By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant
If you’re looking to be blown away by a fabulous performance, look no further than the UTC campus! The Fine Arts Center on the corner of Palmetto and Vine houses the Roland Hayes Concert Hall and the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre, two great spots to enjoy upcoming performances by the Department of Music and the Department of Theatre and Speech.
“A university setting is a great chance for people to go out and really see what’s out there. And within the Fine Arts Center, we have a great gallery, great concerts, and great plays, so people should step out of what they know and experience something new,” says Gaye Jeffers, Director and Associate Professor in the UTC Department of Theatre.
UTC Theatre kicks off the season with a blaze
UTC Theatre will kick off the year with Mill Fire, a contemporary drama about an industrial accident written by Alabama native and current television writer Sally Nemeth.
“It follows the story of this woman dealing with her grief. There’s a chorus of widows who sort of stand in for the audience. It goes to some dark places, but I think in the end it’s very affirming,” says Steve Ray, Interim Head of the Department of Theatre and Speech.
“It’s really a play about forgiveness and making peace. It’s a compelling, warm, beautiful story told in an interesting way,” says Gaye Jeffers, the play’s director.
Theatre performances run for five days, Tuesdays through Saturdays. This play will run from October 1-5. All Theatre performances for the academic year are held at the Ward Theater in the Fine Arts Center and start at 7:30 p.m. Last year, the UTC Theatre also began offering Saturday matinees, which begin at 2 p.m.
UTC Theatre will also present You Can’t Take It With You, which director Jeffers describes as, “A classic American comedy which deals with ideas of expectation. I think it challenges our notion of the American dream in a comedic, quirky fashion.”
This classic Pulitzer Prize winning comedy by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart will run November 19-23. “We’re going to try to take this classic comedy and deconstruct it a little, while still keeping it funny. It’s one of the benefits of academic theatre that we can experiment this way,” says Ray.
On February 11-15, The Theatre Department will Present No Exit, an existential play by Jean Paul Sartre and directed by Jeffers. If you would like to discover the origin of the phrase, “Hell is other people,” then come out to see this well-known play. “It’s an existential piece, so it does some cool things – some weird things,” says Ray, “And we’re thinking of adding other media to this show, perhaps video, so it should be very visually striking.”
“It’s one of those plays many people have to read in a university setting in a lot of different kind of classes, but you rarely get to see it on stage, which is how it was meant to be seen,” says Jeffers.
On April 8-12, the Theatre Department will present I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. This musical comedy by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts is the second-longest running off-Broadway musical. “We’re in the Glee generation, so I think that a lot of people are more familiar with musical theater,” says Ray, who is directing.
“We have two new faculty members. Adam Miecielica is our new Visiting Assistant Professor in Scene Design. He will be designing the sets for all shows. Stephanie Henderson is the new Costume Lecturer who will be designing costumes this year. They should provide a fresh perspective for our department that will be interesting to see,” says Ray
Theater productions tend to have around ten to twelve people on stage, though there are numerous other people involved in the production – set designers, costume designers, people handling the lights and music, promoters. Anyone is allowed to audition, though understandably preference is given to theatre majors and minors. “If someone is right for the part and really committed to the production, we cast them,” says Ray.
“These are three very different plays: a contemporary drama, a classic American comedy, a world classic, and a musical. If you’re not a seasoned theater goer, you can learn a lot about theater from this year of plays,” says Jeffers.
Tickets are available in the UTC Fine Arts Center Box Office from 10 to 4, Monday through Friday. Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens and $12 for general admission. Tickets are also available online at Ticket Tracks (http://tickettracks.com/).
Tune in to music department performances
If you’re looking for something entertaining to do, come check out some of the upcoming events from the Music Department. Even if you think this sort of thing isn’t your forte, they offer a variety of performances.
“People usually think of going off campus or outside the community to go to a concert, but there are a lot of things happening here in Chattanooga, specifically on campus, that people might not think about or be aware of,” says Dr. Lee Harris, Head of the Department of Music. “It’s really a cultural resource for the greater community”
All music department performances start at 7:30 p.m. and take place in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, unless otherwise noted.
On November 1, Opera & Music Theatre will be performing various scenes from opera and musical theatres, including; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “You are a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Albert Herring,” and “A Little Night Music.” Tickets for this event will be $7 general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens.
If you’re looking to get jazzed up, then you need to head to the Roland Hayes Concert Hall on November 13. That night, the UTC Jazz Band will present its fall concert.
This year, the UTC Chamber Singers will be performing at the Mozart’s Requiem with the CSO at the Tivoli on November 14.
The UTC Chattanooga Singers and Chamber Singers will present their fall choral concert on November 15.This performance will include Vierne Mass, Barber “Agnus Dei” and a few Scandinavian pieces.
“Beat Hunger” is the annual fall percussion concert. This event is always highly anticipated and has been so popular in the past that it is now a two night event, occurring November 23-24. In lieu of an admission price, the Music Department will be accepting nonperishable donations for the Chattanooga Food Bank. “A lot of people look forward to Beat Hunger. Monte Coulter has created something that’s really a Chattanooga institution,” says Harris.
“We just want people to be aware of the variety of offerings we have and so they can find something of interest to come to. Some people enjoy choral concerts, and some people enjoy orchestra concerts. Some people are piano fans or string fans. A lot of people from the community will attend particular concerts they enjoy,” says Harris. “We have bands, orchestras, choirs, faculty and student recitals, and guest performances. There is a good variety of events that come along in the course of the year.”
Get a full description of each event at http://www.utc.edu/music/ For those events that require tickets, visit the UTC Box Office in the Fine Arts Center 10 – 4, Monday – Friday. Tickets are also available online at Ticket Tracks (http://tickettracks.com/).