by Melissa Mora
UT’s Speech, Theatre and Dance department is preparing for their annual plethora of events starting as early as the second week of the semester. The general auditions for all three shows took place Sept. 2 and 3 in The David Falk Theater.
Auditions were open to any UT student, no matter their major. “For these auditions we even had a new student who is a Nursing major, which I think is really cool,” said Paul Finocchiaro, associate professor of theatre.
The audition, with the call-back process, takes approximately two to three hours, depending on the show that it is for. The process includes reading from the script, dance auditions and singing from the score.
The Speech, Theatre and Dance department has a variety of shows in store for this school year. During the fall semester, there will be two plays: Sordid Lives and Cementville and a musical, The Pirates of Penzance.
Beginning Oct. 24 – 26 at 8 p.m., the Tampa Bay audience will also be able to experience Fall Dance Happening, a dance under the direction of Susannah LeMarquand, assistant professor of dance.
The first show to make its debut is Sordid Lives, a comedy, that will be showing Oct. 11-13 in Falk Theater at 8 p.m. and on Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.
The setting of the play is in a trailer park in Texas, directed by Robert Gonzalez, associate professor of speech and theatre. Rehearsals have begun and all throughout the process, the cast is required to speak with a Texan accent.
“Sordid Lives is relatable to anyone with experience living in the south and even if you don’t have any experience, it’s a hoot to watch,” said Destiny Green, junior theater major.
The Pirates of Penzance, directed and choreographed by Finocchiaro, is a musical comedy and will take the stage Nov. 15-18. The rehearsal process for the show will begin on Sept. 24. The play tells the story of how an orphan named Frederic falls for Major-General Stanley’s songbird daughter, Mabel. The effect is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, according to Ryan Widd, senior musical theater major.
“The amount of dedication, effort, and heart we put into our shows truly shows in our productions and I’m very thankful I get to experience it through our rehearsals,” said Robert DeBellis, junior musical theater major. Debellis emphasized how fun the musical comedy is for not only the audience, but the cast too.
“The play is a classic filled with humor, wit, and gorgeous music,” said Sarah Joyce, junior musical theater major who will play the role of Mabel. “I think it will be a hard but worthwhile process ensuring that I do Mabel justice in this upcoming production.”
Joyce encourages anyone who likes an energetic, fun-filled evening to come and see the show.
“What I hope people will take away the most from The Pirates of Penzance is the insanity of all the characters,” said Widd. “They are larger than life, relatable, and rooted in truth.”
It’s been a tradition for the cast of the shows to perform flash mobs in the Vaughn lobby as a promotion technique, but this year will be an exception. On Nov. 7, Fox 13 will be visiting Falk Theater to publicize The Pirates of Penzance, and every single cast member will be present. Then, there will be a 45-minute preview of the show at the Tampa Museum of Art.
“The marketing is so cool,” said Widd. “I am excited to share our department with the community.”
On Dec. 7 and 8, Cementville, a dark comedy under the direction of adjunct theatre Rosemary Orlando, and a well-known professional actor and director in the Tampa Bay community, will be presented. Orlando described it as very funny with tragic characters. The show will take place in the Reeves Theatre, and will be open for all of the Tampa Bay area to experience.
“If you have a chance to see our show, I for sure wouldn’t miss it,” said DeBellis. “UT students and faculty get to see it for free, so why miss a great production for no cost?”
Melissa Mora can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org