By Katelyn Massarelli
The spring productions are coming and the cast lists are out. The speech, theatre and dance department is diversifying the performances coming to Falk Theater with productions like Beehive: The ‘60s Musical, Ahhh… MEN! the cabaret and Blood Guilt: Orestes on Trial the play.
Three theatre professors will be taking on the productions as the directors. Assistant professor of theatre Paul Finocchiaro will be directing Ahhh… Men! and choreographing Beehive: The ‘60s Musical alongside director and theatre professor Karla Hartley. Associate professor of speech, theatre and dance Robert Gonzalez will be directing Blood Guilt: Orestes on Trial.
“All of the shows are unique and different in every way, shape and form,” Finocchiaro said. “We want to expose the audience to as much diversity in production we possibly can.”
Beehive: The ‘60s Musical is an all women cast of six actresses that will be using their own names in the production. Though using their names, they will be embodying the singers of the ‘60s and using the stage to explain the importance behind the music.
“Beehive is a musical revue, with narration that gives these songs context and tells the audience what was happening when they were written,” senior musical theater major Marissa Volpe said. “We’ll be singing all the songs that were adored in the ‘60s and remembered now, with our own little spin.”
Volpe is one of the six actresses performing in Beehive: The ‘60s Musical alongside fellow cast mates. Beehive: The ‘60s musical is a much different performance with less cast members, according to Volpe.
Contrasting to the all-women cast, Finocchiaro has created a cabaret to bring to the UT audience that will feature 10 male actors. A cabaret is a series of songs that all have a connective thread to each other, according to Finocchiaro.
His intentions in creating the cabaret were to utilize the male students of the department, and Finocchiaro feels the 10 actors featured are the strongest for the performance.
“My decisions were tough because there is so much talent in this department,” Finocchiaro said. “I probably could have cast all the men who auditioned, but I wanted to look at the vocal balance and stick to an and manageable number of cast members.”
Featured in the all-male cabaret and Blood Guilt: Orestes on Trial is senior musical theatre major Gershom Vacarizas. The cabaret doesn’t follow a storyline, but it draws from popular and classical musical theater songs, according to Vacarizas. The group of men set to take on this cabaret will have to rely on one another and perform as a unit.
“No one is a lead character,” Vacarizas said. “Everyone gets a spotlight moment. A lot of the performance will be influenced by theatrical elements, so we can ensure that we will be actively engaging and on our feet.”
Vacarizas may be a veteran to Falk Theater after performances in past productions like Dogfight last spring semester, he will be taking on his first performance in a play with Blood Guilt: Orestes on Trial. He was double-casted to play Calchas, the prophet of Apollo and Greek God of the Sun, and one of the Argo Elders, storytellers who interact with the principle characters.
Blood Guilt: Orestes on Trial incorporates Greek Mythology with mythological figures for each character entangled in their own deep history, according to Vacarizas.
Director for the play Gonzalez is no newbie to the classical roots of theater. He has directed The Seagull which was performed last spring semester.
“It will be my first time working with Dr. Gonzalez, and so far, I have found every rehearsal to be insightful and fascinating,” Vacarizas said. “I always strive to understand how his mind works during each rehearsal, as he takes an analytical cooker approach; paying close attention to detail and emphasizing the importance of acting with an organic conviction.”
With these unique performances coming soon, actors, actresses and directors are preparing to bring these performances to life for UT students and other audience members.
“The department has a lot to bring to the table this semester and a lot of talent that needs to be seen,” Vacarizas said. “I can’t be more thankful to work with new people, learn from talented performers that I admire, and above else, have the time of my life every single day.”