Posts tagged ‘Penn State theatre’

Happy Valley Goes Broadway

bowman wiggins

It’s not every day that you get to see Broadway performers do their thing outside of New York City. Fortunately for those of us in Happy Valley, we’re going to get that chance on Jan. 18, when the State Theatre hosts “We Are…On Broadway!”

Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture is putting on the event. It will feature four Nittany Lion alumni who perform all over the country, along with musical theatre students and local middle and high school students. The four alumni are Nathan Lucrezio ’09, Laurie Veldheer ’10, Alan Wiggins ’10, and Caroline Bowman ’10 – we featured Wiggins and Bowman in our Sept./Oct. 15 issue.

The performance will be directed by John Simpkins and Dan Riddle will direct the music. Simpkins is the head of Penn State’s musical theatre program, while Riddle is the school of theatre’s music director. If you’d like to attend and want to order tickets, click here for more information.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

January 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

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


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