The Blog @
Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Theatre

  1. ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Hits the Stage

    November 13, 2013

    Over the weekend, Southern Virginia’s theatre program presented “Hello Dolly!” a musical extravaganza full of brilliant acting, musical numbers and costuming.

    As the curtain opened, the audience was treated with an eyeful of color and a beautiful set. Complete with a hidden trapdoor, the actors’ use of the stage was masterful. The wonderfully choreographed dance numbers were dynamic and fun.

    Greta Goesch, a senior from Woodbridge, Va., imbibes the titular role of Dolly Levi with an undeniable sense of life and feeling. Almost larger than life, Dolly enchants her fellow characters and the audience with her determination, sympathy, and fierce love of life. Throughout the show, Goesch lends the character dimensionality by skillfully balancing comedic timing and heartfelt expressions of emotion.

    Alongside Dolly, the production features a host of equally entertaining characters, all of whom were cast perfectly. Joanna Armstrong lent widow Irene Molloy’s character a beautiful voice that left me awestruck. Caleb Dransfield and Andrew Evans, playing Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, respectively, became a powerful comedic duo as they interacted and played off each other. And the ensemble wowed everyone. The large group numbers were full and dynamic as all the actors filled the stage with talent and excitement — the Harmonia Gardens scene especially.

    Having grown up surrounded by the theatre — performing in plays, helping with costume design and applying copious amounts of stage-makeup — I can confidently say that “Hello, Dolly!” is a marvel of a production. Professor Stoddard assembled an incredible cast and allowed them to showcase their talent on the Southern Virginia stage. It was a joy to go and see.

    Also, be sure to check out the concession stand at intermission. There are tons of treats to make the experience just that much sweeter.

    The next performance will be Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $7 for Southern Virginia students and faculty. The show will run throughout the rest of the weekend — Thursday through Saturday.

    (Post by Erin Seage ‘16. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ‘13.)


  2. ‘Oklahoma!’ in Rockbridge County

    October 2, 2013

    Rockbridge County’s newest theatre company, (540) Productions, with the help of Fine Arts in Rockbridge and producer Eileen Small, recently wrapped up their first production! I was one of many local actors and students from both Southern Virginia University and Washington and Lee University to participate in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic piece, “Oklahoma!”

    Originally performed on Broadway in 1943, “Oklahoma!” has been adapted for the screen and performed thousands of times at regional theaters and high schools throughout the nation. “Oklahoma!” helped to develop the book-musical, in which the songs and dances are incorporated into the development of the story line.

    We performed the musical in a unique space — outside on the Tichenor farm. Pat Tichenor, a local thespian and theatre enthusiast, graciously hosted the production on her farm that houses some of the oldest buildings in Rockbridge County.

    “We want to bring more live community theatre to Rockbridge County,” said Josh Harvey, the head of (540) Productions. “Since the closure of the local outside theatre, Lime Kiln, there has been a need for more local theatre.”

    Fellow Southern Virginia student Chanson Hardy, who played cowhand Will Parker in the show, said that performing outside “brought so much more magic to the entire experience.”

    I’m grateful for those that are helping to bring more arts to Rockbridge County, and to the other Southern Virginia students and alumni that helped to put on such a great production.

    (Post by Nicolas Jensen ’16. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ’13.)

  3. Photos: ‘Servant of Two Masters’

    September 17, 2013

    Over the weekend, Southern Virginia’s theatre program opened its doors to the public for an entertaining night full of mistaken identities and raucous laughter. I attended Saturday’s performance of “The Servant of Two Masters” and walked out of Chandler Hall with a newfound appreciation for Italian renaissance humor and a stitch in my side.

    As the lights dimmed and the first act began, the audience was welcomed with an energetic musical number from the entire cast, which set the tone for the rest of the night and explained some of the elements of the show. For example, the actors follow a set storyline and script, but also improvise and add scattered modern-day pop culture references throughout the production. With this introduction, audience members began to understand a little more what the night had in store for them. Then, the craziness began.

    The show centers around Truffaldino, a servant with an insatiable appetite, who hires himself out to two different masters in hopes of scoring more food. Unfortunately for him, however, the two masters have a backstory of their own. Truffaldino’s actions catalyze a series of misunderstandings and mishaps that result in a side-splitting storyline. Sword fights, young love, broken marital contracts and disguised identities: all of these things play a role in the night’s antics.

    And good heavens! Don’t sit on the sides or front rows if you have a deathly fear of contributing to the show! Along with smoothly blending slapstick humor and clever one liners, the actors heavily incorporate audience participation. Have no fear, though! The results are absolutely hilarious — I nearly choked on my Swedish Fish a few times.

    This Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Chandler Hall’s doors will open once again to the public. I’ll even see you there — I loved it so much, I’m dragging my husband to the show so he too can laugh at the lightsaber fight scene.

    Whoops. I said too much.

    Ciao, mi amici! Vi vederò questo fine settimana!

    (Post by Erin Seage ‘16. Photos by Lindsey Morgan ‘13.)

  4. Alumni, Student Teach Youth in Summer FAIR

    July 9, 2013


    How do our students and alumni spend the lovely days of summertime? One student and two graduates of Southern Virginia University are using their summer to teach children as part of the program, Summer Fine Arts in Rockbridge (FAIR), based in Lexington, Va.

    According to the organization’s website, Summer FAIR has “provided summer arts enrichment for rising first-graders through adults” for more than forty years.

    “It is a joy to share messages through acting and singing, it’s a labor of love,” said Richard Templeman (’13), the director of the Summer FAIR musical, “Seussical Jr.” “Together with the students we will have a fantastic show!”

    Templeman, who majored in theatre at Southern Virginia, will also teach two theatre classes for youth. Michael Taylor (’12), who graduated from Southern Virginia with a major in music, will serve as the music director for “Seussical Jr,” teaching participants the musical’s songs and providing piano accompaniment during rehearsals and performances.

    “I’m really excited to be involved in another production of ‘Seussical,’” said Taylor. “I was one of the Wickersham Brothers in Southern Virginia’s 2009 production, and I fell in love with the show. Now I get to share my love of this show with talented young people, and help them introduce it to a new audience.”

    Christian Tarin, a liberal arts major on the elementary education teacher licensure track at Southern Virginia, will teach a children’s drama class at Summer FAIR. According to the Summer FAIR website, the class will help children learn “how to embrace acting through theatre games and improv situations… the basics of blocking and stage direction… and [how to] feel at home in the spotlight.”

    “I love teaching theatre to kids, because you can see their confidence grow and you can see them become more comfortable with themselves,” said Tarin. “At the end of the day, if I helped them even a little bit to reach their potential, I know that I did something worthwhile.”

    This summer is Tarin’s first year teaching a class in Summer FAIR, while Taylor and Templeman both have taught or directed for the program in previous years.

    “One of my favorite things about teaching is watching student artists improve and grow beyond their limitations and apprehensions,” said Taylor. “It’s great to see them take risks and put themselves out there so that they can really communicate something with their audience.”

    Templeman brings a rich background of theatrical experience with him to his classes. He has performed in a number of musicals and plays at Washington and Lee University, Brigham Young University–Idaho, Southern Virginia University and Hollins University, as well as in the Lexington-based exit, pursued theatre company.

    Taylor, who has been playing piano since he was six years old, said that he loves “music and theatre as separate arts, but when you bring them together with dance and all the technical aspects of a show, you get a magical result that’s unlike anything else.”

    (Post by Hannah Benson Rodriguez ’13. Photo from

  5. Photos: Babes in Arms

    June 6, 2013


    One of my favorite lines from Babes in Arms: “I’m not one of you theatrical people.” This line mostly sums up my attitude toward the theater — I like to stay on the spectator-sport side of the line. I tried something new this past month by auditioning to join the cast.

    Babes in Arms Scoop-19


    I got in. My part is fairly small, but I get to do some blocking, dance in a few group numbers and sing in a barbershop quartet. I’ve definitely learned some new things, and my comfort bubble has expanded.

    Babes in Arms Scoop-17


    It’s especially cool to work with those who are “theatrical people.” If you’ve seen Babes in Arms, you might have noticed some talents in the cast and crew. Thomas Petrungaro has singing pipes; Kathryn Bouchelle does ballet; Professor Georgeson has fixing skills something sinister; Andrew Evans could convince me to turn communist, and the list goes on.

    Babes in Arms Scoop-4


    If you haven’t seen it, then come tonight and enjoy! If you have, you can come and enjoy again.

    (Post by Stephen Taylor ′14. Photos by Leigh Stoddard.)