A! Magazine for the Arts

ETSU Theatre and Dance announces new season

August 23, 2022

Four shows headline the 2022-2023 season for East Tennessee State University’sDepartment of Theatre and Dance.

“Our previous season marked our first year in the Martin Center’s new Bert C. Bach Theatre, and it was truly an epic season,” said Karen Brewster, professor/chair of theatre and dance. “All of our shows were performed to sold-out audiences, and we were able to transform this black box space to become a stretch of the Colorado River, followed by a family living room, to various locations across the mountains of North Carolina. That is the beauty of having a state-of-the-art black box theater like we have at ETSU.

“Our students, directors and designers did an incredible job, and we cannot wait to raise the curtain for these upcoming shows,” she said.

The season begins with “Androcles and the Lion,” written by Aurand Harris with music by Glenn Mack. Running Oct. 20-23, “Androcles and the Lion” is a stage adaptation of a folktale at least as old as the second century about the unlikely friendship between a human and a wild beast.

This endearing story about the strength of empathy and friendship is staged in the tradition of “commedia dell’arte,” an Italian theater form which uses a wide portfolio of stock characters that can be applied to many different roles within a script.

ETSU faculty member Ante Ursi?directs“Androcles” with Savannah Spangler as stage manager, Lorrie Anderson as assistant director, Melissa Shafer as lighting designer, Jess Richardson as costume designer, Beth Skinner as costumer director, Zach Olsen as technical directorand Jonathon Taylor as scenic designer. The show is appropriate for elementary and middle school audiences and their families. The matinee performance on Saturday, Oct. 22, is a sensory-friendly performance.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a play by Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon. It tells the story of Christopher Boon, a 15-year-old mathematical genius with special needs who sets out to solve the mysterious murder of his neighbor’s dog. During its two-year run on Broadway, the show captured Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Performance by An Actor in a Leading Role, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design.

ETSUpresents this show Nov. 17-20 under the direction of Cara Harker. The artistic team includes Sarabeth Roberts as stage manager, Kylie Royce and Billie Williams as assistant directors and assistant stage managers, Caroline Daniels as lighting designer, Sarah Slagle as costume designer, Olsen as technical director, Shafer as sound designer, Skinner as costume director, Taylor as scenic designer and Bird Honeycutt as assistant scenic designer.

Currently running off-Broadway, “Little Shop of Horrors” opens March 30 and continues through April 2 at the Bach Theatre. A classic tale of a tragic hero who makes an error in judgement and strikes a bargain with a man-eating plant, “Little Shop of Horrors” is directed by Shafer and musical director Dr. Brad Fugate. The cast and Greek chorus of street urchinssing popular songs such as “Skid Row,” “Feed Me” and “Suddenly Seymour.” Alan Menken composed the music, and Howard Ashman wrote the lyrics and the book. It is based on the film by Roger Corman and screenplay by Charles Griffith.

Joining Shafer and Fugate are Royce as assistant director, Skinner as costume director, Kyla Jernigan as assistant costume designer, Taylor as scenic designer, Olsen as sound designer and technical director and Spangler as assistant scenic designer.

In “Medea,” Greek hero Jason marries Medea, a witch, for her power. After they are wed and have two children together, Jason leaves Medea to marry the princess of a kingdom, and Medea vows to make Jason suffer more than anyone has ever suffered. This play was first written in 431 B.C. by the tragedian Euripides, and has captivated audiences for millennia. Sheila Murnaghan has provided the translation for this show.

Closing out the 2022-23 season, “Medea” is presented April 20-23 under the direction of Bobby Funk. His artistic teamincludes Christina Ward as costume designer, Shafer as lighting designer, Caroline Daniels as scenic designer, Spangler as stage manager and Rebekah Williams as assistant stage manager.

Tickets for “Androcles” and the remaining shows are on sale and can be purchased atetsu.edu/cas/theatre/boxofficetab.php.