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November 2007

Release Date: November 20, 2007

ASU Holiday Dinner Theatre a Comedy Whodunit

Angelo State University will present the comedy murder mystery “XSR: Die!” (or “Cross Stage Right: Die!”) for the Arts at ASU Holiday Dinner Theatre beginning Thursday, Nov. 29, in the ASU Modular Theatre.

Show times will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 6-8, with dinner served each night at 7 p.m. A matinee performance is scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, with dinner served at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for Arts at ASU subscribers and non-ASU students, and $12.50 for ASU students, faculty and staff and ASU activity card holders. The holiday dinner menu will consist of turkey, ham, dressing and all the traditional trimmings.

Presented in “living black-and-white,” the play is part of a series of stories featuring Harry Hunsacker, the would-be actor turned would-be detective; his assistant Nigel Grouse; and Lt. Foster of the New York City Police.

“It’s done in the style of the old Charley Chan and ‘Thin Man’ series of movies from the 1940’s that many of us remember from our childhood showing on the little screen, the TV, in black-and-white,” said James Worley, associate professor of drama and the play’s director. “It’s kind of a loving, tip of the hat parody of that genre.”

The action in “XSR: Die!” takes place backstage at the Republic Theatre in 1942. In just a few hours, the curtain is set to rise on a new play, but someone has murdered famed director Douglas Mallory. Who would want to kill Mallory? Anyone who ever worked with him. Happily, Harry Hunsacker is back on the case.

“Harry is somewhat full of himself and sticks his foot in his mouth a lot,” Worley said. “Nigel is there to help bail him out of trouble. It’s just a lot of good fun, a lot of tongue-in-cheek comedy.”

The role of Harry Hunsacker will be played by Kevin Evetts, a freshman drama major from Brownwood, in his first ASU production. In high school, Evetts won an All-Star Cast Award in UIL One-Act Play competition and received a 2007 Brownwood Theatre and Drama Award.

Carl Smith, a senior drama/French major from San Angelo, will portray Nigel Grouse. His ASU theatre experience includes roles in “West Side Story” and “Proof.” He has also appeared in several plays at Central High School, Angelo Civic Theatre and Jabberwocky’s.

Sophomore drama major Scott Meyer of New Braunfels will play Lt. Foster. His ASU theatre resume includes roles in “My Three Angels,” “West Side Story,” “Terra Nova,” “Pippin” and “Last Chance.”

The role of Douglas Mallory will be played by sophomore Nathaniel Shouse of San Angelo. His ASU theatre experience includes roles in “Proposals,” “Mousetrap” and “Pippin,” plus technical duties for “To Gillian on her 37th Birthday” and “Proof.”

Other characters will be portrayed by ASU students Molly Schwencke, Manny Olivares, Zeth Collom, Marcus Chavira, Alyssia Rivera, Christina Jones and David Pedersen.

Matt Smith, ASU Technical Director, is the lighting designer. Junior drama major Kelsey Davis is the stage manager and the costumes and make-up were designed by Eldra Sanford, ASU costumer.

“Everything the audience sees in this play,” Worley said, “is in shades of gray to recreate that old 1940’s movie look. It’s funny because, at first, the audience is ‘weirded out’ by it, but then their eyes adjust to it and they forget about it. The technique is itself a character in the play.”

Worley is himself a product of the ASU drama program and has led a varied career that includes two years as a professional designer, stage manager and technician in New York at such institutions as the Juilliard School of Drama, the Roundabout Theatre Company and Daedalus Professional Tours. He has also served as technical director, resident designer and artistic director at the Angelo Civic Theatre and as technical director for Southwest Studios Inc. in Dallas. Worley has directed more than 30 productions at ASU.

“XSR: Die!” was written by Kurt Kleinmann, founder of the Pegasus Theatre in Dallas. He is the recipient of a Leon Rabin Award, a Ken Bryant Vision Award from The 500, Inc., and a Standing Ovation Award from the Dallas Theatre League. One of his previous “Harry Hunsacker” scripts had a successful run as an Off-Broadway production.

Reservations are currently being taken in the ASU box office. The box office is open from 2-6 p.m. weekdays in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building. To make reservations, call 942-2000.

For more information on the production and cast, contact Worley with the ASU drama program at 942-2146, Ext. 241.

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