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Theatre/Dance ISU invites public to pick opening show for 2010-11 season to help celebrate 80th anniversary

Posted January 12, 2010

Theatre ISU will be celebrating its 80th anniversary during the 2010-11 academic school year and is inviting the public and its patrons to help pick its first show of that season.

"We’d like the public to choose, from a narrowed list of five productions, our first show of the year for 2010," said Erin Joy, Theatre ISU Box Office manager. "Each of these five were debuted at ISU in the 30s, 40s or 50s and Theatre/Dance ISU would like to remember seasons past. Theatre has a long and rich tradition at ISU and we want to keep the memories alive by remembering 80 years of Theatre ISU and we need some help."

Photo from "You Can't Take It With You"The five shows being considered are "You Can't Take it With You," "Arsenic and Old Lace," "Blithe Spirit," "The Crucible" and "Our Town." A description of each play is listed below.

Participants can vote for their favorite show by casting a vote at the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center Box Office, Idaho State Journal, Rendezvous information desk, Student Union Building and in the lobby of Frazier Hall. 

Scene from "Arsenic and Old Lace"Votes can also be cast by going online and filing out a Survey Monkey one-question survey at: www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=P2ButVYRgVOM5X1CjRybHg_3d_3d.

The contest will be held through the end of February 2010. 

The five plays being considered are:

• "You Can’t Take it With You" debuted in New York in December 1936 to critical acclaim and delighted audiences. George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart offered a third installment of the truly eccentric Sycamore family in "You Can’t Take it With You."  This Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy entertained audiences around the country for decades and also in 1938 a film version of the play took home the Academy Award for Best Picture.  Kaufman and Hart offer up an energetic script, which takes the characters on a physical journey of antics and one-liners.  The conservative family meets the eccentric Sycamore’s in "You Can’t Take it With You."   

Scene from "Our Town."• "Our Town" is a 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which takes audiences on a journey through the quintessential American town examining the lives of what "small town" living is really like. Thorton Wilde, the play's author, was ahead of his time by writing a play free of scenery and formal theatre norms.  He has the play's stage manager double as the narrator and the play is performed entirely using sounds effects, which are also located on stage.  The play is divided into three acts which serve as three aspects of human experience.  Set in New Hampshire, "Our Town" is sure to delight audiences. 

• "Arsenic and Old Lace" was written by American playwright Joseph Kesserling and debuted in 1939. The play gained popularity after its adaptation to film in the 1940s.  This hilarious comedy has delighted audiences with its crazy characters and murderous plot.  Two "sweet" ladies take on the charity task of ridding the earth of lonely old men.  While their nephew stumbles upon their poisonous plot to kill, he is consistently trying to keep his new bride from fleeing the crazy shenanigans going on in the house.  "Arsenic and Old Lace" offers a comedic relief and murderous plot. 

Scene from "Blilthe Spirit."• "Blithe Spirit" is a comedic play written in 1941 and debuted in London shortly after its release.  The play features socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric clairvoyant, Madame Arcati to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his temperamental first wife, Elvira.  Following the séance, Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles's marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.  The story begins to unravel and the characters true colors are revealed. 

The scene from "The Crucible."• "The Crucible" debuted on Broadway in January of 1953. Arthur Miller wrote a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in 1692-1693 Massachusetts.  Miller wrote "The Crucible" in response to the McCarthyism trials where, in 1956, he himself testified before Congress and was convicted of "contempt of Congress" for failing to name names.  This play is still studied at high schools and universities around the globe because of its historic significance to the McCarthyism era.