July 9, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

PSST! Season Ends Sunday

VALDOSTA — Peach State Summer Theatre fans have just a few more opportunities to catch one, two, or all three of this year’s must-see shows.

The countdown to the end of the summer musical theatre season begins at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, with “The Sound of Music.” Additional performances for this show are set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 14.

A fictionalized adaptation of Maria Augusta von Trapp’s best-selling 1949 memoir, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” “The Sound of Music” tells the story of Maria Rainer, a young postulant, not considered nun material by her superiors, who is sent to act as governess to the children in the household of the strict Captain Georg von Trapp. The story is set in late 1930s Austria and includes a number of widely recognizable songs, such as “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi.” 

Directed by Jacque Wheeler, a theatre and dance professor in the Department of Communication Arts at Valdosta State University and PSST! artistic director, “The Sound of Music” features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The show opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Nov. 16, 1959, moved to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Nov. 6, 1962, and closed on June 15, 1963, after 1,400-plus performances; it starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel and won several Tony Awards. Two years later, it was adapted as a 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

“The Sound of Music” was the final musical written by the dynamic duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Hammerstein died of cancer a few months following the show’s Broadway premier.

“As of right now, all three performances of ‘The Sound of Music’ are sold out,” said H. Duke Guthrie, PSST! managing director, Tuesday afternoon. “We typically have ‘no shows’ or last minute cancellations if folks want to come and wait. We are also doing a waiting list for ‘The Sound of Music.”

Final performances for “The Marvelous Wonderettes” are set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 13.

Written and created by Roger Bean in 1999 at the request of officials at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” is a musical comedy that uses pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s — “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “Stupid Cupid,” “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” “It’s My Party,” and so on — to tell its story. The show takes place at Springfield High School, the first part in a decorated gymnasium at a Class of 1958 prom and the second part at the class’s 10-year reunion.

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” has been described as “a must-take musical trip down memory lane.”

“This show will have you laughing, singing, and dancing in the aisles,” said Barbara Hartwig, show director and choreographer who can also be seen playing the role of Elsa in “The Sound of Music” and Desiree in “A Little Night Music.” She teaches dance at Coastal Carolina University. Peach State Summer Theatre fans may remember her from such past shows as “Gypsy,” “Chicago,” and “Hairspray.”

Guthrie said available seating is very limited for the remaining performances of “The Marvelous Wonderettes.”  

The last two performances of “A Little Night Music” are set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 13.

Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman and featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, “A Little Night Music” explores the tangled web of affairs centered around actress Desirée Armfeldt and the men who love her — a lawyer by the name of Fredrik Egerman and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm. When the traveling actress performs in Fredrik’s town, the estranged lovers’ passion rekindles. This strikes a flurry of jealousy and suspicion between Desirée; Fredrik; Fredrik’s wife, Anne; Desirée’s current lover, the count; and the count’s current wife, Charlotte. Both men, as well as their jealous wives, agree to join Desirée and her family for a weekend in the country at Deisrée’s mother’s estate. With everyone in one place, infinite possibilities of new romances and second chances bring endless surprises.

“A Little Night Music” features one of Sondheim’s most beautiful scores, including the popular song, “Send in the Clowns.” It opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on Feb. 25, 1973, moved to the Majestic Theatre on Sept. 17, 1973, and closed on Aug. 3, 1974, after 601 performances. The original Broadway production won several Drama Desk, Theatre World, and Tony awards, as well as a Grammy Award.

Director Randy Wheeler described the musical as “a swirling romantic mélange of misguided passions, mischievous machinations, and witty glances at the foibles of those who dare to fall in love under a midsummer moon ….” Peach State Summer Theatre fans will likely recall that the retired VSU theatre professor also directed such past shows as “Gypsy,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Producers,” “Hairspray,” and last season’s “The Light in the Piazza.”

Peach State Summer Theatre, or PSST!, is Valdosta’s premiere professional summer stock theatre. Each summer, dozens of singers, dancers, technicians, managers, and creators gather on the campus of Valdosta State University for nine weeks. During that time, they rehearse, build, and present three musicals in rotating repertory.

The 2013 Peach State Summer Theatre season marks the 24th year of VSU producing professional theatre for the city of Valdosta, the state of Georgia, and beyond. From 1990 to 2004, VSU produced the Jekyll Island Musical Theatre Festival. In 2005, the summer theatre program was relocated to the university and renamed PSST! Then, in 2006, it was designated the Official Musical Theatre of the State of Georgia by the Georgia Legislature.

The musical theatre season kicked off on June 1 with the opening of “The Sound of Music,” which was followed by the opening of “The Marvelous Wonderettes” on June 14 and “A Little Night Music” on June 21. All three shows will be presented in rotating repertory through the weekend of July 13-14 on the Sawyer Theatre stage in VSU’s Fine Arts Building, which is located on the corner of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street.

Individual show tickets are $25 plus tax for adults and $20 plus tax for all children, students, and senior citizens. The Peach State Summer Theatre box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. It is located on the first floor of the VSU Fine Arts Building and can be reached by calling (229) 259-7770.

Visit www.valdosta.edu/psst or read “Peach State Summer Theatre Box Office Is Open For Business” at http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2013/05/peach-state-summer-theatre-box-office-is-open-for-business---.php or read “PSST! Season Kicks Off Saturday with ‘The Sound Of Music’” at https://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2013/05/psst-season-kicks-off-saturday-with-the-sound-of-music.php or read “PSST! Offers Pay What You Can Days” at http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2013/06/psst-offers-pay-what-you-can-days.php or “PSST! Opens ‘The Marvelous Wonderettes’ On Friday at http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2013/06/psst-opens-the-marvelous-wonderettes-on-friday.php or read “PSST! Opens ‘A Little Night Music’ on Friday” at http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2013/06/psst-opens-a-little-night-music-on-friday.php to learn more.