NACOGDOCHES, Texas – In less than a week, the SummerStage Festival at Stephen F. Austin State University will open for its three-week run of presenting a fun and heartwarming children’s musical and an emotionally powerful American play for the 2018 summer theatre season.
The SummerStage Festival runs June 29 through July 19. Ticket sales are brisk for the two featured plays, – the family friendly “Pinkalicious the Musical” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Crimes of the Heart.” Both shows will make wonderful outings for those hoping to escape the summer doldrums and enjoy quality entertainment, according to Cleo House Jr., director of the SFA School of Theatre and of “Pinkalicious.”
“SummerStage is as much for the Nacogdoches community as it is for SFA,” House said. “You may have seen us at the Blueberry Festival painting faces, or dressed up as characters from your favorite cartoon movies. Maybe you saw us at the local library reading books to kids. You might have heard about us on Red River Radio or learned about us from a poster in one of the local businesses. We’ve even scheduled one ‘pay-what-you-can’ performance for each show. All of this reveals that SummerStage is community driven – which, in turn, says SummerStage is all about the people of Nacogdoches.”
House continues by acknowledging that the SummerStage Festival is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln. “We want to thank our corporate partner, Tipton Ford Lincoln, for their generous and annual partnership with our children’s show each summer.”
“Pinkalicious the Musical” with book by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, music by John Gregor, and lyrics by John Gregor, Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, is the story of Pinkalicious, a little girl who can't stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. Her pink indulgence lands her at the doctor's office with Pinkititis, an affliction that turns her pink from head to toe – a dream come true for this pink-loving enthusiast. But when her hue goes too far, only Pinkalicious can figure out a way to get out of this predicament.
Dr. Inga Meier, assistant professor of theatre and director of last year’s SummerStage favorite “The Miracle Worker,” is excited about directing “Crimes of the Heart” in SFA’s more intimate performance space, the Downstage Theatre.
“‘Crimes of the Heart’ is ultimately a play about the bonds of family and about love,” Meier said. “The smaller theatre, and way we’ve arranged seating, allow the audience to feel as though they are a direct part of the experience.”
“Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley is about three sisters with very different personalities and lives who reunite when the youngest of them, Babe, has just shot her husband. The oldest sister, Lenny, takes care of their grandfather and is turning into an old maid, while Meg, who tries to make it in Hollywood as a singer/actress, has had a wild life filled with many men. Their reunion causes much joy, but also many tensions, according to the description at imdb.com.
Set in 1974, the play has the Magrath sisters still coping with their father’s abandonment and mother’s suicide that occurred more than a decade earlier, the devastation of Hurricane Camille five years earlier and the Watergate scandal that unfolded only months before the start of the play’s storyline.
“The traumas and crises faced by the sisters are thus not all that different from those confronting the country today,” Meier wrote in her program notes. “Our news may come from the internet rather than newspapers, but we are not unfamiliar with headlines informing us of suicides, hurricanes and Constitutional crises. The events leave their mark on the sisters in different ways and fracture their familial bond. When the play begins, they are faced with yet another crisis, causing the sisters to circle the wagons and find their way back to one another.
“It is said that history repeats, first as tragedy, then as comedy,” she said. “For the sisters, who have witnessed so much tragedy, the comedy offers both a reprieve and a path forward, blending laughter and tears into a story of resilience we can all learn from.”
With “Crimes of the Heart” addressing domestic violence, pedophilia and suicide, a “talkback session” with Jill Milem, director of SFA’s Counseling Services, will follow the play’s July 7 performance.
“Pinkalicious the Musical” will be presented in W.M. Turner Auditorium at 10 a.m. June 29, July 10 and 19; at 2 p.m. July 7, 10 and 18; and at 6:30 p.m. June 30 and July 14. General admission tickets are $8. A pay-what-you-can performance is at 2 p.m. July 10.
“Crimes of the Heart” will be presented in the Downstage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. July 5, 7, 12, 13, 17 18 and 19 and at 2 p.m. July 14. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students/youth. A pay-what-you-can performance is at 2 p.m. July 14.
For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/ or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.