The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 16, 2014

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Stage productions to explore topics worth discussing

PITTSBURG, Kan. — This month, three stage productions in Pittsburg will bring to life issues worthy of focus.

Wednesday through Saturday, the Pittsburg High School theater department will perform “Honk,” a musical comedy adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling.”

I’ve seen the show performed by other casts, and I found it to send a super message about tolerance and uniqueness in a fun and easy-to-digest way.

The plot revolves around Ugly — a cygnet who is mistaken as an ugly duckling upon falling into his mother’s nest. He is shunned for his odd appearance by everyone but his mother, a sly tomcat who befriends him only out of hunger, and several other barnyard characters.

Performances will be in the high school auditorium, 1978 E. Fourth St., at 7 p.m. each day, with a matinee showing at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the PHS office, 620-235-3200.

On Friday at Memorial Auditorium, 503 N. Pine St., audience members will have a chance to consider the challenges, the confusion and the rage associated with triumphing over disabilities in William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker.”

The play is part of a national tour by the Montana Repertory Theatre. The troupe’s dramatization depicts the real-life story of Helen Keller and her tutor, Anne Sullivan, who helped her deaf and blind pupil find her way into the world of knowledge and understanding.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the general public, and $7 for PSU faculty and staff members and for those 17 and younger or 65 and older. PSU students are admitted free. Seating is reserved on the main floor, with general admission in the balcony.

Tickets may be purchased at the PSU Ticket Office in the Weede Physical Education Building, 1701 S. Homer St.; via 620-235-4796; or online at www.pittstate.edu/tickets.

The last week of February, Pittsburg State University’s Theater Department will present “An Enemy of the People,” a topical play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1882.

My two sons were recruited to play the roles of young brothers, joining a cast of impressive university actors and community members. Having listened to numerous rehearsals, I’ve come to realize how relevant Ibsen’s themes of truth and greed still are today.

The story line pits ethics against politics and the desire for profit. The play centers on a tourist town’s local physician, who discovers that contaminated water in springs is making people sick. He’s ignored by a newspaper, the authorities and the townspeople.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 through March 1 in the PSU Studio Theatre at Joplin and Cleveland streets, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on March 2.

Tickets are $11 for the general public, $7 for those 17 to 65, and free for PSU students, faculty and staff members with a PSU photo ID. Tickets are available through the PSU Ticket Office at 620-235-4796 or may be purchased at the PSU Studio Theatre door 30 minutes before curtain time. Reservations are encouraged.

All three productions are sure to be thought-provoking conversation starters for audience members, and they will underscore the fact that the arts are very much alive and well in Pittsburg.

FOLLOW ANDRA BRYAN STEFANONI on Facebook at facebook.com/andrajournalist and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

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