FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (7/97)
Contact: Centenary News Service, 318/869-5120, or
Robert Buseick, Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, 318/869-5075
SHREVEPORT, LA -- On the 24th of July, the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse will celebrate its 40th anniversary with the opening of the classic Broadway musical, Funny Girl, which tells the story of the rise to success of comic Fanny Brice.
In the summer of 1957, the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse opened its doors with a production of The King and I under the direction of Joseph Gifford. The Playhouse was a gift to Centenary College from the Charlton Lyons family and was named after his wife, Marjorie Hall Lyons, a respected and accomplished actress. The Playhouse houses the Theatre / Speech / Dance Departments of Centenary College. Gifford was the director until his death in 1960. He was followed by Orlin and Irene Corey who chaired the department until 1968. They were followed for one year by C.L. "Kip" Holloway. In 1969, Robert Buseick took over as chairman. He has continued to bring theatre to the Shreveport-Bossier area for 28 years. Productions at the Playhouse are cast from both community and college and are annually recognized for their outstanding qualities by the Times Drama Awards. In the 1996-97 season, 10 of the 14 awards were from MLP productions.
Funny Girl will feature local actress Seva May as Fanny Brice. Seva has impressed audiences with her performances as Eva Peron in Evita, Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Velma Kelly in Chicago, the Baker's Wife in Intro into The Woods. She has won two Times Drama Awards as "Best Actress." Ms. May is a former Miss Georgia, the wife of Byron May, owner of MidSouth Press, and the mother of two sons. She is also a big band singer and has been seen and heard on many local television and radio commercials.
Playing opposite Ms. May, as Nick Arnstein, will be Patric McWilliams, who has an impressive record of work at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. He has won six Times Drama Awards and has received numerous nominations through the years. He was last seen as Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along. He and Ms. May have appeared opposite each other in Sweet Charity, Chicago, and Into the Woods. Mr. McWilliams is a graduate of Centenary College with residences in New York and New Orleans. He designs costumes for professional regional theatres across the country.
Pamela Captain, a local actress/director, plays Fanny's mother Mrs. Brice. Her Henry Street friends are Mary Zapczynski as Mrs. Strakosh; Jodie Glorioso as Mrs. O'Malley, and Sylvia Goodman as Mrs. Meeker. Ms. Captain was last on stage at MLP in Smile but has performed at PAC, EastBank Theatre and SLT, and won a Times Award for her direction of Inherit The Wind at EastBank. Ms. Zapczynski most recently was in Merrily We Roll Along at MLP, Alice in Wonderland for Peter Pan Players, and was in last season's productions of The House of Bernarda Alba and Oliver. Winner of this past season's Times Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Diary of Anne Frank, Jodie Glorioso is enjoying a return to the stage after several years' absence. Sylvia Goodman is making her stage debut in Funny Girl but is an active and vital arts supporter in Shreveport and Louisiana.
Robert Darrow, the 1996-97 Times Drama Award Best Supporting Actor winner for his role in The Diary of Anne Frank, plays Tom Keeney, the owner of the theatre where Fanny got her first professional break. Mr. Darrow has been an active member of the theatrical community for the past 25 years with outstanding performances in Assassins, Evita, On The Twentieth Century, On Golden Pond, Ebernezzer, and Big River. Steven E. Baker, a junior theatre major at Centenary, who received two Times Nominations for his work in Merrily We Roll Along and The Woman in Black, will be playing the role of Eddie Ryan, Fanny's first choreographer and best friend.
Birdie Stevens plays Emma, Fanny's dresser. John Thompson makes his first Shreveport appearance as Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. Bonnie Gillen, last summer's Nancy in Oliver, is Georgia, one of the famous Ziegfeld Girls. Frank Vega, who was last seen in Sweet Charity at MLP, will play the Ziegfeld Tenor.
Making up the rest of the large cast of singers / dancers / actors are: Logan Sledge, Youree McBride Jr., Jared Watson, John Hubbard, Joshua Porter, Ken Scruggs, Tishaun Scott, Matt Latz, Kyle Greer, Philip Scott, Sonia Mitchell, Rene Whitmore, Laura Walker, Amanda Thompson, Melissa Gabriel, Jamie Goodrich, Kelly M. Wolfe, Emily Vise, LeVette Fuller, Monica Adams, Marion Glorioso, Marya Williams, Laura Ashley Allen, Lindsey Whitmore and Miranda Shackelford.
Music Director is John Matthews, with Becky Gerardy as accompanist. Choreography is by Aaron Girlinghouse. Light and sound design is by Don Hooper with Paul Belcher as technical director. Patric McWilliams is the costume and set designer and is co-directing the production with Producer Robert Buseick. Jeffery Goodman is the assistant director, Beth Williamson and Evan McClanahan are stage managers, and Danni Garza is in charge of properties.
Funny Girl opens on Thursday, July 24 and plays at 8 p.m. on July 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, Aug. 1, 2 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 27 and Aug. 3.
Tickets for all seats are $15 each and reservations may be made beginning Monday, July 14 from noon until 4 p.m. at the box office, 318/869-5242. A special discount of $2 per ticket is available for groups of 25 or more.
Season tickets for the 1997-98 season of plays at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse will also be available at the box office. Cost for season tickets is $60 each.