Friday, June 24, 2016

MSU Theatre gets nerdy again

Most of us have had one of these special friends in our lives -- the one who doesn't quite know when lines have been crossed or welcomes have been overstayed or things have just gotten a little too weird. That's why such a wide audience can relate to "The Nerd," the third installment of Highland Summer Theatre.

“The Nerd” is a play written by Larry Shue. This play set in Indiana during late 1979 is about a young architect and how an unexpected visitor shakes up his life. Willum Cubbert (the architect) is having a house party with his friends Axel and Tansy when Rick Steadman shows up unannounced. Rick saved Willum’s life in Vietnam and even though the two have never met they have exchanged letters wherein Willum has told Rick he could come to him for help at anytime. Rick decides to move in and his nerdy, awkward and clumsy behavior causes problems for Willum’s professional life during a dinner party he is holding with a client.

Steven Labine, a recent BFA Musical Theatre graduate, had a good time playing the title role.

Willum is a fun character to play. Everyone knows somebody like him. He's a nice guy but just not all that interesting. That's where his charm is, he's likably bland. But throughout the show he grows and that is a great experience for an actor.”

History repeats itself, as “The Nerd” was the third installment of the 50th “Golden” anniversary Highland Summer Theatre season, the exact same slot it was produced in for the 2001 season. Other notable shows that took place in this slot includes: “Boeing Boeing” (2014), “The Seven Year Itch” (2006), and “Anything Goes” (1975). “The Nerd” is sponsored by the Minnesota State Mankato TRIO Programs and will run from June 22nd to the 25th in the Andreas Theatre.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Seussical "...speaks to all ages"

Based on the works of Dr. Seuss “Seussical” is a show the whole family can enjoy. The show’s plot is based mainly on 3 popular Dr. Seuss books: “Horton Hears a Who!” “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “Miss Gertrude McFuzz.” A small boy and The Cat in the Hat begin the story and first find an elephant named Horton. Much like the book, in the musical Horton the Elephant finds a speck of dust and soon learns that the tiny speck contains the entirety of Whoville.

Horton realizes that he must protect the speck and the Whos living there all the while being ridiculed by Sour Kangaroo and other jungle animals. Another story that the musical follows is that of a bird named Gertrude. She has strong feelings for Horton but is worried that he doesn’t feel the same because her tail feathers are droopy and underwhelming. Mayzie LaBird, whose tail is beautiful, gives Gertrude the advice to see Dr. Drake. The Doctor gives Gertrude pills to make her tail grow. However, being impressed by how well they work she ends up taking too many. At the end of the first act a group of monkeys steal the clover that has the speck of dust and Horton is captured by hunters. Gertrude tries to save him but is unsuccessful because her tail is now too heavy.

Amanda Mai, a BFA Musical Theatre candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato is enjoying her role as Mayzie. “I love Seussical because on the surface it's just a really fun upbeat show that's great for kids. But, if you dig a little deeper, there are universal themes that resonate with people of all ages.”

Xcel Energy and the Weilage Advisory Group are the sponsors for Seussical. Due to a generous donation from them MSU Theatre was able to partner with the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota. 300 tickets were given away to less-fortunate children in the community so they could have the opportunity to see a preview performance of the show on June 7th. Coughlan Companies in North Mankato also donated 25 Dr. Seuss to be given out to 5 lucky children each performance by the Cat himself.

Come see the crazy antics of the CAT IN THE HAT and the rest of the cast!

Still 2 performances left!*

*as of Friday June 10th, 2016