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JMU News



HARRISONBURG — The concertina plays its wheezy tune announcing the carnival has come to town. This is not, however, a ride on the midway and greasy corn dogs, but rather the magical musical production of "Carnival!"

Based on the book by Michael Stewart, with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill, "Carnival!" won the 1961 New York Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.

The musical is being presented jointly by the School of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music of James Madison University Tuesday-Saturday, Feb. 19-23, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. in Latimer-Shaeffer Theatre, Duke Hall.

Guest director Scott Viets will bring carny magic to life on the JMU stage.

The jubilant production number, "Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris," sets the mood for this seen-better-days French carnival troupe. The young orphan girl, Lili, longs to fit in among the flamboyant carnival people. She finds herself caught in a triangle between the magician, Marco the Magnificent, and Paul Berthalet, the shy puppeteer with an injured leg.

The truth of the musical’s theme, "Love Makes the World Go Round," is revealed to Lili as the romantic conflict is resolved.

Viets, a free-lance director and choreographer based in San Diego, has regional credits,including major productions for various civic light operas, summer stock, theme parks and dinner theaters, and appearances off-Broadway and at New York University, Radio City Music Hall and Circle Repertory Theatre.

Recent productions he directed include sold-out runs of "Psycho Beach Party" and "Oliver!" as well as choreography for "Jeffrey" and "Boys in the Band," all four of which made several top-10 lists of various critics for the "best of 2001 in San Diego Theatre."

"Carnival!" at JMU will mark Viets' last show as a free-lance artist for awhile. Beginning March 4, he becomes the full-time artistic director for Sierra Repertory Theatre in northern California.

JMU music Professor Robert McCashin will conduct the orchestra; vocal direction will be provided by music Professor John Little. The student cast will feature Trinity Baker as Lili, Brian Laycock as Marco and Michael Hadary as Paul.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $6 for children, senior citizens or those with JMU ID. Purchase tickets by calling the JMU Masterpiece Season box office at (540)568-7000.

For more information, contact the JMU School of Theatre and Dance at (540)568-7836 or by e-mail at