Cameron University Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts explores American Identities in the 21st Century during 2017-18 theatre season

Cameron University’s Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts is pleased to announce its 2017-18 season, “Celebrating American Identities in the 21st Century.” The department will present four productions that depict distinctive perspectives of what it means to be an American through plays that delve into politics, romance, immigration, societal roles, justice and more. Season tickets are available for $35 for adults and $30 for senior citizens, military, non-Cameron students and Cameron faculty/staff. To purchase season tickets, call (580) 581-2346. Cameron University students are admitted to theatre productions at no charge with Cameron ID.

The season kicks off on Wednesday, September 27, and continues Friday through Sunday, September 29 through October 1, with “Alice in America Land.” A fresh and lively update of Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice takes a journey through the picture tube of her family's television and meets a mad collection of characters – but with a difference.  A White Rabbit who lives in fear of someone dropping “the big one," a Mock Turtle who's a champion of consumer rights, a Dodo who's a guitarist, a Dormouse seeking political office, and an Eagle who lives in the past. The Duke and Duchess have switched roles - she's a "working duchess" while he's a "house duke." Alice herself becomes the unwitting subject for a showbiz roast with two aging, bitter comedians, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Through it all, Alice just wants to return home to her beloved cat. “Alice in America Land” is a fanciful, biting, always funny tale of a contemporary Alice that will delight all audiences.

From November 16-19, David Mamet’s satirical comedy “November” takes the stage. Called “a fiendishly funny, over-the-top, no-holds-barred take on American politics,” the two-act play, brimming with corruption and political incorrectness, focuses on the last days of the failed presidency of Charles Smith, whose approval rating is "Lower than Gandhi's cholesterol."  In the last week before a doomed reelection campaign, he is unpopular and broke. The party has abandoned him, and the campaign war chest is empty.  There is no money for a flurry of last minute TV spots. Even more disconcerting to Smith there is not a cent for the Presidential Library that should preserve the documents of a failed term of office.

Two works from legendary Cuban-American avant garde playwright María Irene Fornés, who draws on true life experiences in her much-heralded works, are on tap from February 22-25, 2018. In her dreamlike, semi-autobiographical “Letters from Cuba,” the Havana-born Fornés juxtaposes a Cuban-American dancer's bohemian life in New York with the lives of her impoverished family back on the island. Based on actual correspondence from Fornés' older brother, the piece is suffused with tenderness and longing. Fran is a Cuban studying dance in New York. Letters from her brother Luis, who lives in Cuba, punctuate her days. Luis loves his home, loves his family, and sees the world through a poet's eyes. A benign love triangle builds as Fran falls in love with one of her friends, and Luis pines for the company of his sister. The play interweaves familial, romantic, and platonic love into a singular feeling of closeness and affection, suggesting that humans tend to overly categorize love instead of accepting it as the ultimate glue that holds us together.

“Manual for a Desperate Crossing” is based on interviews with some of the 35,000 Cuban balseros ("rafters") whose economic desperation drove them to set out for Florida on homemade rafts in 1994. Culled from numerous interviews with survivors of the crossing, Fornés transforms the everyday speech of the refugees into surprisingly poetic, incantatory choral passages.

The season concludes from April 19-22, 2018, with “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”  Based on the novel “Legally Blonde” by Amanda Brown and the popular 2001 film of the same name, this award-winning, fun-filled musical romp tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. Discovering how her knowledge of the law can help others, she successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, no one has faith in Elle, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself. Cameron’s annual musical theatre productions are supported by the Richard T. Brittingham Musical Theatre Endowed Lectureship.

Shows on Wednesday (“Alice in America Land” only), Thursday, Friday and Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday performances start at 2 p.m.

Cameron’s Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts is a member of the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association.

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August 22, 2017