (785) 628-4449.

The FHSU Student Theatre Festival is at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 and 8 only.

The spring production, Arthur Miller's drama "All My Sons," won two Tony Awards and the 1947 New York Drama Critic's Circle Award. Direction will be by Rajewski.
"All My Sons" is based on the true story of a man caught between responsibility to his family and duty to his country resulting in the American Dream gone wrong. The play is currently on Broadway starring Katie Holmes and John Lithgow.  

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., March 5, 6 and 7, with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. March 8.

The theatre season will wrap up with the FHSU Student Directors' Showcase on April 10 and 11. Each evening will highlight work of theatre students from the spring directing course. Ten-minute plays and monologues will demonstrate directing techniques learned during the semester.

FHSU Theatre will also sponsor a free film festival on Friday, April 17, in Cody Commons of Memorial Union.  

"The festival will be open to any films submitted by students, faculty, staff or members of the community," said Renard.

The Learning Commons in Forsyth Library has filming and editing equipment that can be checked out. Works can be submitted to Renard via e-mail at enrenard@fhsu.edu or bycalling (785) 628-4449. The deadline to submit a film is April 1.

"We're working on making the theatre department more professional," she said. "We are approaching it with a collaborative effort. Our chair has been very supportive, which means we are able to accomplish a great deal."  

One change for this season is the location of ticket sales. Tickets can now be purchased in advance at the Student Service Center in Memorial Union. Phone reservations can also be made at the Student Service Center by calling (785) 628-5306. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday.     

General ticket prices for the Mainstage Productions are $10 per show for students and $14 per show for the public. General ticket prices for the Student Theatre Festival and Student Directors' Showcase are $5 per person.  

Tickets will still be available at the door from the FHSU Theatre box office in the main entrance of Malloy Hall prior to each performance.

Season tickets may also be purchased in the union and are available until Oct. 12. Season ticket prices are $15 for students and $25 for the public. Season tickets include the fall musical, the Student Theatre Festival, the spring drama and the Student Directors' Showcase.  

Another change, expected to begin in December, will be the renovation of Felten-Start Theatre, which includes new seating and carpeting. The Department of Communication Studies has also obtained some new equipment this year, including a new lighting board and sound system.

David Adams, Hays freshman, is cast as Joe Boyd, Bouley and Mr. Welch. He is majoring in chemistry.
Jessica Ammel, Canon City, Colo., sophomore, is Meg Boyd. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in German.
Tony Anthony, Ulysses junior, is in the chorus. He is majoring in information networking and telecommunications.
Ryan Bevard, Cozard, Neb., senior, is the Commissioner and is in the chorus. He is majoring in psychology with a minor in theatre.
Leona Blumenthal, Bladen, Neb., freshman, is in the chorus. She is majoring in nursing.
Calder Craig, Russell freshman, is Joe Hardy. He is majoring in music education.
Joseph Doze, Hoisington junior, is Applegate. He is majoring in music education.
Codi Fenwick, Syracuse alumna, is cast as Miss Weston and Henry.
Toni Fuller, Smith Center senior, is in the chorus. She is majoring in art with an emphasis in interior design.
Marc Hertel, Hays freshman, is Smokey. He is majoring in communication studies with an emphasis in theatre.
Alexandra Hutchison, Monument, Colo., freshman, is Sister. She is majoring in music.
Devin Konkel, Harper junior, is Rocky. He is majoring in communication.
Leanne Mersmann, Osage City freshman, is Mickey. She is majoring in communication.
Melody Miller, Almena sophomore, is Lynch and is in the chorus. She is majoring in elementary education.
Vanessa North, Ellis freshman, is Doris. She is majoring in elementary education.
Stacey Rathert, Lancaster junior, is Gloria. She is double majoring in art education and art with an emphasis in sculpture.
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Cody Schaef, Greensburg sophomore, is Sohovik. He is majoring in music education.
Stefanie Stevens, Hays senior, is Lola. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in theatre.
Erin Tope, Rose Hill senior, is Linville. She is majoring in art with an emphasis in graphic design.
Trevor Waechter, Ulysses sophomore, is Van Buren. He is majoring in music education.
Shane Wedgeworth, Liberal freshman, is in the chorus. He is majoring in music.
Lydia Weed, Salina freshman, is Vernon. She is majoring in biology.

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu