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Released July 8, 2003

SOUTHERN MISS THEATRE AND DANCE ALUMS
PERFORM IN NORTH CAROLINA PRODUCTION

HATTIESBURG - Several alumni and a retired faculty member from the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Southern Mississippi are currently taking the theater scene by storm in Asheville, N.C. Highland Repertory Theatre, a professional theatrical company, is producing Mississippi resident Laddy Sartin's comedy "Catfish Moon."

David Matthews is directing the play and is joined by cast members Leon Contavesprie, Jason Johnson and Jason Kennah, all of whom received master's of fine arts from the university's Department of Theatre and Dance. Retired theater faculty member R.B. Hill, who directed the premiere production of "Catfish Moon" at Southern Miss that eventually went on to perform at the Kennedy Center as part of the American College Theatre Festival in 1995, is the set designer and production consultant.

"I am honored and thrilled to direct such a special cast and play that has its roots at The University of Southern Mississippi," Matthews said. "Being an alumnus, along with three of the four cast members, the playwright and R.B. Hill, has made this experience one I'll always cherish and remember fondly."

This charming comedy about three fishing buddies reunites the actors after three years. Johnson and Kennah last performed together in the Southern Miss production of "Lonesome West" in 2001, and Contavesprie, Kennah and Matthews were cast mates in "Of Mice and Men" in the fall of 2000.

"The show is kind of a reunion for the three men in the cast, since we haven't seen each other in over two years," Contavesprie said. "And working with Dave Matthews and R.B. Hill again makes us all feel like we're back at Southern Miss in our 'good ol' college days.'"

"This is exactly the kind of collaborative support system we hope our alumni establish among themselves," said Frank Kuhn, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southern Miss. "We also have another group of alums working together at a summer company in Kentucky this summer, as well as other pockets of theater alums working together around the country."

"Catfish Moon" runs through the end of June at the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, N.C. The show then travels to Appalachian State University at Boone, N.C., for a brief run.

For more information, call the Southern Miss theater office at (601) 266-4994.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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