Schuster Theatre announces 2016-17 production list

As one year of creative talent concludes, another quickly follows. Gannon University’s Schuster Theater has announced the 2016-17 theatre season productions, but the names probably won’t ring a bell to many people, even in the theatre program.
The Rev. Shawn Clerkin, director of theatre, announced the next season of shows being produced by the Schuster Theater.
He said he is excited for the new season, including new creations that will be a part of the theatre program for 2016-17.
First on the list of shows for the fall 2016 season is “Fortunate Victory,” a 40-minute play that will occur during the 2016 Erie Tall Ships event in September.
This play showcases the historic and patriotic background of Erie during the War of 1812, as Oliver Hazard Perry and others build a fleet to vanquish the English in the Battle of Lake Erie.
All proceeds from this production will support the Schuster Theatre’s participation in the August 2017 International Collegiate Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Next on the season list of shows is “Crimes of the Heart,” a 1981 southern comedy that focuses on the lives of three sisters and their dysfunctional lives and family, while dealing with recent dramas the girls conducted themselves.
Student auditions for “Crimes of the Heart” will take place on Aug. 25 and 26.
When asked about the next production, Clerkin conveyed his excitement for having the original composer come and perform during the play.
“It’s Only Life: The Songs Of John Bucchino” is a musical describing the carefree and fun lives of young adults and the rather opposite middle-aged life that follows.
“We’re really lucky that John Bucchino is going to come play the songs and take part in the rehearsal process,” said director Alaina Manchester.
“I’m going to use this as a place of discovery and exploration to find relationships and character arcs.”
The play itself doesn’t come with an actual book, so Manchester is excited for the challenge of creating backstories to fit along with the music.
In addition to Gannon students, the show will be double cast with local actors in the community. Auditions are scheduled for Oct. 3 and 4.
The spring of 2017 will mark the start of Erie’s seventh annual Fringe Fest, where local writers and actors will perform in plays in numerous locations and theaters across Erie.
Up next in the new year is “The White Snake.” Directed by December 2016 graduate Jenna Sulecki, this play tells the romantic story of an ancient Chinese legend in which a couple in love must conquer many obstacles in order to keep their passion alive.
Sulecki said she is anxious for this production, but is excited to work with other student actors in the process. Auditions will be held on Nov. 20 and 21.
March features the Alex Clemente Fundraiser, where the Schuster Theater is teaming up with The Erie Playhouse for its 100th season while raising money for its annual Alex Clemente Fund for Performing and Related Arts.
The Clemente show will be “The Glorious Ones,” a musical comedy telling the adventures of a medieval renaissance group.
Concluding the 2016-2017 seasons will be “Ape/Essence,” an adaptation of a dystopian novel that introduces the aftereffects of human society following atomic warfare.
This production will also be directed by Alaina Manchester and will be the Schuster Theater’s entry for the 2017 International Collegiate Theatre Festival / Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Be prepared for an amazing year of new talent, new ideas and new plays as Gannon opens its doors to a new season next fall.

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