September 7, 2007

RSU Theatre Announces 2007-2008 Season

Productions as wide-ranging as an examination of the controversial evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, a musical tribute to Woody Guthrie and a radio drama presentation of William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “The Tempest” will highlight the 2007-2008 season of the Rogers State University theatre program.

RSU Theatre’s third season will feature seven productions from October through April. “We have tried to present an eclectic variety of plays this season,” said David Blakely, RSU theatre coordinator. “I think we truly have something for almost any theatrical taste.”

The season will begin with “An Evangelist Drowns,” an original one-woman play, written by Dr. Gregory J. Thompson, head of the RSU Department of English and Humanities, on Oct. 4-6 and 11-13 at the Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore. The play examines the life of Aimee Semple McPherson, a famed evangelist and media sensation in the 1920s and 1930s, who was often surrounded by public attention and controversy and died a mysterious death. Mariah Owen, a 21-year-old RSU student from Claremore will portray McPherson.

In October, RSU Theatre is teaming up with the university’s new music program to present “Woody Guthrie’s American Song,” a musical featuring the stories and songs of Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie. The production is in commemoration of the Oklahoma Centennial. RSU professor Dr. William Hart and Claremore physician Dr. Curtis Farrar, both of whom will portray Guthrie, will lead a cast of eight, presenting 28 of Guthrie’s songs. The musical will be presented in the Black Box Theatre of the Robson Performing Arts Center in Claremore on Oct. 25-27.

“Av Evangelist Drowns” and “Woody Guthrie’s American Song” will be RSU’s participating entries in this year’s American College Theatre Festival.

The university’s third annual 10-minute play festival, “Original Recipe,” will be held on Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. The festival will feature short plays by Francine Ringold, the poet laureate of Oklahoma, and Jessica Ammons, an RSU student who was the recent recipient of the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Service.

In January, the theatre program will present a series of readings about the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at various locations on the RSU campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor. The readings will be presented by several RSU students and faculty in honor of Dr. King’s life on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, 2008.

In February, the RSU theatre program will present readings of a new play by David Blakely titled “Lime Green Jackals” as part of its commitment to new, original work by area playwrights. The play is a dark comedy about vandalism, paranoia, parenting and being neighborly, Blakely said. Readings of the play will be presented on Feb. 21-22 in Baird Hall on the RSU campus in Claremore.

The RSU Student Theatre Organization will present several original, one-act plays directed by students on April 3-5. This will be the third year that RSU students have been placed into the role of director for the one-act productions.

Finally, RSU Theatre will present William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” on April 17-29 and 24-36 in the Will Rogers Auditorium. Shakespeare’s great work of romance features a long and complicated list of characters, the sorcerer Prospero, the Duke of Milan, and a fictitious narrative set far away from ordinary life. As expected, “The Tempest” will dish up disaster, a lot of mistaken identity, jealousy and violence. The RSU Theatre production of this classic will add a twist of its own – it will be presented as a 1930s radio drama on stage, similar to “A Prairie Home Companion.” The production will be broadcast live on RSU Radio FM 91.3.

All productions will begin at 7:07 p.m. in the Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore, unless otherwise noted. Tickets will be available at the door and are $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens and area students; and free for all RSU students, staff and faculty members. For more information, contact the RSU theatre program at (918) 343-7521.