Audiences who attend Curtain Up!, the annual spring musical, will be treated to an evening of song and dance tracing the history of musical theatre in the United States.
An original work by Betsy Bauman, associate professor of theatre arts, Curtain Up! is a musical revue featuring songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim and other musical theatre favorites.
Bauman is also director of the show, which will run March 21-24, 2013, at the Renner Theater in the Frohring Performing Arts Building. Fifteen Hiram College students will perform in the show, receiving class credit for their participation. They have been rehearsing nearly every evening since the start of the spring semester. Students are also working behind the scenes as stage managers, lighting and costume designers and in other promotional aspects.
“I love musical theatre, my students love musical theatre, and I think most people love musical theatre,” she said. “We’re using it to trace the development of our country. The history of America is reflected in musical theatre.”
Because of the Renner’s flexibility as a black box-style theatre, Bauman and tech director Carl Skorepa were able to use their creativity to build a space that would enhance the atmosphere of the show. Audience members will sit at small cabaret tables, and the show will be interspersed with multimedia and a light-hearted quiz.
The show is almost all song and dance, with many show-stopping dance numbers choreographed by Desmond Davis. In between songs, actors will talk to the audience about musical theatre history and what was happening in our country. Some trends they will focus on include the theme of prejudice in musicals such as South Pacific following World War II, the ways issues such as pollution, war and civil rights were reflected in musicals such as Hair in the sixties, and how many Americans turned toward religion following that, with shows like Jesus Christ Superstar , Godspell, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat .
“Musicals are always reflecting what Americans are concerned about,” Bauman said. “Musical theatre has always been the voice of the everyday people.”
And as time goes on, she said, musicals will continue to evolve.
“Despite the fact that the world is so technology-based, the theatre is still going strong, and musical theatre will continue to reflect whatever is happening,” Bauman said.
Performance times include the following:
Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved by contacting the Box Office at 330-569-5242 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission is limited to approximately 80 guests per show.