A play with an all-female cast and a classic romantic comedy musical will be splitting center stage for the University of Rhode Island’s Spring 2019 Theater Season.
The first mainstage production of the semester, “The Wolves,” revolves around an all-female soccer team and provides an interesting perspective from the mind of a teenager.
“I think society and pop culture makes a lot of assumptions about what teenage girls are like,” Rachel Walshe, director of “The Wolves” said. “I think it’s really a tired narrative. I think this play does a really good job of letting them be individually interesting and complicated figures.”
Freshman Carleigh Boyle, who will be playing number 46, the new girl on the team, described the play as “The most out there piece that the department of theater was doing this year.”
Being a recent high school graduate and an athlete herself, Boyle was drawn to this modern piece that she felt she and many students could relate to. With the relatability of the piece, Walshe hopes that URI’s students can find a way to connect to their own part of their history as the characters think about what’s next for them after high school.
While this show deals specifically with female characters and their experiences navigating the end of their high school careers, when it came to deciding on the spring play, the final decision had little to do with having an all-female cast.
“We choose the play because it’s an excellent play, more than that it offered women-only roles,” Walshe elaborated. After premiering in New York in 2016, the show has gained great popularity and is being done by theatre departments across the country.
However, URI’s theatre department tries to keep things interesting by choosing a variety of styles and genres for their productions. “We always try to mix it up with a blend of dramas, comedy, a musical, a contemporary piece, maybe sometimes a Shakespeare, a classic,” Paula McGlasson, director of a “Little Night Music” explained.
Where “The Wolves” is a modern piece that premiered in New York just a few years ago, 1973’s “A Little Night Music” belongs to the classic genre. The romantic comedy musical features an abundances of affairs backed by American Composer Stephen Sondheim’s complex music and lyrics. This will be the fourth show of his put on by the department in its history.
The spring musical is “a nice way to finish up the year,” McGlasson said. It is the only musical production the University does and is always a big event within the department.
McGlasson, who starred in a production of the show herself about 40 years ago, described a Sondheim musical as “a gift that never stops giving.”
Sondheim is known for his complex lyrics and clever wordplay. “There’s always more to discover. There’s always more of a challenge in front of you,” McGlasson said.
“The Wolves” will have 7:30 p.m. performances in J Studio Feb. 21 to 23 and Feb. 28 to March 2, with two matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24 and March 3.
Also in J Studio, “A Little Night Music” opens at 7:30 p.m. on April 18 and will continue nightly performances throughout that weekend and the follow weekend of April 25, with a 2 p.m. matinee show on April 28.