New collaborative production of college theatre departments
The newly-created Owensboro Theatre Alliance will present “Grease”
March 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and March 11 at 2 p.m. at the RiverPark Center. The musical is an irreverent look at the lives of teenagers in the 50s as they struggle to find out who they are and where they belong. Made timeless by the 70s play and movie, “Grease” explores teen angst with a beat that makes the audience want to dance. When it closed on Broadway in 1980, it was the longest-running play in Broadway history.
The Owensboro Theatre Alliance is a collaboration of the theatre departments at Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Owensboro Community and Technical College. Nate Gross, director of theatre at Wesleyan, said, “We will embrace the comedy and music without sacrificing the reality and truth of the characters. This alliance means a lot to me, and this is just the beginning of our collaborative efforts.” Gross is the director of the play and co-producer with Drs. Amanda Dawson from Brescia and Julie Ledford from OCTC. Wesleyan professor Dennis Jewett is the music director.
Media Release – Messenger-Inquirer by Bobbie Hayse Mar 4, 2018
Schools collaborate on new Owensboro Theatre Alliance
OTA to perform ‘Grease’ next weekend at RiverPark
Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College and the Owensboro Community & Technical College have begun a new partnership that will allow each of their theater programs to work together on combined shows, and currently the group is gearing up for their first performance that opens Friday at the RiverPark Center.
The Owensboro Theatre Alliance is a group effort unlike any other the three schools have developed before. Three theater professors from each of the schools contribute to the program, and each school will have actors, actresses, backstage staff and more working together on projects. Each school has smaller programs, and this alliance will allow them to function together as one, larger program.
Lately they have been rehearsing “Grease,” which will run next weekend in the RPC’s Jody Berry Theatre.
Nate Gross, KWC professor of theater, said this new collaboration has exceeded beyond his expectations.
“I’ve loved working with Julie (Ledford) at OCTC and Amanda (Dawson) at Brescia,” he said. “We seem to bring different skills and aptitudes to the table, yet we all speak the same theater language and have the same goal.”
This partnership among the three schools is important because, Gross said, “I truly believe that we are better together than we are separately.”
“I hope this is the start of something that continues to grow and improve for years to come,” he said. “There is definitely an audience for good theater in this town, and we want to give them what they want.”
Dawson, assistant professor of speech and theater at Brescia, said OTA will fill a void in the theater community in Owensboro. There are professional touring productions that come to the RiverPark, community theater performances at Theatre Workshop of Owensboro and area high school plays. However, there isn’t much of a college theater presence outside of occasional small performances at each college or university.
“The community will now have more choices when it comes to their theater-going,” Dawson said. “Specifically, the students will benefit from collaborating with other local students and learning from three different directors.”
Max Dubree, 19, is a freshman at KWC, who portrays Danny in “Grease.” He wanted to be involved in the production because he’s always had an interest in theater, and he has long dreamed of performing in this particular play.
People should come watch the musical, Dubree said, because everyone knows the story behind it, but this is an interesting and new take on it.
He said the performance is special because it’s not only a combination of the three schools, but the play itself and those involved represent a vast range of cultures and ideas. The alliance allows for a melding of ideas the schools in and of themselves would never have been able to experience, and Dubree appreciates that.
Through this production, he has gotten to know some people at the other schools that he likely would never have met.
“Grease” will run 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. March 11. Tickets are selling so well that Gross said the OTA may even add a matinee performance for Saturday.
Tickets for students are $10, $15 for faculty and staff, and $18 for the general public. They can be bought at kwc.edu.