Summer Theatre program presents two comedies beginning June 21


Students in the process of building a set. Photo provided by University Summer Theatre.

Every year for the past 32 years, the University Theatre puts together a Summer Theatre company of talented students who work on and perform productions throughout the summer.

This season, the Summer Theatre program is presenting two quirky Norm Foster comedies, beginning June 21. The productions include:

 Self-Help- written by Norm Foster and directed by Elaine Daugherty

A comedy in which a married pair of second-rate theatre actors cast themselves as nationally renowned self-help gurus. Their lives unravel in a farce as they try to conceal a body and hold on to their falsely won fame. Includes mature content.

  • Bush Theatre: 
    • 7:30 p.m.: Thursday, June 21, Saturday, June 23, and Friday, July 13
    • 2:00 p.m.: Sunday, July 15
  • Beaver Island Community Center Theatre:
    • 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 5

The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby- written by Norm Foster and directed by Steve Berglund

 Investment banker James Bell gets stuck in the sleepy town of Kooshog Lake during their annual fishing derby.  A quirky comedy complete with romance, broken hearts and a shark attack. Includes mildly mature content.  

  • Bush Theatre: 
    • 7:30 p.m.: Friday, June 22, Thursday July 12 and Saturday, July 14
    • 2:00 p.m.: Sunday, June 24
  • Beaver Island Community Center Theatre:
    • 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 6

Both of the plays will also be presented in September when students return to campus to kick off the 2018-2019 University Theatre season.

In mid-February, students began a competitive audition and interview process for the chance to be one of the 10-13 students selected for the Summer Theatre cast and crew. The 11 students chosen for this summer's program started a rigorous six days a week rehearsal schedule on May 14, which continued until opening night of the first production on June 21.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania junior Madi Miloszewski has been involved in University Theatre since her freshman year. She said the best part about doing Summer Theatre is learning what acting is like in the "real world."

The students involved in Summer Theatre contribute to all areas of theatre required for a touring production series such technical positions, acting roles, set and costume design and stage management. 

Director of University Theatre Steven Burgland said the program aims to completely immerse the students in the production process to prepare them for professional theatre.

"The goal is to get students exposed to lots of different aspects of theatre over the course of the summer," Burgland said. 

While the majority of the productions will be presented in Bush Theatre, they will also be presented for two days at the Beaver Island Community Center Theatre. Burgland said that in the past the group has travelled all over the state to cities such as Petoskey and Detroit, and has received great feedback. 

Scott Henze, a Shelby Township junior, said he has very much enjoyed the opportunity to get involved with new things over the summer in the theatre, like working with set and costume design.

"I think (Summer Theatre) has been a really good way to prepare me for being in a professional acting troop," Henze said. "It's like being on training wheels."

Tickets for both shows can be purchased through Ticket Central or at the CMU Events Center.