'Violet' brings her lessons of life, quest for beauty to University Theatre

Topic: College of Fine Arts

September 5, 2008

Life is a journey, and Violet Karl is on a ride that will take her through love, healing and - ultimately - self-acceptance.

Directed by Beth Turcotte, Ball State University associate professor of theater, the musical "Violet" shares the story of an embittered yet deeply religious young woman disfigured by a childhood injury. When she is 25, Violet boards a bus in search of a TV evangelist who claims to possess healing powers, and along the way, she meets a host of characters, including two soldiers who vie for her affection.

"Violet" will be presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-4. All shows will be in University Theatre. The show will be choreographed by Christie Zimmerman, assistant professor of dance, and musical direction will be provided by Chris Bott, graduate assistant for the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Set in the 1960s, "Violet" takes on a variety of issues including love, prejudice and acceptance. The show features Bridget Gillenwater as Violet, Emily Behny as the young Violet, Michael Chandler as Monty, Brandon Arnold as Flick, Tommy Bullington as the Preacher and Jonathan Jensen as Violet's father.

Based on the short story "The Ugly Pilgrim" by Doris Betts, "Violet" borrows its musical style from the American traditions of blues, gospel, and folk. Featuring the music of Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley, the original production opened in 1997 to critical acclaim.

Turcotte appreciates the quality storytelling, joyful nature and uplifting message of the show. "I would like the audience to recognize that we all have scars, inside and out, and in time all wounds will heal," she said.

Tickets cost $15 for the general public and $9 for students with a 50-cent processing fee and are available from the University Theatre Box Office, open Monday through Friday noon to 5 p.m. Contact the box office at 765-285-8749 or visit www.bsu.edu/theatre for more information.

Other upcoming productions include:

  • "Camino Real" - 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13-15, Nov. 19-22; 2:30 p.m. Nov. 16. In this rarely seen Tennessee Williams' play, a cast of famous aging literary castoffs flee life's disappointments in a kind of surrealistic limbo across Ball State's main stage.
  • "The Devil Made Me Dance" - 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11-13; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Audience members are invited to dance with the devil as the Ball State Department of Theatre traces his journey through time with dazzling choreography and skillful dance.

By Jenn Hillier

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