Topics: College of Fine Arts, Immersive Learning
October 14, 2014
"The Circus in Winter" premieres Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 16 at the Chester, Conn.-based Norma Terris Theatre.
Four years after its creation as a student-produced musical at Ball State University, "The Circus in Winter" is ready for its professional debut with Goodspeed Musicals, which has launched some of Broadway's biggest shows, including "Annie," "Shenandoah" and "Man of La Mancha." "Circus" premieres Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 16 at the Chester, Conn.-based Norma Terris Theatre.
"It's an emotional, exciting moment for all of us," said Beth Turcotte, the Ball State theater professor who provided insight on the musical. "But I'm relaxed, too, knowing this piece is in remarkably creative hands. I can sit back and enjoy the show now."
About 'Circus in Winter'
Inspired by a novel of the same name by Ball State English professor Cathy Day, "The Circus in Winter," follows the lives of Indiana circus owner Wallace Porter and a cast of remarkable talent he hires for his show, including a death-defying acrobat and sideshow African queen.
Watch Ben Clark's Chronicle.
It features music and lyrics by Ball State alumnus Ben Clark. In 2010, he was one of 14 students who, under the guidance of Turcotte, created the original version of "The Circus in Winter" as part of a Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry immersive learning project. It was later staged at Ball State in fall 2011 and went on to win a series of major national recognitions.
Broadway talent joins Goodspeed show
Along with Clark, the Goodspeed production of "Circus" features another member of the musical's original Ball State creative team. Alumna Emily Behny plays Irene, a character she originated in the first staged reading of "Circus" four years ago. "From its inception, this show has held such a special place in my heart, so it's a huge honor to be telling this story once more," said Behny, who has starred in national touring productions of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Wicked."
Turcotte has high praise for Behny and the entire team responsible for Goodspeed's production of "The Circus in Winter," written by Broadway actor and playwright Hunter Foster. In addition to Broadway actors, a Tony Award-winning crew will help bring the musical to the stage. "We are so fortunate to have this caliber of talent involved with our show," Turcotte said.
Debut brightens show's future
Among those in the audience for "Circus's" professional debut will be investors and producers whose interest in the musical will help determine its worth to a broader national audience. "If they like what they see, the dream is the show making it to Broadway," Turcotte said.
Behny has high hopes, especially after reading the latest script and singing through Clark's score. "You never know if a new work will make it in this business, but what I do know is this: The theater world needs a show with heart, soul and grit, and 'The Circus in Winter' is just that." Jokingly, she added, "I may be biased though."