November 11, 2019

Actors Split Role in UMW Musical ‘Fun Home’

In UMW Theatre’s production of Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home,’ three actors – Madison Neilson, Olivia Whicheloe and Lydia Hundley – portray graphic novelist Alison Bechdel at various stages of her life. Photo by Geoff Greene.

In UMW Theatre’s production of Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home,’ three actors – Madison Neilson, Olivia Whicheloe and Lydia Hundley – portray graphic novelist Alison Bechdel at various stages of her life. Photo by Geoff Greene.

A pivotal scene in UMW Theatre’s upcoming musical features the protagonist recalling a drive she took with her late father. Struggling to find the words, they sing a heartbreaking duet about their failure to have an open and honest conversation.

“I’ve lived that exact moment, looking out the car window because I didn’t know what to say to my dad,” said senior Lydia Hundley, who plays the college-aged Alison Bechdel, who later became a successful graphic novelist, in Fun Home. Hundley credits Bechdel’s critically acclaimed memoir and the musical it inspired for teaching her how to communicate with her own parents.

She’s one of three actors who will portray Bechdel at various stages of her life. Junior Madison Neilson plays her at age 10, and senior Olivia Whicheloe portrays her as an adult. The show, which continues UMW’s 2019-20 theatre season, kicks off tonight with a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance in Klein Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The box office opens at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Read more. 

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UMW theater students teach stage skills to school-aged children (The Free Lance-Star)

UMW Theatre Continues Season with Merrily We Roll Along

UMW Theatre will continue its 2018-19 season with Merrily We Roll Along, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. Performances will be Nov. 1-3, Nov. 8-10, and Nov. 14-17 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 2:00 p.m. in Klein Theatre, duPont Hall at the University of Mary Washington.

AfterWords, a post-show talkback with the cast, will take place after the matinee performance on Nov. 4. Tickets are $25 for standard admission, $20 for students, senior citizens, alumni, and military.

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UMW Theatre Opens 2018-19 Season with The Amish Project

A generation ago, Broadway responded to rocketing ticket prices with a “rush line,” helping bring New York theatre back into the mainstream. This week, UMW Theatre joined the best in the business when it kicked off its 2018-19 season with a pay-what-you-can preview performance of The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Patrons could quite literally pay whatever they could afford for the special production, which began at 7:30 p.m. in Klein Theatre, located inside the University of Mary Washington’s duPont Hall. Regularly priced tickets are $20; students, senior citizens, alumni and the military usually pay $16. “We want to be certain that our work is accessible to the widest audience possible and we hope this initiative removes any economic barrier to attending live theatre in Fredericksburg,” said Gregg Stull, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and director of The Amish Project. “Professional theatres throughout the country have included pay-what-you-can performances in their seasons for more than 25 years. We want to share our work with as many people as we can and we hope this will open our doors to people who might not otherwise attend a performance in Klein Theatre.” To that end, each of UMW Theatre’s 2018-19 productions will include an opening, pay-what-you-can performance. Regular performances of The Amish Project will be held Sept. 20-22 and Sept. 26-29 at 7:30 p.m., and Sept. 23, 29 and 30 at 2 p.m. in Klein Theatre. AfterWords, a post-show talkback with the cast, will take place after the matinee performance on Sept. 23. The Amish Project, which features a cast of UMW theatre students from around the country, is a fictional depiction of factual events: a tragic shooting that took place in a one-room schoolhouse in an Old Order Amish community. In October of 2006, a gunman entered the West Nickel Mines schoolhouse in a village in Bart Township, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and opened fire before turning the gun on himself. Through the stories of these imagined characters, Jessica Dickey explores unconditional forgiveness and reconciliation within the Amish community in the wake of this tragedy. From cast member and stage manager to costume construction and lighting design, UMW students have taken front seat roles in the theatre production, directed by Stull. Scenic design is by assistant professor Michael Benson, and costume design is by associate professor Kevin McCluskey. Lighting and sound design are by guest designers Catherine Girardi and Jon K. Reynolds, respectively. The Amish Project was originally written and performed by Jessica Dickey as a one-woman, multiple character show, which premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2008. After being workshopped, the play opened Off-Broadway in 2009, and has since been adapted for an ensemble. For more information, call the Klein Theatre Box Office at 540-654-1111 or visit www.FredTix.com.

A Thirst for Theatre

Austin Bouchard finds his calling at UMW.

UMW Theatre Continues 2014-15 Season with “The Drunken City”

The University of Mary Washington’s Department of Theatre & Dance will continue its 2014-15 season with The Drunken City, a comedy by Adam Bock. Eaglevision-Drunken-Slide-webPerformances will take place Feb. 12-14 and 19-21 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 15, 21 and 22 at 2 p.m. in Klein Theatre, located in duPont Hall on UMW’s Fredericksburg campus. In The Drunken City, bride-to-be Marnie and her two bridesmaids, Linda and Melissa, take to the city that never sleeps for one last night of bachelorette fun. When they meet Frank and Eddie during their bar crawl, the bridal party becomes the only thing between the bride-to-be and a huge mistake. While exploring “Sex and the City” themes, the play proves that happiness and heartache are two sides of the same coin. Canadian playwright Adam Bock is the resident playwright at Encore Theatre and a Shotgun Players Artistic Associate. The Drunken City was originally commissioned by the Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, New York and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play in 2008. The Drunken City is directed by Gregg Stull, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and Department of Music. Scenic design is by Associate Professor Julie Hodge and lighting design is by student designer Christopher Stull. Costume design is by Associate Professor Kevin McCluskey and sound design is by guest designer Jon K. Reynolds. On Friday, Feb. 13, the department will host a “Ladies Night Out” event at 5:30 p.m. which includes cocktails at the Hyatt Place Fredericksburg-Mary Washington and admission to the performance. In addition, the matinee performance on Sunday, Feb. 15 will be followed by Afterwords, a post-show talk with the cast. Tickets are $12 for standard admission and $10 for students, senior citizens and military. For further information on the events or to purchase tickets, call the Klein Theatre Box Office at (540) 654-1111 or visit http://www.umw.tix.com.

UMW Theatre Continues Season with “Sunday in the Park with George”

The University of Mary Washington Theatre will continue its 2014-15 season beginning Nov. 6 with the Tony Award-winning musical “Sunday in the Park with George,” featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and based on the book by James Lapine. Performances will take place Nov. 6-8, Nov. 13-15, and Nov. 20-22 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23 at 2 p.m. in Klein Theatre, located in duPont Hall on the Fredericksburg campus. Tickets are $24 for standard admission and $20 for students, senior citizens and military. “Sunday in the Park with George”is inspired by the Georges Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” The first act is set in 1884 and focuses on the artist and the time leading up to the completion of his masterpiece as he struggles with himself and his relationship with his lover, Dot. The second act continues a century later with Seurat’s great-grandson George, who also is an artist. George, seeking new inspirations, returns to the island where the painting was created to discover the deeper meanings behind his and his ancestor’s art. Sunday in the Park with George  Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim  Book by James Lapine “Sunday in the Park with George”originally opened in 1983 at Playwrights Horizons in New York where it ran for 25 performances, with the second act premiering during the last three performances. The following year, the show transferred to the Booth Theatre on Broadway where it ran for 604 performances. Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin starred in both the off-Broadway and Broadway productions, playing Dot and George respectively. The show is one of eight to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and also was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning two for scenic and lighting design. The show also proceeded to win eight Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical. The university’s performance of “Sunday in the Park with George” is directed by Gregg Stull, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and Department of Music, with musical direction by Christopher Wingert. Scenic design is by associate professor Julie Hodge and costume design is by associate professor Kevin McCluskey. Lighting and projection designs are by guest designers Jason Arnold and Clint Allen, respectively. Sound design is by student designer Reid Moffatt. For further information and to purchase tickets, contact the Klein Theatre Box Office at (540) 654-1111 or visit umw.tix.com.

“Always…Patsy Cline” Returns to Klein Theatre

Two Fredericksburg area students will give encore performances when the University of Mary Washington Department of Theatre & Dance brings back the production of “Always. . . Patsy Cline” beginning Wednesday, July 9 at Klein Theatre. Patsy-Cline-Taryn Snyder “Always…Patsy Cline” is based on the true story of Louise Seger, a fan of Patsy Cline, who gets the chance to meet Cline when she comes to her hometown for a show. Louise and Patsy become fast friends, bonding after the show over the troubles of life. Their friendship grew through a series of letters and phone calls that continued until Cline’s untimely death. The musical features many of Patsy Cline’s hits, including “Crazy,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and “I Fall to Pieces.” Senior theatre major Taryn Snyder, who grew up in Fredericksburg before moving to Rochester, N.Y., plays the role of Patsy, while the role of Louise Seger is played by fellow senior theatre major Emily Burke, who graduated from James Monroe High School. Performances will be July 9-12, July 16-19, and July 23-26 at 7:30 p.m., and July 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27 at 2 p.m. UMW’s original production ran in Klein Theatre for three sold-out weeks in February. “Never in the history of our program have we experienced such a demand for tickets,” said Director Gregg Stull, chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Department of Music. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this thrilling production to the greater Fredericksburg community this summer.” Virginia Patterson Hensley, known as Patsy Cline, was a country singer from Winchester, Va., who crossed over in the 1960’s from country and western into the pop-music charts. She died at the age of 30 in a plane crash in 1963. Ten years later, Cline became the first female solo artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her plaque in the Hall of Fame reads: “Her heritage of timeless recordings is testimony to her artistic capacity.” Emily Burke plays Louise Seger. “Always…Patsy Cline” is directed by Stull, with musical direction by Christopher Wingert. Scenic design is by associate professor Julie Hodge and costume design is by associate professor Kevin McCluskey. Lighting and sound designs are by guest artists Catherine Girardi and Anthony Angelini. Tickets are $40 for standard admission, $35 for students, senior citizens, UMW alumni, and the military and $25 for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Klein Theatre Box Office at (540) 654-1111 or visit umw.tix.com.

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