The Towson University Department of Theatre Arts will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its theatre major with a production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, also performed at TU in 1963.
As an homage to that time period, the 2013 production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, which opens Thursday, is set in the 1960s—the decade the theatre major was originally founded by C. Richard Gillespie. Now a familiar face on campus, the professor of 37 years first came to Towson in 1961, when the then-called Maryland State Teachers College at Towson technically had a theatre but no actual academic program to populate it.
Gillespie, who taught a wide range of courses in acting, directing, playwriting and theatre history, to name a few, remedied that in 1963, and today the department offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 150 current students and has graduated such successful stars as Tony Award-winning actor John Glover, comedian Amy Schumer and actor/director Charles Dutton.
Today the department pays tribute to that by turning once again to Twelfth Night—only this time with a mod twist. Originally set in the 17th century, the TU production will take place in the 1960s, a time of revolution for civil rights, politics, music and fashion.
Opening Thursday, Oct. 24 on the Mainstage Theatre, the production is directed by Peter Wray, associate professor of theatre.
The cast will feature such TU students as Tanner T. Medding as Duke Orsino; Shannon Graham as Countess Olivia; Jess Liberatore as Viola; Matt Acquard as Sir Toby Belch; Linus T. Owens as Sir Andrew Aguecheek; Paul America as Malyolio; Vicky Gillen as Maria; Zach Bopst as Sebastian; Alex Shade as Antonio; Joe Miller as Sea Captain; Adam Christopher Timko as Valentine; Sean Kelly as Curio; Ian Andrews as Fabian; and Alex Lewis as Feste.
In addition to his teaching role, Wray is also a professional actor and director. His work in the Baltimore area includes performances at Everyman Theatre, Rep Stage, The Bay Theatre Company, Generous Company, the WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory, the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maryland Ensemble Theatre, where he is an associate artist and director.
The play opens Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m., and subsequent performances will be held Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. All performances will be in the Center for the Arts Mainstage Theatre located on the corner of Osler and Cross Campus drives.
Tickets are $20 for general admission and $10 for students and senior citizens, and available online and at the Center for the Arts Box Office. Proceeds from the Oct. 24 performance will benefit the TU Foundation.