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Released May 27, 2003

SOUTHERN ARENA THEATRE ANNOUNCES SUMMER SHOWS

HATTIESBURG - Southern Arena Theatre, the summer repertory company at The University of Southern Mississippi, has announced its 27th season - one that boasts productions of comedy, mystery and farce. As an added bonus, a children's show has been added to the SAT 2003 lineup. Frank Kuhn, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, characterized the season as "a potpourri of perfect summer entertainment for the whole family."

The season opens July 3 with Oliver Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer," a comedy about a young 18th-century British gentleman who is shy when speaking to women of his own class but eloquent with those of "lower station." When he mistakes the well-to-do object of his affections for a barmaid, the lady in question plays along to encourage his wooing. Cynthia White, a director based in Seattle who has lent her creative talent to a number of professional regional companies, will guest direct the production.

The second production to join the repertory is Agatha Christie's "The Unexpected Guest," a classic mystery that begins with a murder, of course, on a foggy night on a Welsh country estate with the beautiful widow left holding the smoking gun. The house is soon full of suspects, each with a possible motive, and the mystery is a puzzler to the final curtain. Longtime Southern Miss theater faculty member Larry Mullican will direct the production.

The third show in the summer rotation is "The Foreigner," a comic romp by Larry Shue, author of "The Nerd." Set in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, the action centers on Charlie, a fellow so painfully shy that he poses as a foreigner to excuse his lack of conversation. He overhears the sinister plans of some ill-intentioned characters and must do what he can to thwart their evil plans - without blowing his "cover." Kuhn describes the play as "full of comic surprises."

Obra Quave, recently retired director of theater and chair of the Department of Theatre and Communication at William Carey College, will serve as guest director of "The Foreigner."

The season runs from July 3 through July 31, and the three plays run in repertory - meaning all three productions play throughout the season on consecutive nights.

"A large part of the fun for many patrons is to see the same actors work in two or three very different roles over three consecutive nights," Kuhn said. "We have found that other patrons prefer to go on the same night of the week for three consecutive weeks to see all the shows that way."

Speaking of fun, the new children's show is Lorraine Thompson's "Storyville," a medley of favorite children's stories. These stories will feature classic characters, like Little Red Hen and the Gingerbread Man, retold and brought to a new life by members of the Southern Arena Theatre acting company, under the direction of graduate directing student Andrew Elliott. "Storyville" will run at 10 a.m. each day from July 23-26 in the Woods Showcase Theatre; tickets are $4 per child.
Kuhn is enthusiastic about the addition of a children's show to the summer schedule. "When I first moved here, I was disappointed that there wasn't more for my young daughter," Kuhn said. "'Storyville' will offer just the right kind of summer treat for young children. I think it will really engage those who are between 5 and 10 years old, and it's part of our effort to better serve Hattiesburg - establishing SAT as 'a full-service theater.'"

Evening performances of SAT productions start at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee July 20 of "She Stoops to Conquer," in the Gilbert F. Hartwig Theatre. Individual show tickets are $10 for regular admission, $8 for senior citizens and Southern Miss faculty and staff, and $6 for students.

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 13 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.tickets.usm.edu. Tickets may be purchased at the theater box office one hour prior to curtain time for each performance.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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