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Birmingham-Southern College musical to compete in regional festival

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-The Birmingham-Southern College production of Hamlet: The Musical has been selected to compete in Region IV of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival February 6-9 at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C.

By competing in the regional festival, the production automatically will be considered for the national festival in April at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The college's musical production was among six selected from a group of 35 other college or university productions. It is the fifth time that Birmingham-Southern has taken a show to the regional festival.

"KCACTF is an excellent opportunity for the work that our students do to be seen by a broader audience and for the faculty, staff, and students to receive feedback on the kind of work they're doing," said Michael Flowers, professor of theatre and director of the play, which is a comical, musical take on Shakespeare's classic work, Hamlet.

"The uniqueness of the production, the fact that the students were not only cast members but also played all the musical instruments, and that they told the story of Hamlet in a very different way has much to do with why we were invited," he said.

Birmingham-Southern students first tackled the musically and technically complex Hamlet: The Musical in early October when they performed four shows on campus. They then received rave reviews from respondents at the state festival held in Birmingham later that month.

One state festival reviewer wrote, "The Birmingham-Southern troupe is true ensemble, each of them working together, acting and reacting, making certain that they all played instruments, sang, moved props, and created character. …Thank you for bringing Hamlet: The Musical to the state festival. I needed a laugh, and this show earned my laughter and also my admiration. For those who love theatre, such a show embodies some of the best of what college theatre should embody-a true affection for theatre, a true understanding of Shakespeare, and a true love of comedy."

Another reviewer wrote, "I don't know if I have ever seen a better use of ability and talent in a college production. This vehicle was such an ideal showcase piece for the wide range of musical talent among the cast (instrumental and vocal). … The success of this piece is largely due to the innovation and imagination of the direction."

The other colleges and universities competing at the regional festival with Birmingham-Southern will be Appalachian State University, Lambuth University, Northern Kentucky University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the University of Memphis.

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