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My Backstage Perspective Working on Villanova Theatre’s The Spanish Tragedy

Left to Right: Balthazar (Justin Badoyen), Bel-imperia (Emma Drennan), Lorenzo (Monroe Byer), and Hieronimo (James Keegan)                       Photo by Paola Nogueras

 

 

This semester, I had the chance to assist Villanova’s Theatre Department in its production of The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd. Written between 1582 and 1592, this Elizabethan tragedy marked the beginning of a new genre in English theatre: the revenge play. After failing to attain legal justice for his murdered son, courtier Hieronimo takes matters into his own hands. Teaming up with the canny and resolute Bel-Imperia, the two set out to seek blood for blood. With its intricate plotting and bold theatricality, Thomas Kyd’s tragedy still speaks to us today with its unflinching look at judicial inequity, legacies of violence, and the seductive nature of vengeance.

We finished our first week of performances, but the show will still be running until April 21. Buy your tickets here while seats are still available!

Photo courtesy of Villanova Theatre

I also invite you to attend The Spanish Tragedy Symposium which will take place April 19-20. The Symposium will include a facilitated discussion about the play and larger pedagogical project, an introduction to the grant-funded web archive, a performance of student-authored Spanish Tragedy spinoffs, and a splendid reception. This event is FREE for all Villanova students, faculty, and staff. Register at this link.

If you want to know what people thought of the play, check out GA Annie’s review here.

Although this play is frequently studied by academic scholars, it is rarely staged because of its considerable theatrical demands, including onstage hangings, multiple plays within plays, and dialogue in several non-English languages. Therefore, a great deal of discussion and effort had to be put into accomplishing this huge undertaking. The production of The Spanish Tragedy was an intense project that required a lot of work and time, but, to me, seeing the play come together was well worth it.

So how did I get involved in this bloody play? My story actually begins at the beginning of the school year, during the Fall 2023 semester. The directors of Villanova’s The Spanish Tragedy offered an interdisciplinary Theatre/English course called “Legacies of Revenge” focused on developing an understanding of the dynamics of vengeance in western culture. In this class, we studied The Spanish Tragedy in its entirety along with other plays and narratives, philosophical texts, and media from films and TV shows exploring the theme of revenge. The professors also gave us the opportunity to participate in some pre-production work: we created production designs for sets and costumes and edited the play’s manuscript for performance. This was an incredibly insightful and fascinating class, and I gained an in-depth understanding of The Spanish Tragedy long before it graced the stage.

Drs. Chelsea Phillips and Alice Dailey, the professors of “Legacies of Revenge” and the directors of The Spanish Tragedy, encouraged everyone in the class to participate in the spring production for course credit. Having greatly enjoyed the class and interested in the chance to help move the play into a physical theater, I enrolled in “Staging the Spanish Tragedy” for the Spring 2024 semester. Out of the small group of students registered for this “course,” I was the only one who did not audition to be a cast member, so Phillips and Dailey invited me to join the Stage Management Team as an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM).

Being an ASM was a huge time commitment. Not only did I have to attend nearly every rehearsal, but I had to arrive half an hour early to set up the room (and later the stage) and stay late to clean up and help fill out paperwork. This drastic change to my normal daily routine was difficult to adjust to, and I had to re-evaluate how I managed my time in order to remain on top of my schoolwork and other responsibilities.

Revenge (Annabella Nordlund)
Photo by Paola Nogueras

However, despite the challenges this role posed, I loved it all the same because it allowed me to witness the development of this play. The directors had a clear vision for The Spanish Tragedy, and the cast and production members worked hard to bring about that vision. Despite how big of a project this production was, everyone involved was super passionate and enthusiastic. They all wanted to be there and see this thing to its completion, and that motivation and dedication rubbed off on me.

My experience with The Spanish Tragedy was an amazing opportunity. Being a part of stage crew in a theatre production was new to me, but I learned so much. I had no idea so much work went on behind the scenes, and I definitely gained a better appreciation for the individuals who help make these shows a reality.

I’ve had so much fun backstage working with the other ASMs, and I am excited for this upcoming week of shows. It’s sad to know that the end of the production is near, especially since this play has been a part of my life all year. I’m grateful for this opportunity all that same and so happy that I was able to participate in the production of such an awesome play.

 

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Villanova Theatre Closes its Season with The Spanish Tragedy

Pictured: Emma Drennen as Bel-Imperia pursued by Revenge. Photos by Kimberly Reilly

Revenge. It’s a theme with a long and storied history that continues to dig its gripping hooks into contemporary media. Although the revenge stories of today have certainly been updated to fit the times, they are as old as time–or, at least, as old as 1582 (approximately) when The Spanish Tragedy was written by Thomas Kyd.

Photo courtesy of Villanova Theatre

On Friday, April 12, I had the pleasure of seeing Villanova Theatre‘s final production of its 2023-2024 season, The Spanish Tragedy, which I’d highly recommend seeing for the production’s closing weekend, from April 18-21.

Before classic revenge tales like Shakespeare’s Hamlet and modern revenge flicks like John Wick and Promising Young Woman, there was The Spanish Tragedy. The Spanish Tragedy follows courtier Hieronimo as he is stricken with grief and anger after the unjust murder of his son. Alongside the determined Bel-Imperia, the pair go down an intricate and unyielding path of bloody vengeance–and I definitely mean bloody.

My thoughts after seeing the play: The Spanish Tragedy is an enrapturing tale of revenge, madness, love, and grief. Through the compelling narrative, superb art direction, and outstanding performances, it invokes feelings of righteous indignation and morally grey satisfaction, as you root for Hieronimo and Bel-Imperia’s vengeance.

The Spanish Tragedy is truly a must-watch. Despite its bloody and tragic subject matter, it still manages to sneak in comedy and not feel overly heavy. In what I can describe only as being an Elizabethan era reality show, the 2-and-a-half hour runtime seemed to fly by–no watch-checking, no passing thoughts. It’s a truly spectacular–and I mean, it certainly succeeds in creating a spectacle that’s hard to peel your eyes away from–way for Villanova Theatre to finish the season.


Want to hear from the Dramaturg? Browse the production’s Dramaturgy website for a glimpse into the history of The Spanish Tragedy and its playwright, the show’s themes, content information, and more.

To find prompts to encourage further discussion or contemplation after the show, check out the education guide.

If you’re interested in exploring the The Spanish Tragedy academically with other scholars and theatre enthusiasts, consider attending the The Spanish Tragedy Symposium 2024 on April 19-20. More information, including a schedule of events and registration information, can be found here.

If you want some behind the scenes insights from someone involved in the production, read GA Rebecca’s blog.

Tickets for The Spanish Tragedy are available for purchase here.


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.


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Villanova Theatre Presents: Posterity

By Annie Stockmal and Rebecca Amrick

Photo courtesy of Villanova Theatre

Falvey Graduate Assistants Rebecca Amrick and Annie Stockmal had the pleasure of seeing Villanova Theatre’s latest production Posterity, and we left with high praises!

Written by playwright Wendy MacLeod, Posterity follows the stories of three families in (literal) snapshots through time as they live, love, and experience loss. It demonstrates that although the props around us, like our technologies and clothing, might change throughout time, the universal experience of living and losing and “the universal longing to freeze time and cling to those we hold dear” is a tale as old as perhaps time itself (and certainly since the inception of photography).

Here are Annie’s and Rebecca’s unique takes on the play:


Annie: In the post-performance talk-back that I attended on Sunday, Nov. 12, playwright Wendy MacLeod said that the bad elevator pitch for Posterity was, “it’s about photography and death.” While that’s certainly not an inaccurate synopsis of the play, it does not do it justice.

Posterity tackles a lot of difficult, yet all too common and relatable, topics in its 75-minute runtime, including death, suicide, mental health treatment and facilities, the ethics of photography, and love, and it does so with care, poignancy, and even, sometimes, humor. It evokes the sentimentality and nostalgia of looking back at the past while capturing the way our moments often fly by us in the present.

MacLeod mentioned in the talk-back that writing this play was a balancing act of toeing the line between mentally exhausting the audience and moving them. While it is certainly a somber, at times difficult, viewing experience, I believe MacLeod, Director Edward Sobel, and all six of the performers succeeded in moving and not exhausting.


Rebecca: Posterity is an incredibly moving and thought-provoking play that addresses serious themes in a respectful yet light-hearted manner. Inspired by the use of photography to memorialize incidents and people, the play takes commemoration to another level by allowing the audience to see snapshots of people’s lives. The role of commemoration in Posterity depicts how pictures sustain and shape memory.

The play is performed by six actors, so most of them play multiple characters. This dual-role helps establish connections between the three families and provides the audience with a visual representation of how the act of living is the same throughout the course of human history. Life, love, and loss are features inherent to humanity, and these powerful experiences pertain to every human being, no matter the time or place.


To learn more about Posterity and its cast and crew and to hear from the Production Dramaturg, check out this virtual playbill.

To find prompts for discussion or contemplation and content guides and warnings for the production, check out the education guide.

If you want to hear directly from the playwright herself, read our interview with Wendy MacLeod on the blog.

Tickets for Posterity are available for purchase here. Get yours now!


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

 

 

 

 

Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Villanova Theatre’s 2023 Season Debut: Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea

Photo courtesy of Villanova Theatre

By Annie Stockmal and Rebecca Amrick

On Sept. 24, Graduate Assistants Rebecca Amrick and Annie Stockmal attended a performance of Villanova Theatre’s 2023-2024 season debut, Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea, and we invite you to do the same!

Born largely out of oral storytelling tradition, fairy tales have been reimagined and retold to fit the tastes of audiences of the time. The stories written, or written down by, author Hans Christian Andersen are no exception. His tale “The Little Mermaid,” originally published in the Dutch Eventyr, Fortalte for Børn. Første Samling. or Fairy Tales Told for Children. First Collection., has inspired countless retellings, including a ballet, two Disney movies, and numerous theatrical productions.

Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea, written by Julia Izumi, is one such reimagining of Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” with a few new twists.

Here are Annie and Rebecca’s unique takes on the play:


Annie: Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea is both about reimaginings and a reimagining itself. It explores the how works can get changed and distorted from the original, but that’s not exactly a bad thing.

Rather than separating the art from the artist, Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea demonstrates how the artist is interwoven with their art. The connection between the artist and their art is, at times, thinly veiled and nearly inseparable. When their art is retold by another, another thread is woven in. In other words, Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea can be read as an ode to reimaginings. An old story gets a new ending, or perhaps circles back to the original, and that’s ultimately a beautiful thing. Artists inspire artists. It has a little bit of Hans Christian Andersen, a little bit of playwright Julia Izumi, and a little bit of the breadcrumbs left by others who have retold this classic tale.

Despite wearing masks for the performance, the actors (and, of course, Director James Ijames, Dramaturg Dory Scott, and every other artist who had a hand in this production) were truly able to bring life to this play.


Rebecca: Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea is a fun production that combines reimagining with biography. Beginning as a twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” the play soon breaks traditional storytelling format with multiple fourth-wall breaks and characters acting independently of their creator. Within the chaos of this spiraling story are snippets of Andersen’s own life and struggles. These brief scenes serve to showcase how the writer’s own life influenced his work, a theme made even more clear by direct comparisons between Andersen and “The Little Mermaid.” Overall, a humorous and thoughtful production that honors a past writer and generates excitement for the future of stories and retellings.


To learn more about Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea and its cast and crew, check out this virtual playbill.

To explore fairy tales and Hans Christian Andersen with the Dramaturgs, Emma Drennen and Dory Scott, check out the production’s Dramaturgy website.

In the education guide, you can find prompts to spark up reflection and discussion after the show.

If you want to read “The Little Mermaid” and other Hans Christian Andersen tales, check out Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Patricia L. Conroy and Sven H. Rossel, available online through Falvey.

If you want to learn more about the man behind the fairy tales, read Andersen’s autobiography The True Story of my Life, translated by Mary Howitt, available online through Falvey.

Tickets for Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea are available for purchase here. Get yours now!


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

 

 

 

 

Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Villanova Theatre Presents its ’23 Season Closer: Sunday in the Park with George

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe

On Friday, Apr. 14, I made my way to the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts to attend Sunday in the Park with George, the final production in Villanova Theatre’s 2022-2023 season. I entered the show with high hopes and left with high praises.

Certainly a striking way to end the 2023 season, this critically acclaimed musical was created by esteemed musical theater composer, Stephen Sondheim, whose repertoire includes the (in)famous Sweeney Todd, and James Lapine. A powerhouse pair, after Sunday in the Park with George, the duo went on to create Into The Woods, another beloved musical.

Sunday in the Park with George brings French painter Georges Seurat’s paintings, including his famous pointillist painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, to life, with some creative liberties, of course. The musical follows two Georges, one posed to be Georges Seurat himself and the other a modern artist inspired by Seurat, juxtaposed by their counterparts, Dot, Seurat’s mistress and model, and Marie, modern George’s grandmother.

Sunday in the Park with George grapples with legacy and with human connection, with getting swept up in creating something beautiful without stopping to look at the real beauty around us, and Villanova Theatre’s production brought this world of art to life with excellent casting, musical performance, and set design, which transforms the stage into Seurat’s world of dots, light, and color.

The performers in Villanova’s production were lively and engaging with stellar vocal performances. Ryan Skerchak (as George) gave a frustratingly accurate portrayal of a preoccupied artist wrapped up in his own world, and Taylor Molt (as Dot/Marie) gave an endearing and compelling portrayal of falling in love with someone who refuses to be swept away with it (and an absolutely hilarious yet heartwarming portrayal of an old woman). The entirety of the cast truly brought Seurat’s art and Sondheim and Lapine’s vision to life.


For more on Villanova Theatre’s production of Sunday in the Park with George, including the amazing cast and crew, check out the virtual playbill here.

Want to hear from the Dramaturg, Sloan Elle Garner? Check out the production’s Dramaturgy website here for a glimpse into her vision and inspiration, the show’s production and behind-the-scenes content, content information (including a glossary), and more.

If you’re looking for something fun to do on campus this weekend, I would highly recommend seeing Sunday in the Park with George for its closing weekend. If you’re in the mood for a post-show drink (for those of-age) and an interesting discussion with the Sloan Elle Garner, you can attend the Apr. 21 show and stay for the post-show Drinks with the Dramaturg. Tickets are available here.


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Peek at the Week: March 27

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

In Atonement, Ian McEwan wrote, “Nothing that can be, can come between me and the full prospect of my hopes.”

As we make our way further into the second-half of the semester, often a time of high stress and high expectations, it might be hard to keep high hopes and be in bright spirits. Yet, sometimes, our own attitude can become our own downfall.

Over the coming weeks, try to find a way to bring some positive energy into your life. Positive affirmations are one such way to do this. It may not solve all your problems, but the mind is a powerful thing. So, take this affirmation and let nothing come between you and your goals.

THIS WEEK AT FALVEY

Monday, March 27

Mindfulness Monday | 1-1:30 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, and Staff

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Tuesday, March 28

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Wednesday, March 29

“A Womanist Path to Ending White Christian America” Featuring Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart | 12-1:30 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Livestream Available Here| Free & Open to the Public | Light Refreshments Served

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Thursday, March 30

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

2023 Literary Festival Event: Donika Kelly | 7 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Livestream Available Here | Free & Open to the Public | Light Refreshments Served

Friday, March 31

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting | 2:30-4:30 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public

Sunday, April 2

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 3-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

HOLIDAYS THIS WEEK

As you may know, April Fools’ Day is coming up this week, but here are some other upcoming holidays you can celebrate:

For any thespians and theater-appreciators, today, March 27, is World Theatre Day, a day to celebrate the theatrical arts. Although you might have some trouble finding a live theatrical performance on a Monday, there are still boundless ways to celebrate the holiday. Embrace your inner theater kid by listening to your favorite Broadway soundtrack, find a show that’s currently streaming, watch a movie adaptation, or read a play in print. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide for where to watch your favorite plays and play-adaptations.

Thursday, March, 30, is Take a Walk in the Park Day, the perfect opportunity to take some time out of your day to move your body and enjoy the outdoors (assuming the weather isn’t absolutely unenjoyable). Whether you find yourself walking along one of the greens on campus, walking through a local park, or even a hiking spot, take a walk and relieve some stress.

Saturday, Apr. 1, is April Fools’ Day, a prank-filled holiday that might just make you question just how much you trust those around you, in a (mostly) lighthearted way. Not a fan of pranks? Saturday, Apr. 1, is also National Fun Day. So, seize the weekend and do something fun. Even a few minutes of fun can be a surprisingly powerful stress-buster.

Sunday, Apr. 2, is International Fact-Checking Day. Although it might not be the most fun holiday to celebrate, fact-checking (and general media literacy) is extremely important, especially as students living in a highly digital environment, and Falvey is a great resource at your disposal. Check out our online guide of evaluating content online, including some great fact-checking tools. For more, read through Mike Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, available online through Falvey.


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.


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Villanova Theatre’s First Show of the Season: WHITE

“If it’s not entertaining, why the hell are we doing it? Make’m laugh. Make’m cry. Make’m call their senator. But by any means necessary. Make’m do something. Can’t change anybody’s mind if they’re asleep.” – James Ijames, Playwright and Director 

Opening weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Villanova Theatre’s first show of the season, WHITE, in the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The center is an 85,000-square-foot space for performances, featuring three performance spaces. WHITE took place in the Court Theatre, an open format, 200-seat theater that features flexible seating, a balcony, and technologically advanced lighting and sound equipment.  

I had the opportunity to explore the new space before and after the performance. In addition, everyone in attendance Friday night was invited to a reception following the show on the third-floor Belle Masque rooftop terrace. The rooftop terrace allowed guests to flow from outside to inside easily and take in what was a beautiful evening. 

The show itself was captivating and entertaining, while simultaneously challenging, as it forced the audience to re-evaluate their own implicit (or explicit) biases. The small cast kept the audience engaged throughout the 90 minutes, and the whole auditorium rose to their feet in applause following the final scene.  

Learn more about the show below.  

SYNOPSIS (Drawn from the Educational Guide below)

With a premise equal parts playful, prescient, and preposterous, art imitates life (or is it the other way around?) in James Ijames’ comedy WHITE. Gus is an artist. Vanessa is an actress. When a major museum seeks to showcase diverse voices in their next exhibition, Gus enlists Vanessa’s help to create an audacious new artistic persona to get him in the show. This contemporary Frankenstein story gleefully skewers the modern monstrosities of racism, misogyny, and cultural appropriation, all the while “subverting expectations, cracking wise, and opening eyes” (DC Metro). 

WHITE: BASED ON A TRUE STORY 

The plot of White is inspired by a true story that took place in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2014, the museum invited three outside curators—Anthony Elms (Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), Michelle Grabner (Artist and Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago), and Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA)—to each curate one floor of the exhibition from their varied perspectives and methodologies.  

Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at the Whitney, Donna De Salvo, touted the exhibition’s offerings as, “one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.” However, of the 103 invited participants, just nine were black. Of those nine artists, one, Donelle Woolford, a 37-year-old woman from Conyers Georgia, was actually the fabrication of a white man, 52-year-old artist Joe Scanlan. This brought the total of black female artists in the biennial down to one. Read the full story in the education guide found here. 

MORE RESOURCES 

Trailer 

The show is put forth as a contemporary Frankenstein story. Borrow Frankenstein by Mary Shelley from Falvey’s collection. 

Get your tickets to WHITE today! The show will be playing through Oct. 3.  

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR 

James Ijames, MFA, is Associate Professor of Theatre and a playwright, director and educator. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre.

James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theatre, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Prize.


""Jenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


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The Return of Broadway

By Ethan Shea

It goes without saying that just about every industry, from retail to restaurant, has been devastated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. With regard to the arts, some film studios were able to make use of in-home movie releases, while musicians occasionally put on socially-distanced concerts. Although those in the theatre industry have managed to put together stunning virtual performances, the traditionally in-person nature of theatre has made the pandemic especially tough on this branch of fine arts.

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“Slaphappy: A Covid-Era Commedia” Poster

Villanova knows this well, as our theatre program was forced to go virtual for the 2020-2021 season. The success of Slaphappy: A Covid-Era Commedia proved the arts are incredibly resilient, but I have no doubt that everyone is looking forward to the upcoming in-person performances.

I think we all need to hear some good news every once in a while, which is why I want to call your attention to this week’s Broadway performances. After a long 18 months of silence, Broadway’s biggest musicals are finally back! On Sept. 14, The Lion KingWicked, Hamilton, and Chicago all made their pandemic debuts.

It’s worth noting that these are not the first Broadway performances since the pandemic shut down all 41 Broadway theatres on March 12, 2020. The musicals Waitress and Hadestown have been putting on shows for over a week, and there were even showings of Springsteen on Broadway as well as Pass Over earlier this summer. Nonetheless, the return of Broadway’s box office juggernauts is a huge step forward for the theatre industry as it slowly recovers from the financial havoc COVID-19 wreaked.

It is mandatory that all who attend these Broadway performances are fully vaccinated and remain masked throughout the entire show. With these restrictions, the theatres will be operating at full capacity.

Falvey Library provides Villanovans with access to a wide array of resources related to theatre. With the help of our subject guide, I encourage you to check out some of the provided content, including films of contemporary stage performances.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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“Merrily We Roll Along:” a perfect end to the Vasey era

By Daniella Snyder

Note: All events at Villanova are canceled, including the performances of Merrily We Roll Along, the exhibition talk, and Little (Reference) Desk Concert.

Cat in the Stacks header/logoI’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!
Villanova Theatre is proud to present Merrily We Roll Along, the last show of the 2019-2020 season, directed by Valerie Joyce, from March 17-29. This production will also serve as the last production in Vasey Theatre (home to Villanova Theatre for nearly 60 years) before moving to the brand-new Center for Performing Arts on the opposite side of Lancaster Avenue for the 2020-2021 Season.
Sondheim and Furth’s witty and wistful fable about friendship, compromise, and the price of success follows three idealistic artists whose lives pull them in unexpected directions. Featuring beloved songs like “Not a Day Goes By,” “Good Thing Going,” and “Our Time,” this groundbreaking musical starts at the end and ends at the beginning, following the aspirations, trials, and tribulations of this starry-eyed trio.
At the helm of this production is director Valerie Joyce, who also serves as Theatre Department Chairperson. As an alumna of Villanova’s MA in Theatre program, it is fitting that she serves as director of the final show in Vasey Theatre, having also worked as a performer and costume designer on its stage for many years.
Dr. Joyce holds Vasey Theatre dear to her heart, saying, “We thought for a long time about a fitting way to say goodbye to Vasey Theatre. Merrily fits the bill in many ways, as a challenging Sondheim score and a perfect vehicle for the actors in our program. But the story also resonates for those of us who went through the MA program and worked on this stage for over forty years. As we follow the three friends back in time to their starry-eyed youth with big dreams of the future, I am reminded of the people I’ve encountered in Vasey who have taught me, shaped our productions, and brought joy to so many audiences. I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring one more show to Vasey’s stage and for this story’s beautiful tribute to friendship and the art of making art.”
The three friends who dream, connect, and find themselves estranged over the years—Frank, Charley, and Mary—are played by second-year graduate students Jay V. Kimberley, Ethan Mitchell, and Angela Rose Longo, respectively. Additional graduate students rounding out the dynamic cast include Jerald Bennett as Joe, Cristy Chory as Gussie, Alexandra Mitchell as Beth, and Amy Abrigo, David Burgess, Harry Dietrich, Tina Lynch, Lora Margerum, Rachel McFatridge, Sharese Salters, Kirsten Sughrue and Kale Thompson in the heavily featured ensemble. The production will also feature nine-year-old Charlie Carroccio as Franklin Shepard, Jr.
Falvey Memorial Library has a long-standing relationship with Villanova Theatre. This coming Friday, the Library will be hosting cast members of the musical for a brief concert at the Access Services Desk at 12:30 p.m., as they preview some of the exciting numbers from this new production.
Merrily We Roll Along runs at Villanova Theatre in Vasey Hall from March 17-29. Vasey Hall is located on Villanova’s main campus at the intersection of Lancaster and Ithan Avenues. Performances will be held Tuesdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets run $21-$25, with discounts available for seniors, students, MA in Theatre alumni and groups. Tickets may be purchased at the Villanova Theatre Box Office (M-S, 12-5 pm) in person, by phone: 610-519-7474, or online at www.villanovatheatre.org.

Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is a graduate student in the English department and a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library. Snyder is excited to review her final theatre production, Merrily We Roll Along, one of many productions she’s written about during her time at Villanova.


 


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Villanova Now Has Access to the Full Drama Online Collection

Villanova now has access to the full Drama Online collection, and an access link can be found in Databases A-Z.  Once logged in, Drama Online includes full texts of plays from across the history of the theatre, ranging from Aeschylus to the present day. It also includes non-English-language works in translation, scholarly and critical editions, first night program texts, and critical analysis and contextual information. Critical interpretations, theatre history surveys and major reference works on authors, movements, practitioners, periods, and genres are included alongside performance and practitioner texts, acting, and backstage guides.

You can browse by plays, playwrights, genres, periods, context, and criticism, and by theatre craft. Advanced search options also allow you to search by type, playwrights, genre, period, theme, and setting.

Each play in the collection includes the either the full script or sound recording of the play and a production enquiry, which gives helpful information on who to contact to get performance rights for the play.

Many plays also include useful tools, like a Character Grid that can be used to see only the lines of a given character.

In addition to the Core Collection (www.dramaonlinelibrary.com) our subscription includes full access to the following individual collections housed within Drama Online.

All of the collections listed below can be accessed through Drama Online. They have been provided here with links to detailed descriptions of their contents if you wish to further explore:


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Last Modified: May 20, 2019

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