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ETSU Theatre and Dance to stage regional premiere of ‘Middletown’

Hannah Swayze • Feb 18, 2019 at 4:00 PM

The Department of Theatre and Dance at East Tennessee State University will present the regional premiere of the comedy/drama “Middletown” Feb. 21-24.

Performances will be at Bud Frank Theatre Thursday – Saturday (Feb. 21-23) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.

Written by William Eno, the play tells the story of longtime Middletown resident John Dodge and newcomer Mary Swanson, played respectively by ETSU students Kenny Allen Tyler Mitchell and Kimberly Ireson. As their friendship develops, the lives of the inhabitants of this small town intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points in between.

Other cast members include Gabe Felty, Ben Patterson, Hannah Smith, Abigail Arnett, James Maines, Vianna Isbister, Bryan Lumb, Aimee Robinson, Shelby Tyler, Juan Pearson, Trynity Binkley, Laura Watson and Clara Roller. ETSU faculty member Laughton Messmer, senior lecturer in the Department of Communication and Performance, will appear as the public speaker.

Melissa Shafer is directing “Middletown” and is joined by Cara Harker as choreographer, Isaline Humphreys as stage manager, Jonathon Taylor as scenic designer, Jessica Richardson as costume designer, Matt Stevens as sound designer, Levi Bradford as lighting designer, Dr. Katherine Weiss as dramaturg, Madison Phillips as props master and Zach Olsen as technical director.

The creative team also includes Logan Carson as assistant stage manager, Callie Dowd as wardrobe supervisor, Ryan Leonard as lighting technician, Kylie Moore as audio technician and production assistants Samantha Thomas, Jonathan DeLozier, Rachel Lawson and Caleb Harrison.

The website TheatreMania.com describes “Middletown” as “Richly engaging and satisfyingly theatrical, with heart and humor. A modern-day equivalent to Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town.’” The New York Times hailed “Middletown” as “Delicate, moving, piercing, tart, funny, gorgeous… Mr. Eno’s gift may be unmatched among writers of his generation. Glimmers from start to finish.”

Tickets are $5 for ETSU faculty, staff, and students and youth and $10 general admission. For more information or to request accommodations for persons with disabilities, call 423-439-6524. To purchase tickets, visit www.etsu.edu/theatre.

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