REGIONAL: Catawba College announces 2022-23 theatre season ‘Transform’

Published 1:45 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

The 97th Catawba Theatre season will feature five productions, including a student devised show “Mythos.”

The fall semester will feature two shows, with the first being Sept. 23-Oct. 1.

All productions will be on the Catawba campus. Specific times and tickets are available online at catawba.edu/theatretix.

“We have been thinking a lot about new beginnings and what that means for the theatre,” said Department Chair Erin B. Dougherty. “We thought a lot about what the community would want to see onstage. A lot of what people were missing was positive change — transformation. The pandemic prevented us from growing intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. So, if all of these shows have one thing in common, it’s transformation. The characters certainly, but transformation with the audience seems to be the throughline. These shows not only break the fourth wall, but completely shatter it.”

The season will open with “The Cake” (Sept. 23-Oct. 1), directed by Beth Homan. Based on a true North Carolinian story, “The Cake” follows the story of Jen, who lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her native North Carolina.

With the wedding six months away, she heads down South to ask Della, her late mother’s best friend who owns a bakery there, to do the honors of making her wedding cake. Della’s cakes are the best — she’s going to compete on the “Great American Baking Show,” no big deal. Della is overjoyed to make Jen’s cake—  until she realizes that there isn’t just one bride, but two. She can’t really bake a cake for such a wedding, can she?

Moral quandaries, reality TV and loads and loads of butter form this play by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s “This Is Us”) about three women trying to reach out across a divide that just keeps growing.

Next up will be “Songs for A New World” (Nov. 11-19) directed by David T. Loudermilk with music direction by Nicholas Fuqua.

“Songs for A New World” by Jason Robert Brown is about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice … or take a stand … or turn around and go back. These are the stories and characters of today. The first musical from Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown (“Parade,” Bridges of Madison County”), this collection of songs examines life, love and the choices one makes. Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to a ledge, 57 stories above Fifth Avenue, to meet an array of characters that range from a young man who has determined that basketball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams … and a soulless marriage.

Following in the spring semester is “Mythos” (Feb. 3-5). Directed by senior Michelle Medina as her capstone project, “Mythos” is devised by the cast through improvisation. La Llorona, Marie Laveau, The Bell Witch and other urban legends told to one as children have stayed to this day. These women existed in the shadows of rooms late at night, creeping
in the corners of one’s eyes.

“Mythos” unmasks these mystical characters, removing the veils of horror and mystery to reveal the real female experiences behind the myth: their suffering, their pride, their joy and their power.

Next is “Always. . .Patsy Cline” (Feb. 17-25), directed by David T. Loudermilk.

Based on the true story of a pen-pal friendship set to the soundtrack of country’s most vibrant voice, “Always. . .Patsy Cline” is about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death in a plane crash. The show’s title was inspired by Cline’s letters to Seger, which were consistently signed “Love ALWAYS…Patsy Cline.”

Tales of Patsy’s life on the road are told with down-home country humor and brought to life through her music.

Catawba Theatre’s 97th season will close with “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” directed by David Pulliam. Steve Martin’s comedy imagines a meeting between a 23-year-old Pablo Picasso and a 25-year-old Albert Einstein at a real-life artists’ hangout in Paris at the dawn of the 20th Century.

It’s 1904 and the two geniuses are about to complete their most significant accomplishments — Einstein’s theory of relativity and Picasso’s painting “The Young Ladies of Avignon.” They have a lengthy debate about the value of genius and talent, which is often interrupted by the colorful patrons of the bar.

“The best productions in Catawba’s history are the ones that have left our students and audiences changed,” said Dougherty. “The stories on stage during the 2022/23 season embody the Catawba Theatre we love, put through the kaleidoscope of our present day. These plays are bursting at the seams with questions for our times: How do we weather impossible circumstances? Who, how and why do we love? What is the line between truth and lie?”

Tickets for Catawba’s theatre performances may be purchased as subscriptions or as single show tickets by visiting catawba.edu/theatretix.

One may also email the box office at boxoffice@catawba.edu or call 704-637-4481 on Wednesday or Friday between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

FlexTix subscriptions are available for five and 10 ticket packages (FlexTix 5 for $50 – FlexTix 10 for $100). Myrtle’s Club memberships begin at $200 and offer priority seating, exchanges, missed performance exchange and more. Single tickets ($10-$20) are on sale.

Recent college graduates may join Myrtle’s Club starting at $100. Current full-time teachers, active and retired military personnel and first responders receive 20% off all ticket prices and Catawba participates in the Blue Star Theatres program. Deeply discounted and free tickets are available for full-time college and high school students and groups.