Northwestern Theatre to present Broadway hits, classics and more in 2014-15

class=”alignleft wp-image-20066″ src=”” alt=”Northwestern_State_University_of_Louisiana” width=”157″ height=”157″ />NATCHITOCHES – Broadway hits, classic plays, topical shows and original productions will be part of Northwestern Theatre and Dance’s 2014-15 season, according to Artistic Director Scott Burrell.

Ticket prices are $15 per show and $12 for children and seniors. Northwestern State, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.  A “Five for Fifty” package is also available providing tickets to all five shows for $50 or a total of five tickets to a combination of shows. The package does not include the annual Christmas Gala. For ticket information, call (318) 357-4483.

The season theme is “You Saw Them Here First,” emphasizing the number of theatre alumni who got their start on the Northwestern State stage and are now working professionally.

“This summer, I starting doing some research on how many of our alumni were working professionally and it was impressive,” said Burrell. “Northwestern State is well represented in the theatre and dance world around the country.”

Among recent accomplishments by Northwestern Theatre and Dance alumni are Donald Jones Jr., earning a part in the cast of “Aladdin” on Broadway and Mandi Ridgdell getting national attention by performing as a Victory Belle at the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. Casey Barrett is a member of the cast of “Book of Mormon” in Chicago while Taylor Morgan and Austin Babin are performers for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Robin Rose is manager of corporate relations and events at the Dallas Theatre Center.

Sharla Mills is a performer at Hershey Park and Beau Wilson, Kwame Lilly and Latrisha Stormer are actors in the Missoula Children’s Theatre Touring Company. Kathy Hustmyre is stage manager at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach Florida. Three alumni are in their second year in top graduate programs. Tim Callais is attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa while Sarah Folkins is at The New School in New York City and Tim Sandifer is attending East 18 University in London.

The season opens with the Stephen Sondheim musical “Sweeney Todd” on Oct. 22-26 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. “Sweeney Todd” is the story of Benjamin Barker, (a.k.a. Todd), who sets up a barbershop in London to carry out deadly revenge in partnership with his tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Pia Wyatt is the director and choreographer with musical direction by Dr. Corey Trahan.

“Two Rooms” will be performed Nov. 12-16 and 18-21 in Theatre West. Burrell is the director. The Lee Blessing play is set in Beirut in the 1980’s as an American educator, Michael is taken hostage. Michael’s wife Lanie is left in their home with only a by-the-book State Department official and opportunistic reporter to keep her company. Meanwhile, Michael speaks unwritten letters to his wife in an attempt to make sense of his captivity. “Two Rooms” explores loneliness, loss, duty and devotion.

An original contemporary ballet production of Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” will be presented Feb. 18-22 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Choreographers Kirstin Riehl, Brett Alan Garfinkel and Rebecca Morgan present a tender story alive with both happiness and sorrow, brought to life through dance, storytelling and visual art. The dance concert will remind us the things to be desired most are not in a form we can quantify. The work teaches as long as you care for someone you have the most important things left to give, love and the simple act of companionship.

Former Artistic Director Jack Wann will return to Northwestern State to direct Anton Chechov’s “Uncle Vanya” on March 17-22 and 26-28 in Theatre West. In Chechov’s classic play, the arrival of a worldly professor and his bewitching wife has shattered the piece of Vanya and Sonya’s country estate. In a series of flirtations, disappointments and confessions, this motley collection of parochial nobodies demand their moment in the sun, but never seem to know what to do when they get it.

The 2014-15 season will conclude with “The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) on April 15-19 and 22-25 in Theatre West. Trahan will direct with choreography by Wyatt. The play is presented in five comic sketches, all sharing a simple plot and parodying the style of a major Broadway composer. The music by Eric Rockwell and book and lyrics by Joanne Bogart parody Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webb and Kander and Ebb.

“Our season ranges from Broadway shows to classics, current, topical shows and something brand new,” said Burrell. “Everyone can find something they like.”

Those interested in further supporting the Theatre and Dance program can also become a theatre patron. Donations can be made at any level, but packages starting at $100 also include tickets to each show.