Our Town at Marquette University

On Friday Night, Kristi and I went to see the first show of the season at the Helfaer Theatre at Marquette University. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Helfaer Theatre and their season opened with Our Town.

Over the last three years, our family has seen a couple shows a season at the Helfaer Theatre or featuring Marquette students at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. In all cases, the shows have been incredibly well-staged and extremely entertaining. I’m sure that this factored into A.J.’s decision to become a theatre arts major at MU.

Last night’s production of Our Town was just as fantastic as any other Marquette production that we have seen. As a disclaimer, I must admit that I have seen high school and community theatre productions of Our Town on two separate occasions in the last several years and I have never been a fan of the show. This production, however, was so well done that I have changed my opinion of the show. The level of professionalism put forth by the student actors was quite amazing.

The standout performance of the evening was presented by the young man that played the Stage Manager, Alexander Coddington. As A.J. and I had discussed after the show (He had seen it last weekend), we decided that Alex’s portrayal of the Stage Manager had all of folksy demeanor that you would expect with that character but with an ever-so-slight edginess to it. I believe that long pauses in dialogue are the hardest thing for an actor to do and he had such an effective mastery over them.

Of course I could probably gush an equally long amount about each and every one of the actors and actresses in the performance. They were all extraordinary. I would, however, mention Hannah Klapperich-Mueller’s portrayal of Mrs. Gibbs. She was captivating to watch on stage. I have previously seen her in Lend Me A Tenor and Almost, Maine and she is a splendid actress.

I would tell you to go see this show but there are only two performances left and by the time you read this I’m sure that the run will be over. I will say that if you haven’t ventured to see a show at Marquette University yet, please do so. You won’t be sorry.

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