By Ali Castro
THATCHER — Get ready to see the past meet the present in Eastern Arizona College’s Division of Fine Arts’ upcoming production of Rhapsody: An Interdepartmental Collaboration in Music, Dance, and Theatre.
Set to music by George Gershwin and with an original script commissioned for EAC by playwright David Spence, Rhapsody will tell the story of a young couple charged with the task of going through their grandparents’ boxes of old belongings and memorabilia – following them through song and dance as they learn the lessons of life and love which these items provide. George Gershwin’s famous musical composition, Rhapsody in Blue, will be the centerpiece of the production, featuring a solo piano performance by Director of Musical Theatre, Chase Moore, and the outstanding, 50-piece Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Orchestra Director, Franklin Alvarez.
“It is so exciting to see this dynamic collaboration come to life on our stage,” said Steven Higginbotham, Chair of the Division of Fine Arts and the director of the show. “The creative contributions of our faculty, staff, and students surely will shine in this world premiere event.”
“Rhapsody has evolved into an orchestral dance/theater piece in which dialogue and dance help to tell this unique story of two evolving relationships. The plot focuses on the break-up and possible reconnection of two couples linked in time by an uninvestigated familial bond. Using Gershwin’s Piano Preludes to stage essential portions of the action, the story flips back and forth through time, reflecting nostalgically on the grandparents’ past relationship and highlighting the ways it might be similar to what the young couple, Ted and Hannah, are currently experiencing. In the Rhapsody in Blue section, the two stories intertwine in a surreal paradox where both pairs can inform and guide one another towards a targeted happy ending.”
In addition to Higginbotham’s stage direction, this production features choreography by Rena Holguin, set designs by Scott Dahl, costume designs by Timilee McNair, lighting designs by Don Eller, sound design by Randall Shumway, and stage management by Ali Castro with the assistance of Stefan Baker-Horton and Christian Teague. Rhapsody’s talented cast includes Ben “Blew” Blewusi, Cameron Byrd, Trevor Efros, Cody Foreé, Elyse Gomez, Joann Martinez, Martin Moreno, Alyssa Ruiz, Hallie Shupe, Tasia Shupe, Joseph Speers, and Devon Tyrrell.
Rhapsody will be performed Nov. 9 – 11 in the Fine Arts Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. each day. General admission is $5. Tickets can be purchased at the door before each performance or by calling Eastern Arizona College’s Ticket Office at (928) 428-8228. Advanced reservations are recommended. Mark your calendar and join Eastern Arizona College’s Division of Fine Arts for a night of romance, dance, and extraordinary entertainment right here in the Gila Valley. You won’t want to miss this event.