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February 21, 2014
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

SRU presents 'The Robber Bridegroom'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University students will present seven performances of the musical "The Robber Bridegroom" March 7-13.

The performances will be a tribute to long-time SRU professor and performing arts advocate, Thom "TC" Cobb. Cobb, an SRU associate professor of dance who joined SRU in 1978, will retire in May. He is choreographer for the production and has collaborated with theatre for more than 10 years of stage productions.

COBB "TC chose the show, and we are collaborating together to make his vision happen," said Laura Smiley, assistant professor of theatre and show director. "TC has collaborated with me on every musical I have directed over the past 10 years. We complement each other very well."

The "Robber Bridegroom," based on the 1942 novella by Eudora Welty, is a bluegrass-inspired fairytale set in small-town Mississippi. Robert Waldman wrote the music, with lyrics by Alfred Uhry.

The fictional story follows Jamie Lockhart as he assumes a Robin Hood-like persona to rescue a wealthy plantation owner and to seduce his strong-willed daughter, Rosamund.

This musical, dubbed by The New York Times as 'a modern fairy tale where irony and humor, outright nonsense, deep wisdom and surrealistic extravaganzas become a poetic unity through the power of a pure exquisite style,' defies the laws of conventional theatre," Smiley said.

The first Broadway production opened in 1975 at the Harkness Theatre.

The cast includes Zach Frye, a theatre major from Beaver Falls, as Jamie Lockhart; Joe Karl, a theatre major from Moon Township, as Clement Musgrove; Rachel Lambert, a history major from Hermitage, as Salome; Emily Daning, an art major from Bartonsville, as Rosamund; Philip Bova, an English major from Pittsburgh, as Little Harp; Anthony Plumberg, a theatre major from Denver, Pa. as Big Harp; Scott Dibello, a secondary education major from Grove City, as Goat; Ally Kryl, a theatre major from Slippery Rock, as Airie; and Sarah Tapparo, a Spanish major from Beaver, as Raven.

The ensemble cast features Johnna Cwik, a dance major from Johnstown; Amber Mikec, a secondary education major from Strabane; Liz Schaming, a theatre major from Pittsburgh; Carina Iannarelli, a communication major from Bridgeville; Jimmy Valentino, a mathematics major from Ellwood City; Matthew Buzanowski, a criminology major from Butler; and Cole Vecchio, a theatre major from Bradford.

Gordon Phetteplace, associate professor of theatre, is the production's set designer; Andrew Hasenpflug, musician for the dance department, is the musical director; and Michael Boone, technical director for theatre and music, is the technical director.

Margaret Rial, a theatre major from Erie, is stage manager; Kyle Andreas, theatre major from Bethlehem, is the assistant stage manager and sound engineer; Kaitlin Cliber, an art education major from Plum, is the assistant stage manager; Daniel Strait, music major from Huntingdon, is the vocal director; Jessica Detky a music therapy from South Pymatuming is the pianist; Samantha Kuchta, a theatre major from Lower Burrell, is the assistant scenic designer properties master; Kyle Wiltraut, a theatre major from Hershey, is the lighting designer; Alex Barnhart, a theater major from Butler, is the assistant to the technical director; Tabbitha Isacco, a theatre major from Grove City, is the costume designer; Kayla Boulton, a theatre major from Youngstown, Ohio, is the assistant costume designer; Jina Pounds, a theatre major from Alexandria, Va., is the make-up designer; and Malic Williams, a theatre major from Aliquippa, is public relations coordinator.

After he retires, Cobb will continued to be an influence in dance by serving as president of National Dance Educators Organization. The non-profit organization works to advance dance education opportunities.

"The Robber Bridegroom" opens at 7:30 p.m., March 7, and will be presented at 2 and 7:30 p.m., March 9, and 7:30 p.m., March 10-13. All performances of "The Robber Bridegroom" will be in SRU's University Union.

Tickets are $7 for SRU students and $12 for general admission. They can be purchased at the Smith Student Center Information Desk or at the door. For more information, contact the SRU Theatre Box Office at 724.738.2645.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.