‘SUDS’ musical brings good, “clean” fun
June 20, 2011 —
For many, summer is used to re-energize for the ensuing fall semester. For theater professor Ric Roberts and his musical comedy cast, summer is just another opportunity to perfect their craft.
Roberts and the theater department haven’t taken time off for summer in seven years. He said SVSU is the only local theater that is not in the “dark” in the spring and summer months.
This summer’s play is called, “SUDS: The Rocking 60s Musical Opera.”
Opening night is Tuesday, July 26, in the Black Box Theatre. SUDS runs from July 26-31. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. except for Sunday, July 31, which starts at 3 p.m.
The play is about a young teenage girl and two guardian angels who come to help her find true love.
It stars Amanda Mueller in her last major production at SVSU, as well as Emily Simmermacher, Katrina Robinson and Cameron Thorp.
Roberts explained some of the rationale for having a mostly female cast.
“The theater department is female heavy right now,” he said. “So working with a 75 percent female cast worked for our students.”
The cast has already had two read-throughs and is doing voice rehearsals with musical director and SVSU alumnus Jeremiah Kraniak.
The show is in SVSU’s Black Box Theater, which has arena style seating and only about 100 seats, but offers audience members a much closer view of the stage compared with a traditional theater.
Many summer musicals selected by Roberts have older music, which may explain why many of the audience members are older adults and senior citizens.
The play features 55 songs from the 1960s, and Roberts is confident that this “sweet, gentle, [and] humorous” show will be entertaining for the audience.
“I always try to find new musicals to produce in the summer,” Roberts said. “We have a limited audience available, so giving them something they haven’t seen before increases attendance.”
The play is not the only thing the theater department is putting on this summer. Next week starts the 15th annual fine arts day camp.
At the camp, attendees, who range from third to nineth grade, will be schooled in theater skill sets, such as improv and musical theater.
Also, Roberts and Dr. Erickson are each directing a one-act play in early July, and both plays are Christopher Durang parodies of Tennessee Williams’ classic plays.
Roberts’ fall load won’t let up either. Aside from the department looking for an assistant theater professor, and being “in the middle” of what Roberts says is “[the department’s] largest growth period in its history,” he is directing two plays.
In October, he is directing the children’s play, “Wiley and the Hairy Man,” by Suzan Zeder.
In December, he and professor Dave Rzeszutek are co-directing their second annual Christmas show, “A 1940’s Radio Play: It’s A Wonderful Life.”