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April 2007

Release Date: April 16, 2007

Romance and Family Drama Come to ASU Stage

The Angelo State University drama program will wrap up its 2006-07 Arts at ASU season with the romantic family drama “To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” April 26-29 and May 3-5 in the ASU Modular Theatre.

Shows are scheduled for 8 p.m. April 26-28 and May 3-5, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 29. Ticket prices are $8 general admission, $4 for non-ASU students and $3 for ASU students. Arts at ASU subscribers and ASU activity card holders will be admitted free.

“To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” is a beautifully romantic play about the mourning and subsequent emotional rebirth of young widower David following the death of his wife, Gillian. Gillian’s “spirit” is an important character as she often appears to her husband to urge him to leave his sorrow behind. The play delivers affection from each direction as characters move the audience along an emotional path of love and devotion with refreshingly edgy issues.

“The nature of the play is the evolution of the various family relationships,” said Dr. Bill Doll, drama professor and the play’s director. “In spite of the negatives, it’s a very positive story and has a very uplifting ending.”

The role of David will be played by sophomore drama major Mason Cargile of Austin. His previous work at ASU includes roles in “Pippin” and several student-directed productions.

Senior communications major Benita Villeda of San Angelo will take on the role of Gillian. Her ASU theatre experience includes roles in “Con Mis Manos,” “West Side Story” and “Necessary Targets.” She has also been performing at the Angelo Civic Theatre since she was 15 and has worked for ASU’s Ram TV.

David and Gillian’s daughter, Rachel, will be played by Corpus Christi native Alyssia Rivera, a freshman drama major. She was also a member of the “Necessary Targets” cast.

Additional characters will be portrayed by junior nursing major Paige Nicole Westerman (Rachel’s friend Cindy); sophomore drama major Kelsey Davis (weekend guest Kevin); junior drama major Mica McCook (Gillian’s sister Esther); and senior drama major Jeremy Lopez (Esther’s husband Paul).

“I think this play is a very moving conversation,” Doll said. “The interpersonal dynamics sealed with love in the various family relationships give this play the touch of genuine personal needs and bonds.”

Doll is the director of the University Theatre and has directed more than 70 plays at the collegiate level. Before coming to ASU in 1999, he was a tenured professor at Rose State College and served as the chair of fine arts at Howard College. He has a Ph.D. in Fine Arts/Theatre from Texas Tech University and has served on several Texas Educational Theatre Association committees. Doll’s favorite acting role was as the Lion in “The Wiz,” for which the review said he portrayed “the most lovable and hilarious pussycat to ever tiptoe across a stage.”

“To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” is a new work that has already received rave reviews. Richard Hummler of “Variety” magazine wrote, “This first major work by Michael Brady has well-dimensioned characters, solid conflict, piquant writing and gives off a warm affirmative glow. When it has become not uncommon to encounter plays with no sympathetic characters, audiences will respond affectionately to everyone in ‘Gillian.’”

Tickets will go on sale April 18 in the ASU box office. The box office will be open from 2-6 p.m. weekdays in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building. For reservations, call 942-2000.

For more information on the production and cast, contact Doll with the ASU drama program at 942-2146, Ext. 246.

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