When she makes her theatrical debut on Wednesday, November 11, Butler University Provost Kate Morris hopes to portray a professor with the same competence she has demonstrated in 20 years as an actual professor.
“I’m having some first-time stage jitters,” acknowledged Morris, who will be the first of several Butler guest stars to have a cameo in Butler Theatre’s production of the classic American play Our Town, November 11-15 in the Schrott Center for the Arts. “I don’t know how well I’ll do, but I’m sure the rest of the cast will be great.”
Morris will be playing the part commonly known as “Professor Willard,” a character who interrupts the play to make announcements. She’ll be followed by:
-Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson, with an after-party featuring live mascot Trip (Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 PM).
-Performing and Fine Arts Librarian Sheri Stormes (Friday, November 13, at 7:30 PM).
-Jordan College of the Arts Dean Ronald Caltabiano (Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 PM)
-Jon Van Ness ’71, whose final Butler Theatre production as an undergraduate was Our Town (Sunday, November 15, at 2:00 PM).
Butler Theatre Professor William Fisher will handle the role at the student matinees on November 12 and 13 at 9:30 AM.
Tickets are $8 students with ID, $13 seniors, and $19 adults for the public performances. They are available during regular business hours at the Clowes Hall Box Office, and anytime online at www.butler.edu/theatre.
Fisher said there were two distinct ideas behind using guest actors. One was that “we wanted this production to feel grounded in Butler and be here—and not to pretend we’re in New Hampshire.” So there will be no period or stylized costumes, and no New England accents. But the location—Grover’s Corners—and historical references remain intact.
The other influence was a British comedy called The Play What I Wrote, which featured a revolving cast of celebrities playing themselves in an otherwise fictional setting.
“I thought it was interesting having recognizable, real people playing themselves,” Fisher said. “It’ll be fun.”
The rest of the show will be instantly familiar to those who have seen Our Town, a play that Fisher said has taken on even more relevance with its message about the importance of being present in the moment.
“Most of our experiences with this play are through high school productions that either we were in ourselves or saw,” he said. “And this is a giant step in looking at this play as a serious piece. There’s real humor and darkness in this play, and I think it’s a very important American play.”
The cast-with role (and hometown):
Olivia Anton-Sam Craig and Wedding Guest (River Grove, Illinois)
Jeffrey Bird-Joe Stoddard and Wedding Guest (Muncie, Indiana)
Alexander Borrello-Stage Manager (Novi, Michigan)
Adam Bridges-Joe Crowell and Si Crowell (Nashville, Tennessee)
Sean Caron-Simon Stimson (Chicago, Illinois)
Brendan Daly-Constable Warren (Elmhurt, Illinois)
Corbin Fritz-Mr. Webb (Noblesville, Indiana)
Taylor Galloway-Dr. Gibbs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Nick Gehrich-Howie Newsome (Greensburg, Indiana)
Sonia Goldberg-Mrs. Gibbs (Chicago, Illinois)
Nathan Haston-George Gibbs (Noblesville, Indiana)
Julia Hren-Ensemble (Lake Villa, Illinois)
Peter Jones-Wally Webb (Lakewood, Ohio)
Gianna Kujawski-Ensemble (Crown Point, Indiana)
Ariel Laukins-Stage Manager (West Lafayette, Indiana)
Casey Lowenthal-Mrs. Soames (Westville, Indiana)
Charell Luckey-Rebecca Gibbs (South Bend, Indiana)
Emma Shafer-Mrs. Webb (Des Moines, Iowa)
Elliot Waples-Ensemble (Indianapolis)
Lexy Weixel-Emily Webb (Columbus, Ohio)
Lindsay Vallance-Ensemble (Champaign, Illinois)