Season tickets are now on sale for Oklahoma State University Department of Theatre’s 2015-2016 main stage season. The department is offering four productions at an extremely discounted rate—you can see all four for less than the price of three if you buy the season ticket package: $32 for general admission, and $20 for students and seniors. To see a season ticket brochure or purchase tickets online, go to the department’s website at http://theatre.okstate.edu.
“Every year we try to offer a little something for everyone,” said Andrew Kimbrough, Head of the Department of Theatre. “For some reason this year we picked plays that are comedies, and all offer a little bit of nostalgia. It’s safe to say that these are family friendly productions guaranteed to get a laugh, and probably get you thinking about the odd path that life seems to always take.”
What I Did Last Summer,a comedy by noted American playwright A. R. Gurney, kicks off the year and runs September 24-26 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee September 27.
The play is set in the summer of 1945 in a vacation colony on the shore of Lake Erie, a short drive from Buffalo, New York. Grace, a mother of two teenagers, has her hands full as her husband is away fighting in WWII. Her 14-year old son, Charlie, fights to cut the apron strings and be taken seriously as an adult. Hoping to earn some spending money for a date with the desirable Bonny, Charlie takes a job with the colony’s social outcast, the bohemian artist Anna Trumbull, much to his mother’s dismay. Trouble and hilarity ensue as Charlie rebels against his upbringing and battles for Bonny’s affections.
The second production is a perpetual favorite of the British and American theatre, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, directed by Lloyd Caldwell and running November 12-14 with a 2:30 p.m. matinee November 15.
The play is set in the English countryside of 1941, where famous novelist Charles Condomine seeks material for his next book. Séances and spiritual mediums are all the rage, so Charles decides to conjure the ghost of his departed wife Elivra with the help of the very colorful Madame Arcati, who may or may not know what she is doing. Elvira shows up, of course, but she doesn’t want to leave, much to the dismay of Charles’ second wife Ruth. It’s Noel Coward at his best, and a cautionary tale about what happens when you get what you wish for.
In the spring semester the department presents a brand new play, “The Politics of Dancing!”, created by Assistant Professor Jodi Jinks and running February 18-20 with a 2:30 p.m. matinee February 21.
Some in the Stillwater community might remember Oklahoma Voices from the spring of 2013, which was the first original production created by Jinks and students. Using original research material and a lot of creativity, the production team created a wonderful homespun production that spoke to the unique lives of many in central Oklahoma.
Using many of the same techniques, Jinks will partner with a new group of students this fall and work on brand new material. This time Jinks has decided to explore how the students perceive the contentious landscape of dating and romance in the early decades of the 21st century. She plans to use as a springboard the watershed play A Dolls House, by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, which introduced women’s rights and concerns to the modern theatre in 1879. The title comes from the Top 40 hit of 1982 of the same name, written and recorded by the British pop band Re-Flex, and easily found on Youtube. Guaranteed to entertain and provoke some thought, “The Politics of Dancing!” promises a fun night of dance, song, and opportunities met and missed.
Closing out the year is the always popular production of a musical, and this year it’s the hilarious The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin, and directed by B. Peter Westerhoff. The show opens on a Wednesday, April 20, and runs through the Sunday matinee on April 24.
The Putnam County Spelling Bee championship is down to the last few rounds as there are only six contestants left, a motley cross-section of misfit mid-American middle schoolers. There’s angst and tears, drama and memorable songs in this Tony Award-winning musical send-up of America’s most cut-throat competition. Consider yourself warned: audience members have been known to be invited on stage to try their luck at some impossible words.
All productions will be mounted in the Vivia Locke Theatre of the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts. Even if you elect not to buy season tickets, the individual show prices are extremely reasonable. The first three shows are $10 general admission and $7 students and seniors. Tickets for the musical in April tend to be a bit more, $12 general admission and $10 students and seniors. Clearly, if you love an evening of live entertainment, the season ticket package is a bargain.
For information regarding the season and Department of Theatre productions, call the department’s communications specialist Brittany Zerr at (405) 744-6094.