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“Bush is Back”: CMU summer theater will be in-person, on tour


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Two students, Christian Edwards (right) and Olivia Randall (left), rehearse in Bush Theater on the campus of Central Michigan University. Photo Courtesy of Steve Berglund

The Central Michigan University theater department declared “Bush is Back,” the summer program will be performing live, in-person shows in Bush Theater and on tour after a year of live-streamed performances. 

June 17-20, the company will perform two shows: “Sylvia,” directed by Steve Berglund, and “Red Herring,” directed by Keely Stanton-Bohn.

The shows will alternate evenings when performed in Bush Theater with a limited audience capacity and will no longer be live-streamed. In early July, the company will take the shows on tour to perform in the Beaver Island BIC Center and the Playhouse at White Lake in Whitehall, Michigan.

“I think it's the best and the most professional undergraduate theatrical experience that students can have,” said Berglund, who is the department chair. “It's just a great experience for students to be able to perform these shows in three very different spaces.”

Due to COVID-19, the department was unable to perform in front of live audiences this year. However, they still managed to have a full season with three shows in the fall and three shows in the spring.

“It's a lot different than the other years, it's been really hard,” said Olivia Randall, a senior from Wyoming, Michigan. “But I'm really excited that things are starting to get back to normal. We're able to, you know, have a little more freedom with productions and we don't have to be so cautious of the pandemic, so it's nice that things are getting better.”

The live performances will be taking precautions against COVID-19 by keeping the theater at approximately 20 percent capacity, said Berglund. All attendees will be required to wear masks and socially distance.

“Sylvia” and “Red Herring” were originally chosen for the 2020 summer program, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.

This year, they decided to do the same shows and invite back the students who were supposed to participate last summer.

Auditions took place in February to replace the students who were unable to come back. 

Randall was cast as Sylvia in “Sylvia” and Maggie in “Red Herring.” 

“I'm so excited to be able to perform at other theaters for people not from Central Michigan,” Randall said. “Especially because the only theaters I've ever performed at were my high school theater and here so being able to go to different theaters, I’m excited for.”

Tickets for the Bush Theater shows can be purchased through CMU’s website.

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