August Wilson’s ‘Gem of the Ocean’ continues

The Lehigh University Department of Theatre’s run of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean continues April 13-16, 2016

“August Wilson at the top of his form—a touchstone for everything else he has written.”
~The New York Times

Photo from Lehigh University Brown and White

Photo from Lehigh University Brown and White

Lehigh University’s Department of Theatre continues its 2015-2016 season with the Award-winning playwright August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. Directed by Akin Babatundé, the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist-in-Residence for the Performing and Visual Arts, the performances will be held in Diamond Theater on April 8, 9 and 13-16 at 7:30pm; with a 2pm performance on Sunday, April 10. Tickets are $12 ($5 students) and available at  There is a special “Pay-What-You-Wish” performance on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30pmContact Ticket Services for details.

Gem of the Ocean is the ninth play in Wilson’s ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle that chronicles a century of African American life, an unprecedented dramatic series that includes Fences and The Piano Lesson.  Set in Pittsburgh, PA in 1904, it is the eve of the 287th birthday of former slave, Aunt Ester, a keeper of tradition and a cleanser of souls.  When Citizen Barlow comes to her home seeking asylum and redemption, she sets him off on a poetic and spiritual journey to find the City of Bones at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a repository of the memory and tragedy of the Middle Passage. According to Babatunde, “Celebrated playwright August Wilson has created an aunt, a mythical, uncanny, wise yet human figure in the character of Aunt Ester. Her home at 1839 Wiley is a place of release, rejuvenation and resurrection of purpose. She cocoons the legacy of tragedy, triumph and transformation of an enslaved people embodied in her 285 years of spiritual wisdom. I invite you to embrace the journey she may take you on this evening-a journey of revelation intertwined with hope, joy and recognition.”

Director Akin Babatunde’ is the Theodore U. Horger ’61 Artist-in-Residence for the Performing and Visual Arts at Lehigh University’s Department of Theatre, where he teaches. Babatundé, a native of Brooklyn, is an accomplished actor, director and writer whose theatrical career spans off-Broadway, regional theatre, film and television. He has been a resident company member of prestigious theatrical institutions throughout the country: Trinity Rep (Providence, Rhode Island), Alley Theater (Houston, Texas), La Mama Theater (New York City) and the Dallas Theater Center. He is founder and artistic director of Vivid Theater Ensemble of Dallas and founder of Ebony Emeralds Classic Theater Company. Babatunde’ was the first African American to direct for the Dallas Shakespeare Festival in the celebrated diverse production of Taming of the Shrew in 1993. As a writer, his work has been commissioned by Florida Stage, La Mama Theater, the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Brown University, the Black Academy of Arts and the and Core Ensemble. His most recent work Shakespeare – Midnight Echoes tours in Texas paying homage to black performing artists who performed Shakespeare from slavery to the present. He has toured extensively with Core Ensemble in Of Ebony Embers – Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance. His one-man show, Before the Second Set – A Visit with Satchmo has received critical acclaim at theaters across the country. Babatundé along with Dr. Alan Govenar wrote and starred in Blind Lemon Blues, which toured in Europe (Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam) and received rave notices in The New York Times at its 2004 New York premiere at Central Park’s Summer Stage. His television appearances include Law and Order and the PBS family-oriented literary television series, Wishbone. Babatundé’s work has been awarded a Dallas Observer Best Actor Award (the first African American to receive this distinction), 1991, 2004, 2015 Dallas Critics Forum Award, the 2004 Legacy of Success, and the Alvin Ailey Performing Arts Award. He received the prestigious Individual Artists Grant from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council to create a new work Harvest of Voices based on oral histories. He is a renowned arts educator, having undertaken five long-term artist residencies in underserved communities in Florida, creating new music theatre works alongside at-risk teens and community members. Theatre impresario Ellen Stewart of LaMama Theatre describes him as “one of those rare geniuses who comes into our lives.” Babatundé holds a Master of Arts degree in Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas.  Babatunde’ is the brother of Tony Award nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor Obba Babatunde’.

August WilsonAugust Wilson (April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been produced at regional theaters across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Wilson’s works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990);a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Wilson’s early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills.

The cast features Lehigh University professors Kashi Johnson as Aunt Ester and Darius Omar Williams as Solly Two Kings, Lehigh University students Ovie Ojeni (Citizen), Kelly Petty, Jr. (Eli), Donavon Harris (Caesar), Ryan Higgins (Rutherford Selig), Katie Pettis (Black Mary), with Josiah Murrell, Jamir Connelly and Jamal Connelly as Ensemble of Bones along with LU staff member Karen Sims.

The design team includes, Andrew Southard, production manager; Matt Faragrasso, assistant technical director; professor Erica Hoelscher costume and set designer; Pam Richey, costume coordinator; Laura Bickford, lighting design; Phil Ingle, sound designer; Sara Vreeland, stage manager; and Jamil Barillas, assistant stage manager.

For further reading:
More about Babtunde’s residency in the Lehigh University College of Arts and Science blog post, Master Class.
Lehigh’s Brown and White also produced this preview for your interest.
More about the production at the Lehigh University Communications article here.

Tickets to Gem of the Ocean are available for $12 ($5 students/$10 Lehigh faculty & staff). There is a special “Pay-What-You-Wish” performance onWednesday, April 13 at 7:30pm.  For information, call 610-758-2787, ext. 0, visit Zoellner Ticket Services, Tuesday 12-6 pm, Wednesday – Friday from 12 –5 pm, 2 hours before curtain, or order online.  Senior, student, group and LVAIC discounts are available.

Of Mothers and Men

MothersandMen(Written by Johanna Grim)
On Thursday, February 25, NYC based performance company The Black Latina Movement will perform an original work of theatre, Of Mothers and Men, at Lehigh University (see below for event details).

Of Mothers and Men presents a set of monologues spoken by women about their relationships with their mothers, motherhood, and the men in their lives. The play tells of love and struggle through an exploration of a spectrum of relationships, from healthy to unhealthy romantic partnerships to complex family bonds. Of Mothers and Men highlights the diversity, pain, and beauty of Black Latina women and their experiences. Crystal Shaniece Roman, Black Latina Movement founder and CEO, who also appears in Of Mothers and Men, created the show to honor the “many paths these intricate relationships often take.” As such, Of Mothers and Men exemplifies the larger project of The Black Latina Movement to “advance the Black Latina voice” through the arts (

Of Mothers and Men is brought to Lehigh’s campus by a collaboration among the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of International Affairs, and the Women’s Center. The play is also supported by multiple campus partners, including the Council for Equity and Community. In addition, because of the nature of some of the monologues, representatives from Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh University Counseling Center and Advocates will be present and available to talk with anyone immediately affected. Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley will be accepting donations. Donations are voluntary. No donation is needed to attend the play.

The organizations and individuals who have worked to bring Of Mothers and Men to Lehigh hope that the play will spark campus and community wide conversations about the experiences of women of color as well as the diverse roles of the women in our lives and communities. A 30 minute Question and Answer session with the cast will directly follow the performance, and the discussion will continue on Friday, February 26 at a Brown Bag Lunch meet-up in the M-Room at noon.

Both the play and the post play meet-up are free and open to Lehigh students, faculty, staff and the general public. Come out to hear the stories of Black Latina women and join in the conversation about relationships, love, and struggle.

Email Rita Jones, Director of the Women’s Center, at, for more information.


Event Details:

The Black Latina Movement Presents: Of Mothers and Men
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 @ 6:30pm
Lamberton Hall, Lehigh University

Admission is Free!

Post-Play Brown Bag Lunch Conversation:

Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 @ Noon
M-Room (2nd floor of the University Center), Lehigh University

Event is free, bring your lunch and responses to the play!

New Course in Latino Visual Arts and Culture in American Art

“Latino Visual Arts and Culture in American Art”
Spring 2016
ART/LAS 227, Tues & Thurs 1:10 – 2:25
Register with CRN: 13988

of the AmericasA one of a kind course that takes advantage of LUAG’s unique Latin American exhibition. “Latino Visual Arts and Culture in American Art” is an in-situ class at the Lehigh University Art Galleries at Zoellner utilizing our visual laboratories, galleries and teaching collection. The course focuses on our current exhibition in the Lower Gallery “…Of The Americas: Contemporary Art from the Lehigh University Teaching Collection” as well as other relevant Latino works from our diverse and inclusive holdings.
The thrust of the course is to explore contemporary Latino and Latin American art in the United States from several angles. Among the topics to be discussed are “Because art has no country, but the artist does”; is contemporary art a product of globalization?; is Latino and Latin American art, culture and art criticism a nationalistic platform of cultures, or just a contemporary creative expression of their time?; who is who in the current Latino and Latin American art world?

For a description of the exhibit, see this link to the LUAG website.

20 Reasons to see Violet – only 4 more performances

This post was directly lifted from Jon Hoffman’s (’12?) Facebook page. He’s in the cast. He also started a Theatre company. He’s a awesome person. (Oh, and pay attention to #11, especially for Wednesday night’s performance)

11221282_796811893773945_7560037824137178322_nReasons to go see “Violet” this week at the Zoellner Arts Center:

1.) I’m in it, so like, c’mon. It’s great.

2.) No seriously, it’s very very good. A beautiful production of an underappreciated musical that you likely never heard of.

3.) The composer of “Violet” also won a Tony this year for her music in the award winning “Fun Home”! She’s also the mind behind “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.

4.) If you like country, blue grass, and gospel, you’re in for a huge treat. If you’re not, this show might be the best examples of those genres you’ve ever heard!

5.) It’s directed by two of my favorite people in the world: Pam Pepper is at the helm with another outstanding addition to her Lehigh history, and Bill Whitney owned it with his music direction and is conducting the pit AND playing piano.

6.) The cast is all very talented, but I have to mention Eden Weinflash‘s beautiful and thoughtful portrayal of the title character, Meg Kelly‘s pitch perfect tones as younger Violet, and Jake Blecher energy as the lovable-yet-hateable Monty.

7.) This production of “Violet” collects it’s talent from the far reaches of the valley. Marcel Logan is hitting notes I seriously never heard of as Flick, and Eric Anders Fosselius as Violet’s Father is so nuanced I practically cry every time I watch him.

8.) If it is me you’re interested in, I’m playing multiple parts. Not the least of which is a Southern Baptist Televangelist Preacher. I get a huge, high energy sequence in Act 2, backed by a whole choir of my best homies just rocking it the whole way. At the very least, come to see me make a complete idiot out of myself. You won’t be dissapointed.

9.) Having a busy week? No sweat! We have show nights Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday! Lot’s of chances!

10.) Is it money that’s holding you up? Never fear! This experience can be yours for a very affordable $12 a ticket ($10 for students, $8 for Lehigh students. That’s extremely low for this kind of thing.

11.) Still too pricey for you? Tomorrow (Wednesday) is “Pay-What-You-Will Night”, meaning you can pay as much or as little as you please. You can literally see this for free! No judgment! We really just want you here!

12.) The show only lasts a brisk 2 hours, including intermission. That’s personally how I like my theatre, quick! “Violet” doesn’t have the fluff and filler of some musicals. You can be home by 10!

13.) So far it’s been very well received. Who am I to argue?

14.) The Diamond Theatre is just a beautiful space, and we know how to work it. In Thrust, everywhere is a good seat.

15.) Beautful lighting! I’m especially impressed with the track spots (or whatever you call them. I’m not a lighting guy my self). That spot light follows me for my whole scene, which is more impressive than it might sound.

16.) You really deserve it! You’ve been working extra hard lately smile emoticon

17.) I think “Violet” has a really profound message that a lot of people could take to heart. It’s really easy to say “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” but this is a show that actually puts that adage to the ultimate test.

18.) Two words: Lula Buffington. If you haven’t heard Kiyaana Cox-Jones sing “Raise Me Up”, you’re seriously missing out!

19.) I know you don’t actually experience this from the audience perspective, but our stage manager Lindy Fruithandler is amazing. There’s like 700 cues, and the whole show moves smooth as butter.

20.) That goes double for our assistant stage managers, Caraline Jeffreyand Winnie Gu. They’re awesome. You don’t see them, but they’re invisibly making the show more awesome.

That’s 20 reasons off the top of my head. 20! And the more people come each night, the stronger the performance gets! I really hope you can make it! If you follow the link below you can get all the information and find link to buy tickets ahead of time, though you can also easily get them at the door. See you there!

Michael Jorgensen featured on next LU Philharmonic program

pic1Faculty member and violinist Michael Jorgensen will be featured on the first Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra concert this coming Friday at Saturday at 8pm in Baker Hall.

He will perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eugene Albulescu. The concert Autumn Romantics will also feature works by Schubert and Tchaikovsky on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 at 8 pm.  Tickets are $18; LUstudents free with valid ID; Available online at  WDIY is the Lehigh University Music Department media sponsor.

“The orchestra is performing Schubert’s incomplete eighth symphony, and although it contains only two movements, the composition is considered one of the greatest and one of the most unique of the genre.  Our concert also features Beethoven’s significant Violin Concerto performed by Lehigh music department faculty member Michael Jorgensen and we are performing the always popular Romeo and Juliet overture by Tchaikovksy,” said Albulescu.

LU Philharmonic conductor, Eugene Albulescu

LU Philharmonic conductor, Eugene Albulescu

Lehigh University Philharmonic Music Director Eugene Albulescu is an award-winning performer and conductor who has led the Lehigh University Philharmonic for the past five years. Among his conducting accomplishments are a stint as director of the French Chamber Orchestra while on tour during 2008-2010, as well as several performances and recordings with top orchestras including the Romanian NationalPhilharmonic, New York Chamber Orchestra, as well as the New Zealand Symphony, which released his recent recording of Jenny McLeod’s “Rock Concerto” on the Naxos label. As a pianist, Albulescu is Steinway Artist who combines a blazing technique with the artistic integrity and originality to express musical emotions at their most personal level. He started his piano studies in Romania at the age of six, at the Enescu Music School in Bucharest. His family moved to New Zealand in 1984 to escape Romania’s Communist regime.

Albulescu completed his musical studies at Indiana University where, at 19, he was the youngest person ever to reach the level of assistant instructor. He emerged on the international scene in 1994 when his debut CD was awarded the International Grand Prix Liszt, adding Albulescu’s name to the list of winners which include Brendel, Arrau, Horowitz and Bolet.  Since then Albulescu has performed worldwide, including concerts at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago, Bargemusic in New York, the Purely Piano series in Auckland, New Zealand, the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as the International Liszt Festival of the American Liszt Society. Having been invited to the White House to perform for the Millennium celebrations, he also performed at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Celebrated critic Harold C. Schonberg hailed Albulescu’s “power and infallible fingers of steel,” declaring that “nothing anywhere has any terrors for him.”

Described as an “exceptional” player by Maestro Lorin Maazel, violinist Michael Jorgensen is the Professor of Practice in Orchestral Strings at Lehigh University, where he serves as the concertmaster of the Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also taught violin at Middle Tennessee State University, Covenant College, and the Wyoming Center for the Arts in their Touchstone program for at-risk youth. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, a master’s from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and a doctorate from Florida State University.

A dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, Jorgensen has performed recitals at the London School of Contemporary Dance, the Taft Museum of Art Chamber Music Series, and has been a returning guest artist to Middle Tennessee State University. As a string quartet performer, he founded the Frequency String Quartet, a new music group with an education and community building mission that was described as “a gifted and stimulating foursome” by Cincinnati classical music reviewer Mary Ellyn Hutton. He has also played first violin in the Chanticleer String Quartet which holds an annual rural residency in Richmond, Indiana.

The highly acclaimed Lehigh University Philharmonic is a group of talented musicians, most of whom are undergraduate students majoring in disciplines outside of music. They regularly perform at their home in Zoellner Arts Center on the campus of Lehigh University, and have performed at various international venues in Europe, Asia and South America and Africa. The orchestra celebrated the Mahler centennial year (2011) with a memorable rendition of his first symphony, a performance that was cited by The Morning Call as “one of the ten best performances of the year” in the Lehigh Valley. The orchestra also champions student achievement, presenting each February a marathon of concerto movements where orchestra members have a chance to play a solo.  The orchestra’s programming focus is the historically important main orchestral repertoire, ranging from Bach to Barber and everything in between. New multi-media presentations of such works as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite have earned the orchestra a reputation for originality.  Pioneering new music is also a focus.  In the past few years the orchestra presented several North American as well as world premieres and a yearly concert featuring works of Lehigh University student composers.

Tickets for the September 25 and 26 performances are $18; LU students free; Senior, student, group and LVAIC discounts are available.  For more information, call 610-758-2787, ext. 0; visit Zoellner Ticket Services, Tuesday 12-6 pm, Wednesday – Friday 12-5 pm, and 2 hours before curtain, or order online

Art & Food

How do you like to get excited about going to a show? Do you think about what to wear? What about dinner or drink plans before or after? For our season opener last week, Silagh White (Director of Arts Engagement and Community Cultural Affairs) shared how she got ready to fully enjoy Sheila E. Read here how she tapped into local retailers and a smart Lehigh Alum food blogger.


Michelle Rittler – Taste As You Go Food Blogger, Lehigh University, ’02

Or if you don’t want to read that post, here’s what you should know. Lehigh alum, Michelle Rittler (’02) is a successful food blogger who has done her research on the Zoellner Guest Artist season to share great food/cocktail pairings for the shows. She’s come up with inspiring recipes that are kitchen tested and presented with techniques beautifully photographed for the experienced and novice cook.

We are hoping to share her ideas with you, and encourage you to sign up for Michelle’s newsletter, right on the top of her blog. Here are Michelle’s ideas for this weekend:

Potato Gratin

Potato Gratin


Friday night – Morgan James.
Potato Gratin. Recipe here.
WHY? Morgan James is from Idaho!

Local dining alternative: Try the tater tots at Molly’s. Always crispy, always delicious. They also have a “loaded” version of tater tots worth experimenting.

Melon Ball Cocktails

Saturday night – Bill Warfield & the Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Melon Ball Cocktails. Recipe here.
WHY? Hard bop has its origins in the 1950s. This was a popular cocktail during this time.

Local dining alternative. Try any of these five establishments highlighted by another Lehigh Valley blogger (Cheryl Doll) on her “5 Best Cocktail Bars in Bethlehem” list. Two on the list are within walking distance of Zoellner Arts Center (hint: Social Still and Bookstore Speakeasy), We also suggest trying Molinari’s: tell them Zoellner sent you!


Sunday afternoon – Faculty Recital: Paul Salerni – Music from Three Continents
Rugelach (a popular Jewish dessert) – Sign up for Michelle’s newsletter to get the recipe
WHY? The program includes works by Israeli-American composer Ofer Ben-Amots. And this concert is in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (Happy Sweet New Year)

Local dining alternative: Head to Molinari’s for some great Italian dining. Paul Salerni proudly celebrates his Italian heritage.

Open Auditions for Violet

Violet Auditions copy

These auditions will be for the characters of Monty, Flick, Father and the Six Ensemble Members (3 men, 3 women)

Please visit the bulletin board outside Zoellner Arts Center room 301 for detailed character descriptions and audition information. [The same information is added to the bottom of this post: WHAT TO PREPARE FOR THE AUDITION, PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS, & ENSEMBLE]

Contact Pam Pepper or Bill Whitney


Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts

Directed by Pam Pepper
Music Direction by Bill Whitney

Straight from the Broadway production of 214, Violet is the story of a woman’s search for beauty and her place in the world. Physically scared by a tragic childhood accident, Violet fervently desires the healing powers of an Oklahoma revivalist preacher. Her journey by Greyhound bus toward physical healing becomes so much more as she befriends two soldiers and discovers the true meaning of beauty, courage, and love. With a musical score equally influenced by bluegrass, gospel and Broadway, and a backdrop of the American south during an era of great social change, this musical will inspire, challenge and uplift.

Critically acclaimed, the original 1997 off-Broadway production of Violet was nominated for 7 Drama Dest awards and won the Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Musical. The 2014 Broadway revival was nominated for 4 Tony awards and 3 Drama Desk awards.

Here are some resources: fuller synopsis, additional facts, and clips of the music:


Please come to Zoellner 121 prepared to sing approximately 32 bars of a song which you feel best shows your range and vocal ability. Any style is acceptable, as long as it is a song you are comfortable with – it does not have to be from musical theatre. You may sing a cappella (without accompaniment), or you may bring sheet music or a recorded accompaniment to sing with. Your song should not be from VIOLET.

In addition to singing, we’ll also be doing some reading from the script. Please read the libretto before auditioning if at all possible.

Father – Young Violet: pp. 12-13
Flick-Violet – Monty: pp. 22-25, 30-31
Violet – Flick: pp. 36-39, 56-58
Violet – Father: pp. 78-80

Sign up for one 10 minutes audition slot. Reading copes are available in the Department of Theatre office, 301 Zoellner.

Questions? Contact Pam Pepper or Bill Whitney


VIOLET: 25. (Violet Karl from Spruce Pine, N.C.) She is stubborn and prickly, but filled with equal parts hope and obsession that she may be healed and be made beautiful. She’s direct with people who stare at her scar (which is quite prominently located on her face, although not literally visible to the theatre audience). Violet has a sarcasm and toughness to her. She was tortured by other children, especially the Elum brothers who said the axe accident was God’s way of punishing her because she and her father didn’t go to church. Violet has high expectations of God when it comes to being healed. After her father died, she tried doctors, snake handlers and a Catholic church to be healed. Strongly influenced by movies – idealizes the glamour actresses. Flick is the first black person with whom she has spoken. She’s a good poker player, which translates to living her life. Mezzo, belt. Range: G3 – F5

YOUNG VIOLET: 13. Mezzo Soprano. Not quite as guarded or prickly as her older self, but still tough and stubborn. She has a keen curiosity and the rough edges of being brought up solely by her father. Range: A3 – E5 (Should we not find a college student appropriate for this role, we will cast a local teenager.)

FLICK: Late 20’s. Baritone. Real name: Grady Fliggins. An African-American soldier who looks for the positive in life – a dreamer and a go-getter. “You do what you gotta’ do, but in the end you do it alone. You choose your road, then you walk it, one step at a time.” He doesn’t enjoy the army, but enjoys the respect it garners him. There is something gentle and good about him, not to be interpreted or confused with weakness or lack of authority. He is not moved much by Violet’s scar. Flick carries a flask with him most of the time. He was in basic training with Monty. Range: C4 – E6 Gospel and blues.

MONTY: Mid 20’s. Tenor. Real name: Montgomery Harrill (from Raleigh, N.C.). A white paratrooper and corporal. Believes himself to be fearless and irresistible to most – especially women. He is a bit full of himself. Although self-consumed, it is not necessarily purposefully so. As described by Violet, he’s “a boy in the skin of a man.” He’s rough around the edges and he’s fighting his own demons. Monty was in basic training with Flick, and now he trains young men to jump out of airplanes. Range: A3 – G5 Country Western

FATHER: Late 30s – mid 40s. Baritone. A simple, widowed man who lovingly raises his daughter, Violet, alone, doing the best he can with the little knowledge and resources he has to do so. Stern but friendly, smart but uneducated. He accidentally scars 13 year-old Violet’s face while he is chopping wood. Can be stern with her. Protects and toughens her. Teaches her to hide from others so she won’t be tortured by them. He took Violet to see doctors in Charlotte for her 18th birthday. He died of a heart attack when Violet was 22 and left her a little money. Range: A3 – F5


E1-FEMALE: 55-65 yrs old Old Lady, Hotel Singer, Old Lady 2. Range: F3 – E5
OLD LADY: A former beauty in her heyday, now tired and frustrated with life. She’s gossipy, pushy and nosy and fellow passenger, Violet, is the unwilling recipient of her boldness. Not a huge fan of boys or men. She’s on her way to Nashville to see her son Harvey, who works in a cellophane plant. Although she had eight children of her own, she’s not eager to be in a house full of children. Stevie, her youngest, died in Korea. She believes her daughters to have been beautiful brides.
HOTEL SINGER: Memphis. Sings with/counterpoint to Flick.
OLD LADY 2: Passenger, Tulsa to Fort Smith. Sure that whomever is supposed to pick her up forgot. (still a man hater)

E2-FEMALE: 35-45 yrs old Music Hall Singer, Mabel, Woman with Fan. Range: A3 – G5
MUSIC HALL SINGER: Memphis. Has an eye for Flick, but loses interest as soon as she sees him with Violet.
MABEL: Passenger Tulsa to Fort Smith. Talkative. Tired of sitting. A bit man crazy. Three straight husbands tried to teach her to drive before she figured out how to do it. She once hit a traffic cop and subsequently married him after he got out of the hospital. She loves gray eyes.
WOMAN WITH FAN: Fort Smith to Tulsa?

E3-FEMALE: 50-70 yrs old. Landlady, Woman Knitting, Gospel Soloist (Lula). Range: F3 – G5
LANDLADY: Almeta. African-American. Flick’s friend. Runs boarding house in Memphis. Agrees to let them stay when Flick pays her $20. Tells Flick to use the back alley exit if they leave the premises. Has a point of view that is reminiscent of Violet’s father’s.
WOMAN KNITTING: A quiet woman.
GOSPEL SOLOIST: Lula Buffington. Seen in the Hope and Glory Bldg as a member of the volunteer choir that sings for the Preacher’s telecast. Sings for God with passion and power. African-American.

E4-MALE: 30-40 yrs old. Bus Driver 1, Rufus, Radio Singer, Bus Driver 4. Range: B3 – G5
BUS DRIVER 1: Johnson, aka Mr. Wallace Weatherman. Thin lips, flat cheeks, bent nose, small ears, Cherokee black straight hair. Looks forward to Sal’s Barbecue and greasy food. Gets off at Nashville.
PREACHER: In Violet’s fantasy. Talks in tongues. TV preacher. An impassioned, theatrical man who preaches with all the bravado he can muster. Once had a true healing touch but has lost it in his quest to become a showman. Dismissive and egotistical.
RUFUS: In Memphis. A mechanic. Along with the other mechanic, accosts Flick.
RADIO SINGER: Memphis boarding house radio singer.
BUS DRIVER 4: Tulsa to Fort Smith. Johnson, aka Mr. Wallace Weatherman. Wants Dan’s Irish Stew, blackberry pie and beer when he gets to Fort Smith.

E5-MALE: 50-70 yrs old. Radio Soloist, Waiter, Leroy Evans, Mechanic, Bus Driver 3. Range: B3 – F5
LEROY EVANS: Has a dog named Roscoe. Not too smart. Won’t look Violet in the eye because of her scar.
WAITER: In Kingsport. Blunt about Violet’s scar. Racist.
MECHANIC: In Memphis. Gets into fight with Flick.
RADIO SOLIST: Memphis. Part of the boarding house radio trio.
BUS DRIVER 3: Memphis to Fort Smith. Sings “Lonely Stranger.”
EARL: Tulsa to Fort Smith. Overweight? (clothes too tight). Flea circus owner, former midway barker. A strange character on the Greyhound bus who sneaks smokes in the bathroom and is carrying a smelly suitcase he claims holds a flea circus.

E6-MALE: 20-25 yrs old. Billy Dean, Creepy Guy, Radio Singer, Bus Driver 2. Range: B3 – B5
CREEPY GUY: Tulsa to Fort Smith. A “Jesus freak.”
BUS DRIVER 2: On the Nashville to Memphis leg.
RADIO SINGER: Memphis. Part of the boarding house radio trio.
BILLY DEAN: Violet’s first sexual encounter – on a $5 bet. An Elum brother.
VIRGIL: The preacher’s assistant. Knows the smoke & mirrors of the Preacher’s show and must begrudgingly deal with anyone who might derail it.

Foreign Puzzle – screens Sept 8, Zoeller Arts Center – Baker Hall

TUES SEPT 8 at 7:00PM
Foreign Puzzle follows dancer and choreographer Sharon Marroquin through her breast cancer treatments and explores her anxieties and challenges as she creates a dance titled, “The Materiality of Impermanence.” The dance becomes Sharon’s only outlet, allowing her to escape the daily pressures of the disease and life as a single working parent, and shapes her perceptions about life as she fights to heal her body and mind. The subject of the film may support courses in the following programs:

Health, Medicine & Society
Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Latin American Studies
Mellon Digital Humanities Initiative

Co-curricular interest:

Lehigh University Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority – National Philanthropy; breast cancer education and awareness
Art & Healing
SPECIAL NOTE: We are pleased to announce a partnership with the SouthSide Film Festival. People who attend 5 out of the 7 free screenings on the On Screen/In Person series will receive 50% off an all-access pass to the next SouthSide Film Festival, June 14-18, 2016.

Foreign Puzzle is the first of seven documentary film in Zoellner Arts Center’s new film series, On Screen/In Person.

Zoellner Arts Center has been selected as a host site for the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s On Screen/In Person program. “On Screen/In Person” is designed to bring some of the best new independent American films and their respective filmmakers to communities across the mid-Atlantic region. The filmmakers will tour with their films are are available through the host sites to develop community activities that provide audiences context and greater appreciation for their respective work and the art of film.

Lehigh Unviersity is the only stop for the films in Pennsylvania. The documentary film series tour will travel to seven venues in seven states during fall 2015 and spring 2016.