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“The Merry Widow” Opens at IUP December 3

The Merry Widow

Music Theater at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will open its presentation of the light-hearted musical The Merry Widow on Thursday, December 3, 2009. Performances will run December 3–5 at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, December 6, at 2:00 p.m. on the Waller Hall Mainstage, IUP Performing Arts Center.

This classic operetta by Franz Lehar will be performed in English by a cast of thirty IUP students. The comedy and love story features a translation by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, originally commissioned in 2004 for the San Francisco Opera.

The Merry Widow

Set at the turn of the twentieth century, the story depicts a recently widowed commoner who inherits millions after the death of her banker husband. It is essential to the finances of the widow’s near-bankrupt home country of Pontevedro—a tiny mythical eastern European kingdom—that she remarry a Pontevedrian rather than a foreigner, thus keeping her fortune in the country and saving it from ruin.

Along the way, the ambassador to France hatches a scheme to set the now-independent widow up with a Pontevedrian count, who turns out to be the widow’s original true love.

"The Merry Widow is a timeless, fun story," said Sarah Mantel, IUP professor of music theater and voice, who also serves as the production’s director and producer.

"It’s beautiful and sweet and passionate," she explained. She further pointed out that “as with many operettas of the same time period, it has the popular ‘can-can’.” Mantel added that “the last act is set in Maxim’s in Paris; and the ‘can-can’ girls, who are called ‘grisettes,’ do a high-kicking dance number while everybody joins in.”

The Merry Widow

In addition to the can-can, the audience will be treated to waltzes and even the cake-walk, which was all the rage in the late nineteenth century. The production is choreographed by Patricia Lommock, IUP professor emeritus of dance.

Tickets are available now at the Hadley Union Building on the IUP campus, but the ticket office will be closed Thursday through Sunday, November 26–29, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Seats remaining can be purchased at the door beginning 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance. Tickets are $15 regular admission, $13 for seniors (62 and older) and for groups of fifteen or more, and $9 for students and children. For more information, call The Lively Arts at 724-357-2547 or e-mail lively-arts@iup.edu.

IUP Music Theater is funded, in part, by the IUP Student Cooperative Association. It is an ensemble program of the Department of Music and College of Fine Arts. The Department of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

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