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ESU Theatre presents 2018-2019 Season

August 29, 2018

The Emporia State University Theatre Department presents its 2018-19 season of plays. The productions explore a journey for self-discovery, the struggle between good and evil, the bonds of friendship and the tragedy of forbidden love. The lineup includes “Pippin” with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson; “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” by Jethro Compton; “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling and “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare.

Directed by Jim and Lindy Bartruff, “Pippin” is an award-winning musical that features a colorful circus troupe and a young prince looking for his place in the world. Penny Speedie is the music director and Nancy Pontius is the scenic designer. The story follows young Prince Pippin (the son of Charlemagne) who is on a quest for an extraordinary life but is wrapped up in politics, war, family squabbles and love. Performances of the Homecoming musical are Oct. 18 to 20 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21. All performances are in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall.

The second show of the fall season is “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” by Jethro Compton and directed by guest artist Ashley Kobza. The play is based on the short story by Dorothy M. Johnson and is probably best known as a 1962 film starring John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin. The story is a classic western tale of good versus evil and the law versus the gun following the journey of a young man who winds up on the dusty streets of a frontier town only to find love and hope in a dangerous place. “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” will also feature a student scenic, costume and sound design. Performances are Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 1. All performances are in the Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre in Roosevelt Hall.

The first show of the spring semester is “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling and directed by Theresa Mitchell. The show takes us into the beauty salon of Truvy Jones where an eccentric cast of women take us on a journey of friendship as the women deal with their own problems, the excitement of a wedding and the tragedy that follows. Like Liberty Valance, “Steel Magnolias” was a popular film. It starred Dolly Patton, Sally Field and Julia Roberts. Performances are Feb. 27 to March 2 at 7:30 p.m.. All performances are in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall. It will be the final ESU Theatre production helmed by Theresa Mitchell, who retires in May.

New ESU professor, Dennis Turney, closes the season with his interpretation of William Shakespeare’s best-known love story, “Romeo and Juliet.” The story will transport us to the streets of Verona where two young lovers fight against the odds to be with each other only to meet their tragic fate. “Romeo and Juliet” runs from April 24 to 27 at 7:30 p.m. each night. All performances are in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall. 

A new ticketing policy goes into place this fall designed to encourage advance sales and to reduce waiting times on performance days. Tickets purchased in advance offer a significant discount. For the Homecoming musical, premium seats (center section) cost $15, second tier seats (House Left and Right) cost $12 and student tickets (second tier) cost $8. Tickets purchased at the door for the Homecoming musical will increase to $20 for premium seats, $15 for second tier seats and $12 for students. The Homecoming musical is a fundraiser for scholarships with increased ticket prices.

Tickets purchased in advance for the remaining three shows will cost $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets purchased at the door on performance days will increase to $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for students. Tickets are available in person from the Memorial Union Ticket Office or by calling 620-341-6378. Tickets can also be purchased online at

For media inquiries and more information about the season, contact Soojin Pearson, at 620-341-5265 or



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