"Anton in Show Business" on Stage Through March 6

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Fairmont State University Masquers theatre group opens the spring 2010 semester with the production of an award-winning contemporary play. In the tradition of great backstage comedies, Jane Martin's "Anton in Show Business," winner of the 2001 American Theatre Critics Steinberg New Play Award, conveys the joys, pains and absurdities of "putting on a play" at the turn of the century.

"Anton in Show Business" runs Feb. 26 and 27 and March 4, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Wallman Hall Theatre. Tickets are available through the Box Office by calling (304) 367-4240. "Anton in Show Business" contains adult language and situations. Ticket prices are $10 for preferred seating and $6 for general seating.

Directed by Professor of Theatre John O'Connor, the show tells a wildly funny and poignantly moving story of three disparate women who come to understand the meaning of sisterhood. It is simultaneously a critique of and tribute to the American theatre. The play evokes what theatre in its best moments is capable of -- the creation of community.

"Anton in Show Business" features a company of 13 actors: Lakyn Arrick of New Martinsville, Kelly Blake of Hedgesville, Sasha Bohon of Fairmont, Morgan Lea Davis of Augusta, Sami Dull of Chambersburg, Pa., Dee Gibson of Fairmont, Kayla Hudimac of Wheeling, Elizabeth Huff of Charles Town, Samantha Huffman of Fairmont, Andrea Loss of Fairmont, Dana Sayre of Chesapeake, Jenn Scholtz of Inwood and Hannah Weakley of Williamsburg. Scene and lighting design is by Assistant Professor of Theatre Troy Snyder; costume design is by Linda O'Connor; prop design is by theatre major Marc Cornes; and sound design is by theatre major Sean Marko.

This madcap comedy follows three actresses across the footlights, down the rabbit hole, and into a strangely familiar Wonderland that looks a lot like American theatre. Holly Seabé is a gorgeous TV star pursuing the cache stage acting can give her to help her land a movie role. Casey Mulgraw, the "Queen of Off-Off-Broadway," has performed in 200 productions without pay. Lisabette Cartwright, a recent graduate of the Southern Methodist University theatre program, seeks a meaningful experience in theatre.

As they pursue their dream of performing Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters" in Texas, they're whisked through a maelstrom of "good ideas" that offer unique solutions to their need to have life's deeper purpose revealed.

The "good ideas" come from a collection of theatrical types including: director and "old British fairy" Ralph Brightly; Polish director Wikéwitch Konalkvis; Andwyneth Wyoré, artistic director of San Antonio's Black Rage; T-Anne, the stage manager who is also in the play; producer Katrina Todorovskia, who has degrees from Stanford, Harvard and Yale; and country-and-western singer and sometime actor Ben Shipwright.

The acting company of FSU's production of "Anton in Show Business."  Left to right: Kelly Blake, Andrea Loss, Hannah Weakley, Dee Gibson, Sasha Bohon, Jenn Scholtz, Dana Sayre, Kayla Hudimac, Sami Dull, Samantha Huffman, and Elizabeth Huff.  Not pictured: Lakyn Arrick and Morgan Lea Davis.

Sami Dull as Holly Seabé and Samantha Huffman as Wikéwitch Konalkvis rehearse a scene from FSU's production of "Anton in Show Business."