Larry Dooley, in his first year as chairman of the Columbus State University department of theater, has chosen, along with the theater faculty, a season that includes brand-new plays as well as classics like Anton Chehkov’s “Three Sisters.”
This summer the department will hold its first summer season of shows.
“Blue’s Clues,” a popular show that was created for Nickelodeon, is aimed at nursery schools and day care centers and will be performed in the morning, starting June 1.
“Nunsense,” about the Little Sisters of Hoboken, opens June 9.
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Dooley said it will take about 30 student actors, technicians and faculty to have a successful summer season.
For the summer shows, because there is a skeleton crew at CSU, he may open auditions to the community. And if it is successful, Dooley hopes to hire guest artists next summer.
For the 2011-12 season, an extra show has been added, bringing the total to up to seven.
The offerings include the winner of the Larry Corse International Playwriting Competition, “The Campaneras.” It opens the season on Sept. 22. It’s written by Kathy Coudle King and is based on the true stories of former political prisoners in Uruguay during that country’s “dirty war” of the 1970s.
Other titles include “Noises Off,” the British farce featuring slamming doors and a two-story revolving set, and “Three Sisters,” about the young women bored in Russia, facing infidelity, fire, drunkeness and the drudgery of work.
Another new show, “Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom,” written by Jennifer Haley, is about teenagers who are addicted to a horror video game that morphs into their actual neighborhood.
The students will tackle “Caroline, or Change,” the Tony-nominated musical about a Jewish household with a black maid in 1963 Lake Charles, La. The musical genres include blues, rock, gospel, R&B and soul.
The children’s series include “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “The Toys Take Over Christmas” and “How I Became a Pirate.”
Cameron Bean, who handles publicity for the theater department and is the recruiter for the Fine Arts Division, said the students he’s talked to are “pumped” about the season.
“I think it’s a very good blend of shows that defines us as a department of theater. The new plays should give students a challenge to produce,” Bean said.
Dooley said he expects about 60 incoming freshmen in September. The auditioning process to get into the department has become tougher and he’s actually turning away students now.
He expects to hire a voice and movement acting professor in the fall.
Dooley spoke with us last week about his first year at CSU and the new season. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How do you choose a season of plays?
The faculty does it. And this year, we started soliciting suggestions from the students. Then as a faculty, we choose the plays, depending on how many male and female roles are in the play, and we have to have a variety of styles of plays.
You’ve been here since last summer. How do you like Columbus?
I’ve been here since July. I love it. I’m so glad to be back in the South. I was born in Michigan, but grew up in Florida. My wife is from South Carolina and now we’re closer to her family. It’s been a great situation for us.
What are the students like?
They’re terrific. They are very disciplined and they have had lots of good training. They are very impressive.
How has the transition from being a Lutheran minister to teaching at the college level been like?
I went back to get my master’s and Ph.D. in 1992. I stopped that (being a minister). I’m still active in the church.
As a minister, I’m sure you acted as a counselor. Do those skills come in handy now?
Occasionally. It helps with building collaboration between the faculty and the students. A faculty meeting is not much different from a church board meeting.
“Blue’s Clues:” 9:30 a.m. June 1-3, June 10, June 16-17, June 23-24; 10 a.m. June 11, June 15, June 25; 2 p.m. June 12, June 19. $6-$12
“Nunsense:” 7:30 p.m. June 9-11, June 16-18, June 23-25; 2 p.m. June 26. $17-$20
“Companeras:” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22-24 and 2 p.m. Sept. 25. Rated PG-13 for adult content and language.
“Noises Off:” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27-29 and 2 p.m. Oct. 30. Rated PG-13 for adult content and language.
“Three Sisters:” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17-20. Written by Anton Chehkov, it’s about three bored young women in Russia. Rated PG for adult content.
“Neighborhood 3 — Requisition of Doom:” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2-4 and 2 p.m. Feb. 5. Rated R for adult content and language.
Caroline, or Change: 7:30 p.m. March 29-31 and 2 p.m. April 1. Includes musical genres of gospel, R&B, soul and the blues. Rated PG for adult content.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8-9, 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 and 2 p.m. Sept. 11. A boy who gives a mouse a cookie faces implications he never realized.
The Toys Take Over Christmas: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. Dec. 3. Sunny, a cheerful rag doll, is brought to life by the Toymaker, who keeps the toys to himself.
How I Became a Pirate: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19-20, 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 2 p.m. Jan. 22. A story of adventure and finding one’s own heart.
Mainstage: $64-$72; $55 for the Pick 4
Family Series: $15-$24
Mainstage and Family Series: $78-$96
Single tickets: $22 for musicals; $17 for dramas and comedies; $10 for family shows
Parking: W.C. Bradley Co. lot on Bay Avenue
Where: Theater on the Park, 6 W. 10th St.