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WSU performing arts season announced

Shawnee Johnson and Flo Bravo perform in Weber State University’s production of “Wit” last year. This year’s new line up of shows was announced by Weber State Performing Arts Tuesday, July 21. (Source: Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities)

When a new semester starts, students return to WSU with new classes, textbooks, goals and fears, and with them, the theater returns, and directors, actors and costume designers get to show off their work.

“We are excited for the whole season,” Janessa Richardson, president of the Associated Actors & Technicians, said. “We have a lot of different things coming up.”

The first show to kick off the 2015-16 season is “Smokey Joe’s Café.” It will run from October 9-10 and again through 13-17. This 1995 musical has classic pop songs from the 1950s through the ‘70s. The original cast album won a Grammy and ran for over 2,000 performances on Broadway.

The next production will be “9 Circles,” which will run November 13, 14 and the 17-21. Based on a true story, this modern play is about a man who enters the military and the problems he faces. “It’s something I’m passionate about,” Director Tracy Callahan, said. “I like to do social theater that touches on subjects that we are currently dealing with.”

The first show in 2016 will be “35MM: A Musical Exhibition.” It will run February 2-6.This production is produced and directed by WSU students. “It was decided that this show would be the best for students,” Richardson continued. “It’s a modern piece and different from our last production.” The music will be by Ryan Scott Oliver and the photography by Matthew Murphy.

The following show will be “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” It will run February 26 and 27 and will resume March 1-5. “It’s our biggest cast,” Jean-Louise England, costume manager, said. “It’s based in the ’20’s. That’s a fun period, too, especially the costumes. It’s really fun and big.”

This Tony-award-winning story tells of the Prohibition period in America.  Themes include identity, romance and music from the great duo Ira and George Gershwin. Some songs that will be highlighted are “S’Wonderful” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

The concluding show of the season will be Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” which will run April 15, 16 and 19-23. “The Tempest,” Shakespeare’s final work, is a fusion of romance, ship wrecks and powerful magic. “All the hair, makeup and costume design are completely done by students,” England continued. “We make it fun for the students to build their portfolio.”

“This show has never been done at Weber State,” Jennifer Kokai, director, said. “It seems appropriate to do the last show that he wrote as we approach the 400 year anniversary of his death.”

From Shakespeare to the roaring ’20s, the 2015-16 season at WSU will be full of variety. Both the past and present will collide for a great experience at the theater, all executed by WSU’s own students.

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