Summer Theatre opens Wednesday night

June 8, 2015

The 61st season of Emporia State University Summer Theatre proudly continues a favorite Emporia tradition with four delightful shows sure to please audiences of all ages. The line-up includes “Let’s Murder Marsha” by Monk Ferris, “Things My Mother Taught Me” by Katherine DiSavino, “The Nerd” by Larry Shue and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst.

Directed by alum Emily Kasprzak, “Let’s Murder Marsha” is a fast-paced farce that starts the season off with a bang. This nonstop comedy is about a happy housewife named Marsha (Lisa Tinker, Derby) who is hopelessly addicted to reading murder mysteries. But when a birthday surprise planned by her husband, Tobias (Elliott Brest, Tonganoxie), is mistaken for a murder plot, things get a little sticky. “Let’s Murder Marsha” runs June 10 – 13 at 7:30 pm.

Next in the Summer Theatre line-up is “Things My Mother Taught Me,” a new romantic comedy under the direction of Jim Bartruff. “Things My Mother Taught Me” follows the story of Olivia (Lauren Bergman, St. Joseph, MO) and Gabe (Brock Boudoin, Georgetown, TX) who are moving into their first apartment together, halfway across the country from their parents. But things don’t go quite as planned when everyone shows up to help them. Funny and touching, this one will make you laugh out loud and fall in love all over again. “Things My Mother Taught Me” runs June 24 – 27 at 7:30 pm.

“The Nerd” is the third show of the season, and will be directed by Dan Matisa, ESU’s newest theatre faculty member. This hilarious and popular comedy is about Willum (Evan Eisenbarth, Cassoday), who gets the surprise of his life, when the man who saved his life in Vietnam (Michael Abbott, Great Bend) shows up on his doorstep…and outstays his welcome with a hilarious vengeance. “The Nerd” runs July 8 – 11 at 7:30 pm.

Our 61st season closes with the award-winning musical, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” based on the popular children’s book by Judith Viorst. Fun for the whole family, this musical shows us that bad days happen to everyone – even in Australia. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” will be under the direction of Lindy Bartruff with musical direction by Anna Ryan. The show runs July 22 – 24 at 7:30 pm, with a special matinee performance on July 25th at 2 pm.

Technical direction for the summer is provided by Chris Lohkamp. Lohkamp will also design the set for “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Costume designers include Amanda Dura and Sara Ice, with assistance from Allison DeMeyer (Mulvane). Rick Rasmussen will be returning to design scenery as well as costumes for “The Nerd” and “Things My Mother Taught Me.” ESU Alum Lexey Jost is the set designer for “Let’s Murder Marsha.” Other student company members include Dustin Bittel (Ellis), Carter Brown (Dallas, TX), Bailey B. Carter (Topeka), Nick Coyan (Lenexa), Robert Crone (Emporia), Michael Juarez (Omaha, NE), Michael Judah (Omaha, NE), Elizabeth Kennell (Belton, MO), Tyler Lang (Wichita), Andrew McCutcheon (Gardner), Miranda Nation (Winfield), Landon Noll (Winchester), Fran Opheim (Olathe), Courtney Romero (Piper), Justin Tinker (Las Vegas), Alayne Weber (Topeka) and Logan Wohlford (Valley Center).

All performances will be at the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall on the Emporia State University campus. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 620-341-6378.