FSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance Presents Journey Through Time for 2019-20 Season

Sep 6, 2019 9:20 AM

Frostburg State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will take the audience on a journey through time for its 2019-20 season lineup, traveling from the Civil Rights movement of the Deep South to the hilarious music halls of the Victorian era, then from the conclusion of the Civil War to the brink of World War II. With four stage productions and an originally choreographed student dance concert, this year’s series promises to bring the full range of the joys and sorrows, love, intrigue and action of history to the stage.

The season kicks off with “Alabama Story,” based on true events in 1959 Alabama, when a children’s picture book about a white rabbit who marries a black rabbit sparks a fiery standoff between a segregationist, Sen. E.W. Higgins (inspired by Sen. E.O. Eddins), and Emily Wheelock Reed, the principled state librarian. Reed made international headlines when she defended “The Rabbits’ Wedding,” a picture book by Garth Williams, best known for his artwork for the “Little House” series and “Charlotte’s Web.” This year marks the 60th anniversary of a tale of social justice that explores romance, courtroom drama, loyalty and history. Performances, directed by Mairzy Yost-Rushton, will take place in the Drama Theatre of the Woodward D. Pealer Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12, and Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 17 to 19, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 12.

Next, FSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present its family-friendly production of “Dear Edwina,” a one-hour musical about a young girl, Edwina Spoonapple, who gives her neighborhood friends and family advice. She has the answers to all your worries – manners, making friends … even horrible party guests. Edwina leads her neighborhood friends in a weekly show to respond to her letter-writers with songs and dances for every concern. This week is extra special – it’s her chance to join the Kalamazoo Advice-a-Palooza Festival, which is going to be the best show yet! Performances will be held on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. in Pealer Recital Hall. Directed by Yost-Rushton, from the book by Marcy Heisler, with lyrics by Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich, “Dear Edwina” is a joyful production for all ages.

This year’s holiday production will offer a quick-change, cross-dressing version of the Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The play begins as the Royal Music Hall Variety Players are ready to put on their production, but there’s just one little problem: only three of the cast members escaped the food poisoning of last night’s party. Nevertheless, this brave trio will soldier on, missing cues, reinventing costumes and trying to decide who will play Tiny Tim. The result is a hilarious night of bad puns, bawdy malapropisms, naughty double entendres and witty songs. Come for an evening of holiday drinks, food and lots of laughs. This play is not suitable for young children. Directed by Darrell Rushton, performances will be at the Lyric Theatre, 20 E. Main St. in Frostburg, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 5 to 7, with a matinee on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. Food and drink will be available through Chartwell’s.

In the spring, the Department of Theatre and Dance will present Playwright Matthew Lopez’s first work, “The Whipping Man,” which examines a vital, but not-often-spoken-of period in American history, the post-Civil War South, as its denizens struggled to acclimate to the new, emancipated social order. The play is set in April of 1865. The Civil War is over. The slaves have been freed. Men are returning home from war. In one ravaged family home in Richmond, Va., three men sit down to observe Passover. Caleb has just returned to his family home, severely injured in the war. Simon and John, his former slaves, prepare the table with stolen wine, hardtack for matzo and raw collards for bitter herbs. The Seder takes on a new relevance as the men seek to find their way in this new world. Yost-Rushton will direct the performances, which will take place in the Pealer Center’s F. Perry Smith Studio Theatre on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and 29, and Thursday through Saturday, March 5 to 7, at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Feb. 29 at 2 p.m.

The annual Spring Dance Concert features a montage of dance styles that celebrate the art and passion of human movement through memorable music and visually exquisite lighting, all created by the emerging young artists of the FSU Dance Company. This year the event will be held Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Drama Theatre.

The 2019-20 season wraps up with the fast-paced comedy, “Martin and Margaret and the M.I.N.D.S.W.A.P.,” by Mike Long and Amaree Cluff. On the brink of World War II, a genius professor invents the ultimate spy device, a machine that swaps minds. The Nazis want this wonder, but two American heroes are fighting to keep it – and its inventor – out of their hands. In the process, everyone is literally losing their minds and becoming someone else. This family-friendly comedy is full of chase scenes, mistaken identities and the chaos that can only come from a mad-scientist-inspired brain-swapping machine! Performances, directed by Rushton, will take place in the Drama Theatre on Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, and Thursday through Saturday, May 7 to 9, at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on May 2 at 2 p.m.

Season subscriptions are available until Saturday, Oct. 12. For $60, Season Subscribers receive discounted tickets to five shows, as well as reserved seats for all performances. Individual tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for FSU employees and seniors, and $7 for students; all tickets for “Dear Edwina” are $7.

For information, call the Theatre and Dance box office at 301-687-7462, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.