Forest Roberts Theatre reveals exciting 2014-15 season

Clairisa Laws

Let’s get these shows on the road. The music and performances are striking back at Northern Michigan University.

Auditions will be held at Forest Roberts Theatre, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 and Friday, Sept. 5. NMU is casting for, according to the FRT page on NMU’s website: “A Paper Tiger in the Rain,” “Haunted Theatre,” “Chicago,” “10 Minute Play Festival” and “Tribes.”

Featured for the Forest Roberts Theatre 2014-15 mainstage season are “A Paper Tiger in the Rain,” “Chicago,” “Tribes” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”

This season, the musicals are shaping up to be the most popular performances, according to theater professor Paul Truckey.

“The two biggest productions we are doing is ‘Chicago’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’” Paul Truckey said.

Kicking off this theater season is “A Paper Tiger in the Rain” by David J. Swanson. Featured Tuesday, Sept. 30 through Saturday Oct. 4 and Tuesday, Oct. 7 through

Saturday, Oct. 11 in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre, “A Paper Tiger in the Rain” is about an individual, Nathan, who is promoted to his dream job as editor-in-chief, according to the FRT website.

After Nathan discovers the financial instability of the newspaper, he attempts to put a halt to the downfall. Nathan befriends a young blogger, Ben, along the way who helps him through the lesson of waiting for the impossible and depending on the improbable.

The second production of the mainstage season,“Chicago,” will run Wednesday, Nov. 19 through Monday, Nov. 22 in the Forest Roberts Theatre.

“Chicago” is the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

This musical is about  two murderesses fighting for fame and competing for their life, according to the musical’s website.

 Third-year theater major Alex Marks is taking on the role of Matron “Mama” Morton. “Chicago” is Marks’ capstone project and she is well-prepared for not only that, but the other commitments her final theater season at NMU.

“That will be the most exciting,” Marks said about her final capstone project. “I also get to stage manage this year so lots of new things, lots of different things to do on my last year.”

“Tribes” by Nina Raine is the next show on mainstage season, coming to the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre Tuesday, Feb. 10 through Saturday, Feb. 21.

“[‘Tribes’] is a new script and a very exciting one about a young man who is deaf, who is dealing with a family situation where no one wants to deal with that,” communication and performance studies professor Shelley Russell said. “They want to just keep it all in their words, ‘normal’ and so it’s really a play about communication and language.”

The castings for “Tribes”  are scheduled to be earlier- foreshadowing bilingual language acquisitions.

“I need to cast it early because I have a couple of people who need to learn American sign language,” Russell said.

The last for the 2014-15 mainstage season, Russell reveals the fun awaiting behind “Little Shop of Horrors, which will be shown Wednesday, April 15 through Saturday, April 19.

This musical is about a florist worker, Seymour, who tenders and cares to a plant that feeds on human blood. While the plant is named after a secret love, Audrey II, the plant becomes the attraction of the neighborhood.

The 2014-15 studio series features “Haunted Theatre,” “10 Minute Play Festival,” “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking” and “NMU Dance Concert.”

Check out Forest Roberts Theatre at its scariest for “Haunted Theatre,” Thursday, Oct. 30 through Saturday Nov. 1.

“We have our haunted theatre that we hold every year in the theatre for a fundraiser,” Truckey said. “A ton of people and students get roles to play different scary characters. It raises money for the First Nighters Club, our affinity club here at NMU, raising money for students and scholarships.”

All ages are welcome and encouraged.

“Everyone should audition for it,” Russell said. “It’s scary and fun and everyone gets to be monsters. The cast for the haunted theater is enormous. I think the cast is just about everybody that auditions and it just gets scarier every year.”

Wednesday, Dec. 3 and Thursday, Dec. 4 in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre will be the “10 Minute Play Festival.” During this series, students in the directing theory class presents a variety of 10-minute plays.

Senior theater major Jesse Morrow is ready for the excitement of her capstone project, and the next Studio Series performance featured. Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre is “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking,” written by John Ford Noonan.

“It is my two-woman show and I just get to throw it all out there and be this crazy, southern, eccentric woman which will be really different for me and a lot of fun,” Morrow said. “It’ll all be good.”

Get your dancing shoes on Sunday, March 29 and head down to the Forest Roberts Theatre for the NMU Dance Concert, and the last performance of the 2014-15 Studio Series. Students and faculty of the NMU dance minor choreograph dance performances.

For more information about these performances, visit the FRT website at