WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Sept. 12, 2018 – The West Liberty University Hilltop Players have planned another entertaining season of first-class theatre on the hilltop for 2018-2019.
It all gets started with a modern classic, “The Miracle Worker,” opening on Oct. 18 in Kelly Theatre and directed by Maggie Vos Balsley, who also is a member of the WLU theatre faculty.
“The Miracle Worker” first premiered in 1959 as an adaptation of The Story of My Life, an autobiography by Helen Keller. The play story, written by William Gibson, reveals the struggles and successes of Helen and her marvelous teacher, Annie Sullivan.
The play takes place during the 1880s in Tuscumbia, Ala. where a young Helen Keller becomes overwhelmed by tantrums and rage after a disease left her deaf and blind.
On the verge of being sent to an institution, the Kellers reach out to Annie Sullivan, from the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Annie soon begins to work with Helen, teaching her how to communicate, and turns her life around.
Dates and times for “The Miracle Worker” are 7:30 p.m., Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28.
Next on the playbill is “The Secret in the Wings” which opens in December.
This modern production, created by Mary Zimmerman, is directed at WLU by Professor Mike Aulick.
“‘The Secret in the Wings’ puts a personal and somewhat strange twist on a series of childhood stories and fairytales. It features fairy tales of all types, including some that explore the more macabre parts of life,” said Aulick who is WLU’s theatre director.
Zimmerman adapted a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create this work that sets their dark mystery against wit and humor. The action is set around a child and the frightening babysitter with whom her parents leave her. As the babysitter reads from a book, the characters in each of the tales materialize, with each tale breaking off just at its bleakest moment before giving way to the next one.
Dates and times for “The Secret in the Wings” are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6-8, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9.
Reconvening after the holiday break, the Hilltop Players are bringing “Studio Theatre Night of Comedic Scenes” to their season lineup. Theatre Professor John Hennen will once again direct this acting lab production that offers a fresh look at theatre in a new venue, the newly renovated, Black Box Theatre.
Renovated over the summer months, the Black Box Theatre space is an intimate, contemporary space for live action.
Dates and times for “Night of Comedic Scenes” are 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14-17, in the Fine Arts Building, Room F210.
Rounding out the 2018 – 2019 theatre season will be “The Sound of Music,” co-directed by two professors, Mike Aulick (theatre) and Melinda Kreisberg (biology). Aulick and Kreisberg will be assisted by Professor Linda Cowan Youssef as musical director along with Jill Howard Warren heading choreography.
“The Sound of Music” is a classic musical created by Richard Rogers and scripted by Oscar Hammerstein that holds a special place in the hearts of theatre fans everywhere.
A heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world’s best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II.
Dates and Times for “The Sound of Music” are 7:30 p.m., April 11 – 13 and 3 p.m., April 14.
Both Kelly Theatre and the Black Box Theatre are located in the Hall of Fine Arts.
Tickets for all Hilltop Players productions will be available through Brown Paper Tickets online and on sale 30 days prior to the opening of each production. For more information, please email [email protected]
The WLU Theatre Program is part of the university’s College of Arts and Communication. The Hilltop Players typically produce four to five main stage productions a year with opportunities for students to participate in a touring children’s theatre company and student-directed performances. The season is chosen to offer a variety of ‘styles’ of shows giving our students the chance to be well-rounded artists, regularly performing contemporary dramas, comedies, classics, musicals, holiday extravaganzas, and children’s theatre.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Media Relations Intern Anthony Veltri contributed to this press release.