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Lycoming College theatre and music departments collaborate for musical

Lycoming College theatre and music departments collaborate for musical

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The Lycoming College theatre and music departments will present “The Cradle Will Rock,” a musical written by Marc Blitzstein. The production, directed by N. J. Stanley, chair and associate professor of theatre, will run April 9-12 at 8 p.m. in Mary L. Welch Theatre. The musical director is Gary Boerckel, who recently retired as professor of music at Lycoming. Due to adult situations, the musical is recommended for mature audiences.

Blitzstein’s thoroughly American musical is set in Steeltown, U.S.A., where local tycoon Mr. Mister owns the steel factory and everything and everyone else. It’s 1937 and the brash young Larry Foreman wants to organize a steelworkers’ union while Mr. Mister is determined to thwart Larry’s plan by turning the whole town against him. Although Blitzstein’s subject matter is blatantly serious, his style is potent satire, and his Steeltown is populated with larger-than-life cartoon characters. This blistering critique of big business is the first American musical that champions the plight of the little guy.

“Our main goal is to engage students from both departments in the production,” Stanley said. “The musical has a classic rousing finale, and I thought it begged for a multitude of voices. We have invited members of the Lycoming College Choir to join in the finale.

“Collaboration such as this is really about allowing the creativity of other artists to stimulate your own. And that takes a certain humility and generosity of spirit. I have experienced that kind of trust and respect with both Dr. Boerckel and Dr. [Chris] Jackson during our work on ‘Cradle.’ We all want the same thing and it comes first – to create the best production we can!”

Chris Jackson, Lycoming’s choir director and assistant professor of music, will perform as Larry Foreman.

“This is special because it is a direct collaboration between faculty and students,” Jackson said. “The director is a faculty member, but the stage manager is a student, and I have a role alongside many of the students I teach in choir. We get to work together and I don’t have to be in charge the whole time. It’s a blast!”

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Dinner and a show is $18 and will be held April 11. To make reservations for dinner and a show, call the box office at 570-321-4048.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit

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