Summer theater season offers something for everyone

May 28, 2010

The Crossroads Repertory Theatre company's summer season at Indiana State University is a mix of old and new with a lineup of plays that includes comedy, mystery, whimsy and horror.

Sherry McFadden, ISU theater department chairperson and producing director of Crossroads, said she's excited about what the season has to offer.

"We have a strong lineup that is covering all of our bases," McFadden said. "We have something for everyone this season."

The season kicks off with Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys," followed by Edmund White's "Terre Haute." The familiar stories of Hans Christian Andersen will come to the stage in the form of Ric Averill's "Pixies, Kings, and Magical Things: Three Tales by Hans Christian Andersen." Mary Shelley's story of "Frankenstein" adapted by R. N. Sandberg will close the season.

Taking the stage will be some of the familiar actors of seasons past including Julie Dixon, Lew Hackleman, Mark Douglas-Jones, Chuck Shutt and Brandon Wentz.

"The Sunshine Boys," directed by Crossroads Artistic Director Arthur Feinsod, stars Shutt and Hackleman as the aging and has-been vaudevillian team known as Lewis and Clark. The team, once great friends on and off the stage, grew to hate each other over the course of their 40 years performing together. Years after their retirement, an invitation from CBS forces the team to reopen old wounds and reunite to film a documentary. The show opens June 18 with additional performances June 19 and 20 and July 13, 20 and 22.

The Midwest premiere of Edmund White's "Terre Haute," directed by Dale McFadden, opens June 25. The play is a two-person drama that imagines a series of death row encounters between characters firmly based on Timothy J. McVeigh, the man convicted and executed for the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995, and the novelist Gore Vidal.

Because the meetings in the play are pure fiction, the names of the characters have been changed: Vidal is James Brevoort and McVeigh is simply called Harrison. But the circumstances of the crime for which McVeigh was convicted are the same - right down to the body count of 168.

This production features Douglas-Jones as Brevoort and Drew Hampton as Harrison - two men struggling to find common political ground regarding the sanctity of human life.  Following the Terre Haute run of "Terre Haute" on June 25, 26, 27, July 15, and 21, the production will travel to the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis for performances July 29, 30 and 31.

"Pixies, Kings, and Magical Things: Three Tales by Hans Christian Andersen," directed by Wentz, is designed to entertain the youngest of audiences.

"This play reaches to the community and to groups of people that might not ordinarily come to theater for entertainment," Sherry McFadden said.
"We will be traveling it out for additional performances" in venues throughout the community, she said. "We love doing theater for people who don't ordinarily have a chance to see theatrical productions. We really like that idea of building young audiences."

Some of Andersen's most heart-warming tales, including "The Emperor's New Clothes," are brought to the stage in this humorous and message-bearing adaptation. Performance dates are July 1, 2, 3, 18 and 24.

The final offering of the season is the classic story of "Frankenstein," directed by Chris Berchild, opening July 9. The production, with the cast of Douglas-Jones, Dixon, Wentz and Hampton, will feature cutting-edge technology. The technological spectacle, like the Frankenstein monster itself, is designed to raise profound ethical questions about its uses and abuses. Performance dates are July 9, 10, 11, 14, 17 and 23.

Season tickets for all four shows are $39, and single ticket prices are $12. Tickets may be reserved online at www.crossroadsrep.com or by phoning 812-237-3333 beginning June 14. The ticket office is located in the New Theater on the ISU campus at 540 N. Seventh St. in Terre Haute.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Crossroads-2009-The/DSC8853Crossroads/574491537_9oAgD-D.jpg Chuck Shutt and Brandon Wentz perform together in a production from the summer 2009 Crossroads season. Both have returned to perform this summer (ISU Photo/Kara Berchem).

Writer and contact: Rachel Wedding McClelland, assistant director of media relations, Indiana State University Communications and Marketing at 812-237-3790 or rachel.mcclelland@indstate.edu.