Francis Marion University Theatre – Current Season

The Fine Arts Department’s co-curricular production company, The University Theatre, offers three major productions each year and as many as 12 student directed experimental theatre productions. Each year more than 150 students from across the campus participate in The University Theatre’s productions. The productions act as the laboratory for the theatre majors and minors while serving the entire campus and community. Student actors and technicians learn to sustain high standards of performance through exposure to a large and demanding audience.
(Click here for University Theatre Complete Production History)

Fall Production

Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown

Francis Marion University Theatre
Directed by Glen Gourley
Musical Direction by Dr. Fran Coleman
Conducted by Dr. Terry Roberts
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
7:30 pm, October 21-23, 2021

The show lies between musical and song cycle, but it is neither; it is an abstract musical, a series of songs all connected by a theme: “the moment of decision.” The show has four performers who do not literally play the same characters throughout the show but who do have consistently developing character arcs nonetheless. Composer Brown has said “It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back.

PROGRAM – CAST AND CREW

Reservations may be made by calling 843-661-1365 between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. Thanks to Department of Fine Arts sponsorship, admission is free.

Winter Production

FMU Theatre DNA SurpriseDNA Surprise by D. Keith Best

Francis Marion University Theatre
Directed by D. Keith Best
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
7:30 pm Wednesday-Friday, February 23-25, 2022

ROCKY HORROR has been postponed until October. Instead, FMU theatre professor Keith Best will be presenting his new one-man show, DNA SURPRISE: one man’s journey of discovery after surprise results on a DNA test

Keith says, “This will be a workshop presentation, as I’ll still be working on the show! Hopefully a fuller scale version will appear later. No tickets required, just show up those nights and take a seat!”

General admission, no advance reservations. Thanks to Department of Fine Arts sponsorship, admission is free.

Spring Production

Love Letters by A. R. Gurney

Francis Marion University Theatre
Directed by Senior Theatre Major Alex Simmons
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
7:30 pm, April 14-16, 2022

Covid has forced yet another sudden change upon the University Theatre season, so Yasmina Reza’s Art is being replaced with A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters.  To complete the shuffling of the deck, FMU Theatre major Alex Simmons, Jr., will be directing theatre faculty members Dr. L. Dawn Larsen and Keith Best.

THE STORY: A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters is a tender, tragi-comic, and nuanced examination of the shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, and deep closeness of two lifelong, complicated friends. While spanning five decades and numerous locations, it is staged simply, with two actors behind desks or sitting in cozy chairs, letting their words describe a world of emotion.

General admission, no advance reservations. Thanks to Department of Fine Arts sponsorship, admission is free.

Postponed Production

Postponed until Fall 2022
The Rocky Horror Show
by Richard O’Brien

Francis Marion University Theatre
Directed by D. Keith Best
Performing Arts Center/Downtown Florence
7:30 pm, February 10-12 & 16-19, 2022

As an out-of-work actor in London in the early 1970s, Richard O’Brien wrote The Rocky Horror Show to keep himself busy on winter evenings. Since his youth, he had developed a passion for science fiction and B horror movies; he wanted to combine elements of the unintentional humour of B horror movies, portentous dialogue of schlock-horror, Steve Reeves muscle films, and fifties rock and roll into The Rocky Horror Show.  A major theme running throughout the musical is transvestism, which according to O’Brien was not originally meant to be as prominent as it ended up being. He conceived and wrote the play set against the backdrop of the glam era that had manifested itself throughout British popular culture in the early 1970s; he has stated “glam rock allowed me to be myself more”, allowing his concept to come into being.

CAST

Usherette            Ashley Henry
Janet                      Cathryn Ackerman
Narrator               Glen Gourley
Brad                        Dequan Lasane
Riff-Raff               Aaliyah Broadus
Columbia             D’Asia Thompson
Magenta               Tasia Phillips
Frank                      Alex Simmons
Rocky                     Gabe Campbell
Eddie                      Brent Ard
Dr. Scott                Chris Steele

PHANTOMS (CHORUS)

Jessica Sistrunk             Thomas Davis
Ashlei Jones                     Daquan Jordan
Elizabeth Fortner          Jessica Willis
Taniya Aldridge               Lydia Hyman

RESERVATIONS:  Reservations may only be made by calling the FMU Performing Arts Center Box Office at 843-661-4444 between 12:00 and 5:00 pm. $10 admission supports the Fine Arts Performing Arts Scholarships.

Past Productions

Click here to view The University Theatre’s production history.