Mainstage ticket sales begin Aug. 7

Two hit musicals, a comedy and an updated classic drama are on the playbill as the students and faculty of Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen present their Mainstage season for 2012-13.

Season subscriptions and individual tickets for the productions go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the box office of WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Kicking off the season in September will be the musical comedy “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” directed by Brenda Lilly, School of Stage and Screen faculty member, and with musical direction by guest artist Jan Powell. The mix of country-western, rock and blues, conceived and written by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann, has earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations for best musical. The fun takes place at a service station and diner located off N.C. Highway 57. “The foot-stomping songs and charming tales of friendship, romance and heartbreak will have you walking out of the theater wanting more, and wishing you had a Moonpie and a RC Cola,” Lilly said.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Sept. 29, plus a 3 p.m. matinee on Sept. 29, at Hoey Auditorium.

Next up on the agenda will be the comedy “Once in a Lifetime,” written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, with direction by Claire Eye, Theatre Program director. The play tells the story of three members of a failing vaudeville act who head to the bright lights of Hollywood to cash in on the conversion to “talkies” by posing as elocutionists, and then attempt to teach silent stars to speak on camera.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, through Saturday, Nov. 10, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The Mainstage season takes a much more serious turn with the coming of 2013 in the classic drama “Rashomon,” written by Fay and Michael Kanin, whose work was based on stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Directed by Stage and Screen faculty member D.V. Caitlyn, the play is a stark examination of the limits of human perception and the human need for certainty and its elusive nature. The production is the story of four separate accounts of a rape and murder as seen through the eyes of four witnesses. In his review of the play, James Berardinelli wrote that “Perspective distorts reality and makes the absolute truth unknowable.” WCU’s dramatically stylized staging will pay homage to traditional elements of the Noh Theater of Japan.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hoey Auditorium.

The final stage production of the season will be the family-friendly musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone,” book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Terrence Mann, WCU’s Phillips Distinguished Professor in Musical Theatre, will direct the production, with Stage and Screen faculty members Nathan Thomas and Karyn Tomczak serving as musical director and choreographer, respectively. A love letter to the classic Broadway musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a revved-up spoof of a 1920s song-and-dance frolic that boldly addresses the unspoken human desire to be entertained.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, through Saturday, April 13, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 14, at the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Subscriptions for the entire Mainstage season of four shows, available Aug. 7 through Sept. 29, provide a substantial savings over individual show prices. Subscriptions prices are $50 for adults, $40 for seniors and WCU faculty and staff, and $20 for students.

Individual tickets for the two musical comedies, “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “The Drowsy Chaperone,” are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and WCU faculty and staff, and $7 (in advance) and $10 (day of show) for students.

Individual tickets for the comedy “Once in a Lifetime” and the drama “Rashomon” are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and WCU faculty and staff, and $7 (in advance) and $10 (day of show) for students.

A special event, the fifth annual Controlled Chaos Film Festival, will follow the regular Mainstage season next spring. Set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Bardo Arts Center, the event will feature the best films written, directed and produced by students from WCU’s Motion Picture and Television Production Program. All seats are $10, with cash only accepted at the door.

For more general information about the Mainstage season and the film festival, contact WCU’s School of Stage and Screen at 828-227-7491. To order season subscriptions and individual tickets, call the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or go online to FAPAC.wcu.edu.