Arena Theatre (SAT), the summer repertory company at The University
of Southern Mississippi, has announced its 29th season—one
filled with “suspense, laughter and romance that will delight
the entire family,” according to Stephen Judd, director of
theatre and SAT producer.
The season runs July 8 through Aug. 4, with
three plays running in repertory — meaning all three productions
play throughout the season in rotation.
“Our audiences love to see a company
of actors work in two or three different roles over three consecutive
evenings,” Judd said. “SAT has become a real community
tradition, and this year we have pulled out all the stops to offer
a light, fun summer fare of entertainment for south Mississippians.”
“We also know that some of our patrons
pick one particular night each week to come to the shows. So, offering
a flexible schedule for our audiences adds to SAT’s longevity
and success,” Judd said.
The season opens with Design
for Murder by George Batson, a suspense mystery set in New
York’s Hudson Valley. The second production will be Alfred
Uhry’s The Last Night at Ballyhoo,
the winner of the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play and already becoming
Completing the trio is Ken Ludwig’s
Moon Over Buffalo, a hilarious farce about a down-and-out
road company playing a stop in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1953.
Batson’s suspense surrounds the murder of a
young maid at an old family estate that threatens to undo the efforts
of Celia Granger and her son David to maintain the traditions of
their family and home.
Professor of theater Larry Mullican will direct the
show. His most recent production, I Love You,
You’re Perfect, Now Change, was a big hit during the
Southern Miss main stage season in February 2005.
Uhry sets his play in December 1939, as Hitler wraps
up his invasion of Poland and Gone With the
Wind is having its world premiere. A wealthy Jewish family
of German descent in Atlanta is getting ready for Ballyhoo, the
city’s social event of the season. Especially concerned about
their unpopular, unmarried daughter, they believe that Ballyhoo
may well be her last chance to get a socially acceptable husband.
The Last Night of Ballyhoo
is a funny, warm, and wonderfully gentle look at family, at the
significance of tradition, and at the South on the eve of World
War II. Directed by Monica Hayes (director of last summer’s
Schoolhouse Rock Live), the show is sure to leave audiences laughing
and misty-eyed at the memory of first love.
Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo
follows a theatrical company, led by a battling leading man and
lady--a mismatched husband and wife team who only stop fighting
long enough to spit out their lines on stage. A stroke of fortune
lands them one more shot at starring roles in Frank Capra’s
The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Capra is
en route to Buffalo to catch their performance.
Scot Mann is directing Moon
Over Buffalo in his first outing for SAT audiences. Mann,
who recently directed the Shakespeare Alive!
production, teaches acting, stage combat and movement at Southern
SAT’s 2005 children’s show has a new
twist. Faculty members Robin Aronson (theater performance/voice)
and Dr. Jennifer Shank (music) have put together a summer camp,
“A Midsummer Music Theatre Experience.” The camp is
open to youth, ages 9-15, and will explore the various aspects of
musical theater performance. The camp will culminate in performances
of How to Eat Like a Child and Other Lessons
in Not Being a Grown-Up on July 28-30. Show times will be
announced at a later date.
Design for Murder runs
July 8, 13, 16, 21, 26, 29 and Aug. 2. Ballyhoo
runs July 9, 14, 19, 22, 27 and Aug. 3, with 2 p.m. matinees on
July 24 and 30. Moon Over Buffalo runs
July 12, 15, 20, 23, 28, 30 and Aug. 4, with 2 p.m. matinees July
16, 17 and 31.
Evening performances of SAT productions begin at
7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. for all matinees. All performances will
be held in the Gilbert F. Hartwig Theatre.
Individual show tickets for the three plays in repertory
are $10 for regular admission, $8 for senior citizens and Southern
Miss faculty and staff, and $6 for students. Tickets for the children’s
show are $5 each.
Season tickets, including all three productions,
are $25 for regular admission, $20 for senior citizens and Southern
Miss faculty and staff, and $15 for students. Tickets go on sale
June 21 to the public. Donors to Southern Arena Theatre may order
their tickets now. Information on becoming a donor is available
by calling (601) 266-4994.
For tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office
at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425. Order online at www.usm.edu/tickets.
Tickets may be purchased at the theater box office one hour prior
to curtain time for each performance.