By Ashlee Larrison
CUU Information Office
The wait is finally over – Ethington Theater is back!
After a 16-month hiatus with no performances taking place on the indoor stage, the zippers on the seats were officially turned off. The move comes just in time as the College of Fine Arts and Production (COFAP) is gearing up for another highly anticipated season of theater and dance.
âLast year the outdoors was really great in so many ways, but we could only accommodate about 50 people,â said COFAP’s vice-dean of theater and dance. William symington noted. âThousands of people streamed the show and it was great, but having 300 in a room is a really fun experience. I know the students are excited to come back to this.
âI just want to welcome people, and we picked the season we did for that very reason. We want it to be really fun, full of laughs and energy and to share this human experience.
Thus a âWelcome Backâ theme has solidified for the 2021-22 season.
âI think it’s going to be a really enjoyable season,â Symington said. “I can’t wait to go back to the theater and feel that energy between the cast and the audience.”
The outdoor stage, built to provide a safe alternative to live performances during the pandemic, can be used for a number of different art events this school year. Symington said the outdoor stage offered “a ton of possibilities” for musical performances, improvisation, dancing and the like.
The return of indoor performances at Grand Canyon University also once again hosts a beloved theater staple that was put on hold during the pandemic – musicals. With several musicals scheduled, this is the perfect season to kick off the college’s new musical theater minor, which is slated to begin in the fall.
From musicals to comedies to dramas, there is something for everyone this season.
Here are the performances the public can expect this season:
âTHE MURDER OF THE MUSICAL OF 1940â – September 3-5 and 10-12:
Kicking off the season, The Musical Murder Mystery of John Bishop is sure to grab the attention of comedy and music fans.
âIt’s kind of a hilarious parody of those classic murder mystery shows,â Symington said. “It’s really funny, silly and very physical.”
Starting with the murder of three choir girls, who had previously performed in the same flop on Broadway, with a mysterious Stage Door Slasher, the creative team for production auditions for a future show.
Taking place in a Westchester estate full of secret passages, sliding panels, and a suspicious German maid, the killer sets eyes on his potential future victims.
âThey’re using all the old tropes on purpose,â Symington said. “I think it’s going to be a really fun and flashy way to start the season.”
The production will be led by the acting GCU instructor Michael kary.
The performance was originally slated to be part of the 2020-21 theatrical season, but COVID-19 precautions and use of the outdoor stage prevented the cast and crew from implementing some of the key elements needed to tell the story. the story.
âOne of the reasons we couldn’t do this particular show last season was that we just needed to turn off the lights, and we can’t turn off the lights outside,â Kary said. . “It was just this simple, really easy rudimentary thing that kept us from telling this story effectively.”
Now that theatrical performances are back, the play was the perfect play to celebrate all that has been overcome over the past year.
âIt will be great as a first comeback show,â he said.
“FILLES RADIUM” – October 8-10 and 15-17:
As the only drama of the season, DW Gregory’s the game – based on the true story of the late 1920s – adds an emotional edge to the season.
While painting watch faces, employees begin to fall ill from the radioactivity of the glow in dark matter, and some have even succumbed to their illnesses. The story follows dial painter Grace Fryer as she fights to take the case to court.
“There are times when industry can get ahead of science,” said director, COFAP Dean Claude Pensis. âThis is one of those cases. They discover that this new material can light up watch faces in the dark, and they figure out how to use it before science really understands the ramifications. “
It’s a warning message, presented in a way that keeps the audience engaged.
âWhile it’s sad, it really speaks to how they finally got justice and how it was found out,â Symington said. âIt’s a very personal and deep story about what women went through in the late 1920s.
âIt’s an incredible game. I think it’s a really good song that’s beautifully written.
âADDAMS FAMILYâ – November 19-21 and 26-28:
To conclude the end of the Halloween season, COFAP will feature the classic characters of Charles Addams. The musical is based on the book written by Marshall brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by AndrÃ© Lippa.
With the huge impact the characters have had on pop culture, it should bring a sense of nostalgia and fun to the whole family.
âI grew up watching ‘The Addams Family’,â said Kary, who will run production. âI think I’ve seen each episode three or four times. The show itself is really adorable and is about family, honesty, how to be a parent and how to be a child.
Along with the character’s iconic dark and gruesome world, the performance also provides a spooky and fun opportunity for set design and costume design.
âThe costumes and the scenery will be amazing, beautiful and unusual,â Symington said. “It happens around Halloween time, so I’m so excited for that kind of energy this time of year.”
WINTER DANCE CONCERT: “EMERGE” – December 10-12:
Much like the theater, there’s no shortage of excitement for dance concerts to make a comeback at the Ethington Theater. The âEmergingâ theme symbolizes the department’s ability to emerge from the past year stronger than before.
âI know a lot of people are talking about getting back to normal, and I really don’t think that’s an accurate description of what’s going to happen,â said Bekki Prize, dance director. âWe have this new normal, or really how I like to think about it, that’s the concept of emergence this past year.
âWe have learned a lot, we have grown a lot. As dancers we truly appreciate the visceral experience of dance and the human connection.
The performance will mark a return to indoor concerts with a renewed appreciation for the things that have been missed throughout the pandemic.
âOur dancers are really excited to be back on stage at Ethington,â Price said.
“THE LADY IS NOT TO BRILL” – February 11-13 and 18-20:
With Shakespeare’s absence this season, what better than a romantic comedy set in the 14th century?
Christopher Fry’s romantic comedy follows the character of Thomas, a demobilized soldier tired of the world, and his demand to be hanged after falsely claiming two murders he did not commit. After being denied, Thomas becomes increasingly frustrated as he falls in love with an innocent woman, named Jennet, who is to be hanged for witchcraft.
The performance highlights the couple’s journey, filled with twists and romance in unexpected places.
âShe convinces Thomas that life is definitely worth living,â said Pensis, who will lead the performance. “It’s a really smart and wonderful romantic comedy.”
This is a particularly significant performance for Symington.
“I was there in college,” he said. âI played that silly brother a bit. That’s the idea behind it all – everyone who tries to accuse her (Jennet) isn’t very smart, and she and this other character are very smart.
âI think it’s gonna be a good time.
âJOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOATâ – April 1-3 and 8-10:
In the last theatrical performance of the season, Tim Rice‘s classic – based on the biblical story of Joseph – will take the stage.
The show tells the story of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son, and the jealousy he meets with his 11 brothers. This jealousy leads to a plot to kill Joseph which resulted in his sale into slavery.
A series of events eventually reunite the brothers, eventually mending their relationship.
âThis is such an important Christian message,â said Symington. âIt’s sort of the big party of the year.
âI think the biblical connection, this great celebratory musical, it’s going to be a wonderful way to end the return to the theater. I would love to see everyone at the University come and see him.
SPRING DANCE CONCERT: “TESTIMONY” – April 22-24:
Human resilience in the power of testimony is the central theme of the last dance performance of the season.
âThe College of Fine Arts this year is really about telling our story, so this concert is about our program and our students,â Price said.
The production will take the audience on a journey through the history of performers and the impact it has on the rest of the world.
Both dance concerts will feature works by several new faculty members as well as pieces by an artist in residence.
âIt’s going to be an amazing year,â Price said.
To purchase tickets, please contact the GCU Arena box office at 602-639-8979 or [emailÂ protected].
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [emailÂ protected].
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