The offbeat tragic-comedy “Crimes of the Heart” will be come alive on stage as The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Theatre debuts the prize-winning play Thursday, April 22 on the Hattiesburg campus.
Written by one of Mississippi’s most celebrated playwrights, Beth Henley, “Crimes of the Heart” is a heartwarming, comedic taste of the South set in Hazlehurst, Miss. The curtain will go up at 7:30 p.m. in the Martha R. Tatum Theatre and the production runs through May 2.
“This is a very Southern play about a family that centers on three sisters,” said Devon Scrutchins, a master’s student in performance from Tulsa, Okla. “No matter who you are, male or female, you’re going to relate to if not all of the characters, one individually. It’s something that will speak to you personally and that makes it worthwhile I think.”
“Crimes of the Heart” is directed by Jo Ellen Aspinwall, a master’s student in directing from Patterson, Ga. Annie Cleveland, a theater major from Jackson, plays the youngest sister, Babe, who is released from jail on bond after having shot her husband in the stomach. Courtney Susman, a master’s of fine arts student in performance from Lewisburg, Va., plays the middle sister, Meg, who has returned home from pursuing a failed career as a singer on the West Coast. Scrutchins plays Lenny, the eldest sister, who is nearing her 30th birthday and finds herself consumed with caring for everyone else.
This play hit the stage of the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1980 before going to Broadway in 1981. Henley became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 23 years. “Crimes of the Heart” became the first play to win the Pulitzer before opening on Broadway.
Susman feels audiences will fall in love with the characters of the play. “They are true southern people the way we all know southern people,” she said. “They celebrate who we are as a culture and the ups and downs and all of the wonder of being from the south and I think that everyone will love them as much as we do.”
Tickets for “Crimes of the Heart” are $12 for the general public, $10 for faculty and staff, and $10 for seniors. The production continues on April 23, 24, 29, 30 and May 1 at 7:30 p.m. The matinee performances are Sunday, April 25 and May 2 at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.southernmisstickets.com or call 61.266.5418. For more information on “Crimes of the Heart,” call 601.266.4994.
“Crimes of the Heart” debuts Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Martha R. Tatum Theatre at The University of Southern Mississippi (submitted photo).
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.