Weber State University’s performing arts department has unveiled its spring semester calendar, headlined by the Bonneville Chamber Music Festival, two plays by the theater department, the Gospel Music Festival and the special addition of encore performances of the musical Xanadu.
The WSU Gospel Music Festival, on Friday, Jan. 13, involves both the WSU Concert and Chamber Choirs, as well as soloists and gospel choirs from various northern Utah churches. Put together in honor of Black History Month, the show has featured tributes to Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement and the composition of the piece “Amazing Grace.”
“The Gospel Festival is always my favorite show of the year,” said Ryan Holt, a recently graduated economics major and former member of the WSU choirs. “It’s just so free and the singers are so energetic and passionate and sincere.”
Xanadu, directed by Jim Christian and based on the ’80s cult film, will be showing in the Eccles Black Box Theater on Feb. 3 and 4. According to Caril Jennings, the WSU performing arts department marketing director, the extra performances were added due to the show’s invitation to participate in the American College Theatre Festival Region VIII competition.
Sean Bishop and Breanne Welch star in the show as Sonny, a sidewalk chalk artist, and Kira, a Greek muse, both of whom are catapulted into a world of Greek mythology, ’80s music and roller derbies (the show is choreographed and performed with the use of roller skates).
“It’s fun with Xanadu,” said Bishop in a November interview with The Signpost, “because the entire cast puts on music and throws dance parties to get ready for the production, since that’s basically the gist of the show anyway.”
Moliere’s Tartuffe, directed by Jennifer Kokai and performed by the WSU theater department, will run through the beginning of March. According to Jennings, it is a French comedy written in 1664 about a “pious fraud (who) almost gets away with taking everything from a family.”
The musical theater department will also run performances of Cradle Will Rock, a 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. Directed by members of the WSU Associated Actors and Technicians (AAT), the musical follows a union uprising, led by one “Larry Foreman,” against the evil and greedy businessman “Mr. Mister.”
The musical is almost entirely sung-through, giving it a semi-operatic style akin to famous works like Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, though the music is more classically written in the traditional Broadway style. Like Xanadu, Cradle Will Rock will also be shown in the Eccles Black Box Theater of the Val A. Browning Center.
The Bonneville Chamber Music Festival, which runs through the middle to end of March, will feature classical performances by many of the WSU performing arts department faculty. Performances highlight the works of French composers, as well as other chamber music classics, while also making time for modern chamber music.
Highlighting the Bonneville Festival will be the March 26 string performance of the Richter Uzur Duo, as well as the March 30 performance of French composer Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.