WMU News

Captivating musical 'Archy and Mehitabel' at WMU

Feb. 13, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The WMU Department of Theatre presents the captivating musical "Archy and Mehitabel" in the Multiform Theatre of the Gilmore Theatre Complex. The show opens Thursday, Feb. 15, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 24.

Performances of "Archy and Mehitabel" begin at 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 15-17 and 22-24. There is also a matinee performance on Sunday, Feb. 18, beginning at 2 p.m. A First Nighter's Reception will be sponsored by Cosmo's and will be held following the Feb. 15 performance. A sign language interpreted performance will be held Feb. 22.

"Archy and Mehitabel" is based on the poems of Don Marquis. Written by Joe Darion and Mel Brooks, with music by George Kleinsinger and lyrics by Joe Darion, this production is most often referred to as fresh and exciting as it explores the unlikely relationship between Archy, a poetic cockroach and Mehitabel, a seductive alley-cat.

Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and WMU employees and $5 for students. To purchase tickets, call the Gilmore Theatre Ticket Office at 616 387-6222 weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. The ticket office is also open two hours before the performances. Tickets may also be purchased at the Epic Center ticket office on the Kalamazoo Mall.

Says director D. Terry Williams,"When I first arrived at Western some 19 years ago, the chair of the Department of Dance at that time, Wendy Cornish, asked me to listen to a recording of 'Archy and Mehitabel,' featuring Carol Channing as Mehitabel, Eddie Bracken as Archy and David Wayne as the Newspaperman.

"I fell in love with the music and lyrics and sent for the libretto and liked the show even more." says Williams, chair of the Department of Theatre. "The real spirit, however, behind this production is Wendy Cornish. It is because of her that 'Archy and Mehitabel' is being produced. Her choice to underwrite part of the expenses of mounting the work from the funds she was awarded on being named Helen M. Frays Professor of Dance indicates her commitment to the project."

"Archy and Mehitabel" formally opened on Broadway under the title Shinbone Alley starring Eddie Bracken as Archy, Eartha Kitt as Mehitabel and Julian Barry as the Newspaperman. Reviews were unanimous that it was the most fresh and enchanting musical to hit the stage in a long time. This fantastical story where a cat and cockroach think and act like people takes its audience to a place of intrigue and wonder.

The University Theatre production features senior Eric Zang as Archy, sophomore Sarah Ball as Mehitabel, junior Nicholas Dalton as Big Bill, senior Erik Sisco as Tyrone Tattersall and freshman Erich Sommerfeldt as the newspaperman. Other cast members include Amy Board, Heather Beck,
Katrina Phillip, Leonard Sullivan, Mike Van Gemert, Betsy Blake, Gina Dedominicis, Erica Baker, Jamie Earls, Thom Meink, and Jennifer Julian.

A number of talented designers also help bring this story to the stage. Faculty Greg Roehrick and Kathleen Crosby spearhead the scenic and costume designs, respectively. Students Michael Metzdorf (lighting design), Tom Cavnar (sound design), Evan Lewis (scenic design assistant), Sara Ausberger (costumer), and Marlo Stafford (choreographer) round out the team.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 616 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400