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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2008

UT's 'Bat Boy' explores theme of intolerance

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two musicals and three dramas are among the season finales for theater programs at local and regional colleges.

With Bat Boy: The Musical, the University of Toledo explores the theme of intolerance.

Inspired by stories in the sensationalist tabloids about a creature who is half-human and half-bat, Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming wrote the show in the late 1990s, with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe. It opened in 1997 in Los Angeles, moved to New York in 2001, and was named the best off-Broadway musical by several awards groups.

In the musical, Bat Boy is discovered in a West Virginia cave and is brought into a highly conservative community, whose residents are too close-minded to allow him to assimilate.

Bat Boy has been described as straddling the fence between social consciousness and high camp. In the UT production directed by Edmund Lingan, Patrick Miller plays the title character. Others in the cast, most of whom have more than one role, are Megan Beckett, Marlie Billops, Brett Bowling, David Coleman, Holli Glance, Stephanie Kilroy, Halina LaRiccia, Katie Litzer, Terri Mims, Daniel Partin, Briana Rawls, Jason Santel, and Emily Wessendarp.

With scenes that include violence, gore, incest, and rape, it is for mature audiences.

"Bat Boy: The Musical" opens tomorrow and runs through April 20 in the Center Theatre of the University of Toledo's Center for Performing Arts. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and Wednesday-April 19. Matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and April 20. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and UT employees and alumni, and $10 for students. Information: 419-530-2375.

Bowling Green State University's department of theater and film explores contemporary relationships through Company, the musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furths that opens tonight.

The show, which opened on Broadway in 1970, has no plot. Rather, it is a series of vignettes about various aspects of relationships, some happy, others not so much. The action loosely revolves around Robert, a single guy, searching for connection with the help of 10 friends and three romantic prospects.

Co-directed by Michael Ellison, an associate professor of theater at BGSU, and David Sollish, a doctoral student in theater, Company features Tommy Thurston as Robert. Also in the cast are Toledoans Michael DelVecchio, Jr., Elia Duda, Ali Schmidt, and Casey Toney; Ashley Nowak of Maumee; Erin Hoyt of Bedford, Ashley Brown of Defiance, and Ashley Berman, Holly Blinn, Arielle Biggums, Jeremy Braley, Corinne Derusha, Angelo DiBartolomeo, Martina Hogan, Jackie Jeriecki, Darin Kerr, Rebecca Maderski, Carissa McCurdy, Katrina Mines, Scott Sanville, Cory Stonebrook, Emily Urban, and Heather Williams.

The play is appropriate for mature audiences. Prior to Saturday night's show, representatives of BGSU's National Center for Marriage Research and members of the Company production team will discuss Relationships in a Technological Age at 6:30 p.m. in Room 207 of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. There is no charge to participate in the discussion.

"Company" opens at 8 tonight in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre of University Hall at BGSU. Other performances are at 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15. Information: 419-372-2719.

•Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui opens Wednesday at the University of Findlay. A satirical allegory about Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, the play chronicles the life of a minor Chicago hoodlum who rises to power by murdering his way to the top. Brecht's play, written in 1941, is less of an attack on Ui's tactics than it is a criticism of the complacency of the ruling class that allows him to take over.

"The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" is scheduled at 8 p.m. Wednesday through April 19 and 6 p.m. April 20 in the Grimm Theatre of the Egner Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and free to UF students and employees. Information: 419-434-5335.

•Heidelberg College's spring production, Medea, concludes the school's slate of student shows for the year. In the tragedy by the Greek playwright Euripides, the title character is spurned by her husband, Jason, leader of the Argonauts, and banished from Corinth by King Creon, whose daughter has caught Jason's eye. Medea plots a deadly revenge.

According to director Richard Groetzinger, the translation by Ian Johnston uses humor and logic to help audiences identify with the wronged woman.

"Medea" is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Gundlach Theater, attached to Founders Hall, on the Tiffin campus. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students, and free for Heidelberg students with their college ID. Information: 419-448-2305.

•William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet opens tonight at Adrian College. One of the Bard's acclaimed tragedies, it is the story of two families, the Montagues and the Capulets, in a blood feud in Verona, Italy. When young Juliet, a Capulet, and Romeo, a Montague, meet and fall in love, events begin to spiral out of control until death is inevitable. Only then does peace become possible.

"Romeo and Juliet" is scheduled at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday in Downs Hall Theatre on the Adrian campus. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, and Adrian College employees. Information: Professor Michael Allen, 517-264-3922.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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