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By Thomas M. Campbell
June 13, 2003 -- Many events can occur in a 50-year span. Wars can be fought, countries can rise and fall, and families can come together only to be broken apart. By most standards, 50 years can be a very long time. So it is not easy for an organization to showcase 50 years of activities.
This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Summer Theatre at the University of Wyoming. As a result, the UW Department of Theatre and Dance will showcase and celebrate the history of its summer stock program. For the past five decades, the department has recruited people from around the country to perform plays for Wyoming audiences.
UW has the second oldest summer stock program west of the Mississippi River. It started in 1954 with five productions that included "Affairs of State," "Deadwood Dick," "The School for Scandal," "The Late Edwina Black," and "The Circle." Since then the department has gone through incredible changes, from generations of faculty and staff to the buildings where the plays were performed.
The faculty and staff invite everyone to be involved with a summer company at UW to commemorate the half-century milestone. Special events planned for the week of June 29 have been well-received by individuals throughout the country, who were asked to return to the university to "Celebrate 50 years of UW Summer Theatre and the people who made it possible."
However, the fun does not start at the end of June. In fact, technicians, directors and actors officially began the pre-production phase on June 8. A group of dedicated individuals focuses its attention on the first of two shows for the summer season. "Androcles and the Lion," adapted by Aurand Harris from the well-known fable, and directed by UW Professor Lee Hodgson, will launch the season with four shows from June 19-21.
When "Androcles" closes, the cast and crews will shift their attention to prepare for the second show, "The Dining Room," written by A.R. Gurney and directed by UW Professor Leigh Selting, whose vast theatrical credits include directing the award-winning "Dead White Males."
"The Dining Room" will be a highlight of the summer season because more than 70 alumni, faculty, staff and current students will act, design, crew, and assist in the production. Keep in mind that the average theatre production utilizes only about 20-30 people. Alumni from across the country and beyond will return to UW June 29, and will have only five days to put "The Dinning Room" together in time for the July 3 opening.
"Androcles and the Lion" can be seen June 19-21 at 7 p.m. and June 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. "The Dinning Room" will be performed at 7 nightly July 3-5. Tickets cost $13 for adults, $11 for senior citizens, and $6 for students. All performances will be in the Fine Arts Center main stage. For information and tickets call (307) 766-6666.
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003