SRU Theatre Department closes out the fall semester with ‘Dogfight’
From left, Katelyn Loss, a sophomore acting major from Montoursville, portrays Rose Fenny, and Jeremy Magnetti, a freshman marketing major from Smokerun, portrays Eddie Birdlace, during rehearsal for “Dogfight.”
Nov. 19, 2019
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University Theatre will be stepping back in time, to the early '60s specifically, with its final fall semester production of "Dogfight." Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20-23 and 2 p.m., Nov. 24. All performances are in the University Union Multipurpose Room.
Directed by Jonathan Flom, SRU assistant professor of theatre, the musical that takes place on Nov. 21, 1963, as a group of young marines is gathered in San Francisco the night before they ship off to Vietnam. They decide to celebrate their last night of freedom with a cruel game they call a "dogfight" where every man sets out to find the ugliest girl he can and bring her to a party. Everyone puts in money and the man with the ugliest date wins the pot. One of the young men taking part is Eddie Birdlace, who is running out of time to find a date when he meets idealistic waitress Rose Fenny in a diner. He invites her to the party, her very first party, and she accepts. She leaves angrily when she finds out about the bet and Eddie, feeling bad, comes to find her. After an inauspicious beginning, an awkward love story begins to unfold.
The musical is an adaptation of the 1991 film of the same name by Nancy Savoca, an American film director, producer and screenwriter from a book by Peter Duchan.
The production features music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, an American songwriting and composing duo dedicated to musical theater, film and television, best known for works including "La La Land," "Dear Evan Hansen" and "A Christmas Story." The SRU adaptation will also feature the choreography of Teena Custer, an urban dance theater artist based in Pittsburgh and London, Ontario.
"When I first read the play, I thought about what a challenging production it is, especially as neither men or women are painted in a good light," said Flom.
"There is a lot of really powerful issues involved and these dogfights weren't fictional. Many enlisted men actually got involved in them before shipping out. Being able to objectify someone and not care about them as humans, they were thinking they could sort of condition or harden themselves for what they were about to do.
"There are going to be a lot of feelings for audience members," continued Flom. "I think there are going to be some audience members who are angry, who feel as though the military is being portrayed in a harsh way. Then there will be people who are feminists who feel as though women are being objectified. I think all of those feelings are valid, but I think our goal is to have people walk away with that sense of empathy, that understanding that people sometimes make really bad choices and that we can either shun and judge them or we can try and help change them.
"I think the beauty of this play is that our character, Rose, despite all the hurt she experiences, is more concerned with how men are treating women overall and is determined to make a positive change to that dynamic."
Student cast, artistic staff, crew and staff include:
● Cassie Biltz, a junior theatre major from New Kensington, playing Marcy and Peggy, Michael Boone, technical director, College of Liberal Arts.
● Shawn Faraoni, a freshman acting major from Pittsburgh, playing Sergeant, Drag Queen, Waiter and Big Tony.
● Mary Frances Hodson, costume shop manager and costume coordinator for the Theatre Department.
● Katherine Frontz, a freshman music performance major from Pittsburgh, playing Stevens' date and Hippie and the understudy of Rose.
● Andy Hasenpflug, music director, a dance musician and chair of the Dance Department.
● Rachael Holfelder, props manager, a senior theatre major from New Wilmington.
● Joe Kelly, a sophomore dual major in communication and theatre from Pittsburgh, playing Bernstein.
● Kiersten Hope, publicist, a junior dual major in theatre and philosophy from Vero Beach, Florida.
● Katelyn Loss, a sophomore acting major from Montoursville, playing Rose Fenny.
● Steven Macdonald, sound designer, a senior theatre major from Pittsburgh.
● Jeremy Magnetti, a freshman marketing major from Smokerun, playing Eddie Birdlace.
● Alawna Mallory, a freshman acting major from Crafton, playing Ruth Two Bears, Librarian and Chippy and the understudy of Marcy.
● Donavon McDonald, assistant stage manager, a freshman acting major from Manorville.
● Rebecca Morrice, costume designer, an associate professor of theatre and chair of the Theatre Department.
● Marcus Mraz, a freshman acting major from New Castle, playing Gibbs.
● Gordon Phetteplace, scenic and lighting designer, an associate professor of theatre.● Noah Reed, a junior acting major from Slippery Rock, playing Stevens.
● AJ Sansonetti, a junior theatre major from Pittsburgh, playing Boland.
● Karter Schachner, vocal director, a graduate music therapy major from Pittsburgh.
● Frantzi Schaub, a senior theatre major from Slippery Rock, playing Singer, Pete and Diner Patron.
● Laura Shope, a junior theatre major from Venetia, playing Mama and Suzette.
● Aaron Swoger, a sophomore exploratory major from Aliquippa, playing Fector.
● Chase Uram, rehearsal accompanist, a senior music major from Renfrew.
● Denise Vonada, stage manager, a sophomore dual major in theatre and psychology from Nicholson.
● Mallory Waszak, a junior interdisciplinary programs major from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, playing Gibbs' date and Hippie.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for SRU students. A "Community Night" admission of $12 for all attendees is scheduled for the Nov. 23 performance.
Tickets can be purchased at the Smith Student Information Desk, by calling 724.738.4926, online by clicking here or by visiting the University Union Box Office.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Bressanelli | 724.738.2091 | firstname.lastname@example.org