Posts tagged ‘Penn State Centre Stage’

Penn State’s ‘Titanic’ an Engrossing Tale

SHIP'S CREW: From left, musical theatre major Benjamin Nissen as Second Officer Lightoller, School of Theatre faculty member Ted Christopher as Captain Smith, and musical theatre student Khaleel Mandel as First Officer Murdoch.

From left, musical theatre major Benjamin Nissen as Second Officer Lightoller, School of Theatre faculty member Ted Christopher as Captain Smith, and musical theatre student Khaleel Mandel as First Officer Murdoch.

A Broadway musical may seem like an odd way to tell a tragic tale, but author and composer Maury Yeston pulled it off with Titanic, which debuted at New York’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in early 1997. The play went on to win five Tony Awards, enjoyed modest success before closing two years later, and lives on today in regional theatre.

(The play is no relation to the James Cameron movie of the same name, which came out in December of 1997.)

In the Penn State Centre Stage production of Reston’s musical, which opened last night in the Pavilion Theatre, theatre students and faculty bring to life the complicated characters involved in the 1912 disaster—from the ship’s proud owner (Bruce Ismay, played by Steve Snyder) and designer (Thomas Andrews, played by Richard Roland), both of whom are on board for the maiden voyage, to the snooty first-class passengers, to the wannabes in second class, to the emigrants in third class sailing toward a better life in America.

Richard Roland as the ship's designer, Thomas Andrews.

The Titanic‘s designer, Thomas Andrews (played by Richard Roland), is overcome with anguish as the ship goes down.

The musical traces a trajectory that starts with the optimism and opulence of the first few days on the ship and ends with the encounter with an iceberg and the disbelief, anger, and grief that follows.

In an especially intense scene, Ismay, Andrews, and the ship’s captain (Edward Smith, played by Ted Christopher) hurl recriminations at one another. Later, after the lifeboats are full and those left on the ship face the inevitable, Andrews agonizes over whether his design is what has led so many people to their deaths.

Titanic runs through Oct. 17 in the Pavilion Theatre. Highly recommended.

Tina Hay, editor

October 9, 2015 at 11:22 am 3 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 4, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

The place to be: The Penn State Centre Stage production of No Place To Be Somebody opens tonight at the Pavilion Theatre at University Park. For longtime Penn State theatre professor Charles Dumas, it’s something of a swan song.

DSC_8278_Dumas_Newsome

Dumas (left) as “Sweets,” faces off with “Johnny,” played by Herb Newsome ’02g. Photo by Tina Hay

Dumas is retiring in December, and No Place to be Somebody marks his final Penn State show as a director. He also plays a vital supporting role in the production, which is set in seedy, racially conflicted late ’60s New York City. The play won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making Charles Gordone the first African-American playwright to receive the honor. Based on the preview I attended, it’s tense, heavy stuff, especially challenging for audience members too young to appreciate the tone of race relations in late ’60s America. But it’s tight and well-acted, and I imagine Dumas is quite happy with the idea of challenging his audience.

No Place to be Somebody runs tonight through Oct. 10.

Big-screen hero: Speaking of premieres: Murph: The Protector, a feature-length documentary on the life of Michael Murphy ’98, debuts tonight at the State Theatre in downtown State College. Members of the Penn State ROTC (more…)

October 4, 2013 at 10:06 am 1 comment

Fun with the Scoundrels

The_Beaux_Stratagem

This past Saturday night, while the THON dancers, crew, and fans were packing the Jordan Center, another group of students was up late in the Playhouse Theatre across campus, getting ready for this week’s opening of the Penn State Centre Stage production of The Beaux’ Stratagem.

The play, written by George Farquhar in 1707 and directed at Penn State by guest director Di Trevis, tells of two British scoundrels with a scheme to defraud some very pretty heiresses. Because the heiresses are, well, very pretty, you can imagine the ways in which the scheme goes comically awry.

As promised earlier, I showed up at Saturday night’s dress rehearsal so I could shoot photos. I think I was especially drawn to this show because of the very cool 18th-century costumes, which were designed by Penn State faculty member William Schroder and put together from scratch by theatre students. The costumes were indeed a treat to see and photograph—but I also thoroughly enjoyed the set, the actors’ performances, the humor, the whole bit.

Below is a slide show of some photos from Saturday night, and you can see a bunch more at our Facebook page. If you’re interested in seeing the show, there’s a preview on Tuesday night, with opening night on Thursday, and performances continuing through March 2. More information is here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tina Hay, editor

February 22, 2011 at 11:43 am Leave a comment


Follow The Penn Stater on Twitter

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 508 other followers


%d bloggers like this: