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Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Original Cast to present folk song revue

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Original Cast, a musical cabaret troupe from the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre, will present four performances of "Blowin' in the Wind: Poets of the Folk Song Era" Thursday, March 24, through Saturday, March 26, in the Downstage Theatre of the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

The original musical revue by the group's director, Dr. Alan Nielsen, looks at the history of folk music, beginning with songs by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in the 1930s and '40s. The majority of the songs included in the revue come from the 1960s and '70s.

The 14-member cast will perform as soloists and in small ensembles in a coffee house type setting, singing songs such as Janice Ian's "At Seventeen," Simon and Garfunkle's "Sounds of Silence," and Peter, Paul and Mary's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

Nielsen's script weaves the songs together, revealing how folk music, with its emphasis on current affairs such as the Viet Nam War and civil rights, affected pop music and even Broadway productions.

"It's a celebration of the song writers as well as an exploration of how little things have changed in the last 50 or 60 years," Nielsen said. "We still have many of the same problems we had then, but the music today is not addressing them."

Because Nielsen will retire at the end of the spring semester, "Blowin' in the Wind" is the last revue he will write for the troupe he founded when he joined the SFA faculty in 1990.

For 21 years The Original Cast has presented one or two revues annually, performed for local civic groups, and provided entertainment during community events such as the Nine Flags Festival.

"This group has meant a lot to me," Nielsen said. "I appreciate both the opportunity I've had to create for the students and the great support we've received from the community."

"Blowin' in the Wind" is a co-presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Theatre. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, and Friday, March 25, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. For tickets or more information, please visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.