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Fine Arts season ramping up for spring semester

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Photo by: Tony Sutherland | Staff Photographer
Performing Art Center, Nov. 19.

The Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance has organized an assortment of pieces and performances for the spring semester.

Students and members of the community should be on the lookout for a variety of plays, music series and dance showcases next semester.

Theatre Department

The Department of Theatre and Dance will open the spring semester with William Finn’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre.

Neil Patrick Stewart, director of the musical, said the audience should look forward to a unique take on the well-known show.

“My directing philosophy is to just try your best to be original to not make decisions based off of tradition,” Stewart said. “It’s important to honor the show and do it justice, but I think it’s important to do that in your own way.” 

Stewart said the design team would be moving away from the show’s traditional costumes.

“You could say that they’re pretty awkward and the first assumption a designer may make is that they have to classically look dorky,” Stewart said. “But I thought, ‘What if we put them in clothes you would see on a runaway?’”

Stewart said he is confident the non-traditional design behind the show will still get the same message across to viewers.

Following the musical, audience members can also look forward to A Flea in Her Ear, which takes place April 5-10.

Michael Costello, director of the play, said it is a prime example of a farce, and should be a comedic relief for audience members.

“It is probably one of the funniest plays ever written,” Costello said. “And like most farces, it is built on a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication that throws the whole world into absolute turmoil.”

The farce will be accessible for most audience members, Costello said.

“It’ll be great for everyone,” Costello said. “The world is turned upside down and everyone becomes involved and it goes from simplicity to absolute chaos and it’s just so hilarious.”

Music Department

 Music lovers can look forward to the return of the guest and faculty artist series from the School of Music during the spring semester.

According to the events calendar, guest artists to look forward to include the U.S. Army Brass Quintet Concert, Lynn Ledbetter and Christopher Davis.

Returning faculty artist will include Soon Cho, Ames Asbell, Joey Martin and Ian Davidson.

Music professors Ames Asbell and Karla Hamelin will be the first to open the faculty artist series with a viola and cello duet.

Asbell said she is eager to be returning to the faculty artist series.

She said her recital will be highlighting music she has not previously performed on stage.

“We volunteer to be a part of the series,” Asbell said. “It’s going to be really fun, especially since we have picked up pieces all from the same era and not always commonly played.”

Asbell said the music chosen for this specific recital will feature pieces with a whimsical feel to them.

“We don’t have an exact theme this year,” Asbell said. “But they are very lively and fun, so it should be pretty great.”

Asbell said those planning to attend any of the music events this semester should come prepared to relax and enjoy new music.

“The best thing to tell people is that it’s a nice break,” Asbell said. “Plan to just come and listen leave your studies and electronics behind and just have a little nice oasis in the middle of the week.”

Dance Department

The Texas State Dance Division will be putting on three major dance events over the course of the semester.

LeAnne Smith, dance director, said Orchesis will kick off the season Feb. 11-12 in Evans Auditorium, followed by Merge Dance Company March 3-5 in the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre.

To close out the season, BFA choreography students will be performing pieces they have fine-tuned over the course of the semester Apr. 28-29 in Evans Auditorium.

Smith said each performance will have its own unique style.

“It will really depend on what people want to see,” Smith said. “Because each performance has its own flavors and take.”

Smith said Orchesis will include guest artists, while Merge and the BFA choreography concert will be more student-based.

“We will be featuring various talented guest artists in Orchesis,” Smith said. “Then our dance students will have the chance to shine in Merge and in our BFA performance.”

Jhaqie Diggins, health and fitness management freshman, said she is looking forward to seeing the way Orchesis is coordinated.

“I’ve been told it’s going to be really cool when it comes to the lighting and design,” Diggins said. “I will definitely be in attendance.”

Smith said she is excited to see the difference and variety each show will be bringing to the table.

“I can’t wait to see all of them and for different reasons,” Smith said “I think they’re all going to be excellent. I think they’re all going to have their own distinct voice and visual aspect.”