Student artists to display talents again

The arts on campus, no matter what form they take, seem to always flourish in the spring.

The end of the school year is in sight and the weather is, hopefully, beginning to warm up; however, this doesn’t mean the students of the arts are taking any time off to enjoy themselves.

The first department to put their talents on display is the Dance Department. With no shortage of inspiration, the first weekend in March will be continuing the department’s annual presentation and incorporating Mercyhurst’s academic theme by exhibiting “Happiness is Beyond Words III.”

The show, with a preview performance on Feb. 28 and running for the next two days, will feature choreography by Lesley Bories-Scalise, James Clouser, Michael Gleason, Mark and Solveig Santillano and Department Chair, Tauna Hunter.

While the Mercyhurst Dancers are always impressive enough to watch on-stage without incentive, there are two unique aspects to “Happiness is Beyond Words III” that gives students and community members even more reasons to see the show.

The first is a special opportunity to attend a “talk back” that will immediately follow the Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, performances.

This will allow audience members to interact, meet, and ask questions with the dancers about any aspect of the performance.

The second unique reason is that this event will also benefit SAFENET, an organization that is dedicated to ending domestic violence and offering direct services to victims of domestic violence. SAFENET provides support, education and a sanctuary to those affected by violence.

“Happiness is Beyond Words III” will run Friday, Feb. 28, at 4:30 p.m. with a $5 preview performance with balcony seating only, with two shows on Saturday, March 1, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and ending on Sunday, March 2, at 2 p.m.

The Dance Department will be holding the “Black and White Salon,” which will benefit and raise funds for the Jenni-Lyn Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The event will showcase the Mercyhurst Dancers and will be held in the DanceSpace.

“This student driven concert supports a scholarship fund established by the Watson family after the tragic loss of their daughter in 2010. It is their wish to assist qualified senior dance majors with audition expenses,” says Professor Tauna Hunter, Dance Chair.

At the end of March, vocalists from the D’Angelo School of Music will be performing Gioacchino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.”

The opera, which translates into “Cinderella” tells the classic story with a few twists, one of the most noticeable changes being Cenerentola gives Prince Ramiro a bracelet instead of a glass shoe.

Showcasing the classic battle between good and evil, Cenerentola represents love in its purest form.

Featuring a full orchestra, lights and costumes, “La Cenerentola” is bound to be a family favorite and bring this fairytale classic to life.

The opera will run for two performances on Friday, March 28, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 30, at 2 p.m.

At the end of April, the Mercyhurst Theatre Program will present “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theatre Project.

Directed by Dr. Brett Johnson, this show tells the story of a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who was kidnapped, beaten to within an inch of life and tied to a fence in the middle of the grasslands of Laramie, Wyoming.

Not discovered until the next day, he was rushed to the hospital and died several days later.

The student, named Matthew Shepard, was savagely beaten and left to die because he was gay.

After speaking with over 200 people who were both directly involved with the case and regular citizens in Laramie, Kaufman and Tectonic Theatre members constructed a truly moving theatrical experience.

“‘The Laramie Project’ is a breathtaking theatrical collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable,” Johnson said.

Performances run Thursday, April 24, through Saturday, April 26, at 8 p.m. with a matinée performance on Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m. Adult tickets: $10, senior/student/PC: $7 and youth/MUStu w/ID is $5.

The arts will wrap up with another Dance Department performance, also mixing a department tradition with this year’s academic theme, “Happiness is Raw Edges: A Celebration of Twenty/Forty Years (RCC),” featuring Mercyhurst Dancers and returning alumni.

The performance will be celebrating 40 years of dance at Mercyhurst University and to honor Artistic Director Tauna Hunter and Production Manager/Resident Designer, Michael Gleason.

The performance will feature the Mercyhurst dancers and alumni for a 20-year commemoration of choreography by both Hunter and Gleason.

After the performances, there will be a “talk back,” a special opportunity to meet, talk with and ask questions of the dancers and choreographers following the Friday and Saturday evening performances.

“Happiness is Raw Edges” will run Friday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m. with a $5 preview performance with balcony seating available only, with two shows on Saturday, May 3, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and ending on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. Adult tickets: $15.50, senior/student: $12.50, PC: $7.50, youth: $5.00 and MUStu: $3.50.

Of course, other organization, like the RSCO Theatre Appreciation Club, will be holding a variety of events that give students that aren’t in the arts departments a chance to explore their creativity.

One of the club’s bigger events, “The Winter Cabaret: Broadway Backward” takes place in just a few weeks with a twist on gender specific songs.

Featuring both popular and classic pieces, “Broadway Backward” will feature Mercyhurst students performing Broadway favorites opposite of the performers gender.

The performance will take place on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Taylor Little Theatre. Tickets for the show are $5 at the door, cash only.

All ticket and additional information for any show can be found at (814) 824-3000, at the Performing Arts Center box office or at