Shorter University’s School of Fine and Performing Arts will present the groundbreaking musical Show Boat Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27, at the Rome City Auditorium. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. nightly.
General admission tickets are $15, and tickets for senior citizens and students are $10 each. Tickets may be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 706-233-7288.
Show Boat is a 1927 musical in two acts with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on Edna Ferber’s novel of the same name, the musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat. The action spans 40 years, from 1887 to 1927 with themes including racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love.
The musical contributed such classic songs as “Ol’ Man River,” “Make Believe,” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.”
“This is one of my favorite shows of all times,” said Shorter University Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Sue Gaukel, who is directing the production. “It was a groundbreaking musical in 1927, and its beautiful and heartbreaking love story, along with the haunting melodies of Jerome Kern, have combined to make it a favorite for audiences ever since. It is truly one of the masterpieces of musical theatre – a uniquely American art form.
“Researching and preparing to direct this show has taken me on a journey I did not necessarily expect. I found myself having to confront my own preconceptions about race and class and the effect they have had on my life and in our society today. The struggles depicted in this show are not gone from our culture, and Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II – two Jewish artists who faced prejudice in their day – have given us a true artistic gem to reflect and hopefully illuminate the minds and hearts of those who are fortunate enough to experience it.”
Cast members include Avery Harris, of Rome, Ga., as Joe; Victoria Henson, of Douglasville, Ga., as Queenie; Jordan Heath of Charlottesville, N.C., as Steve Baker; Cameron Stewart, of Chatsworth, Ga., as Pete/Jim Greene; Emily Hill, of Dallas, Ga., as Parthy Ann Hawkes; Nick Fleming of Chattanooga, Tenn., as Cap’n Andy; Savannah Gillam, of Acworth, Ga., as Magnolia Hawks; Meredith Howard, of Acworth, Ga., as Julie LaVerne; Christine Barnes, of Marietta, Ga., as Ellie May Chipley; Jacob Case, of Trenton, Ga., as Frank Schultz; Spencer Wenzel, of St. Paul, Minn., as Gaylord Ravenal; Taylor Camp, of Acworth, Ga., as Kim Ravenal; Quinten Hopkins, of Hiram, Ga., as Windy; Matthew Dean, of Social Circle, Ga., as Sheriff Vallon; Jessica Pickard, of Chickamauga, Ga., as Mrs. O’Brian; Tanya Anderson, of Smyrna, Ga., as Ethel; Abbey Pool of Griffin, Ga., as Mother Superior; Kyle Coleman, of Gadsden, Ala., as Jake; Chelsie Burks, of Waynesboro, Va., as Lottie; Abigail Mansfield of Gastonia, N.C., as Dottie; and Mary Saintfort, of Smyrna, Ga., as Old Lady on the Levee.
The ensemble includes Isaiah Alexander, of Kennesaw, Ga.; Michaela Bell, of Newnan, Ga.; Jessie Bohler, of Griffin, Ga.; Sydney Hillman, of Augusta, Ga.; and Jasmine Henry, of Powder Springs, Ga.
Dr. Deborah Popham, assistant professor of music, coordinator of vocal studies and director of opera theatre at Shorter, is serving as musical director for the production. Shell M. Benjamin, assistant professor of theatre and director of dance at Shorter, is the choreographer.
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Learn more about Shorter at www.shorter.edu.