By Nancye Edwards
The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to present 10 productions during the 2017–18 season. Running from early September through April, productions will take place at Valborg Theatre, I.G. Greer Studio Theatre and the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. This season highlights titles ranging from new works to some well-known favorites.
According to Dr. Paulette Marty, chair of the play selection process and professor of theatre arts, the season grapples with serious issues in fascinating and fun ways.
“‘Radium Girls’ tells a tragic true story of young women poisoned by their work, but is ultimately inspiring and empowering. ‘Much Ado’ explores the agony and ecstasy of romance with a lot of laughs! ‘Well’ dives into the thorny question of what makes us feel ‘sick’ or ‘well’ through a hilarious and poignant mother-daughter struggle, and ‘Sweeney Todd’ delves into the dark, dark realms of revenge and moral corruption, but with gleeful delight and soaring music.”
Department Chair and Associate Professor of Dance Kevin Warner is excited for the upcoming dance performances as well.
“From dance on film and world premiere works by our exceptional faculty and guest artists, to original dance pieces by our talented student choreographers, the full range of the art of dance will be on display for audience members and dance enthusiasts throughout the region.”
Tickets are available in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office weekdays 9 a.m. –5 p.m., by phone 828-262-4046, at the Valborg Theater box office weekdays 1 p.m.–5 p.m., and online at www.theatreanddance.appstate.edu.
A full schedule of the 2017–18 season follows.
ADF’s Movies By Movers Dance Film Festival
Sept. 14–16, Times vary
Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and other venues
Movies By Movers” is an annual festival dedicated to the celebration of the conversation between the body and the camera. The festival contributes to the history of the collaboration between the art of live movement and the perpetual nature of film. Students, emerging artists, and seasoned professionals find room in the festival to share their craft.
First Year Showcase
Sept. 28-30 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 2 p.m.
I.G. Greer Studio Theatre
Each season opens with this popular showcase, a fast-paced, high-energy performance by new students. The theme for the 2017 showcase is “Relationships,” and members of the incoming class will make their Appalachian debut.
Under the direction Trimella Chaney, theatre arts adjunct faculty, and Marianne Adams, professor of dance studies, students will devise and present scenes and perform original choreographic work. Pieces featured in the showcase are personal to the performers, highlighting their past and current experiences.
Radium Girls by D.W. Gregory
Oct. 4–7 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 8 at 2 p.m.
In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity and luminous watches the latest rage — until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, "Radium Girls" traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court.
Called a "powerful" and "engrossing" drama by critics, “Radium Girls” offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth and the commercialization of science.
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Oct. 25–28 and Nov. 1-4 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.
I.G. Greer Studio Theatre
Shakespeare’s beloved comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” roars to life in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre in a romping experimentally staged production. The play centers around the iconic characters Beatrice and Benedick, quarrelling lovers who terrorize all with their sharp wits. Add a band of volunteer neighborhood watchmen lead by a bungling constable, and the result is a hilarious evening, celebrating romantic love and highlighting the silliness that surrounds people in love.
Aniruddha Knight & Ensemble: Bharata Natyam South Indian Music and Dance
Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.
Aniruddha Knight is a ninth generation descendant of a 200-year-old family of dancers and musicians, and the grandson of a world famous Balasaraswati, Indian classical dancer. He is the sole surviving example of a continuous family practice of music and dance once almost exclusively performed by a traditional matrilineal community of performing artists in South India.
Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble
Nov. 15–18 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
This popular annual concert features Appalachian faculty, students and guest artists showcasing their talents in choreography and performance. The 2017 fall choreographers include faculty members Laurie Atkins, Sherone Price and Kevin Warner, along with new work by guest artist Cheryl Cutlip.
Well by Lisa Kron
Feb. 21–24 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.
Lisa Kron is best known for writing the book of the Tony Award winning musical, “Fun Home,” based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechtel. In “Well,” Kron uses her own life experience to address what it means to be healthy in medical, personal and social terms.
Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble
March 21–24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 2 p.m.
This popular annual concert features Appalachian faculty, students and guest artists showcasing their talents in choreography and performance. The 2018 spring concert is scheduled to include work by Associate Professors of Dance Studies Emily Daughtridge and Susan Lutz, as well as a choreographic world premiere by a national guest artist.
The Hero Twins: Blood Race by Ramón Esquivel
Presented by Appalachian Young People’s Theatre
April 6 at 7 p.m. and April 7–8 at 2 p.m.
I.G. Greer Studio Theatre
Competing in the ancient Blood Race, a stonecutter named Moth descends into the underworld to free her twin brother, Cricket, who is trapped there. To win the race, Moth must defeat the reigning champion, Jaguar, and overcome deadly obstacles. The Blood Race is designed to give Jaguar many advantages, so Moth must rely on her intelligence and unconventional skills to defy the odds. When she learns the truth of the Blood Race and the society built upon it, Moth faces a choice: accept the way things are and have always been, or tear it all down and start anew. An original story inspired by classic Mayan mythology, “The Hero Twins: Blood Race” employs parkour, free running, capoeira and other martial arts and dance forms to weave a tale of determination, discovery and liberation.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler
Presented in collaboration with the Hayes School of Music
April 13–14 at 7 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m.
This tasty, thrilling, theatrical treat by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler has simultaneously shocked, awed and delighted audiences across the world. The show’s Broadway premiere received eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
In this infamous tale set in the nineteenth century, Sweeney Todd returns to London seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice. Mrs. Lovett's luck sharply shifts when Todd's thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up... and the carnage has only just begun!
About the Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.