ASHEVILLE NC – Two plays and two musicals comprise the 2015-16 Mainstage season to be presented by Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen, and season subscriptions and individual tickets for the productions will go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the box office in WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.
“The 2015-16 Mainstage season is enormously exciting, diverse and challenging for both our students and our audience,” said Jayme McGhan, director of the School of Stage and Screen. “Split between two classics of the stage and two brand new works, this season will tell the stories of iconic American artists, hysterical ghostly encounters, the power of Shakespeare’s words and the nature of show business itself.”
The season opens with “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?,” a musical comedy mystery possibly inspired by an actual event and written/composed by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs. Every character is a suspect, including the iconic pop art icon himself and all his “Factory” denizens, as they sort out the answer to the subtitle’s question through a score infused with popular music grooves and punctuated by the sound that a gun makes.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 1-3, and at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Hoey Auditorium.
The classic Noel Coward comedy “Blithe Spirit” describes the conflict when mystery writer Charles Condomine accidently brings his dead wife back into an earthly sphere while researching a new book. Then his ghostly wife attempts to lure him away from his new wife and into the afterlife with her.
“Blithe Spirit” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, through Saturday, Nov. 21, and at a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 22, in Hoey Auditorium.
In a women’s juvenile detention center in Tennessee, the inmates are staging a production of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy in “Macbeth is the New Black.” What’s happening in the detention center begins to mirror the secrecy and violence in the play, and the results are vicious.
With original material by Linda Parsons Marion, this updating of “Macbeth” will take the stage of Hoey Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, through Saturday, Feb. 20.
“Gypsy,” a musical loosely based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, will be presented in the Bardo Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, through Saturday, April 16, and at a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 17.
This musical fable about family and show business depicts Mama Rose propelling her younger daughter June toward a successful vaudeville career. After June elopes, Mama turns all her attention on her older, less talented daughter, Louise. As the vaudeville era fades, Louise ends up blossoming in its seedier version: burlesque.
In addition to the Mainstage season, the School of Stage and Screen hosts special events during the academic year, including a new series named in honor of an accomplished playwright and screen writer who taught at WCU for 20 years.
“The School of Stage and Screen at Western Carolina University is committed to helping develop new works for the American stage,” McGhan said. “We’re proud to announce the launch of the Josefina Niggli New Works Reading Series, which will feature musicals and plays from both our own faculty members and regional and national playwrights. We’ll begin the Josefina Niggli Series with an award-winning new musical, ‘Resident Alien,’ by Katya Stanislavskya, musical theatre program director. Students will have the wonderful opportunity to work with the playwright, helping them to develop these scripts for future full production.”
The Josefina Niggli New Works Series will present two events, “Resident Alien,” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31, and another, which will be announced later, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 13, both in the Niggli Theatre of the Stillwell Building. There will be no admission charge, but a $5 donation at the door will be welcome.
The annual Controlled Chaos Film Festival will screen the best movies created by the year’s Film and Television Production Program students on Friday, April 29, in the Bardo Arts Center. Tickets will be $10 at the door.
Season tickets for the two musicals and two dramas are $50 for adults; $40 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and $20 for students – a 30 percent savings on individual event prices.
Single event tickets for the musicals are $21 for adults; $15 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and for students, $10 day of show or $7 in advance. Single event tickets for “Blithe Spirit” and “Macbeth is the New Black” will be $16 for adults; $11 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and for students, $10 day of show or $7 in advance.
For more information about the Mainstage season and special events, contact WCU’s School of Stage and Screen at 828-227-7491. To order season subscriptions and individual tickets, call the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or go online to bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.