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Ohio University students to perform in 'Pippin'

ATHENS, Ohio (July 19, 2006) -- Several Ohio University students will be among the local performers participating in the upcoming production of "Pippin," the fourth summer musical production of the Genesis Theater Project.

The musical will be performed at the ARTS/West Theater on West State Street (on top of the hill near the Athens Middle School) on July 21-23 and July 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. A special matinee will be performed at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 29.

The entire cast is made up of Athens area residents. Ohio University students involved include seniors Alli Purcell and Ozan Suer, juniors Christine Beam and Chelsea Goettge and sophomore Lianne Vernell.

Leading roles include Nick Nesbitt as the leading player; Daniel Lopez as Pippin; Anna Caldwell as Pippin's scheming stepmother; Stephanie Hunter as Pippin's wily old grandmother; Jeremy Hayes as King Charlemagne; Purcell as the young widow, Catherine, whom Pippin falls in love with; Gabe Lopez as Theo, Catherine's son; and Suer as Lewis, Pippin's half-brother.

Other cast members are Christine Beam, Kathy Gulino, Vernell, Keely Flahery, Ben Stewart, Shaina Cantino, Goettge, Jamie Weaver, and Ellie Andrews. David Tadlock, choir director at Athens First Presbyterian Church, will direct the production. Goettge will perform staging and choreography.

The musical comedy, by composer Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell," "Wicked") and writer Roger O. Hirson, is a "show-within-a-show." A troupe of actors, players, and dancers promises magic and mischief, with scenes of battle, political intrigue and love.  The cast members then take on the roles of various characters from the time of King Charlemagne focusing especially on his son, Pippin.  Pippin, a young man searching for meaning in life, is "guided" through his search by the Leading Player and his troupe of actors. It soon becomes clear that they do not always have Pippin's best interests at heart, and even Pippin's stepmother and half-brother plot against him. The music is in the style of easy-going '70s rock, folk ballads and "Motown" jazz, and there are several major dance scenes.

The Genesis Theater Project is committed to the performance of family productions.  However, parents of young children should exercise their judgment due to a couple of scenes with mild expletives or slightly suggestive material.

Past productions of the Genesis Theater Project include "Godspell" (2003), "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (2004) and "Children of Eden" (2004).

Each year, the summer theater program provides local teens and returning college students with the experience of putting together a full-length, high-energy musical. The organization is under the partial sponsorship of the First Presbyterian Church, and is also supported by several businesses and individuals in the Athens area.

Tickets are on sale through the office of the Athens First Presbyterian Church at 9 North College Street, (740) 593-3351. Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for students, and can be purchased in advance or bought at the door of ARTS/West before each performance.

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Media Contact: Genesis Theater Project Director David Tadlock, (740) 707-6826(cell) or (740) 797-0180 (home)

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