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Front of the Curtain Festival to be presented Aug. 9-13

BOONE – The Department of Theatre and Dance will present the Second Annual Front of The Curtain Festival Aug. 9-13 at 7:30 p.m. in Valborg Theatre on the Appalachian State University campus. The festival provides an opportunity for artists who are faculty members, students, members of the community and alumni to work and perform together for the High Country.

The festival features the dark comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” Aug. 9-11 and  Faculty/Alumni Dance Concert on Aug. 12 and 13.

Tickets go on sale on Aug. 1 and can be purchased by calling the Valborg Box Office at 262-3063. Admission is $15 for nonstudents and $10 for students. For more information, visit The Front of the Curtain Festival is sponsored in part by the University Bookstore, and is dedicated to bringing theatre and dance artists together.

In Joseph Kesselring’s dark comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace,” two elderly sisters get away with murder. Co-produced with Blue Ridge Community Theatre, the play features loveable but more than slightly crazy characters who keep the farcical action moving with side-splitting results.

Cast members include theatre faculty members Sue Williams as Aunt Abby and Anna Ward as Aunt Martha. Blue Ridge Community Theatre veteran Tommy Brown plays Teddy Brewster and Jeremy L. Miller plays dramatic critic Mortimer Brewster. Jenny Kotowski plays Mortimer’s fiancée, Elaine, and faculty emeritus Frank Mohler plays her father, the Rev. Dr. Harper. The rest of the cast features Mark Suggs as Jonathan Brewster, Victor Rivera as Dr. Einstein, Jonathan Stewart as Mr. Gibbs, Charles Wilkes as Mr. Hoskins, and Chandler Walpole as Lt. Rooney. Joe Watson, Will Gwyn and Ryan Sheehe play officers Brophy, Klein and O’Hara.

Faculty member Derek Gagnier directs the play, Hannah Fuller is stage manager and Carlyn Holland is assistant director. Faculty designers include Mike Helms, set, John Marty, lighting, and Martha Marking, costumes. Neil Reda is the technical director.

The festival’s second event is the Faculty/Alumni Dance Concert showcasing new work.

Faculty member Laurie Atkins will present a solo choreographed by Washington, D.C., choreographer Ashley Thorndike with original music by Peter V. Swendsen. The solo is part of a larger work titled “coldness and lightness,” which grapples with sensations of stability, disruption and relationship.

Emily Daughtridge, also an Appalachian dance faculty member, will perform “Tabbed,” a light-hearted self-choreographed solo inspired by an exploration of personality types.

Alumna Jessie Maynard will present a group work that explores expectations and pressure. It is inspired by her recent college graduation and music from Sufjan Steven’s album, “The Age of Adz.”

Faculty member Susan Lutz has choreographed a group work, which will be performed by students who recently graduated with degrees from Appalachian’s dance studies program.

Alumna Kathryn Ullom, who lives in Tempe, Ariz., and is pursuing her MFA in dance from Arizona State University, will present a solo exploring physical/mental memories and the relationship between memories and the senses.

Also on the program will be work choreographed and performed by faculty member Sherone Price.

For more information about this and other Department of Theatre and Dance productions, visit