(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The musical satire of Tom Lehrer—the Harvard mathematician turned singer-songwriter—a spoof of 1920s musicals and a children’s fable are on tap for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Summer Showbiz 2008, opening its 29th season of summertime theater fun for Southwestern Illinois audiences. The SIUE Department of Theater and Dance opens the season June 5 with Tomfoolery, a musical revue filled with the songs of Tom Lehrer, who had a great knack for poking fun at the issues of the day over a 20-year career that began in the 1950s. But, his comedy is so timely and universal that the jokes are just as fresh and as clever as ever.
Tomfoolery provides a nostalgic evening of laughs, satire, and memorable tunes that will also appeal to those who are hearing the songs for the first time. Lehrer just turned 80 in April and SIUE’s show will be a great birthday tribute to the man who also wrote some of the early tunes for Sesame Street, such as Lower Case n and Silent e. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 5, and continues at the same time through Saturday, June 7, and then again from June 12-14, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 8 and 15, all in the James F. Metcalf Theater, just west and south of SIUE’s Vadalabene Center.
The Boy Friend, Sandy Wilson’s comedy first performed in London in 1953 and then on Broadway in 1954 with “newcomer” Julie Andrews in the role of Polly, takes us back to the Roaring ’20s when everyone was recovering from World War I. Andrews made her stage directorial debut in 2003 with her version of the musical in Sag Harbor, NY. The lively comedy makes its SIUE debut at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, and continues Friday-Saturday, June 20-21 and June 26-28, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 22 and 29, all in the theater at SIUE's Katherine Dunham Hall.
Set in the French Riviera, young Polly, a millionaire’s daughter, bemoans the fact she doesn’t have a boy friend, but the problem is solved when she meets a delivery boy, Tony, who becomes her escort to the fancy dress ball, much to the chagrin of her family. The play is full of great characters—haves and have-nots—who not only provide the laughs but also show us some great Charleston dancing.
The season’s summer revelry closes with Honk! the Olivier Award-winning musical version of the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fable, The Ugly Duckling, mixed with a theme of pro-tolerance. This charming play runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 17-19 and 24-26, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20 and 27, all in the theater at Dunham Hall. The story is set in the countryside, featuring Ugly, thought of as an “ugly duckling” who discovers his true self when he becomes a swan; his tearful mother Ida, who loves him no matter what; a drake who “ducks’ his fatherly responsibilities; a gaggle of comical geese; a sly tomcat who just wants to play with his food; a wisecracking bullfrog; and other such barnyard delights that will appeal to children and adults alike.
For tickets or for more information, call the Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-2774, or toll free, (888) 328-5168, ext. 2774. Visit the Web site: www.siue.edu/THEATER.