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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT:   Polly Burks
561-297-2595, pburks@fau.edu

FAU Offers the Best in Summer Theatre

            BOCA RATON (April 28, 2008) – The department of theatre in the School of the Arts in Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters once again presents the best in summer theatre with its 2008 Festival Repertory Theatre.   Included in this year’s lineup are the musicals “Carousel,”  and “Evita,” and the play “A Thurber Carnival.” In 1999, Time Magazine named “Carousel” as the “best musical of the century,” with “Evita” as a close runner-up.  

            The series, which opens Friday, June 20 and closes Sunday, July 27, will take place in the University and Studio One theatres on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road.   A full schedule of plays can be found at www.fauevents.com or by calling 800-564-9539. Ticket prices are $20 for one show, $30 for a package of both “Evita” and “Carousel,” and $39.99 for all three shows.    Groups of 10 or more can purchase a ticket for a single show for $15, and FAU students, faculty, staff and alumni can purchase tickets for $15.   Tickets for children 12 and under are $10.  

            “Carousel,” which runs from June 20 to July 5, is a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical set in a small Maine village in the late 1800s.   When demure mill girl Julie Jordan falls in love with handsome and high-spirited carnival barker Billy Bigelow, the young couple stake their future on their feelings, and they both lose their jobs over their plans.   As poverty looms, their relationship becomes strained.   The play is built around Billy’s desperate bid to reverse their fortunes and the consequences of his reckless acts for his soul and his family’s happiness.   Woven throughout the beautiful and heartbreaking story are some of the most unforgettable songs in American musical theater:   “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” ”You'll Never Walk Alone,” and “If I Loved You.”    The 1945 play explores issues of social class and domestic violence as it celebrated the possibilities of forgiveness and redemption in human life.   “Carousel” is directed by Richard Gamble.

            “Evita,” which runs from July 11 to July 27, is a riveting musical about the life of Eva Duarte Perón with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.   Through the life and death of Eva   Peron, the play explores the role of charisma in politics, the rise of dictatorship within an ostensibly democratic society, the power of class antagonisms, and the ambivalent relationship of the masses to their heroes and heroines.  

            The plot of the play is simple, tracing the rise to political power of a bad actress from a poor family who becomes an icon of   Argentina’s poor and working classes and the wife of their president, Juan Peron.   A cynical narrator (“Che”) drifts in and out of scenes in bars, bedrooms, ballrooms and political rallies.   Is Evita a manipulative golddigger?   A visionary?   A saint?    Adored by the masses and despised by the Argentinean elite, she sees herself as the servant of the poor,  despite her designer fashions and personal fortune.   By the premature end of her life at 33, she has passed into myth and been anointed as “the spiritual leader” of her country.   The play, which features some of the best music written for the contemporary stage, swept the Tony awards during its Broadway run.   Its signature song, “Don't Cry for Me, Argentina,” crossed over from the musical theater and into the pop music charts.   FAU's Rebecca Simon, cast to play Eva Peron, says, “I have dreamed of this role since I was 16 and saw the play on Broadway.”   “Evita” is directed by Jean-Louis Baldet.

            Tony-award winning “A Thurber Carnival,” which runs June 28 to July 26, is a revue of humorous stories and cartoons by James Thurber that appeared in the New Yorker magazine.   Thurber, who is widely regarded as one of the finest humorists of the 20th century, was a regular contributor to the New Yorker in the 1930s and 1940s.   The play is a nostalgic look at his upbringing in Ohio along with observations on his life.   Thurber’s best-known short story is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the tale of a henpecked husband who escapes the everyday by daydreaming. Pamela Roza is the director for the play.

            FAU’s summer repertory theatre is performed by equity actors, along with graduate students in the FAU department of theatre. This year’s equity actors are Rebecca Simon, Trent Blanton and Bruce Linser.   Simon is currently completing her MFA in acting at FAU.   She was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Award by the “New Times Best of 2007 in The Arts” for her role in “Bright Room Called Day” at FAU.   Before coming to FAU, Simon toured in the Broadway national tours of “Fiddler on the Roof,” starring Theodore Bikel, and “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” starring Michael Bolton.   Simon is playing the roles of Julie Jordan and Evita.   Trent Blanton, who is married to Rebecca Simon, is also completing his MFA in acting at FAU, where he is a recipient of the Joshua Logan Scholarship. He has appeared in the U.S. national tour of “Les Miserables” and also appeared in the Chinese premiere of “Les Miserables” in Shanghai in 2002, as well as in many off-Broadway shows.  He is playing the roles of Billy Bigelow and Juan Peron.   Linser has performed locally at the Caldwell Theatre, GableStage, the Maltz Theatre and the New Theatre.   He has also worked off-Broadway and has been in many national tours.  

            Festival Rep 2008 is presented by Bank of America, Madelyn Savarick, Jim and Marta Batmasian, the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Hotels, McCormick and Schmick’s Restaurant, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council.   For more information, call 561-297-2977.

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