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Published April 19, 2019
The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance will end its 2018-19 season with a bluegrass fairytale set in the mysterious and dangerous Natchez Trace of Mississippi Tuesday, April 30-Sunday, May 5.
“The Robber Bridegroom,” by Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Alfred Uhry, will be performed in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets to the April 30 performance cost $4.50 for the public, senior citizens and students. Tickets May 1-5 cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office and the Wyoming Union information desk, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
Leigh Selting, UW Department of Theatre and Dance professor and department head, directs the production, which he has wanted to do for 25 years.
“The show’s unique bluegrass-tinted music offers an appeal for myself and a unique opportunity for our musical theater students,” Selting says. “And I’ve always been rather fascinated by the story itself, as the original source material is based on a dark and disturbing fairytale by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, in which it speaks of murder, kidnapping and even cannibalism.”
Southern writer Eudora Welty took inspiration from the tale to create her own 1942 novella of the same name. She retained many of the story’s dark elements but set it in Mississippi and brought in a Robin Hood-esque character from Southern folklore, Selting says.
Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy”) and Robert Waldman (“The Rivals”) developed the piece as a musical, told in “story theater” fashion.
The performance follows Jamie Lockhart (Justen Glover, from Arvada, Colo.) who courts Rosamund (Aili McLellan, of Houston, Texas), the only daughter of the richest planter in the country. A double-mistaken identity, an evil stepmother intent on Rosamund's demise, a dumb henchman and a hostile, talking head-in-a-trunk all come together to form an entertaining show. The performance also features a bluegrass score by Waldman and a live band playing onstage.
In its original 1975 run on Broadway, “The Robber Bridegroom” was nominated for two Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. In its 1976 revival run on Broadway, the musical was nominated for eight Drama Desk Awards for outstanding musical, book of a musical, lyrics and music.
“The show remains darkly comic, Waldman’s music is as beautiful as ever, and it moves quickly from point to point, much like the original story,” Selting says. “It’s been a huge labor of love for myself, and I hope the audience enjoys the work of my colleagues, our students and, of course, our marvelous band.”
“The Robber Bridegroom” contains language and themes that some might find objectionable.
For more information, call Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator, at (307) 766-2160 or email email@example.com.