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Theater school plans first musical in 10 years as part of packed lineup

This year, the Ohio University School of Theater will feature shows of every genre, from Greek comedies to contemporary dramas.

The season starts with a dark comedy, Mr. Marmalade, directed by David Haugen, an assistant professor in the School of Theater.

The show tells the story of a little girl name Lucy, who imagines a cast of creepy characters while dealing with the adults in her own life and a new friend who has some imaginary friends of his own.

“Mr. Marmalade is a dark comedy, which appeals to my sense of humor,” Haugen said. “I think college audiences will find it appealing.”

While Haugen was careful not to give too much away, he said that audiences will be surprised and intrigued by the set design and personal touches to the show.

“We came up with a design for the set we are all excited about,” he said. “It is from the world of a child. And John Salutz, the sound designer, is writing a theme song for the production. I’m excited about that.”

The next show on the bill, Assassins, directed by Lee Kinney, follows different people throughout history who attempt to assassinate presidents of the United States. The show, the only musical being produced during the season, is set up in an unusual style, a revue-type show that includes songs, sketches and anecdotes from each assassin and the people in their lives.

“This is something we are very excited about,” said Dennis Delaney, production manager at the theater school. “We haven’t done a musical in about 10 years so it’s one of the top things we’re looking forward to in this jam-packed season.”

Assistant professor Brian Evans directs the next show, a Greek comedy titled Lysistrata. The play follows a woman who attempts to end the Peloponnesian war by having the women of Greece withhold sex from their husbands until they negotiate peace.

The classic play was recently adapted into a Broadway musical set in modern times. The theater school’s production, however, fuses both Greek and modern influences as a protest of the Iraq war.

The season wraps up with the Tennessee Williams play, The Rose Tattoo, directed by Emily Penick, a graduate playwriting student.

Serefina Delle Rose is distraught when she finds herself widowed after her husband is killed in a car accident. She retreats more and more into seclusion and expects her daughter to do the same.

While she aims to make a unique production, Penick said it is important to her that she stays very true to Williams’ original work.

“It’s not about leaving my fingerprints all over the production so that people think about the director while they watch the play. It’s about creating a magical world that can transport the audience for the time they spend in the theater,” she said. “I’ve already been working with my amazing design team and can say with confidence that it will be a beautiful and romantic production.”

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