Lee Theatre to Present Musical Performance Big River

Saturday, October 27, 2012

20121027 Big River

The Lee University Theatre Program will bring "Big River" to the Dixon Center stage in collaboration with Lee's School of Music this November.

Performances will begin on Homecoming weekend, Nov. 2-3, at 7:30 p.m. and continue Nov. 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. The performance will be directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Dan Buck and Lecturer in Music Perry Mears.

"Big River" is a musical adaptation of Mark Twain's beloved classic, "Huck Finn." The novel and musical are a continuation of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." When Huck's estranged father returns to capitalize on his son's good fortune, Huck flees and meets Jim, a runaway slave. The two outcasts travel the river, sharing adventures which lead to Huck's changing view of slavery and God's will.

"I played the role of Tom Sawyer in this musical 18 years ago as a freshman at Taylor University, so it is a real treat to revisit this show that is so close to my heart," said Buck. "It's fun to recall how it was produced and even more rewarding to make my own choices and add some surprises to the show this time around."

The play coincides with Lee's Homecoming festivities and is produced in conjunction with Lee's School of Music. The play has wide student involvement with nearly 65 students working as actors, set builders, costume and lighting, stage managers, and orchestra members.

Mears takes on the role of musical director for the second time, as he headed up the music for Lee's 2011 production of "My Fair Lady."  He also lent his talent to the musical direction of "Carmen" and "My Fair Lady" with the Ash Lawn Festival Opera, "Susannah" and "Patience" with the Lee University Opera Theatre Workshop, and the workshop premiere of Kirke Mechem's "The Newport Rivals" with the Maryland Opera Studio. Mears currently maintains an active teaching and performing career in southeast Tennessee.

Buck joined the Lee theatre faculty in the fall of 2010. He teaches classes in acting, directing, and drama literature. He has worked as a professional actor and improviser in the Boston and Orlando areas and created a high school theatre program for a private school which he directed for five years. Buck is a published critic, produced playwright and director for the theatre program at Lee, as well as the sponsor of the improvisational team, "Shenanigans."

Tickets for "Big River" are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and are available through the Dixon Center Box Office.

For more information you may call the box office at 423-614-8343, email or visit Fans can also join the Facebook page "Lee University Theatre."

PHOTO: Lee junior Chase Hall as Huck (left) and junior Charles Benitez on the raft riding down the Mississippi.