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The Shoestring Players to deliver once again this academic year

Every year the Theatre Department at USC Upstate brings to life stories that make us laugh, cry, and question. This year is no different. The 2019- 2020 Season features strong themes as well as some firsts.

The season begins with (ANON) ymous by Naomi Iizuka. (ANON) ymous is a contemporary retelling of the Odyssey. Its focus is on Anon, a refugee who is separated from his mother, as he journeys through the United States meeting many different people. (ANON)ymous will be directed by the theatre department’s newest addition, Professor Laura Rikard, who is also the co-founder of Theatre Intimacy Education. The show will run the weekend of Oct. 3-6. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 26 at the Box Office.

The second show of the season can only be described as Sesame Street for Adults. Avenue Q is a musical comedy is told through both human and puppets with lyrics and music by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty. This Tony Award winning play follows the inhabitants of Avenue Q as they tackle life issues, like what to do when you are fresh out of college. Avenue Q will be directed by the Head of the Theatre Department, Lee Neibert. You can catch Avenue Q the weekend of Nov. 21-24. Tickets for Avenue Q will go on sale Aug. 26 in the Box Office.

Wrapping up the fall will be A Tuna Christmas written by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, and Jaston Williams. Centered on the town’s annual Christmas Yard Display Contest, won 14 times in a row by Vera Carp, a mysterious “Christmas Phantom,” known for vandalizing the yard displays, has the contestants on edge. Among the subplots are Stanley Bumiller’s attempts to end his probation and leave Tuna, Bertha Bumiller’s struggle to hold her family together at Christmas time, and Joe Bob Lipsey’s fight to mount successfully his production of A Christmas Carol despite the town controller of the electric company threatening to turn the lights off. The play is both an affectionate commentary and withering satire of small town, Southern life and attitudes. A Tuna Christmas will be directed by Rich Robinson. You can see the show Dec. 12-14.

The Spring will feature something new from Upstate Theatre, with Voices To Hear. Voices to Hear will feature diversity and inclusivity. The Stage Reading of Last Night and the Night Before will be the first of the series. Written by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Last Night and the Night Before explores the complex power, necessity, and beauty of loss. This staged reading will be directed by Allen Evans. It will run Feb. 14-15. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Tickets will be available Jan. 13, 2020 at the Box Office.

The final show of the 2019-2020 season will be The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Sarah Ruhl. Transplanted from their beloved Moscow to a provincial Russian town, three sisters—school teacher Olga, unhappily married Masha, idealistic Irina—yearn for the city of their childhood, where they imagine their lives will be transformed and fulfilled. Three Sisters is the portrait of a family grappling with the bittersweet distance between reality and dreams. Three Sisters will be directed by Laura Rikard. The show will run from April 2-4. Tickets go on sale Jan. 13, 2020 in the Box Office.

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