UK Theatre to produce first musical

By Kayla Pickrell

UK’s theater department has a lot on its plate this year with its regular shows and the addition of a musical and winter dance concert.

Theatre Department chair Nancy Jones, the chair of the Theatre Department, said the productions this year relate to students “on a personal level.” The Rebels Act Out series is titled for two reasons: the characters are stepping out of the boundaries in each play, but so is the theatre department.

The department usually produces four plays each year but recently added a winter dance concert because of the dance minor now available to students.

Another difference is the musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Normally, UK Theatre does not include musicals as main productions; however, this year organizers thought it was something the actors and students needed to experience, Jones said. She said this will be UK Theatre’s first musical.

The first play of the Rebels Act Out series, “Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven,” derives from Chinese folk tales, and the script is being written by students.

They are using the original stories to help devise the script, said Jennifer Goodlander, professor and director of “Monkey King.”

“I love getting a bunch of smart and creative people in a room to see what they come up with,” Goodlander said.

The theater department’s costume technologist, Robert Haven, takes costume construction from the classroom to the stage.

Students in Haven’s class are assigned to one actor for “Monkey King” and are required to make the shirt and pants for the production.

Haven said it isn’t just a class project.

“A lot of people don’t understand how the costumes make it to the stage,” he said.

Tony Hardin, a set and lighting professor, is doing the lighting for “Monkey King” and said a challenge of this particular production is that no set script exists.

“We are just letting it (the creative process) happen in rehearsal and adjusting accordingly,” Hardin said.

He said students should attend performances to see “how exciting live theater can be.”

“It makes you think and it makes you want to see more,” he said.

The musical will premiere in the spring.