‘Fiddler,’ ‘Grapes of Wrath’ among classics at WSU next season

(clockwise from top left) W. Stuart McDowell, Joe Deer, Joshua McCabe, Scot Wooley, Marya Spring Cordes and Greg Hellems are among the directors of Wright State University’s 2017-2018 season launching in the fall with “You Can’t Take it With You.” CONTRIBUTED

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(clockwise from top left) W. Stuart McDowell, Joe Deer, Joshua McCabe, Scot Wooley, Marya Spring Cordes and Greg Hellems are among the directors of Wright State University’s 2017-2018 season launching in the fall with “You Can’t Take it With You.” CONTRIBUTED

Three esteemed classics and one of the most vibrant musical comedies ever conceived comprises Wright State University’s 2017-2018 mainstage season.

Incorporating the theme "It's All About You!,' the organization's 39th season of plays and musicals, a conglomeration of Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award and Tony Award-winning favorites, consists of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's wacky comedy "You Can't Take it With You" (September 2017, directed by WSU Distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre Joe Deer in a rare straight play assignment); Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein's beloved musical "Fiddler on the Roof" (October 2017, helmed by WSU Artistic Director W. Stuart McDowell, choreographed by Teressa Wylie McWilliams and music directed by Scot Wooley); Frank Galati's adaptation of John Steinbeck's drama "The Grapes of Wrath" (February 2018, directed by Marya Spring Cordes, Head of WSU's Acting Program); and Rupert Holmes' hilarious, audience-friendly musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (March 2018, directed by Greg Hellems).

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The roster also includes two shows in WSU's experimental black box Herbst Theatre: Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis' satirical musical "Urinetown" (November 2017, directed by Lee Merrill) and Shelagh Stephenson's poignant modern drama "The Memory of Water" (April 2018, directed by WSU's new assistant professor in acting Joshua McCabe in his Dayton debut). WSU's dance concert featuring world premieres by guest artists and faculty is slated for April 2018.

“From the opening ‘You Can’t Take it With You’ to ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood,’ in which the audience gets to choose the ending, the focus of the Wright State Theatre season is our audience and we aim to please,” McDowell said. “It’s a season that brings several of our all-time most popular plays and musicals back to our stages in brand-spanking fresh new productions.”

New workshop productions

In addition, beginning in the fall of 2017, WSU will present workshop productions, a new endeavor launching with the local premiere of Robert Askins’ rip-roaring and racy comedy “Hand to God” directed by Bruce Cromer. Subscribers in particular will also have an opportunity to tour the Tom Hanks Motion Pictures Center with McDowell on select dates throughout the season and take part in movie nights in which WSU screens the film versions of “You Can’t Take it With You,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” Q&A talkbacks with directors and cast following certain performances are also on tap next season.

“On an educational level, this season (examines) refugees,” McDowell added. “‘Fiddler’ is about political and religious refugees and ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is about economic refugees. These productions will be tied-in with our participation in the Ghostlight Project across the country which (values inclusion) and (brings awareness to) the plight of humanity in the world right now.

"We're offering a range of comedic and serious drama and musicals that explore the range of theater which our students, and our audiences will, I think find both thoroughly entertaining and intellectually challenging. There's never been a season quite like this one. It's thrilling and enthralling while exploring the far corners of humanity."

For season subscription information, call the WSU Box Office at (937) 775-2500 or purchase subscriptions online .


THE SCHEDULE:

You Can't Take it With You: Sept. 28-Oct. 8, 2017

Fiddler on the Roof: Nov. 2-19, 2017

The Grapes of Wrath: Feb. 1-11, 2018

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: March 15-April 8, 2018

Urinetown: Dec. 1-10, 2017

The Memory of Water: April 20-22, 2018

WSU Dance Concert: April 19-22, 2018

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