UNA Announces Lineup for 2009 Summer Theatre Program

Jun. 12, 2009


FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama will host the second season of its revived Summer Theatre Program the last three weeks of July. The summer season will be headlined by the comedy duo The Smothers Brothers, celebrated Emmy Award-winning actor and director John Amos, and Will Stutts’ production of the Tony- and Oscar-winning play “Amadeus,” by Peter Shaffer.

All productions for the season will be in Norton Auditorium on the UNA campus.

“Amadeus”
“Amadeus” will take stage at 7:30 p.m. July 16-18 and at 2 p.m. July 19.

Shaffer’s play premiered on Broadway in 1980, starring Ian McKellan as Antonio Salieri and Tim Curry as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The play won five Tony Awards, including Best Play. Shaffer adapted it for the movie version in 1984, which won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.

Set in the lush 18th century court of Austrian Emporer Josef, the entire play is underscored with the brilliant music of Mozart himself, creating a stunning visual and aural experience as Salieri is obsessed with the musical genius of Mozart and plots his downfall. In the end, Salieri must realize that Mozart continues to live on through the majesty of his music as Salieri fades into obscurity. A stunning play, “Amadeus” is acclaimed throughout the world as one of the best plays in modern theatre.

John Amos in “Halley’s Comet”
Amos will perform his impressive one-man show, “Halley’s Comet,” at 7:30 p.m. July 25.

The UNA Summer Theatre Program is bringing Amos to UNA in association with the Music Preservation Society. Amos’ performance will be the headliner for the Shoals’ annual W.C. Handy Music Festival.

The show was conceived and written by Amos in 1980 and features a character who shares memories of witnessing Halley’s Comet twice in his life – once at age 10 and now in his old age. He reveals a life full of adventure, drama and dreams – combining that which is very funny, tempered with life’s sadnesses. “Halley’s Comet” is a theatrical journey that proves the endurance of the human spirit.

Amos has directed and acted in a variety of stage productions from Los Angeles to Broadway to England. He is particularly known for his roles in a long list of television hits, including Kunta Kinte in the epic mini-series “Roots,” James Evans in the hit series “Good Time” and Percy Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in “The West Wing.”

The Smothers Brothers
The legendary comedy duo will perform at 7:30 p.m. July 30.

The Smothers Brothers (Tom and Dick) changed comedy when they first hit the stage together more than 50 years ago. Their cutting-edge humor has proven both timeless and ahead of its time. They quickly became major headliners, were regulars on Johnny Carson and the variety shows of the era, and they also recorded a dozen top-selling albums.

The duo really took television by storm with “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” pushing CBS to the top of television ratings and unseating the No. 1 show, “Bonanza.” They were rewarded with numerous Emmy Awards for their television efforts and have become icons of the glory days of American television. They continue to perform selective dates around the world each year, playing to sell-out audiences and creating a legion of new fans wherever they go.

About the UNA Summer Theatre Program
The only professional summer theatre program in the Tennessee Valley, the UNA Summer Theatre Program is a revival of the UNA program of the 1970s that achieved regional and national recognition each summer for hosting some of the brightest stars of stage, screen and television to perform and share their experiences in the entertainment industry.

Personalities such as Van Johnson, Janis Paige, Mercedes McCambridge, Peggy Cass, Sal Mineo, Broderick Crawford and many others graced the Norton Auditorium stage as part of the series. UNA was one of the only universities in the Southeast to undertake such an ambitious project.

In 2008, the program was revived by UNA alumnus Will Stutts, who, as a UNA student, had been involved with the first Summer Theatre Program. He has since earned recognition as a professional actor, director, producer and playwright. Last summer, in its first year, the revived Summer Theatre Program presented Stutts’ own one-man play “Mark Twain’s America,” the hit musical biography of Tammy Wynette “Stand by Your Man,” and brought Emmy Award winner, the irresistible Vicki Lawrence, of “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Mama’s Family” fame, to UNA.

For More Information
For more information about the 2009 UNA Summer Theatre Program, call 256-766-9719 or visit www.una.edu/summertheatre