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Arts and Entertainment

Drury Theatre Presents the Powerful Musical 'Violet'

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(Poster design: www.wikipedia.org)
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The Drury University Department of Theatre will present "Violet," a profoundly powerful musical that follows the journey of a young, disfigured woman searching for the healing touch of an evangelist and the restoration of her lost beauty. Music by Jeanine Tesori, Libretto by Brian Crawley, Based on the short story by Doris Betts. Directed by Robert Westenberg, the play opens on Wednesday, November 12th and runs through Saturday the 15th at 7:30pm each evening in the Wilhoit Theatre on the Drury campus, along with a Saturday matinee.

One of the actors in the show, Drury student Teddy Trice, told KSMU that Robert Westenberg "worked on the original Broadway production of the show. The music fleshes everything out--it's so eclectic in the way that it's put together: you've got blues, jazz, country, gospel.  I think they were trying to go against the grain.  And personally, I think it's some of the best music that I've heard, at least in the American anthology of musicals."

Jenna Murphy plays the title role, and says "the show is a series of flashbacks of her younger years and her current pilgrimage that she's taking to the evangelist to be healed."

Troy Jones plays Monty Harrell, "a young paratrooper" who has "had it easy" in life, and is generally so well-scrubbed and earnest all the time that, Teddy Trice jokes, "you just wanna hit him!"

Teddy Trice plays Flick, who is also a soldier. He's "on his way to Fort Smith, Arkansas on his next assignment. That's when he meets Violet.  On the way he takes this journey along with her.  Her story is almost a parallel of his:  she's got this disfigurement on her face; I have my skin (color) as a 'blemish,' being in the 1960s." 

As for the evangelist in the story, Jenna Murphy insists he's "not a bad person. Nobody that you meet in the show has malicious intent--they're all just people trying to do what they think is right. And though (the evangelist) may be deceiving people, he's a good guy.  And he's not prepared to deal with something like (Violet's problem)."

Tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and non-Drury students, and $3 for Drury faculty, staff and students and children under the age of 12.  For reservations contact the theatre box office at (417) 873-7255 Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m.