The Villanova Theater will present “Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit,” with music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb, conducted by Villanova University President Reverend Peter Donohue, OSA, PhD, March 31-April 10 . as it christens the proscenium-style Topper Theater in the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. With its melodious score, witty book and intelligent plot, “Curtains:” mixes the mystery of Agatha Christie with the spectacular song and dance of Golden Age musicals while playing every bell and theatrical whistle.
The musical extravaganza marks the first production at the new 400-seat Topper Theater since the completion of the Joan and John Mullen Center for the Performing Arts in 2019, as well as the return of university president Father Peter Donohue to the direction of the Villanova Theater for the first time. since The Drowsy Chaperone in 2012. Eager to utilize the full production and technological capabilities of the $60 million performing arts center, Father Donohue encouraged designers to utilize the improved resources of the new set stores and the establishment’s costumes, along with its complete flight and rigging system, in order to create the world of Curtains and its western-themed show-within-a-show. The John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts and its crown jewel, the Topper Theater, have been funded by six gifts of $1 million or more, including two gifts of $20 million.
A love letter to the golden age of musical theatre, “Curtains” is set in 1959, and the mysterious death of the leading lady of a Broadway-bound show makes everyone, on stage and in backstage, a potential suspect. Enter Detective Frank Cioffi, a dumbfounded gumshoe who sniffs out clues while donning tap shoes. The Rev. David Cregan, OSA, PhD, associate dean of academic affairs and strategic initiatives for the College of Professional Studies and longtime professor in the Department of Theater, will take on the lead role of Cioffi, the detective determined to solve the murder and rehabilitate the show in time for its Broadway opening.
He is joined by a cast of current graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, faculty and staff, including campus minister Meghan Dietzler as starry-eyed ingenue Niki, and graduate students current Erin Coffman and Brian Jacko as a songwriter-lyricist duo whose professional and married lives are both on the rocks.
Immediately following the April 7 performance, there will be a Q&A with director Donohue, playwright Nicholas Ecker and special guest speaker, director of the theater department and musical theater researcher, Valerie Joyce, PhD.
The Villanova Theater is located on the Villanova University campus at John and Joan Mullen Avenues Center for the Performing Arts, Lancaster and Ithan. Performances will take place Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost between $26 and $30, with discounts available for students, seniors, master’s graduates in theater and groups. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.villanovatheatre.org or by calling the box office at 610-519-7474.
Pa. DEP Secretary Speaks at Penn State Brandywine
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell will speak at Penn State Brandywine from noon to 1:20 p.m. Friday, April 1 at the Student Union campus and via Zoom. He will discuss environmental racism and justice.
The program is open to the public. Registration is required to participate virtually. More details and the registration link are available online at http://engage.bw.psu.edu/social-justice-fair.
McDonnell has served as DEP Secretary since 2016. His DEP career began in 1998 and he has served in several positions on the States Environmental Council. A native of Philadelphia, McDonnell received his master’s degree in political science from Lehigh University and his bachelor’s degree from DeSales University.
Environmental racism and justice are the focus of this year’s Social Justice Fair hosted by Penn State Brandywine’s Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement and Student Affairs office. The week-long series of events, taking place March 28-April 1, will explore global and local aspects of racism and environmental justice and include interactive sessions with activists, student leaders, storytellers, Brandywine teachers and officials.
Many events are open to the public and details are available at http://www.brandywine.psu.edu. Penn State Brandywine is located at 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Middletown.
DCCC continues discussions on Diversity Dialogues
The final in Delaware County Community College’s free Dialogues for Diversity online discussion series will be held from 5-6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, on the topic of “Equity and Civil Rights: Justice, Community, and Historical Roots.”
Hosted by the College’s Center for Equity and Social Justice, this dialogue will feature University of Washington Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Megan Ming Francis, who is also Adjunct Professor of Law, Societies, and Justice. at the Seattle-based university. Francis specializes in the study of American politics, social movements, and the development of constitutional law. She is particularly interested in building rights and citizenship, black political activism, and the post-Civil War South. She is the author of the award-winning Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (Cambridge University Press, 2014), an in-depth archival analysis of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) battle against the lynching and mob. the violence in the early 1900s that raised public awareness, won over US presidents, won congressional support, and helped usher in the modern American civil rights movement.
Francis will help provide a brief history of the American legal system and the different impacts it has had on specific groups and geographic locations. It will also help participants in this Dialogues for Diversity event to think about the changes people can make to foster a more equitable community.
To register for the Equity & Civil Rights: Justice, Community and Historic Roots event, visit: http://dccc.edu/dialogue.
Chester Senior Center announces art classes
The Senior Community Services Chester Senior Center will be running the following art programs to enable people to find and develop their artistic side: Acrylic Art Class, Monday, April 11 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., $5 for members and $10 for non-members, which includes supplies; Jewelry making – second Friday of the month at 10 a.m., $6 with beginner’s supplies included; Ceramics, Thursdays, starting May 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., $6 including supplies; Sewing Creations, Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $5 for non-members, participants bring their own projects and materials; Diamond Painting, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.; Class demo, Thursday, April 7 at 11 a.m. with supplies included.
All classes are held at The Centre, 721 Hayes St., Chester. Classes involve individual and group instruction and all are welcome. Participants will also have the chance to display their created works at an annual summer art exhibition. For more information or to register, call 610-497-3550.
MADD Honors Media Advocate
Kevin Marciano, Esq. by Marciano and MacAvoy, PC in Media was recently recognized by MADD NY/NJ/PA Regional for its continued sponsorship of the annual Walk Like MADD event at the Philadelphia Zoo. The virtual recognition event took place via Zoom. Marciano has also been praised for regularly requiring drunk drivers and the bars serving them to make a monetary payment to MADD on behalf of the victim, within the terms of the settlements.
The non-profit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) seeks to end drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking and fight for a stricter impaired driving policy. For more information, visit http://www.madd.org.
Readers can email community news and photos to Peg DeGrassa at [email protected]