Schuster Theatre has big plans for summer and fall

Shakespeare play set for July and spooky show for October


Schuster Theatre

“The Tempest” comes to Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park in July.

Ali Smith, arts and leisure editor

As the end of the spring semester approaches, and summer weather beckons a break, many Gannon University students and staff are excited to return home and participate in a restful summer vacation.
Those involved with the Schuster Theatre, however, have no such plans.
The theater is already busy preparing its next show for July 24-26, which will be William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
Don’t worry — the Schuster plans to take advantage of the summer weather by holding this show at the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park.
Alaina Manchester, an assistant professor and director of theatre, said that this is actually the first time that Gannon is offering this summer production as a part of a summer course.
“We are hoping to generate enough interest to continue to grow our Shakespeare Summer Nights program, now in its 18th year, as an integral part of the Schuster Theatre identity,” Manchester said.
The July show will be produced by Angela Howell, an assistant professor and technical director of theatre, and directed by a former Gannon theater student, Petra Shearer.
Shearer is currently studying at The Shakespeare Center in Stoughton, Va., making her a perfect fit for the director of this production, as it allows her to give back to the theater community that helped build her.
Manchester said she’s ecstatic to have Shearer back to direct the play, which she described as a “story of magic, mayhem, shipwrecks and courtship.”
To further Gannon theater alumna student involvement, Cheyenne Stefano, a master’s program drama therapy student at Antioch University Seattle, returns to the program to volunteer her time and skills.
Looking forward to the fall semester, although dates are still to be determined, the Schuster has planned “Doctor Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe and adapted by Don Nigro.
According to Concord Theatricals, this long one-act play is a drama following Doctor Faustus as he conjures the devil to bring life to the mundanity of his everyday life, making this a perfect show for the month of Halloween.
To his surprise, a female devil appears, and he falls in love with her, making this play’s production kind of ironic, and it puts a twist on the Faust legend.
Manchester said that lighting and costume are a huge part of this particular show, which she said are two of Howell’s strong suits.
“This also would appeal, I imagine, to the English lit professors,” Manchester said, “to see the ‘unstageable play’ that Christopher Marlowe’s play is known as, though this version is very stage-able, funny, biting and sassy.”
For the last two weekends of the fall semester, set for December, the Schuster has planned a staged reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, which will be produced and directed by Howell.
This classic Christmas story will really aid in bringing the Gannon community together for the holiday before classes adjourn for winter break.
“This production will also offer the opportunity for live foley and sound creation, atmospheric lighting and possibly even some guest actors to rotate through each night,” Manchester said.
“The cast can be as large or small as we would like, and this is finally a show we can invite the littles to.”
To stay up to date on all things Schuster Theatre over summer break and semesters to follow, follow its official Instagram page, @gannon_schuster_theatre , and check in on the theater’s website,, now and again.