MURFREESBORO — MTSU Theatre and Dance will take audiences to church beginning Wednesday, Feb. 26, when the musical “Amen Corner” opens its five-day run in historic Tucker Theatre.
Adapted from renowned African-American author James Baldwin’s 1965 play of the same name, the MTSU Arts presentation features 12 students enthusiastic about bringing more diversity to the historic theatre program.
“We have a good number of African-American students here at MTSU, yet we very rarely do a play for African-American audiences,” explained professor Deborah Anderson, who’s directing “Amen Corner.”
“This play has a number of themes and statements that are very important to our entire community, and getting to present it during African-American History Month is a great opportunity.”
“This is something that everyone can relate to,” said MTSU senior Amber Broom, who is cast as “Sister Boxer,” a member of a storefront Harlem church where the minister’s family woes cause an uproar.
“I wanted to be part of this production because it’s a necessary production for MTSU. I feel I kind of have to be a part of it,” added Broom, a Memphis native whose future plans include graduate school and a goal of acting professionally.
Performances of “Amen Corner” are scheduled Feb. 26-March 1 at 7:30 each evening, and one matinee is planned at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 2. Tickets are available at http://www.mtsu.edu/tuckertheatre and at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before showtime.
General admission is $10 each and $5 for K-12 students, senior citizens and MTSU faculty and staff. MTSU students with valid IDs will be admitted free.
Freshman theatre major Josh Jackson of Antioch, Tenn., will spar and spoon with Broom as her onstage husband of 26 years, “Brother Boxer.”
“I saw this character and liked him immediately. He’s sly and sneaky,” Jackson said with a laugh. “I’ve never played a ‘villain,’ so I’m excited to have a role with some conflict in it.”
MTSU’s Theatre and Dance is opening this spring semester on a high note after last fall’s full-run sellout of “Les Misérables,” the largest musical theatre production in the university’s history, and the wildly popular children’s musical “A Year with Frog and Toad.”
Though “Amen Corner” is a smaller production, the diligence required to create and present it follows a similar plan. Casting announcements were made last December, and the students returned about a week early from winter break to get in rehearsal time and begin preparing sets, costumes, lighting and musical numbers.
“I haven’t done a straight play in a while, and I wanted to work with ‘Professor A’ (Anderson) before she retires this semester,” said Sadie Katie Hampton, a sophomore theatre major from Murfreesboro, who is stage manager for “Amen Corner” and served the same role for "Les Misérables.”
“I think this is a very cool production for our university, and it’s great for diversity in what we offer to the community. We’re all friends, and we’re all learning a lot to apply now in our classes and later in our careers.”
For more information about the show, visit http://www.mtsuarts.com and click on “Amen Corner” next to any of the performance dates. You also can call 615-494-8810.