School of Stage and Screen presenting ‘God Save Gertrude’ on Oct. 5-8

Ashley Huber (front) and musicians (from left) Cody Shanaberger, Joshua Linhart and Ryan Albinus rehearse for the upcoming production of “God Save Gertrude.”

“God Save Gertrude,” an offbeat punk rock riff on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” will be presented by Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen as part of the school’s 2017-18 Mainstage theatre season.

Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, through Saturday, Oct. 7, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, with all performances in the studio theatre of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Written by Deborah Stein, “God Save Gertrude” is the story of a fading first lady and former punk rock star who performs one last time as her kingdom, in the final throes of political revolution, comes crashing down around her, said Jayme McGhan, director of the School of Stage and Screen.

“Part confession, part defense, part lament, Gertrude shares her side of the story in a tell-all punk rock show while hiding in a burnt-out theatre as the rebels takes down her husband’s totalitarian regime brick-by-brick,” McGhan said. With insight coming from Mama’s Boy and Daddy’s Girl, the audience is given front-row seats to a dictatorship coming apart from the inside out, he said.

The cast for the production includes four students – Ashley Huber (Gertrude), Adrian Beck (Mama’s Boy), Charlie Cannon (Man) and Callista Brown (Daddy’s Girl). Understudies for those roles are students Tori Hadel, Ryan Albinus, Anthony Sims and Caroline Ryan.

The show band is composed of students Cody Shanaberger (guitar) and Albinus (bass) along with local music professional Joshua Linhart (drums and percussion).

Ashlee Wasmund, coordinator for WCU’s programs in musical theatre and dance, is directing the production, while Kristen Hedberg, assistant professor of voice, is music director. Four students serving on the production crew are Miranda Poindexter, assistant director; Lena Armas, stage manager; Michaela Ashe, assistant stage manager; and Albinus, production music assistant.

Faculty and staff members on the design/technical team are Spencer Burke, technical director; Kevin King, shop supervisor; Michael Mauren, assistant lighting designer and mentor; and Hannah Roten, shop supervisor. Students on the design/technical team are Kirsten Smitherman, scenic designer and props master; Kaitlin Jenks, assistant props master; Vincent Aycock, props crew; Stephanie Hurtado-Hoyos, fly crew; Kristin Wasko, costume designer; Erynn Vickery, assistant costume designer and wardrobe chief; Bailey Ball, wardrobe crew; Holly Records, hair and makeup designer; Megan Sullivan, lighting designer; Trystan Heck, master electrician; Sylena Lewis, board operater; Jonathan Partin, sound designer; Avery Mills, sound technician and sound board operater; and Autumn Bryson, assistant house manager.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for WCU faculty and staff, and seniors. For tickets or more information, call 828-227-2479 or visit the website