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MU Theatre Dept. opens season with 'The Crucible'

Oct. 09, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Most people who have taken high school English have at least a passing familiarity with Arthur Miller's classic play, "The Crucible."

But if you think having read Miller's dramatization of the Salem witch trials of the 17th century is equal to seeing it brought to life onstage, Jack Cirillo of Marshall University's College of Fine Arts has news for you.

"Plays were written to be heard; they weren't written to be read," said Cirillo, an associate professor in performance studies and the play's director. "There's great excitement and color to be had by sitting with 500 other people and experiencing the story all at the same time, played by actors who are giving their level best to create a very real, believable world for the audience to explore."

The weeks leading up to Halloween seem like the perfect time for a play about the Salem witch trials, but Cirillo says that wasn't the only reason he selected "The Crucible," which stars American Idol finalist Chase Likens as John Proctor, for the first show of the season.

"We chose 'The Crucible' because it is considered an American classic," Cirillo said, noting that Salem witchcraft is bound to "raise a few eyebrows." The play has the added benefit of offering an educational opportunity for the actors. "The language itself is challenging in that they're not speaking contemporary American English."

"The Crucible," which won a Tony Award for Best Play in 1953, is just one of the classics on offer from Marshall University's College of Fine Arts this year. November will see a performance of the family-friendly "Arabian Nights," followed by the Tony Award-winning plays "Doubt" in February and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in April. Cirillo also cites exiting senior Josh Meredith's January performance of his capstone cabaret project, "Josh M!" and October 19's "aMUsed Dance Concert" as events from his department to look forward to.

Performances of "The Crucible" will take place at 8 p.m. Oct. 10-13, at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The lobby will open at 7 p.m. for coffee and conversation prior to the show.

Oct. 10-13, 8 p.m., "The Crucible"

Oct. 19-20, 7 p.m., aMUsed Dance Concert

Nov. 7-10, 15-17, 8 p.m., "The Arabian Nights"

Jan. 17-18, 7 p.m., Josh M!

Feb. 20-23, Feb. 28-March 2, 8 p.m., "Doubt"

April 24-27, 8 p.m., April 28, 2 p.m., "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

Tickets: $20 general admission, $15 faculty/senior, $5 children 12 and under, $12 for aMUsed Dance Concert and Josh M!, free to full-time Marshall students with valid ID.

Box Office: 304-696-ARTS (2787)