Ashland University Theatre Announces "A Season Of Turning Points"

9/9/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University Theatre announces its 2011-2012 uplifting season focusing on the turning points of life's journey. Beginning with a witty and inventive comedy addressing today's life issues, to a musical story about faith and the fragile optimism of youth, then a romantic comedy about frustrated housewives on a path of rediscovery, and concluding with a variety of thought-provoking, student-directed one-acts, Ashland University Theatre presents "A Season of Turning Points" featuring works from a new generation of theatre artists.

The season begins with the witty and inventive comedy "Circle Mirror Transformation" by Annie Baker, the 2010 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play. Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Fabio Polanco, the play traces the lives of some small-town Vermont residents who gather each week at the local community center for an acting class. Audience members will witness the characters' surprise when their lives are transformed in ways they could have never anticipated. Evening performances in the intimate Studio Theatre begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 30, Oct. 1, 6, 7 and 8 along with a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 2.

With more than 40 University and community performers in the cast, Richard Taylor's "Whistle Down the Wind" is a musical story about faith, conviction and the fragile optimism of youth based on the adaptation of Mary Haley Bell's celebrated novel and film starring her daughter Hayley Mills. Three rural children discover a wounded fugitive hiding in their barn believing "The Man" to be Jesus. While the children harbor the stranger in a vow of secrecy, the adults rush to "save" their children with sorrowful consequences. After directing the musical's North American premiere at Ashland University in 1997, Professor of Theatre Ric Goodwin is ecstatic to revisit the show with senior music major Eddie Carney as musical director. Performances are slated in Hugo Young Theatre beginning Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. with evening performances continuing on Oct. 29, Nov. 4 and 5, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 30.  A special reception with the 1997 and 2011 casts and crews is being planned for Nov. 5 immediately following the closing night performance.

The 2003 Tony-Award nominated play "Enchanted April" by Matthew Barber (from the novel by Elizabeth von Armin) is a comical, restorative journey of discovery which follows two frustrated London housewives and two very different English women who decide to rent a villa in Italy for a holiday away from their bleak lives. Traveling from darkness to light, and from inhibition to unrestrained joy, the women rediscover themselves in ways that they could never have expected. Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, performances in Hugo Young Theatre are Feb. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.

The final performances of the regular season are presented in Experience/Experiment: The 2012 One-Act Festival. This variety of one-act plays are directed, designed and performed by the theatre students. With performances in the Studio Theatre from April 18 through April 21 at 7:30 p.m., audiences will follow the journey of Ashland University's talented students as they challenge themselves mentally and physically with thought-provoking results.

Reserved season tickets are now available for the above performances at the Ashland University Box Office. Season tickets include admission to all four season productions with up to a 20 percent discount to single ticket prices. Season tickets for all four productions are: $32 for adults; and $28 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students and Ashland University faculty/staff. Single tickets are: $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students, University faculty/staff; $8 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students with ID card.

In addition to the main stage season productions, the theatre department presents several free performances including three senior projects and the annual Drop of a Hat Players showcase. Although free and open to the public, admission to the following performances requires a reservation through the University's Box Office. This fall, senior EdNick McCrea from Ashland, Ohio, presents a screening of his original film "Gameshow" in the Studio Theatre on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. In the spring, senior Brittany Hartman of Strongsville, Ohio, presents a gallery exhibition "Hair and Make-Up as an Art Form" in the Coburn Gallery from Feb. 17 to 28. Drew Rothhaar of Mansfield, Ohio, and Maddie Beer of Shelby, Ohio, present their musical theatre performance of "How to be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord" in the Studio Theatre, March 31, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The theatre department's musical revue troupe Drop of a Hat Players performs two shows of their annual showcase on April 1 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

To purchase season or individual tickets, contact the Ashland University Box Office by phone at 419-289-5125, or in person at in the lobby of Hugo Young Theatre located at the corner of College Avenue and Grant Street.  Hours are Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Tickets are also available on-line at<>. For more information, visit the Web site at<> or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or<>.

Ashland University (<>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.