Student performing in 2017 production of Macbeth

The second half of the 2017-18 Longwood theatre season will be punctuated by a lot of laughs and familiar pop music from the Beatles to the Bangles era.

The spring theatre season kicks off in February with a five-day run of Stephen Sondheim’s famous Roman farce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, performed on stage in Jarman Auditorium. A bawdy musical, the original Broadway run earned Sondheim several Tony Awards and cemented his place as one of the great American composers and lyricists.

We have a lot of talent in all areas of theatre production here at Longwood. This spring we are looking forward to showcasing it. We have an exciting few months ahead.

Bruce Speas, Longwood theatre coordinator

“It will be a fun show,” said Longwood theatre coordinator Bruce Speas, associate professor of theatre history and directing. “It’s a very popular musical, and it’s very, very funny.”

Longwood’s performance of A Funny Thing runs Feb. 21-25 and is being directed by Lacy Klinger, assistant professor of acting, voice and movement. Christopher Swanson, professor of voice, diction for singers and opera workshop, is the musical director. The performance will include a small student orchestra. The play was cast before students left for winter break.

“We have a lot of talent in all areas of theatre production here at Longwood,” Speas said. “This spring we are looking forward to showcasing it. We have an exciting few months ahead.”

The A Funny Thing set, which features three houses, will be constructed by students in the Communication Studies and Theatre Arts Center (CSTAC), then moved into Jarman and set up for the production. Speas said the project replicates working in the theatre industry for the students involved.

“You move into the theatre that you rent when it’s time to get into the space, just like on Broadway,” Speas said. “We have to set up and pull it all together in the venue in a week.”

Evening shows begin at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21-24, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24 and 25. The Feb. 24 evening performance is being billed as an “Alumni Night,” with theatre and music alumni gathering before the show.

The theatre department will close out the 2017-18 season in April with The Heidi Chronicles, for which writer Wendy Wasserstein won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The play follows the life of its female protagonist from high school in the 1960s to her career as an art historian 20 years later. The play’s main themes are feminism and the changing role of women from the 1960s to the 1980s. Speas said the production will feature a lot of upbeat and recognizable music from that time period.

“It’s a very touching story,” said Speas, who will direct the production. “The good playwrights don’t hit you over the head with what they are trying to say. They give you a good story.”

The Heidi Chronicles will be performed in the Main Stage Auditorium, located in the CSTAC building, from April 18-22. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on April 18-21 and 2 p.m. on April 21 and 22.

Also this spring, the 12th annual Zero to Sixty Ten-Minute-Playwriting festival will be held March 22-25. The event features six 10-minute plays that have been selected from a nationwide call for submissions. Organized each year by Longwood’s creative writing program, the show allows students the opportunity to direct, design and then perform the selected short plays.

The performances will be held each day at 7 p.m. in the LAB Theatre in CSTAC.

General admission tickets to theatre performances are $10; discounts are available for Longwood students, senior citizens and Longwood faculty and staff. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the box office online.

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