Alabama’s theater and dance programs are looking to maintain a high level of prestige with the fall semester’s lineup of shows.
Every show is unique and requires hours of dedication from its cast members, dancers, choreographers and crew. But this talent stretches beyond the cast and crew and even includes the people who run the programs and market the shows.
The first event of this semester is the Broadway Cabaret on Thursday, Sept. 28. The event is directed by Matt Davis and will be held in the District Room in downtown Tuscaloosa. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for bar purchases and seating, and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Broadway fans will love this event, as the night will be filled with talented musical theater students singing their favorite songs.
This is the second year the Broadway Cabaret has been held, as last year’s event was a fundraiser for Rusty Chorba, a member of the department who died. After a successful show, the program’s organizers decided to continue it this year.
The second event of this semester will be the annual Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre show, which has been held on campus for nearly three decades. The show will occur from Oct. 17-20, located in the Dance Theatre in the English Building. There will be five choreographed pieces — two by guest choreographers and three by UA faculty members — each featuring contemporary dance and ballet.
Attending the ARDT show is a great way to support members of this campus, as each dancer is a student at The University of Alabama. Additionally, every year the show changes, offering something new and exciting to its viewers.
Hannah Hall, the manager of marketing for the Department of Theatre and Dance, said that one of the most impressive facets of the ARDT event is the diversity of all the pieces.
“The diversity of the pieces and the quality is a reason in itself that students should attend this show, but also it is a good culmination of what we do in the department,” Hall said. “Especially all the hard work and passion that encompasses what these programs are about.”
Shortly after the ARDT event, the theater department will have its first production of the semester, “The Rocky Horror Show.” The show will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 5, in the Marian Gallaway Theatre.
This musical, created by Richard O’Brien, features music, lyrics and a book by the artist. It playfully pays homage to the B-grade science fiction and horror films of the 1930s through the early ’60s. At its core, the story follows a recently engaged couple who find themselves caught in a storm and seek refuge at the residence of an eccentric scientist known as Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
Robert Fuson, a third-year MFA directing candidate, is the director of this show. He shared that he is beyond excited to bring this show to campus, because it is one of his favorite productions. He shared that this show will be a mature production, as it covers self-exploration.
“The show has a lot to do with the understanding of personal desire, pleasure, and experiencing your fullest self and its authenticity,” Fuson said.
“The Rocky Horror Show” is a diverse production that covers progressive topics of this generation. It is a must-see show that will have its audience gasping at every witty line and clever twist.
The last event of the semester will be the production of “Julius Caesar” on Nov. 6. The show will be directed by Seth Panitch, the head of the acting program, and held at the Allen Bales Theatre. This show is highly anticipated by acting students, as a part of their degree is to take a Shakespeare class.
According to Panitch, this will be a stripped-down, cut-down, fast-paced “Caesar,” focusing tightly on how rapidly the actors succumb to their baser instincts. It will not be a political take on the script, but a personal one, which will invite the audience into a fiercer connection with the terrible tragedy.
Panitch is also interpreting the battle sequences into visceral movement and threading that style throughout the piece. This will provide a new perspective through which to view the play, even for those who have seen previous productions.
Panitch, who has passionately reimagined this work, highlighted the immense dedication the students have put into such a titanic production.
“Somewhere just past the halfway point of a rehearsal process, the actors begin to truly inhabit the world of the play, and when they transform into that world, it allows them a more personal knowledge of the action of the play, which allows them to have a deep ownership over their roles,” Panitch said. “When this happens, I can back away as a director, and the play takes on real life from the framework I develop as a director. This new life is always richer than my single interpretation of the world of the play.”