Mor­ris’ fi­nal pro­duc­tion at ATU opens Thurs­day

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - RIVER VALLEY & OZARK EDITION -

RUS­SEL­LVILLE — Ardith Mor­ris is say­ing good­bye like she said hello.

The 37-year vet­eran of the Arkansas Tech Univer­sity fac­ulty will di­rect her fi­nal pro­duc­tion at ATU, The Rob­ber

Bride­groom, at the Te­chionery Theatre, 1502 N. El Paso Ave. in Rus­sel­lville, be­gin­ning with an 8 p.m. show­ing Thurs­day.

Sub­se­quent shows for the gen­eral pub­lic are sched­uled at 8 p.m. Fri­day and at 2 p.m. Feb. 17. Tick­ets, at $12 for gen­eral ad­mis­sion and $8 for stu­dents, will be sold at the door.

“I did this mu­si­cal my first year as a full-time fac­ulty mem­ber, and it did so well that it went on to a state fes­ti­val and re­ceived high praises back in 1983,” said Mor­ris, who joined the ATU fac­ulty in 1982 and will re­tire in May at the rank of pro­fes­sor of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and theater. “Be­cause of my ex­pe­ri­ence with this mu­si­cal and what it means to me, I be­lieve de­part­ing with such a mean­ing­ful play that brought such hap­pi­ness into my ca­reer would only be fit­ting.”

Ken Fut­terer, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of mu­sic at ATU, serves as mu­si­cal di­rec­tor for The

Rob­ber Bride­groom. He and Mor­ris have col­lab­o­rated on more than 40 pro­duc­tions.

Fut­terer ob­served that the show will bring Mor­ris’ ca­reer “full cir­cle.”

ATU stu­dent Cameron Davis of Rus­sel­lville is on the pro­duc­tion’s lead­er­ship team as chore­og­ra­pher. She is ma­jor­ing in man­age­ment and mar­ket­ing.

“I’m hon­ored to have the op­por­tu­nity to chore­o­graph Ardith’s fi­nal show at Arkansas Tech Univer­sity,” Davis said. “I have known Ardith my whole life, so it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to be a part of this show.”

Jack But­ton of Spring­dale, Can­non Cobb of Pottsville, Shaylen Davis of Rus­sel­lville, An­drew Egan of Ga­maliel, Gra­cie Folks of Har­ri­son, Caleb Foshe of Farm­ing­ton, Mad­die Geels of Clarksville, Brent James of Rus­sel­lville, Chelsea Mat­tas of Ozark, Ja­cob Smith of Lit­tle Rock, Ash­lin Tra­han of Clarksville, Holly Will­mon of Baux­ite and Nathan Yza­guirre of Hot Springs will be fea­tured per­form­ers in The Rob­ber Bride­groom.

Geels also serves as cos­tume co­or­di­na­tor.

Ad­di­tional mem­bers of the pro­duc­tion crew in­clude Sum­mer Dant­zler of Con­way, stage man­ager; Abra­ham Zarate of Rus­sel­lville, as­sis­tant stage man­ager; Chloe Char­ton of Ola, props man­ager; and Faith Spencer of Clarksville, light­ing de­signer.

Brian Conatser from the ATU Depart­ment of Mu­sic serves as re­hearsal pi­anist. Avery Coonts, theater-arts techi­cal su­per­vi­sor, ful­fills the du­ties of tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor.

David J. Eshel­man, pro­fes­sor of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, serves as di­rec­tor of the ATU theater pro­gram. The Rob­ber Bride­groom book and lyrics were writ­ten by Al­fred Uhry, with mu­sic by Robert Wald­man. The play is adapted from a novella by Eu­dora Welty. The Rob­ber Bride­groom is pre­sented through spe­cial ar­range­ment with Mu­sic Theatre In­ter­na­tional. All au­tho­rized per­for­mance ma­te­ri­als are also sup­plied by MTI.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the show or the ATU theater, call (479) 964-0890.

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